Rain Barrels & Harvesting Rain Water
|· Power drill with 15/16" hole bit (this is 1/16 inch smaller than faucet insert) and pilot drill bit. (A ¾" faucet measures 1" on outside, so you need 15/16" hole bit)
· Pliers to tighten washers
· Paper towels (for excess caulk)
· Utility knife or small saber saw to cut lid (if needed)
· Scissors to cut screening
· Hacksaw to shorten downspout
· Screwdriver for hose clamp (if needed)
Barrels — The best barrels to use are 45 to 60 gallon heavy-duty food-grade plastic barrels that are used to ship olives, peppers and other food stuffs to this country. Clean Virginia Waterways uses food barrels with two-part lids for our workshops and the workshops held by CVW's partners in Virginia. Plastic trash cans are usually too thin to be good barrels. Water is heavy, and most trash cans cannot handle the weight.
· A ¾" faucet (measures 1" on outside). Our favorite are the brass"quarter turn". They are easy to open, and you can see from a distance if the faucet is open or closed. Spend the money on a good faucet...you won't regret it.
· 2 Washers and 1 lock nut for the faucet
· Caulk (clear plumber's)
· Screening. Buy a roll that is used to repair screen windows. Fiberglass fabric-like netting is easier to work with than the metal type.
· Metal Hardware Cloth (optional). This metal mesh will keep children, pets and wildlife from falling into your barrel.
· Hose adapter for your overflow. Many options here, depending on where you want your overflow to g). We use nice brass adapters.
· Lock nut needed for the adapter.
· Hosing (short piece) to connect one barrel to another or to direct your overflow to a nearby garden. Hose clamps as needed.
· Bricks or cinderblocks to raise your barrel above the ground. This will improve water pressure.
· Low flow sprinklers
It is recommended that you cover the top of the rain barrel with metal hardware cloth or something similar to keep small children, pets and wildlife from falling into the barrel. As an alternative, you can drill large holes (1 to 2 inches in diameter) in the rain barrel’s lid. This will allow water to enter the barrel, but will prevent animals or children from falling through the screen.
PLEASE do NOT breed mosquitoes in your rain barrels! Always cover the barrel with fine screening to keep mosquitoes out. If you empty your barrels every 7 days, you will not have a mosquito problem--remember, rain barrels are not meant to be long-term storage. If you are concerned, use small portions of Mosquito Dunks (available in hardware stores and on-line). These dunks slowly release the active ingredient, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that kills mosquito and black fly larvae for 30 days or more, and will not effect plants, people or wildlife. The dunks are made to cover 100 square feet each, so you do not have to use an entire dunk in a barrel. OVERFLOW -- you must have an overflow hole on your barrel that will keep the water level below the screen. If your rain barrel is full to the top, mosquitoes can breed in the water between the screen and the top of the water surface. Mosquito control employees in Henrico County, VA found that Asian Tiger Mosquitoes had entered a rain barrel by way of a hose that was attached to a manufactured rain barrel. So it is recommended that you attach screening to the end of hoses that are attached to your overflow. One fellow we know put a tiny screen onto the overflow fixture using a hose clamp.
1. Drill hole near bottom of barrel
5. Drill a hole near top for overflow so the water in the barrel will always be BELOW the screen! Otherwise, you will get mosquitoes.
7. If your barrel has a one-part lid, you will need to cut out center of lid (or drill many 1 to 2 inch diameter holes into lid). Trick: Let the lid warm up in the sun before cutting out the center with a box knife or utility knife.
|9. Level the dirt under the rain barrel, then add some sand
10. Rain barrels need to be higher than ground level—use bricks or cinder blocks.
11. Measure and cut off part of downspout
12. Put the barrel in place
13. If you have several barrels, connect the overflow from one barrel to the next barrel.
· Do not use collected water for drinking, cooking or bathing.
· Keep the lid secure so children or animals cannot fall into the barrel.
· Disconnect the barrel during the winter to avoid constant overflow during the rainiest months & freezing. Attach it in the early spring to fill it for use.
· Most recycled barrels need to be cleaned before first use.
· If a moss killer has been used on the roof let a couple of rainfall events go by before collecting the roof runoff.
· Elevate your rain barrel slightly to make access to the spigot easier and to increase water pressure.
· The screened top will prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your barrel.
· Consider joining multiple barrels for additional capacity!
· Use the collected water within a week --between rainy days.