I'm not from Bremerton
, Washington, nor do I know anyone who is, but I'll be darned if their city website doesn't have one of the best, most in-depth rain barrel tutorials
I've ever seen. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, a rain barrel
is simply a barrel (or any large container) that's been set-up for the sole purpose of collecting and redistributing rain water. Typically rain barrels are attached to one of your gutter's down spouts, which essentially widens the water collection area to the size of your roof. A properly installed rain barrel can collect up to 55 gallons of run-off with just a few inches of precipitation (or less), which you can then use to water your lawn and/or garden.
Rain barrels are easy to make, inexpensive, good for the environment, and can save you quite a bit of money on your water bill during the Summer months, so why aren't you using one? What's that you say? You don't even know where to begin when it comes to making a rain barrel?! Well, you're in luck, my friend, because that's exactly what we're going to cover in this article.Materials
- 55 gallon barrel
- Louvered screen or atrium grate
- 3/4" brass faucet
- 3/4" hose adapter
- Teflon tape or all-purpose caulk
- Two runs of garden hose
- 6" hole saw bit
- 29/32 drill bit
- 3/4 pipe tap
Minus cleaning time, about an hour.
- Clean out your barrel (try not to use anything that will be harmful to your lawn, like bleach or ammonia).
- Attach the 6" hole saw bit to the drill, and use it to cut a hole in the top of the barrel.
- Using the 29/32 bit, drill a hole towards the top of the barrel for the overflow, and a second hole four to six inches from the bottom for the faucet. Spacing the faucet several inches from the bottom of the barrel will insure that you have enough room to attach your hose, and allow debris to sink to the bottom of the barrel without clogging the spigot.
- Next, use your pipe tap to thread each of the 29/32 holes you just drilled. Simply place the tap on the edge of the hole, twist it inward, and then twist it back out.
- Twist the hose adapter into the top (overflow) hole.
- Wrap the faucet's threads with teflon tape, or cover it with caulk, and twist it into place on the bottom hole.
- Insert the atrium grate / screen into the top 6" hole.
- Create an elevated platform beneath your downspout (cinder blocks work well), and place the rain barrel on top.
- Position the downspout so it drains into the top of your rain barrel. This step may require you to cut the current downspout and add an elbow joint to get the water to flow into your rain barrel.
- Attach a hose onto the 3/4" hose adapter, and run it so the excess water doesn't erode the area about your house.
- Patiently wait for the next rain, and enjoy your rain barrel!
For every gallon of water you use from your rain barrel, you'll save the equivalent amount from your water bill. Fifty-five gallons is a lot of water, and can really add up over the course of a long, hot Summer. The water you collect from your rain barrel is also free of chlorine, fluoride, and any other chemicals that might be floating in your municipal water system, which is something your garden will appreciate.