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Comparabooblog | March 29, 2017

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Your Guide To Buying a Rain Barrel

RTS Rain Barrel Algreen Rain Barrel
Yehuda Posnick

Many areas of the United States are affected by drought over the course of the year. When it does rain, it would be nice to plan to store up some of that water. It’s estimated that just 1 inch of rain on a 1000 square foot roof will provide over 600 gallons of runoff water! A rain barrel is a great idea for collecting rain water from your roof’s drainage system, so that you can efficiently use the excess runoff water for other gardening purposes. Otherwise, the water will just go into the sewage system. But there are a number of designs and things to be aware of when installing a rain barrel. Here is a guide to some of the best rain barrels on the market.

RTS Rain Barrel

RTS Home Accents 50-Gallon Rain Water Collection Barrel

Rain Barrel Types

  • Polyethylene: Cascata rain barrels are made from polyethylene pellets. These pellets are pulverized, and then heated and melted into the form of a rain barrel.

  • Wood: There are DIY kits that allow you to take any wood barrel (200 liters or more) and convert it into a rain barrel. These kits include a spigot, plus all the pipes, and stoppers that you need to create a rain barrel.

Algreen Rain Barrel

Algreen 81002 Agua 50-Gallon Rain Water Collection

What People are Saying

Based on all the consumers’ reviews we’ve scanned, these are the top things they mentioned about their new stuff:

  • Worry about accessories: Some people complained that a lot of the plumbing (spigots, diverters) had to be bought separately from the barrel. So it’s good to make sure what you get when purchasing a rain barrel.

  • Rain barrel with overflow spout: The rain barrel may fill up quickly—since the downspout directs all the water from the roof into the barrel. So you will want a barrel with an overflow spout, that will hook up to a hose. The hose will direct the excess water into your garden. This is better than having the excess water flow into the foundation of your home.

Useful Tips for Shoppers

  • Choose a good location: You have to have a downspout (a pipe that goes down from the roof of the building) to allow the rain water to drain into the barrel. You also need a means of diverting the overflow of water from the barrel. Most barrels will have a type of spigot to which you can attach a hose.

  • Diverter: You need a downspout diverter which will direct the water from the downspout into the barrel. These diverters can either be from plastic or aluminum. Plastic is preferred, because it’s more flexible and can be directed into the mouth of the rain barrel.

  • Use a level: A level is a device that you use to make sure that the ground where the barrel is located is indeed level. This is actually important: if the barrel is not level, it will not hold water properly.

  • Make sure to clean the barrel’s screen: The barrel has a screen on top of it. This prevents mosquitoes from laying eggs in the water, and leaves from falling into the barrel. Clean it frequently from leaves and dirt. Also, algae may collect in the barrel after a year or two of use. You probably should clean out the barrel yearly, to avoid an algae bloom.

  • Empty the rain barrel before the first frost in the fall. You should empty the rain barrel before the start of winter, so that the inclement weather will not topple it over. Just leave some water in the bottom of the barrel. Also, if the barrel is full when it’s cold outside, you run the risk of the water turning into ice. That may break the barrel, because ice takes up more volume than water. Also, it will not be very useful to have a barrel containing a 400-pound block of ice inside!

  • Probably will need several barrels: There is a way to daisy chain the barrels, in such a way that the overflow from one goes into another, and so on. If you live in a place where there is practically no rain in the summer, the trick is to have the water from the winter months saved for the dry summer months. So you will probably want several such barrels. They’ll pay for themselves in the long run.

  • Elevate the barrel: To get water out of the barrel, it’s best that it is raised somewhat. That way, the water will drain out by gravity. The gravity will increase the water pressure in the pipes leading from the rain barrel. Support the barrel on bricks or concrete blocks.

Top Brands

RTS Companies Inc.—is a division of Canbar, which was founded in 1872 as a manufacturer of barrels to store whiskey and dry goods. Canbar’s plastics division spawned RTS, which produces high-quality plastics, used in playground components and indoor and outdoor home accessories. They are based in St. Clements, Ontario.

Oateyis based in Cleveland, Ohio and were founded in 1916. They make a series of plumbing products, including cements, solder for joining pipes, air admittance valves, drains, and more—for residential and commercial applications.

Algreenwas founded in 1992, making environmentally-safe products for the home and garden. Their products are from recycled materials, stressing their values of conserving natural resources while beautifying the world.

Good Ideasis a company based in Lake City, Pennsylvania. They specialize in gardening products for recycling, landscaping, water conservation and waste handling.

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