How to Install a Rain Barrel
The Conservation Foundation webinar below explains how to set up a Rain Barrel and create a Rain Garden at home. Or view this guide (PDF) for step-by-step instructions.
Reduce Flooding and Protect Rivers with Rain Barrels
Rainwater is a Precious Fresh Water Resource
When we think of our stormwater as a precious fresh water resource, it does not make sense to manage it like a waste product. There is a finite amount of fresh water on earth and we can all take steps to protect it, starting with collecting it where it falls!
When we catch and collect the rainwater that falls on our houses, we reduce local flooding and stress on storm sewer system infrastructure while keeping pollutants out of our rivers and streams. We also end up with a bunch of clean water that is perfect for watering lawns and gardens, washing cars or the family dog, and offsetting household water usage in many other ways.
Estimates indicate that a quarter-inch of rain falling on an average home yields over 200 gallons of water. One simple, efficient, low-cost method to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff from your property is to use rain barrels.
What is a Rain Barrel?
Rain barrels are simply large containers that capture stormwater from your roof that would otherwise be lost as runoff. Modern rain barrels are sealed, safe around children and insect resistant – they can even be painted or decorated to your liking. You can divert water from your downspout to fill your rain barrel and a hose spigot on the front makes the water easy to access and use.
Around 40% of total household water used during the summer months is for watering lawns and gardens. Rainwater does not contain chlorine, lime or calcium which makes it ideal for watering your flowers and vegetable garden or washing your car or windows. You may even notice a decrease in your water bill!
Even if you do not have an intended use for the water, emptying the rain barrel after a storm reduces the rate and volume of stormwater the storm sewer system and our rivers have to manage at a peak time.
You do not need to remove the fittings for winter. UpCycle uses plastic fittings because brass and steel do not interface well with plastic barrels. These items expand and contract at a different rate, which is the major cause of other manufacturer’s barrels leaking in a short period of time. The only thing you need to do to prepare for the winter season is to drain all the water out of them, remove the linking fitting cap, and open the spigot.