Using a rain barrel is a great way to cut the cost of watering your lawn, flowers, houseplants and garden. For every inch of rain that falls on 500 square feet of roof, you can collect 300 gallons of water, according to Better Homes and Gardens. Not only will a rain barrel cut your water costs but the investment is relatively cheap and simple for the new DIY homeowner.
Here's what you'll need for your rain barrel:
- 1 large plastic garbage can
- Watertight sealant
- 2 rubber washers
- 2 metal washers
- 1 hose clamp
- 1 spigot
- A drill
- Utility knife
- Landscaping fabric
Drill a hole near the bottom of your barrel where you want to insert your spigot. Keep in mind, you won't want the spigot so low on the barrel that you can't fill your watering can. Use a drill bit that's a little smaller or the same size as the spigot.
Put a metal washer onto the threaded end of the spigot followed by a snug-fit rubber washer to prevent leakage and hold the metal washer in place.
Seal the spigot by applying waterproof sealant over the rubber washer and inserting the spigot into the hole. After the sealant dries, run your other rubber washer, followed by the remaining metal washer onto the threads of the spigot on the interior of the barrel.
Secure the spigot in place inside the barrel using the hose clamp.
Using a utility knife, cut a hole in the lid of your rain barrel. This hole will sit under the downspout so water runs directly into the barrel. Make sure the hole is large enough to accommodate water flow.
You will also want to drill a hole or two at the very top of the rain barrel so water can overflow if necessary. If you're feeling motivated, you can run a short length of hose or PVC pipe from your primary barrel's overflow to another rain barrel for excess water.
To prevent mosquitos and other pest from infiltrating your rain barrel, lay a layer of landscaping fabric across the top of the open barrel before securing the lid.
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