Build your own Rain Barrel

Real Estate Agent with Real Living at Home DC, MD & VA

Today I built my first rain barrel! It will be the first of probably four rain barrels that I'd like to put around my house to catch a lot of the runoff from my roof. The barrels we used our the workshop today were originally used to hold, pickles, olives or onions and hold approximately 50 gallons. 

Why should we use rain barrels you ask? Runoff is the number one cause of pollution in our waterways. And here in the DC Metro area, we all know that many of our streams, rivers, and even the Chesapeake Bay, have been struggling due to pollution. Rain water runoff carries with it oil, fertilizers, pesticides, debris and more directly into our streams and tributaries and also causes erosion. A 30 x 40 foot roof will produce more than 700 gallons of rooftop run with 1 inch of rainfall. That's a lot of water! When you collect water using a rain barrel you can use the water captured to water your gardens, lawn and indoor plants, wash your car and fill bird baths. Rain water has no chemicals and is usually soft and doesn't contain dissolved minerals. Another great perk is that rain barrels help you save money! 

If you're not much in of a do-it-yourself type, there are plenty of rain barrel options available. Rain barrels come in different sizes and shapes, some are more aesthetically pleasing than others. Whatever kind of rain barrel you choose, know that you will be making a positive impact on our waterways, which we must keep healthy and clean. 



Comments (19)

Kevan Pewitt
Houston Prime Realty - Houston, TX

Great blog post.  I have been considering installing these on my house as way of watering the lawn and plants and storing water for an emergency.  

May 07, 2016 02:17 AM
Stacey Barton

We had our first rain since I installed it and it's working great, happily collecting water! If you have the space, it just makes sense. You can even set up a soaker hose. If for some reason there's not enough pressure they told us to just cut holes in a regular hose to get the job done. 

May 09, 2016 06:48 AM
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Stacey, this is well worth investigating and we get great results setting our ferns on the porch out into the drive to absorb fresh rainwater every chance we get.   They just thrive and grow more and get much fuller after every natural shower.  Thanks for making this post available to us, Stacey!



May 07, 2016 05:35 AM
Tim Shepard
Destin Real Estate - Destin, FL
"There is a Right Way to do Everything"

Nice job. Could you imagine if even 1 out of every 10 homes had one of these what a difference it would make.

May 27, 2016 05:03 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Great read Stacey Barton -- here in the Great Pacific NW we got lots of rain, and I've also thought about rain barrels.  I see them on many of the homes I show my clients.  I was wondering a few things about them, however.  Do you know:  How long the water keeps in the barrels?  Obviously, if it's raining no one needs to water the garden.  The water would come in handy during the late spring, summer, early fall months when the garden could use a drinkie poo.  Does the water turn if it just sits in the barrel until use??

May 27, 2016 06:04 AM
Stacey Barton

Hi Carla, I'm not sure how long the water keeps, but it should be for a good while. You put a screen on the top so not much debris gets into the water, although there will always be some organic material. Some people experince a little algae growth but that won't hurt the plants. The one I made holds 50 gallons which I soon discovered filled very quickly with a few days of rain. In an area where you want to store the water for later use, you can connect a few together so you have more available in the summer and fall. 

May 27, 2016 07:57 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED

Thanks for the tips Stacey Barton -- I'm planning on having a vege garden, and having a few rain capture barrels seems appealing to me.

May 28, 2016 04:49 AM
Jill Murty, Realtor - Orange County, CA
Sunset Properties, Powered by Movoto - Laguna Niguel, CA

I love that you made your own rain barrels!  That's super cool.  

Someone I know has raised planters and said as soon as she started watering with water collected  in the rain barrels, her veggie garden went from good to great.

For people who want rain barrels but aren't up to making their own, they can check with their water district and see if there are rain barrel rebates available.

May 27, 2016 06:20 AM
Stacey Barton

Indeed rain water is much better for plants because it doesn't have the chemicals like the municipal supply. I'm ready to build a few more!

May 27, 2016 07:59 AM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

Nice blog post!  My rain gutters pipe mostly to drains, so it hasn't been much of an issue for me.  Thought about doing a barrel though for emergency bathing water.

