Winter Project: Make Your Own Rain Barrel

Purchasing a rain barrel from a store or a site can get awfully expensive – many of these companies will charge upwards of $75 for a basic rain barrel, and well over $100 for a top-of-the-line barrel. However, over the winter time, you might have a bit of time on your hands. For the cost of a bit of your time, you can end up spending a lot less than that to put together your own rain barrel.

Blue 55 Gallon DrumStep 1: Finding the Barrel

Finding a cheap or free barrel to use shouldn’t be that difficult. Many organizations that use 55-gallon drums have realized that there are plenty of ways to reuse them and that there is a secondary market. Look on Craigslist or in the local paper for barrels from sources such as car washes, food distributors and processors, bottlers, pickle/olive wholesalers, cafeterias, and the like. You should be able to find one for no more than $10-$20.

Look for barrels with existing bung holes for ease of creation – if you find one without these holes, you will have to cut your own. That’s only a small process, but we always feel that easier is better.

Step 2: Protecting Against Mosquitos

The biggest problem with gathering water is having standing water sitting around. Mosquitoes and algae will both make their homes in standing water. Make sure to cover any holes in the barrel with fine mesh to prevent mosquitoes from entering. This includes the top hole, where the water will enter, as well as any overflow holes you will want to drill into the sides of the barrel near the top.

Step 3: Gathering Water

You’ll want to position the rain barrel to collect water efficiently, and also set it up so that getting water out of it isn’t a chore.

How you collect the water is up to you. Some have used it in more of a decorative manner, using a water feature that is also functional. Most often, the rain barrel will be positioned so that a downspout can feed directly into the existing hole on the top of the barrel.

Step 4: Distributing Water from Your Rain Barrel

Once you’ve got the water in the barrel, you need a method of drawing it out. Installing a faucet into the side of your barrel is a simple, easy process done with a handful of goods. All you need is a tube of silicone sealer/cement, a  1/2 inch female threaded silcock (aka outdoor faucet or hose bib), a 1/2 inch threaded bushing, a 1/2 inch female threaded socket an a roll of teflon tape.

Drill a 3/4 inch hole close to the bottom of the 55 gallon barrel – as far down as you can while still being able to reach. Put a strip of teflon tape on the bushing, then thread it into the silcock. Thread the other end of the bushing into the hole you have drilled near the bottom of the barrel. It should fit snugly in the hole and cut threads in the plastic as you screw it in. Now unscrew it from the barrel, apply teflon tape to the threads of the bushing and apply silicone to the outside of the flange on the silcock. Screw it back into the hole and into a 1/2 inch socket on the inside of the barrel. Now, you have a functioning spigot!







About AndrewT

Written by Andrew T for LawnEq - The specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable brands.