Did you get your barrels? If so, congratulations on taking steps to help drought and climate change! Follow our easy setup instructions below to learn how to install your barrels. (For more detailed information, download our How-To guide.)
Look for places where water overflows from your gutters and can be diverted to your garden.
Step 2: Make sure to place your barrel on a raised surface
Once you've chosen the best location for your barrel, it will need to be placed on a raised surface approximately 12 - 15” off the ground.
Cinderblocks and 18” square pavers work very well as a strong and sturdy base.
Use a level to prepare the ground and to align the base. This will ensure the barrel is stable.
Lay down one paver and place the two cinder blocks (on their sides and beside each other) on top. Then place the second paver on top of the cinder blocks to create a "sandwich". Then, place the rain barrel on top.
Step 3: Install the downspout
Your downspout will likely need to be shortened and have pieces or elbows added.
Make where your downspout needs to be shortened and cut as needed, using a hacksaw.
Attach the elbow(s) over the downspout.
Step 4: Do a test run
Run some water through your gutters with a hose into the rain barrel to check for any issues.
Secure the rain barrel with metal/all-weather earthquake straps and secure to the building.
Maintaining your rain barrel
Make sure to go through this quick checklist during summer months or before you install your rain barrel. Remember, any rainwater harvesting system starts with gutters and downspouts. Keeping them clean and in good repair will help ensure you can harvest every drop.
Adjust screens at downspouts and repair if necessary.
Prune any overhanging trees or greenery clogging up the gutters.
Check the gutter for any leaks and repair if needed.
Check that downspouts and secure and reinforce with caulk and/or sheet metal screws.
Empty your rain barrels completely.
Spray out build with a hose.
Check earthquake straps and footing to ensure they are secure.
Repair any holes in the mosquito screen, replace filters as needed.
Check for leaks in the barrel, valves and overflow to make sure they are working properly.
Inspect overflow area to make sure that water will continue to drain away from structures and does not flow onto pavement or neighboring properties.
Once your rain barrel is installed, and throughout the rainy season, maintenance is easy. Simply use the water that's collected and make sure the rain barrel is emptied on a regular basis. And don't forget to double check that the rain barrel is ready to go before a big storm!