The other day my neighbor asked me if I drain my rain barrels for the winter. She just got a rain barrel this summer, and wasn’t sure what to do now that fall has arrived. The answer is YES! If you live in a cold climate like I do, winterizing your rain barrel is a MUST! Leaving your rain barrel full of water all winter long could severely damage, if not destroy your awesome rain barrel. But don’t worry, I’m not adding yet another huge task to your fall chore list. Winterizing a rain barrel is actually very easy…
Before I drain my rain barrel completely, I make sure to fill up a bunch of jugs with rainwater first. I store the water in my garage where it’s cool enough so the water won’t get gross. But of course, that is optional. The rest of these steps are not…
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How to winterize a rain barrel
- Drain all of the water out of the rain barrel
- Detach it from the gutter, flexible downspout, or anything it may be attached to
- Remove any spigots or hose attachments
- Rinse the rain barrel out with the hose to remove any debris or algae built up (if desired)
- Remove the lid or anything else that’s attached to the barrel
That’s it, now your rain barrel is ready to store for the winter.
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Storing your rain barrel
Storing your rain barrel inside a shed or garage will help extend the life of the rain barrel. If you must store it outside, keep it out of direct sunlight, and make sure it’s either closed tight or stored upside-down to prevent water or snow from collecting inside the barrel. I store my rain barrel in a protected location outside (between some super tall arborvitae and our porch).
Oh, and don’t forget to reattach any gutters you removed when you installed your rain barrel, you’ll definitely want those in working condition come spring! If you use a downspout diverter, it should come with a plug that you can install to winterize it so you don’t have to remove it.
See, I told you that winterizing a rain barrel wasn’t that hard! It only takes me about 15 minutes to winterize and store my rain barrels in the fall. It’s one of those “low hanging fruit” type chores that I always find myself doing first. Get it checked off the list!
What steps do you take to winterize your rain barrel?