WHAT is a rain barrel: uses, advantages and disadvantages.

You’ve probably seen them before: large barrels with a spigot on the side. They’re usually green, and they’re full of water. They’re also incredibly useful. A rain barrel is essentially a large, open-air water storage tank. It can collect runoff from your roof and channel it away from your home.

Rain barrels come in different types and sizes. They are used to store rainwater.

Once you have one, you’ll be able to capture and use water from gutters and downspouts. This can reduce the amount of water flowing into storm sewers. You can also use the water to water your lawn or garden, or even wash your car. They can be an alternative for an underground rainwater tank in some places. 


What do rain barrels do: what are their uses?

Rainwater harvesting is a great way to make sure that your yard and garden are adequately watered. And by adequately watered, we mean you can ignore the soggy lawn or thirsty desert. There are many different ways to collect water, but rain barrels are one of the most common due to their versatility and ease of use.

You can collect water from gutters and downspouts, and then use it for watering your garden, plants, or lawn. Rain barrels also come with a few funnels so you can direct the water where you want it to go.

Rainwater harvesting is pretty simple. You have a large open-air container (usually a barrel) that collects water. The water flows into the container through a roof or downspout, and it then flows into a storage tank. When you need water, you connect a hose to the storage tank and water your yard or garden.

How to set up a rain barrel

Before you start collecting rainwater, you need to decide where you’ll keep your rain barrel. If you’re keeping it on your patio or deck, you’ll need to make sure it’s secure. The barrel shouldn’t be set up so that anyone could easily knock it over or move it.

Wind also shouldn’t be able to push it away. You can get premade rain barrels or purchase a barrel and prepare it yourself. You will also have to adjust your gutter so that the water goes in the barrel instead of the ground.

Next, you’ll need to get your barrel. Look for a used barrel, or purchase a new barrel. Most barrels are made out of plastic as these are durable and easier to transport. You can drill a hole in it to add a faucet. This makes it easier to get the water out.

How to clean a rain barrel

You should clean your rain barrel thoroughly before you use it, even if you purchased a new barrel. The reason for this is that oil and dirt will build up in the bottom of the barrel over time. If you don’t clean the barrel, your water will have dirt and oil in it when it reaches your house.

To clean your rain barrel, pour about a quart of water into the barrel. Let the barrel sit for a few hours, and then drain the water. Next, use a pressure washer or hose with a jet nozzle to force water through the barrel. If you don’t have a jet nozzle, use the gentle stream setting. This should clean the barrel out.

You can add a lid to the barrel so that less dirt gets into it. It is still necessary to clean a barrel every 6 months to remove leaves and dirt from it. The water in it also shouldn’t stand still for too long as this can create algae and other dirty elements. 

Pros or advantages of having a rain barrel

Rainwater harvesting is a smart choice if you have an abundance of precipitation. It provides you with clean water, reduces the amount of water flowing into storm sewers, and helps keep your yard and gardens hydrated.

Rainwater harvesting is a great idea if you have the space for a large storage tank and the budget for it. It can some time to set it up and maintain, but it can also help you save money on water and reduce the amount of water flowing into storm sewers.

The best way to determine if a rain barrel is worth it is to do your research. Find a barrel that meets your needs and has the features you want. Measure your roof first, and make sure there’s enough room for the rain barrel.

Rainwater can be used to clean your car, flush the toilets or water flowers. These are applications that require quite a lot of water and you can save when you use rainwater for this.

It is also a great way to make sure that your garden doesn’t flood or create sinkholes during rain storms.

If you have enough space to install one, a rain barrel can be a good choice as you can recoup the costs of it quite fast.

Make sure to get a durable one. Some rain barrels are quite fragile and can’t withstand extreme temperatures.

Cons or disadvantages of having a rain barrel

A rain barrel can be a great choice for your home, but it isn’t a replacement for a rainwater tank. Generally speaking, a tank is a larger water storage tank that can collect rainwater from a roof. 

In some locations it is also not allowed to harvest rain water as they need the water to make the soil wet. Check your local regulations to make sure that you are allowed to collect rainwater as there can be hefty fines for doing so if you are not allowed.

In the winter the water in the barrel can freeze. This can damage the barrel so make sure that you don’t have too much water in it during the winter.

Rain barrels can also overflow so you have to make sure that yours is big enough or that you use enough water from it. Underground rainwater tanks also allow you to flush your toilets, this is harder to do with a rain barrel as you need to run the pipe to the toilet..

Rain barrels also take up quite some space so they are less useful in small gardens. 

A rainwater tank is a great alternative. This is installed underground and takes up less space. The water is also cleaner. It is more work to install this though and you need to have the right soil to be able to do this.

Check your local rules to see what you can do. Your plumber can also provide more information about this if needed.

Types and sizes of rain barrels: which one to get?

There are a few different types of rain barrels, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Below, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most popular types of rain barrels.

5-gallon barrel: This is the most common type of rain barrel. It can hold up to 5 gallons of water, and it’s ideal for holding water for household use.

This is the most common type of rain barrel. It can hold up to 5 gallons of water, and it’s ideal for holding water for household use. 

20-gallon barrel: This larger barrel has a capacity of around 20 gallons and is best used for commercial or industrial applications.

This larger barrel has a capacity of around 20 gallons and is best used for commercial or industrial applications. 

45-gallon barrel: If you’re looking for a large-capacity rain barrel, this is the one for you. It can hold up to 45 gallons of water and is often used for water-intensive applications, such as irrigation.


A rain barrel is a great way to collect water from gutters and downspouts and use it for watering your plants, lawn, or garden. Cleaning out your rain barrel at the end of the season will help keep your water supply fresh and clean, and it will also reduce the amount of water flowing into storm sewers.

Rainwater is generally used to flush toilets. It is not drinkable.

More and more locations require that you have an underground water tank to store water. Rain barrels are often less clean than underground water tanks. This can lead to problems such as dirty water and blocked water pipes.

You should only use the rainwater from a barrel to clean items. It is not used for other applications, such as running a dishwasher or washing machine.