Sunday, September 15, 2013

Saving rain

When we bought our house ten years ago, we noticed that there was a big box at one of the downspouts for collecting rain water. The previous owner had it rigged with a hose through a hole at the bottom to empty it and a hose through another hole at the top to drain off the overflow. There was also a dead lizard floating in the water (no extra charge!).

The new barrel with the drain hose attached. It holds 310 liters (about 82 US gallons).

The barrel had no lid on it, so it filled with leaves and pine needles in the fall. The debris often clogged the drain holes such that I was constantly cleaning them out. Last year, the thing started leaking, so we began shopping for a new barrel. Collecting rain water is a common thing here in the county and there are all manner and sizes of containers available, including large tanks that you can install underground with a pump system to get the water out.

The old leaky barrel. It'll get picked up for disposal next month.

Needless to say, we stayed toward the low end and got a nifty plastic barrel. It came with a spigot for drainage and a fitting lid to keep the debris out. The lid was made so that a hole could be punched in it where you can insert the downspout. Or, you can get fancy and install a valve on the downspout with a connecting pipe to the barrel so you can divert water at will to either the barrel or out onto the ground. I went with the easy solution, since I don't have the tools to cut a lead downspout.

The new barrel is now installed and is collecting water. It's good for watering the garden and houseplants, provided it rains. I'm thinking that next spring I'll get a second barrel and connect them together.


  1. Yesterday's rain should have filled it nicely I think. Just what we needed for the Journées de Patrimoine! P.

  2. we have a rain barrel (plastic) at our house too. spouse uses the contents for watering the garden and shrubs, filling the birdbath, etc.

  3. Makes me think of the poem that starts "Into the cistern Little Willie..."

  4. That is what we need! Have a good week. Diane

  5. We have a rain-catcher barrel system, too. It is supposed to look like a big rock, which it kiiiiiind of does ;) We could use a bigger one, I think. It fills up pretty fast.

    (Once again, I tried to write a comment using my MacBook Pro laptop, and it just wouldn't take-- works for Ken's blog, though, so I'm thinking it's the word verification step that's not jiving with my OS or some update I have done. Has anyone else mentioned this problem? Although... if they only have one computer, I guess you wouldn't BE hearing from them, if it's not working ;)

  6. On first glance at your image of the week - it really reminded me of Giverny!

    Rain barrels are great! But when it rains, if the barrel collects all the water from the roof, it only takes a short while to fill up. When it rains here, we usually get plenty. Anything helps, though.

  7. Haven't been around for a while. Just out of hospital and not yet fully recovered.

  8. This is something I have been meaning to do. Now I feel guilty.

  9. I think saving/collecting water is a good idea.

  10. tim, true, but I let most of it go because I haven't installed the overflow valve yet.

    anne marie, comes in handy, doesn't it!

    mitch, I didn't recognize that so I had to look up. What did we do before the internet?

    diane, it's nice to have in between rain events!

    judy, I'm thinking a second one would be good, too. I haven't heard of this problem from anyone else...

    mary, me too! And yes, it fills up fast, even though it only gets the water from one quarter of the roof. Our gutters, front and back, are divided so water goes to one of four downspouts.

    starman, glad to hear from you. Here's to a speedy recovery!

    ron, well, you have been busy lately... lol.

    michael, yes, and you have that very large collector in your back yard, don't you! ;)


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