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December 03, 2016
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Rain barrels help conserve water; And you can build one yourself

Drill a hole near the top of the barrel to accommodate an overflow pipe that is at least 2 inches in diameter. If the overflow pipe elbow seals and seats securely, it can be threaded directly into the barrel opening. If not, it should be secured with washers on both sides of the barrel and a nut on the inside. Use Teflon tape around the threads and a bead of silicon caulking around the opening to ensure a tight seal.

• 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.


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.