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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

DIY: How we Built our Rain Barrel

We are following through on our Earth Day commitment to build and install a rain barrel this year so that we have rainwater for our veggie garden, plants/flowers, and pond without causing our water bill to double. Originally we were planning on purchasing an assembled rain barrel from our Township but then we found out that my grandpa had a bunch of 55 gallon barrels and was happy to give us one to make our own rain barrel. After reading this blog post at This Young House and some other DIY websites, I felt confident that the hubby and I could do this together quite easily.

After getting the 55 gallon barrel from my grandpa, we were waiting for some decent weather and some time from our busy work schedules to put it together. We found a lot of good websites with detailed instructions and after I made a 2 hour shopping trip to the Home Depot to get all of the parts - we were ready to roll.

We needed to cut a portion of the lid off because we needed a place for the water to go to get into the barrel. This should have been an easy thing to do, right?!?! Well if you know my hubby, he tends to jump right into things without thinking through all of the steps and I am the polar opposite, I ready everything there is first and then I begin to follow the steps methodically. Well 4 blades later, 3 hours of sawing, and 2 very frustrated people - we were able to get off the top.

The problem was that the plastic near the edge of the barrel is VERY thick and wouldn't cut easily which is why you want to cut about 1 inch in from the edge (it was in the instructions but - well let's just say the hubby likes to jump in and not read). Getting the top off was quite the victory and we celebrated by eating dinner and putting the project to rest for the night.
The next morning we were back at it again and were able to drill the hole and install the faucet with no major problems.

The tricky part is sealing the inside and we didn't cut the hole on the top of the barrel large enough to easily reach our arms in to get it as tight as we needed so we cut a larger hole and also used some caulk to seal it as well.

Next we installed an overflow assembly to the top of the barrel to drain the excess water away from the foundation of the house in the rainstorms that overfill the barrel. I know it doesn't look pretty but it's pouring right now and I went outside with a flashlight to investigate and it's working properly - gotta love that!
All we needed to do to finish her off was to put screen over the top and we secured it with some twine and decided it may not be strong enough so we also used some duct tape. I know it looks weird but it really is working but I only wish we had white duct tape instead of the silver - they actually sell it in different colors including white.

Last but not least, we had to cut the gutter and direct it to drain into our lovely barrel.

Here she is ready to rock and roll - come on rain, bring it on. Isn't she lovely?

We got a little drizzle of rain overnight and she is already 1/3 full and I was so excited to put her to use and water our flowers with the fresh rainwater.

It was so rewarding to work on this project with my hubby even though we got off to a bumpy start. We are very different and like to tackle projects differently but in the end, we accomplished our goal together and our plants are reaping the rewards with some fresh rainwater.

It started raining again tonight so I ran outside with a flashlight to look at the rain barrel in action and discovered that it's already plump full and the overflow is in action too. Did you know that a 1000 sq ft roof yields 600 gallons per inch of rain and what better way to conserve water than to install a rain barrel at your house. Have we inspired you to install one? We sure hope so, your plants and mother earth will thank you.

5 comments:

PRichards said...

Wow! Awesome team effort! One idea for your silver duct tape --- you can put the twine over the duct tape. Not that the silver duct tape looks bad... :)

wilma J. said...

Great team work!

Mom said...

I love you both dearly for your awesome hard work. We are getting a second barrel for near your pond. Then you connect a hose and drain right into pond in the dry season. For twine, you need one of Grandpa's home made ropes. The colors are orange and black right now. Great work, but don't carry one by one to water lawn. Love Yah!--Now the city garden xoxoxo

Brooke G. said...

Nice Job! Kuddos to you both :)
It looks great.

Fryer Family said...

Great job on your rain barrel! It is something Nick and I have been meaning to do too, but it's yet another project that gets put at the end of our to-do list. Let us know how your garden is coming along. This year we planted potatoes, tomatoes and peppers.