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DIY Rain Barrel
Not only is rain water better for your garden plants, flowers, lawn and fish ponds than chlorinated tapwater, but by using rain water you also save money. Plus you reduce the water that heads into the local storm sewers, gathering various chemicals and oils along the way. Making a rain barrel is one of the easier and faster do-it-yourself projects that you can perform. A quarter-inch of rain falling on the average home roof can yield a little over 200 gallons of water. A rain barrel can be filled within a matter of minutes during a good rain. Obviously we'll need to consider an overflow spout!
Steps to Build a Rain Barrel
Note:the 2 barrels pictured at the top, are connected to a small porch which allows for the smaller tube to equalize the water. I use a small pump to empty the barrels onto the lawn and gardens as required.
I also like this video from Penn State that demonstrates the above instructions
Variations to the Rain Barrel
I use a very inexpensive pump, withgarden hose input and outputs, to pump the water onto my lawn. You can raise the height of the rain barrels to increase the water pressure (head) also. However, water weights roughly 10 pounds per gallon so a 55 gallon tank could weight over 500 pounds when full. If raising the height of your rain barrels, make sure the supporting structure can hold the weight.
If you live in an area when water freezes in the winter, make sure you remove the down spout from the rain barrels and reroute the water. I use a flexible 4 inch pipe for the barrels on my kitchenette. For the barrels connected to the main roof, I reconnect the down spout using the $3 connector from Home Depot. Then make sure the rain barrels are emptied.I store my barrels on their side for the winter to ensure there is no water inside to freeze and cause damage.
Winter storage - notice pipe connected to downspout
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