Related: Top 10 Ways To Conserve Water
Ready-made rain barrels can be purchased at hardware stores, garden centers, and, often, at a discount from nonprofit groups or government agencies involved in environmental education. Not only that, but making a rain barrel from a 55-gallon drum is simple and inexpensive.
According to the EPA, a frequently used rain barrel can save you 1,300 gallons of water, on average, in a summer. To get the most from your barrel, follow these tips:
- Elevate the barrel with concrete blocks or a sturdy platform so that gravity can help propel the water from its spigot to your garden.
- Clean your gutters regularly to reduce the amount of debris that reaches the rain barrel.
- Cover the barrel’s water intake with fine mesh screen to trap debris and to keep mosquitoes and other creatures out.
- Don’t let rainwater sit in the barrel for longer than a month. If algae develops inside the barrel, add a tablespoon of vinegar.
- In cold climates, drain the barrel in fall and store it upside down so it remains dry and clean.
- Repair small leaks with aquarium caulk, a clear sealant available at hardware stores.