Rain Barrels: Catch and Store the Rain

Rain Barrel by Barb Howe used under CC BY 2.0
Rain Barrel by Barb Howe used under CC BY 2.0

This week’s downpours remind us that nature’s abundance is not always delivered on our schedule.  Erratic weather calls for ingenuity. What could be better than to store all that free water for the coming dry spells of late summer?

Rain barrels, of one form or another, have been around for thousands of years. There are several ways to make your own rain barrel depending on how handy you are with tools and your aesthetic preferences. Plus you can start with just one barrel and add them on for more storage.

A couple of useful videos.  The first is an open screen top barrel:

If you prefer to buy a kit with all the tools and fittings, there are good ones to be found locally. The video below shows the installation of the popular Earth Minded DIY Rain Barrel kit available at Ace Hardware, Home Depot and Rain Brothers:

One more:

You can buy this DIY Rain Barrel Kit at Rain Brothers of Columbus. Make sure you select the right diverter for your downspout size.

So where do you get the barrels? Locally in central Ohio there is Container Management Company,  LLC. They sell a wide variety of refurbished containers for a great deal less than new ones. You can also contact your local soft drink bottler who may also sell syrup barrels to the public.

What about aesthetics, you say? There are lots of creative ways to make those barrels look beautiful as well as useful. Painting your barrels is recommended. It makes them opaque, preventing algae growth inside and preserving your water quality. Plus, barrels lend themselves to coverings of all kinds.  Here are a few ideas:

Of course, if you are not the handy sort, you can buy a ready-made rain barrel. If you are in the City of Columbus or a participating municipality you may qualify for up to $50 rebate on a purchased rain barrel.  Learn more about the Community Backyards Conservation Program.

Store bought rain barrels generally cost around $100 and up.

If you have a rain barrel share a photo and  if you make or buy one after reading this, please comment here and let us know how it turned out.