Rain Barrel Winterization Tips
It is wonderful to see more and more homeowners using rain water collection systems (also known as rain barrels) to collect and utilize rainwater for their lawn and garden irrigation needs. Some homeowners even wash their vehicles with collected water. The home rain barrel typically collects rain water running down from the homes roof, into the gutters, down the downspouts and into the rain barrel. This is a great water conservation method and it is wonderful to see green efforts being undertaken by many homeowners and DIYers. Over 600 gallons of water will run off a 1,000 square foot roof during a one-inch rain storm. While the water collected is not safe for drinking, it is perfect for watering lawns and gardens and other exterior uses.
Winter Is Coming
If you live in a cold to moderate climate where the temperature gets below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius), you will want to do something to prevent ice from damaging your barrel. Remember from high school physics class that when water freezes it also expands. Water trapped inside your barrel and any of its components will expand as it freezes and may cause damage to the various components of your rain collection system.
Weatherization Is Key
Weatherize your barrel to ensure it is ready to place back into service in the Spring. This should be done prior to the cold weather hits your geography.
Winterizing your rain barrel is pretty simple:
- Drain all the water from the barrel and hoses
- Move barrel into a garage, storage shed, under a porch or deck or other covered place.
- If you don’t have a covered storage space, it is best to turn the barrel upside down to prevent water from continuing to collect. Also, be sure to cover the spigot opening to prevent water from collecting there as well.
- Reconnect gutter downspout or add temporary flexible gutter downspout to ensure water is diverted away from foundation of your house.
Winterizing your rain barrel before the temperatures drop below freezing will ensure many years of use and many gallons of water saved!