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July 10, 2014
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Rain barrels help conserve water; And you can build one yourself

Create an opening with fine screening through which the rain barrel will collect water from the downspout elbow. This can be a single screened opening large enough to accommodate the downspout elbow (as shown in the photo), or a series of smaller screened openings directly in the top of the barrel.
Contributed photos


• Never use water from your rain barrel for drinking, cooking, or other potable uses.

• Your rain barrel must have an overflow to a safe discharge point.

Larger or more complex systems

More complex rainwater collection systems have a much larger storage container (a cistern). For rainwater collection projects of this scale, you should consult a professional to review design, construction and safety considerations.

Maintenance

When cold weather approaches, you will at least want to drain the barrel completely of water by using the bottom spigot, and drain all connecting hoses as well. It is also recommended that you then flip the barrel over to drain out any remaining water, and store the barrel and hardware in a protected place over the winter months to keep the barrel in good shape for the following spring.