Water conservation not only protects the environment, but it also saves you money. If you learn how to make your own rain barrel system, you can reduce your monthly water bill especially during the summer months. When you build a rain barrel, there will be a consistent supply of supplementary fresh, clean water for your gardening and other outdoor needs.
55-Gallon Food Grade Quality Recycled Barrel
29/32” Drill Bit
6” Hole Saw or Saber Saw
¾” NPT Pipe Tap
¾” Brass Faucet
¾” Hose Adapter
6” Louvered Screen
Teflon Tape or Adhesive Caulk (all-purpose)
2 Cinder Blocks
Steps on Building a Rain Barrel
Using a 6” hole saw, cut a round hole at the top of your plastic barrel. If you don’t have a hole saw, you can use a saber saw, drywall saw, or keyhole saw.
With a 29/32” drill bit, drill two holes. One should be towards the top to be used as an overflow. The other hole should be towards the bottom for the faucet. Twist the ¾” NPT pipe tap into the upper hole and then untwist the tap back out of the hole. Repeat this process with the lower hole.
Clean the barrel with a solution of 2 teaspoons castile soap and vinegar or lemon juice. You should not use bleach.
Take the threaded side of the hose adapter and twist it into the top ¾” threaded hole.
Wrap the threaded side of the brass faucet with Teflon tape. Make approximately five rotations to ensure all of the threads are covered. If you choose to use adhesive caulk instead, you can apply a thin ribbon. Place the threaded and prepared end of the faucet into the ¾” bottom hole.
Cover the top of the 6” hole louvered side up and screen side down.
Put a hose onto the hose adapter at the top of the barrel diverting the overflow water away from your home.
Place the barrel onto the two cinder blocks so that it is raised off of the ground. They should be placed under the area where the downspout will be located.
The downspout should be cut approximately 4” above the top of the barrel. Add an elbow.
Attach the overflow of the downspout with a valve. This will allow you to turn the valve off when the barrel is full. This will redirect the runoff back into the downspout. You can add a hose on the faucet, or simply leave it as is and fill up a watering can.
Tips for Using your DIY Rain Barrel
Never drink, cook, or bathe in this water. It is great for watering your garden, cleaning gardening tools, or even cleaning your car. Consider using two or more around your home for maximum savings.
Elevate the rain barrel slightly to allow for easier access to the spigot. Ensure the lid is secure to protect children and animals. While the rainwater does not contain chlorine, airborne pollutants can affect the water.
Standing water can be a concern for attracting mosquitoes. Try using mosquito dunks to prevent this from happening. They can be found in stores and online. Mosquitoes pose as a potential health risk and must be controlled. The screened louver will also help to prevent them from breeding.
Make it Unique
Rainwater tanks do not have to be made from plastic. You can use concrete, wood, fiberglass, and stainless or galvanized steel. Of course, plastic is probably the easiest to use for a DIY project. A rain barrel does not have to be boring. Consider making yours unique by painting the outside of the barrel with outdoor acrylic paint. Get creative with a special design of your very own.