Ways to Collect Rainwater Using a Rain Barrel

Learning how to collect rainwater using a rain barrel securely and efficiently is one of the design issues for your rainwater harvesting system. It doesn’t matter if you’re an organization looking for more environmentally friendly ways to do business or a household who wants to use rainwater to irrigate their garden. Knowing how to store your rainwater effectively is crucial.

What is a Rain Barrel?

A rain barrel is a huge container that collects and stores rainwater from your gutter downspout. You can utilize the water collected in the barrel for home tasks such as watering your yard or cleaning your car. The water can be filtered even more and used for bathing and drinking.

How Does a Rain Barrel Work?

When it rains, the water that falls on your roof runs through your gutters and down the downspout. A rain barrel is placed just beneath the downspout, catching all of the water that runs off your roof.

Several gallons of water accumulate in the barrel over time. You may connect a spigot or garden hose to an outlet near the base to access the water for irrigating your lawn and garden, cleaning, or whatever else you choose to do with it.

Storage Tank

The water-collecting container is the largest and most crucial component. Rain barrels sold in stores typically carry 45 to 65 gallons of water and are available in a variety of shapes and colors. For winter storage, you can pick between a solid barrel and a soft, collapsible container.

You may even make your own rain barrel system out of a huge plastic drum or an outdoor trash can if you want to save money. Keep in mind, however, that large plastic drums that can be used as rain barrels can be costly.

 typically hold 45 to 65 gallons.
They typically hold 45 to 65 gallons.

Downspout Connection

When installing a rain barrel under a downspout, you’ll almost certainly need to make some adjustments to ensure that the water will reach the tank.

The following are some options for attaching it to the downspout:

Extending the Downspout or Installing an Elbow Pipe

If you can’t install your rain barrel exactly under the downspout, guide the water to the barrel using a bent downspout extender or an elbow-shaped length of PVC pipe.

There is a downspout extender that leads overtop of the so the water is still catchable.
There is a downspout extender that leads overtop of the rain barrels so the water is still catchable.

Cutting the Downspout

Your downspout most likely reaches the ground. Instead, you can saw off a section of the downspout and place it just above the rain barrel.

Rain Barrel Diverter

A rain barrel diverter is a tiny pipe that connects the middle of the downspout to the rain barrel, eliminating the need to cut the downspout. With a diverter, you may keep your barrel’s lid closed and avoid attracting mosquitoes. Diverters also aid in regulating the water inflow of the barrel.

The goal of a downspout connection is to assure the water goes into it without splashing or seeping into the ground, where it could harm your home’s foundation.

Overflow System

The overflow system refers to the measures put in place to prevent a rain barrel from overflowing. You don’t want your rain barrel to overflow because the additional water could damage your home’s foundation, destroy your lawn, and attract bugs.

A simple overflow system can be as simple as a short length of PVC pipe moving excess water away from your house. You can add a longer overflow pipe or hose that directs surplus water to the closest storm drain if you have the resources. To gather more water, connect the overflow valve to a second rain barrel.

Water Outlet

The water outflow is where you get the rainwater stored in the barrel out for usage. The exit should be near the bottom of the barrel so that you can get the most water out of it. A spigot can be used to fill watering cans and buckets, or a garden hose can be connected directly to the water output.

While the water pressure from a rain barrel isn’t strong enough to run standard sprinklers, you might be able to connect a drip irrigation system to the output.

Rain Barrel Platform

To avoid overflowing or tipping over, you must place your rain barrel on absolutely flat, even ground. There are two options for accomplishing this:

Set Your Rain Barrel on a Raised Platform

Make sure it’s either constructed of cinder blocks or plastic. The platform must be able to support the barrel while it is full of water, which can weigh more than 300 pounds depending on its size. The water pressure increases by elevating the barrel on a platform, resulting in a quicker rate of flow.

Rain barrels on cinderblocks that are underneath the downspout.
Rain barrels on cinderblocks that are underneath the downspout.

Fill a 1 to 2 Inch Pit

Use sand or gravel and level the top of the surface. Set the barrel on top of the sand or gravel surface.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, there are many ways to collect rainwater at home. Mainly understanding the proper ways to use a rain barrel is crucial to the understanding of rainwater collection. Collecting water is fairly easy. Just know of the materials you need to make it happen.

Call 1-Tom-Plumber

Don’t hesitate to contact us here or call us at 1-Tom-Plumber (1-866-758-6237) if you need any help with plumbing or drain cleaning issues. 1-Tom-Plumber’s certified team of plumbers and drain technicians respond immediately to any emergency plumbing, drain cleaning, or water damage problem. 
We also handle the excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines. Our immediate-response team is available every day and night of the year, even on holidays.

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