Rain barrels are an incredible and environmentally friendly way to collect and reuse rainwater. They not only help conserve water but they can also save you money on your water bill and reduce the strain on local water systems; so let’s talk about the benefits of rain barrels and how they can be used to put your gutters to work.
Rain Barrels Are Good For The Environment
Rain barrels are an excellent way to conserve water. Not only do they help reduce the amount of water that flows into storm drains and ultimately into our rivers and streams (which can help prevent flooding and erosion), using rainwater to water your plants and garden can also reduce the amount of fertilizer and pesticides that are used, which can have a positive impact on the environment and your diet.
How Rain Barrels Work
Rain barrels are typically connected to the downspout of a gutter system. As it rains, water flows into the gutter and is directed into the rain barrel, where it can be stored for later use. This water can be used to water plants and gardens, wash cars, or even be used for household use such as flushing toilets.
How To Use A Rain Barrel
Using a rain barrel is easy! Simply connect the barrel to your gutter’s downspout, and make sure the barrel is level. As it rains, the water will be collected in the barrel and you can use a hose or watering can to transfer the water to your plants or garden — it’s that simple!
We fell in love with this Algreen Rain Barrel. It’s a nice simple design that blends in with our home (they come in other colors too I believe). It also has a fun planter in the top to further help integrate it to your outdoor decor.
We used a Flex-A-Spout (much like a bendy straw) to create a way to connect the downspout to our rain barrel. The Flex-A-Spout was easy to use and very forgiving. It also comes in several colors to match your downspout.
The first thing we did was set our barrel up where we intended to use it. We then bent the Flex-A-Spout into a shape that would work for attaching the downspout to the barrel and cut. (Of course, we had our helpers there so that we could easily see and mark where we would need to cut the downspout.)
Once cut you can simply slip the end of the Flex-A-Spout that fits your downspout to over the upper cut end (we added a couple of screws for security – but that is not a must) and simply set the other end on the top/screen of your rain barrel.
Here you can see how we attached the overflow to bottom of the original downspout (which was left in place). We would have used a hose of some sort, but the store didn’t have one at the store that would fit over the overflow spout (it’s the same size as the orange piece you see sticking out there). We used a couple of pieces of hard pipe and ran it right into the existing piece of pipe that we left – voila, done! Also notice that he used silicone to cover the hard/sharp edges of the cut downspout. We have 3 small children and wanted to be sure no one got hurt.
I also want to mention that we left the piece of downspout at the bottom intentionally. We wanted to be able to reattach the downspout in the winter (freezing) months when we will empty the barrel and store it.
That’s it! All installed. That very night we had a huge downpour and our 50 gallon barrel was full. Now I just need to put something in the planter!