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Constructing a Rain Barrel - Wild Ones Niagara

Constructing a Rain Barrel - Wild Ones Niagara

Constructing a Rain BarrelMore info at: tinyurl.com/2vuyus1. Keep leaves and shingle granules out so the faucet doesn't get clogged.2. Prevent squirrels and birds from falling in and drowning.3. Prevent mosquitoes from breeding there.If you're going to hook up a second (or third) barrel to the first one, make another threaded hole for theconnection to another barrel, if you wish, and insert thehose barb there. Since the connections between barrelsaren't stressed as much as the faucet, we figure washersare unnecessary here. We prefer to use barrels withremovable tops for the "chained" barrels, because wedon't have to worry about fastening screens on. To keepair from being trapped inside we took off one of the capsin the cover and caulked some screen over it..Miscellaneous NotesWater doesn't come gushing out of this at anything like the force of a regular faucet. Gravity is yourfriend here -- the lower you hold the hose end, the faster the rate of flow. Raise it above the water levelin the barrel and the flow stops.We've seen commercial barrels with the overflow tube coming out at the bottom, fed by a vertical pipeinside whose top is near the top of the barrrel. While this may be more esthetic, it must be harder toconstruct, seal, and clean. We think our way is better, especially for a home-made barrel. With thealternate construction method for the overflow, the hose starts out pointing down rather than straightout, which may let you arrange it more pleasingly.There are also barrels that, for some mysterious reason, are linked together at the top instead of thebottom. You must have a faucet on each barrel instead of just one to drain the whole chain. Why do itthis way?If you set the barrel up on a couple of cinder blocks, you can install the faucet sticking out the bottomto get nearly all the water out of it. It is, however, a bit harder to handle the barrel since you can't set itdown without turning it upside down. Also, 55 gallons of water weighs over 450 pounds; make sureyour support is strong.Some designs have just a hose connection on the barrel -- like the barb-to-MIP connectors we use forchaining barrels -- and leave the hose connected all the time. To keep the water from running out, putthe hose end on top of the barrel, or use a shutoff valve on the "business" end of the hose. This issimpler and a little less expensive to build -- you need no faucet -- and puts less strain on the sealwhere the hose is connected. But we like to not have so many hoses lying about the grounds.As I mentioned, our barrels have frozen (mostly) solid with no apparent harm, but it's probably notgood for them, especially repeatedly, and it's definitely difficult to store them for the winter in thatcondition (I did mention they weigh 450 lbs full, didn't I?), so don't let that happen.PS: In the Nov/Dec 2008 issue of Fine Gardening magazine, Rebecca had an article about rain barrelspublished. FG also put together a nice video showing the steps of building a rain barrel. While thespecifics vary a bit from our technique, it’s a helpful overview. Check it out at tinyurl.com/3w6jtw.Page 6 of 6© 2005 Rebecca Chesin

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