Rain Barrels




Making rain barrel systems was a blast. A few mistakes down the way, but all in all it came out to be a great addition to my yard. Took all the idea's I liked from other sites and combined them to make my own.

Step 1: Tools - Parts

This would have been a cheap project If I had all the right tools to begin with...

Step 2: Cut Some Holes

Note you will be flipping the barrels so the caps are on the bottom.

Step 3: Do Some Connections

Do some sealing. That PVC hardens fast so WHATCH OUT!!!

Step 4: Overflow

It fills up fast!!!

Step 5: Done

You can use any size roof. My roof is 20' by 7' and fills up extremely fast. Had the 1st heavy rain storm through and it was coming out the overflow in 20 mins...

Step 6: Another Addition

got a free barrel so I made a single unit for the front..

This one cost 11 bucks cause I had the gear...

The 1st one cost me around 100 bucks. Thats $40 for the 2 barrels. (could find them for free if you have patience) around $40 for tools and sealants.

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    30 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    1 inch of rain on 1000SQ ft. roof, will yield about 500 gallons an hour.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    To minimize the debris build up on the inlet screen you might consider a better filter design like these:

    http://www.aquabarrel.com/product_downspout_filters_Barrel_Topper.php http://www.aquabarrel.com/product_downspout_filters_slim_line.php

    or for a kit that INCLUDES the drill bits - this kit: http://www.rainbarrelparts.com/product_rbpEM_RSP_kits_rectangular.php

    Check car wash places. Sometimes they sell old soap barrels. I got 2  50 gallon barrels for 10 bucks total. All I had to do was wash soap residue out. :D

    Wouldn't these soaps be full of toxic chemicals? I mean, every "normal" cleaning product we use around the home is full of toxics, including dish and laundry detergents, hair shampoo and conditioner, etc. I would think to clean cars, it would need to be a much stronger mixture.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I just picked up a soap barrel from the local car wash and - as you so importantly point out - I'm HIGHLY concerned about using it in a rain water collection system. The barrel is labeled with the chemical "sodium metasilicate pentahydrate" and warns not to get it on your skin. I got a little on my fingers from residuals on the lid while rinsing the outside off and indeed, it did sting a bit before I was able to wash it off. But unanswered questions abound regarding using the barrel for rainwater collection. Does the stuff embed itself in the plastic and if so, will it leach into the water? How watered down is the remaining fluid inside the barrel? Is it toxic to plants? I don't know and I'm wondering if I ought to fill the barrel up with water, take a sample and then have it tested somewhere before I proceed further.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    From what I've read, it's only corrosive because it comes in such a condensed form. It then is mixed with a lot of water and is just soap.
    Personally I'm going to use it only on flowers/lawn and not on my veggies.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    sodium metasilicate pentahydrate is listed as a white dry granule, and its not listed as hazardous waste, although great caution and special equipment are used to clean it up. Its extremely corrosive, even used for cleaning metals. Maybe your best bet is to get on a couple chemist's forums and ask there. I would think since its a granule, it wouldn't leach into the plastic of the barrel, but I sure wouldn't want to take that chance unless I asked some chemists first.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Soaps and detergents are generally non-toxic. The have to be: When items are rinsed and the soap or detergent goes down the drain, it eventually ends up at a water treatment plant, then is discharged into local waterways. I wouldn't eat or drink the stuff, though, because it's likely to cause a tummy ache.

    would some tin garbage cans work or just a regular garbage can made out of plastic but is durable if you do use a metal one make sure its not rustable or put a plastic bag along in there to avoid rust all together


    tin is way better, it does not put any chemicals in the water, just take it apart during winter, and you should be good


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Our local high schools 'give-away' plastic barrels. Contact the maintenance department of your local high school for details. The 30 and 50 gallon barrels I have used contained hand soap and floor waxes. :-)