A rain barrel is an excellent way to collect and store rainwater for use in your garden. Not only does this help to conserve water, but it can also save you money on your water bill. However, with so many different rain barrel options available, it can be difficult to know how to choose the right one for your needs. In this article, we will explore some of the key factors to consider when choosing a rain barrel.
About Rain Barrels
A rain barrel is a water container that collects rainwater running from your roof, gutter, and downspout. Its storage capacity ranges from 30 to 250 gallons but the biggest delivery-ready ones are 100 gallons. The rainwater saved using your rain barrels can serve as your garden and utility water and can last you for a couple of weeks.
Some people use it to flush their toilets, wash their cars, water their plants, and clean their patios. Old rain barrels used to be in the form of plastic drums, clay jars, buckets, and recycled wine barrels. These inspired the modern designs of rain barrels today.
Likewise, the use of plastic for rain barrels made way for the limitless possibilities when it comes to the styles and sizes, from basic, vintage, and modern. We will share with you the benefits of having a rain barrel, the factors in choosing one, and the things to remember in maintaining one.
Benefits of Having A Rain Barrel
- It helps you save on your water bill: The rainwater you can save can be used for cleaning and gardening purposes. Ever heard of greywater? It is the collective term for clean wastewater without fecal contamination. Rainwater can be considered greywater and can be used for cleaning and sanitation purposes. Imagine how many gallons of clean water you can save and how much you can cut off from your water bill
- It helps you save the environment: Water runoff from heavy rain can cause minor erosions and can carry pollution, chemicals, and pesticides to lakes and other bodies of water. Rain barrels save rainwater before it reaches the ground preventing
- You will keep your foundation flood-free: You’ve probably seen quite a lot of TV shows featuring home renovation problems. One most common dilemmas are the flooding of the foundation.
- Rainwater is better for your plants: Chlorine in water might be the reason why your plants do not look as healthy as they should be. Rainwater is acidic in nature but not as much as the acidity of chlorine water. It is also oxygenated and considered light water, plants love that.
What to Look for in a Rain Barrel
- Capacity: One of the first things to consider when choosing a rain barrel is its capacity. Rain barrels typically range in size from 50 to 100 gallons, with larger barrels being able to store more water. The right size for you will depend on the size of your roof and the amount of rainfall in your area. It's important to choose a size that can store enough water for your needs without overflowing.
- Material: Rain barrels come in a variety of materials, including plastic, wood, and metal. Plastic barrels are the most common and are generally the most affordable option. They are lightweight, durable and resistant to rust and corrosion. Wood barrels are more aesthetically pleasing but require more maintenance. Metal barrels are also durable but can be prone to rust and may be more expensive.
- Lid: The lid of a rain barrel is important for keeping debris and animals out of the barrel. Look for a rain barrel with a secure and well-fitted lid that is easy to remove for cleaning and maintenance.
- Spigot: The spigot is the valve that allows you to dispense water from the rain barrel. Look for a rain barrel with a sturdy and leak-proof spigot that is easy to access and use.
- Overflow System: It's important to have an overflow system in place to prevent the rain barrel from overflowing during heavy rainfall. Look for a rain barrel with an overflow system that can direct excess water away from your home's foundation and into a suitable drainage area.
- Accessories: Some rain barrels come with additional accessories, such as a filter or a diverter kit. A filter can help to remove debris and pollutants from the water, while a diverter kit can help to redirect water from your gutters into the rain barrel.
Rain Barrel Choice, Ordering, and Installation
Step 1: Determine how many downspouts and rain barrels you want to use. As a rule of thumb, rain barrels will help you keep water runoff and flooding on your basement and foundation. Choose wisely.
Step 2: Choose the rain barrel that suits your preference. Likewise, check if there are any modifications necessary to link your downspout and your rain barrel. Decide if you need just one per area or if you want to start linking 2 or 3 to maximize your rainwater reserve. It might be cheaper to order everything at once.
Since some barrels come with spigots at the bottom of the barrel itself, you might want to check if you need to order a rain barrel stand to elevate it. This will help you fill watering cans easily and hook up a garden hose and use it without pressure problems.
Step 3: Once your order arrives, inspect it carefully. Identify all the accessories that should be included and make sure there are no cracks or holes. Clean the inside of the barrel from plastic trimmings.
Step 4: Assemble the rain barrel and stand, if any. Rain barrels may either come fully assembled or will require a minor installation of the spigot, garden hose, drain hose, and debris cover.
Assembly will also include necessary modifications in the downspout if the rain barrel comes with a built-in elbow. An improperly installed rain barrel will not catch as much water and may still flood your foundation.
Disadvantages of Using a Rain Barrel
- Small storage capacity. This is why you might need to link extra rain barrels in the future. You might see all the benefits and might need more rainwater storage to maximize collection
- You need to keep it safe during winter. It will require a little labor from your end but it will prolong the life of your rain barrel. Prior to winter, you have to make sure it is not hooked to your downspout and does not contain any water inside. The water inside will turn into ice and your rain barrel might crack.
- You could harbor insects like mosquitoes once you forget to close the lid, put back the mesh, or once the mesh wears out.
- It needs to be cleaned regularly. Rain barrels are relatively low maintenance but to prolong their life and avoid staining inside, you have to regularly clean them with water and baking soda or water with mild detergent.
These are not necessarily disadvantages but some words of caution and reminders of what to avoid to maximize the use and prolong the life of your rain barrels.
Research is key when coming up with a decision about which rain barrel to get. It is beneficial? Yes, environmentally and economically, most especially. With many rain barrels to choose from, the best one stands out in terms of durability, design, and price.
Aside from this buying guide, we have also reviewed the Best Rain Barrels to further guide you in selecting. If this buying guide has helped you, please share it with your friends and family and enjoy the benefits of saving rainwater together.