Green Tip #240 – Rain Barrel

Water is being metered in more and more cities and we are starting to see a pay for use business model for the most basic of necessities.  Let’s face it – clean and fresh water is quickly becoming a sought after commodity.  Many folks will still want to water plants, or better yet vegetable gardens but few of us want to increase our monthly bills to enjoy greenery.  Installing a rain barrel via the water that drains from your roof is a great way to have easy to access to free water.  If you are somewhat industrious you can build your own rain barrel!

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24 comments to Green Tip #240 – Rain Barrel

  • I think this is a great idea. Where I live, it rains so much that you almost don’t have to water your garden (but you do, actually, in the summer) so it would have to be a big barrel. It’s eco friendly, too!

  • Marianne

    I’ve been meaning to buy a rain barrel for some time now but keep putting it off/ forgetting about it. There was recently an add in the paper for some fairly inexpensive rain barrels (I think it was a fundraiser) and I meant to pick one up and then completely forgot about it. We’ve contemplated building our own out of an oil drum (available at work for free) but figured it might be difficult to get it clean enough so as not to harm our gardens/ be bad for the environment… This year I’ve been playing around with the idea of putting a black rainbarrel into our tiny little greenhouse (to provide heat), funneling the water from an eavestrough into the barrel (to minimize the need to fill it) and then building a drip system from the rain barrel into the plants. We’re still formulating a plan… We have a lot of work to do on our backyard this year but it would be cool if we get this done.

  • This kind of looks like the set up we have. We have a rain barrel that runs off our eaves trough. It works really well. I also save fish tank water and dehumidifier water for my plants too.

  • At the last home we owned we actually had 2 rain barrels setup. One flowed into the other. It was cool. I used the water to water all of my flowers and trees.

  • A rain barrel is definitely on the list of things I want to buy when I own a house. I find it amusing that rain barrels used to be common place at older people’s homes when I was growing up (remember poking into those slimy old things with sticks?) as just a common sense way of harvesting nearby resources. I’m glad they are becoming more popular once again.

  • Great tip SPF – i’d like to get these when I get settled in the new place.

  • Rain barrels are great! Another suggestion for saving on water is to fill your sink to do the dishes/cleaning, then use the dirty dishwater to water your plants/garden. Unlike you, your plants won’t discriminate and refuse your dishwater ;) Just make sure to use environmentally friendly, natural dish soap.

  • Graham

    The easiest way to make your own rain barrell is to buy a regular plastic garbage can and basic water tap. Make a hole in the cover for your rain spout, and a hole at the bottom to hold a tap with a screw-on clamp. Hold the clamp on the inside of the lower hole and thread the tap into it. Get it as tight as possible; if it drips, seal it with eco-friendly caulking.

  • The Retired Landlord

    I think this is a great idea. It’s seems so simple. I imagine the larger storage barrel, the higher pressure for watering is possible?

  • Manuel O'Connell

    It’s an environmentally friendly option. Cities spend a huge amount of money and energy to treat water so that it is suitable to drink, and then pump it to our homes. But rainwater falls from the sky naturally, for free. http://bit.ly/HZ9BgP

  • After last year’s horrible drought we experienced for almost 12 months, I really want to get a rain barrel going. Fortunately, it has rained many times this year (Houston)…but that also means I’ve missed out on collecting my barrel’s worth!

    We pay for water here.

  • Now that we are going to be gardening this year,I have thought about purchasing a rain barrel. I saw that at the store and don’t know that I am willing to pay for one. Maybe I will try to build my own.

  • Julie @ Freedom 48

    We have a rain barrel and I love it for easy, convenient, clean water – and the ability to water the gardens during a drought/water ban.

    However… I sometimes wonder if it’s financially beneficial at all. We purchased our rain barrel for $60… and I can’t help but wonder how many barrels of rain water we’d have to use in order to save $60 in water. Will the barrel last long enough for us to break even??

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