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rain barrel buying

Rain Barrel Buying Guide

The Right Rain Barrel

Installing a rain barrel in your home or barn has many benefits for whatever your needs may be. Before purchasing a rain barrel, first determine your needs to figure out the type of rain barrel will meet your needs.

How much water do I use?
First, determine how much water you normally use on your lawn and garden to choose a barrel with enough storage. Here is a quick guide to help you gauge your water usage:

  • 1 small watering can = 1 liter (0.26 gallons)
  • 1 medium watering can = 6 liters (1.56 gallons)
  • 1 large watering can = 12 liters (3.12 gallons)
  • 1 sprinkler, full flow, 30 minutes = 550 liters (143 gallons)

How much water will I be able to "harvest?"
The amount of water you harvest from your roof depends on how many barrels you use. In a perfect example, with wooden rain barrels under all of your downspouts to harvest all of the runoff from your roof, 1 inch of rain (on a 1,000-sq.-ft. roof) can yield approximately 600 gallons of water. Since there can be issues such as gutter leaks or clogs, subtract about 20 percent of that total for a more accurate total (approx. 480 gallons). You can also look up you area's average monthly rainfall and using the square footage of your roof, determine your potential amount of harvested rain water.

Choosing the Right Rain Barrel
Check that your rain barrel is made of quality, food-grade material that is meant to hold water. Other types of water containers cannot be counted on to withstand the water pressure.

Covered rain water barrels are recommended to keep the water clean and help prevent insect growth (especially mosquitoes). Rain barrels are available in many shapes and sizes to fit your needs and even add a decorative flair to your home.