The Do’s and Don’ts of Building Your First Rain Barrel
Rain Barrels, though not common, can be used for a variety of purposes. Getting the extra water can help keep your lawn green, water your garden and save you a ton of money.
What is a rain barrel, and how does it work, exactly?
Rain barrels are giant drums that you put under your downspout that will collect the rainwater that falls out of it. You then can use the rain barrel to provide water in times of drought. Storing and using this water is a very green thing to do. Harvesting the water that falls onto your property, and using it to take care of your lawn and garden has been suggested by garden experts for a long time. Put a spigot in the side, hook up your hose, and you can use the water to take care of your lawn and plants.
Here are some things you should do when you’re setting up your new rain barrel:
Have a Solid Foundation
A normal, 55 gallon drum full of water is going to get pretty darn heavy. As a matter of fact, it would weigh just over 450 pounds. You aren’t going to want to put a gigantic, water filled container just anywhere. Make sure that it’s on a flat, sturdy surface and you should be fine.
Always Have a Screen Covering the Top
Covering the top of your rain barrel is a definite must if you don’t want mosquitoes to breed in your water. Since mosquitoes are water based and not land based, they’ll look for any open water to take advantage of. Make sure that you barrel is always covered with a screen, to protect it from these pesky bugs.
Use the Water Quickly
In order to get the most out of your rain barrels and the water they contain, use them quickly and use them often. In order to maximize your rain barrel efficiency, you’ll probably want to use the water within a week, or before the next storm, whichever one comes first.
Now for some rain barrel DON’TS:
Don’t Consume the Rain Water
I think this one should be pretty obvious. The water that is going to be falling into your rain barrels isn’t clean. You don’t want to use this water for drinking, cooking, or even bathing. This water isn’t healthy for you to put into your body, for any reasons. Just don’t do it.
Don’t Collect Rainwater if you Have Chemicals on Your Roof
The rainwater you’re going to be collecting is mostly going to be falling from your roof. You might get some water that falls directly into the drums, but for the most part, it will fall from the roof. Some people put moss killer or other chemicals on their roof. If there are chemicals on your roof, the water you collect will be contaminated and won’t fulfill its purpose. Make sure your roof is clean from any chemicals before you decide to collect rainwater.
Don’t Keep Your Rain Barrels Out in the Winter
If you keep your barrels out in the winter time, you’ll be collecting dirty snow. You’ll have to either remove the snow yourself, or you’ll have to wait for it to melt. Either way, it will be very inconvenient. You’ll also need to scrub out your barrels, to make sure that the dirt from the snow is gone.
Rain barrels were made specifically to conserve water. In places where it doesn’t rain very much, rain barrels are crucial. You get to reuse the rain that has fallen on your property, and your lawn and garden will remain green and lush. In times of drought, it’s very important to think green and conserve water. More helpful information and DIY maintenance about rainwater barrels or tanks installation can be found here: https://www.treepeople.org/installarainbarrel.
Lee Flynn is a freelance writer interested in helping others develop self reliance through food storage.