April showers bring May flowers, so why not capture some of those showers with a rain barrel. Using a rain barrel helps conserve water, reduces runoff, and saves you money on your water bill.
Not only is having a rain barrel good for the environment and your wallet, it’s great for your plants too. The water collected in rain barrels can be used to water indoor and outdoor potted plants, as well as your gardens. Rainwater is much better for plants than municipal water. Municipal water contains chemicals that can build up in the soil and harm sensitive plants.
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There are tons of other uses for rainwater too, like filling up ponds and water features, washing the car, washing windows, cleaning garden tools and equipment, and many other household tasks.
Setting up a rain barrel is easy and only takes a few minutes. Here are some things to think about when you’re choosing a location for your rain barrel and getting it set up.
Tips for using a rain barrel
- Put the rain barrel in a spot that is easy to get to and close to the area where you will need the water the most (like near your garden or potted plants).
- Make sure the rain barrel is on level ground, and sits as level as possible. Water is really heavy, and if the barrel is not level it could fall over once it gets full of water.
- If you’re concerned about the overflow from the rain barrel pooling around the foundation of your house, add a downspout attachment that will turn off the flow of water to the rain barrel once it’s full. This will allow the excess water to flow through the downspout like it normally would.
- Keep bugs and debris out of your rain barrel by covering the opening with an old piece of window screen.
- Use landscaping blocks or bricks to elevate the rain barrel. This will make the rain barrel to work better (allowing gravity to help with water pressure) and also gives you more space below the spigot so it’s easier to fill watering cans.
Keep in mind that if you live in a cold climate, rain barrels need to be emptied and stored during the winter. Storing it in a garage, a shed, or somewhere out of direct sunlight will help extend the life of the rain barrel. Barrels stored outside should be stored upside down or covered to avoid water accumulation.
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Rain barrels are an easy way to help the environment, conserve water and help save you money. Gardener or not, everyone could benefit from having a rain barrel.
Do you have a rain barrel? Tell us your favorite uses for rainwater in the comments section below.