Just need to check your local ordinances.  For example in parts of either Oregon or Washington, rain barrells are illegal.

May 27, 2016 06:21 AM
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

This is good information and a great reminder about all that good, fresh water going to waste.

But why not make it public so everyone can see it and repost?

May 27, 2016 07:18 AM
Stacey Barton

Margaret, I made it public after reading  your comment, thanks for the suggestion! 

May 28, 2016 01:03 AM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

A rain barrel makes so much sense and is not too difficult. We already compost, this should be our next project!

May 27, 2016 07:40 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

What a great idea, especially considering the water bill increases in the DC area!  But what do you do to keep the misquitos away?  Every night, the local news shows seem to be freaking out about this!

May 27, 2016 10:33 AM
Stacey Barton

Good question! The group suggested mosquito dunks. Here is the description from Amazon - "Mosquito Dunks 6 per card is a larvaecide that kills mosquito larvae only. It is deemed organic by the USEPA. Dunks are harmless to beneficial insects, pets, birds, fish or wildlife. Kills within hours and lasts for up to 30 days. Each Dunk covers 100 square feet of surface area. Perfect of Koi ponds, hydroponic systems, animal water troughs, bird baths, rain barrels. Place Dunks wherever there is standing water or standing water will accumulate"

May 28, 2016 01:08 AM
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

I am going to look into rain barrels.  To tell you the truth, I had not heard of rain barrels until reading your post.

May 27, 2016 12:52 PM
Stacey Barton

That's awesome! I need to install more. It just makes sense. It's so much better for the rain water to filter through the ground instead of running down driveways or through drain pipes directly into storm drains. 

May 28, 2016 01:10 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Great idea. I think anything that allows us to reuse a natural resource is a great thing.

May 27, 2016 08:24 PM
Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector
SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno - Bourbonnais, IL
The Home Inspector With a Heart!

And to think in some parts of the country it's illegal to have rain barrels. How stupid can they be? Politicians I mean.

May 27, 2016 09:26 PM
Stacey Barton

I know! Someone earlier commented that they are illegal in parts of Oregon and Washington, of all places...

May 28, 2016 01:12 AM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I water outside plants and garden with ours, but I'm not using it for inside plants or to wash my car.  Of course it has chemicals.  Water that evaporated from some other place it had rained, not to mention near-by factors with pollution in the air and all the autos with pollution going up and the rain knocking it back down.  

Don't get me wrong, I think they are a great idea, but I'm not bringing it inside, just using it for outside plants.

May 27, 2016 10:39 PM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Mine has a hole and needing to get another one.

The issues are leaves on the roof. My sprinklers are replaced by drip system with solar sensor. If it cloudy it will not activate drip system. 

May 27, 2016 11:04 PM
David Alan Baker Laveen & South Phoenix Realtor
Keller Williams Realty Phoenix - Laveen, AZ
Your local Expert

Love the idea of the rain barrel.  Hope it catches on in your area.

May 28, 2016 12:48 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, EXP - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

I am a fan of rain barrels and all of the non chemical water that they produce for my gardens.

Not sure how many I have right now but it is at least a dozen.

May 28, 2016 12:35 PM
Jennifer Mackay
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582

I'm going to need quite a few in Fl LOL- we get rain heavy at times - thanks for sharing

May 28, 2016 10:37 PM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Stacey Barton that indeed is a great idea - to make best of what nature has given us.

May 29, 2016 03:06 PM
Stewart Jameson
Adamsville, UT
Estate agent wannabe

Stacey, you've done a great job collecting that raind water. Being distilled makes it able to also help you cure some minor health issues. I remember my mother giving such to a fridn of her but don't know how it actually helped her friend. Anyway, It's great to conserve some water resources having in mind that 2000 kids die each day because of diarrhea caused from water pollution... You can also give this water to your pet (if you have any) as animals are a lot smaller than people and if there are any pollutants inside they will affect their health much more faster and significant than our organisms. I hope you have some great memories with your new barrel :)

May 30, 2016 07:25 PM

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