Refitting a Great American rain barrel with a new heavy duty spigot.

Picture of Refitting a Great American rain barrel with a new heavy duty spigot.
I purchased a rain barrel from the city. It is the usual recycled food barrel painted and fitted to be a rain barrel from Great American Rain Barrel Co. The spigot is a small flimsy device that looks like the spigot from a 40 cup coffee maker fitted with a garden hose thread. It does not flow well, and can be tricky to operate.

So I started researching alternatives, and found it at Aquabarrel, another rain barrel vendor. They sell a bulkhead fitting with the valve and thread converter for $22 plus shipping. I ordered one and received a rugged part in the mail several days later.

Start out by disassembling the top cap, screen and tray. Put the barrel on its side.
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Step 1: The old spigot

Picture of The old spigot
Here is the old spigot. It threads into the barrel directly, so if you move it from top to bottom (as I had to) you are very worried about stripping the threads.

It is very flimsy too. Hence this Instructable.

Step 2: The new bulkhead fitting and valve assembly

Picture of The new bulkhead fitting and valve assembly
Here is the new assembly from Aquabarrel. Honkin' thick plastic and a sensible ball valve. Nice.

Step 3: The Bulkhead Fitting up close

Picture of The Bulkhead Fitting up close
Here is the new bulkhead fitting. The left part goes into the barrel, with the threaded part poking out. Then the rubber washer fits over, then the nut seals everything together. Aquabarrel notes this is a part for boats, and you can tell. Nice.

Does this part just fit into the hole in the barrel and does not require something on the back side or in the barrel?

DaveTheC (author)  homesteader1445 months ago
I had to ream out the hole to allow the part to fit. The part is a bulkhead connector, the main part is like a big thick thumbtack with a hole down the pin, and some threading to allow a ring to be fastened over the pin. You insert the pin thru the hole from the inside, with a gasket, and then lock it in place with the nut on the outside.

See http://www.instructables.com/file/F3O2DIQFUVSGHZW for a photo. The "thumbtack" and gasket on the left go inside, the nut on the right are outside.
Aquabarrel1 year ago
We're glad the fitting worked out for you!
We have lots of fitting to retrofit poorly functioning rain barrels :-)
Oldbear4 years ago
You sir, are a genius. We had the same issue on our first two barrels, but the top hole was the whole top. My latest barrel top hole is only big enough for the downspout and a bit of breathing room... I used a whole beer trying to figure out how to get the fitting in there...
DaveTheC (author)  Oldbear4 years ago
You are too kind. Please enjoy, and when I am in town, I will join you for one of those beers to think by...
iPodGuy6 years ago
I really like this instructable. Easy steps, great photos...

I put it in the 55 Gallon Drum group.

Good stuff!