Do you have an extra 55 gallon barrel sitting in the basement? Maybe it's time to start conserving water by making a rain barrel to use to water your garden! This is an inexpensive way to conserve water and provide a clean source of water for your yard/garden.
There are lots of ways to convert your barrel into a usable rain barrel, but these instructions will show you the simplest way to do it. This method only requires drilling two holes (one if you use a utility knife), and it doesn't require cutting a huge hole in your barrel.
Step 1: Parts List
The first step is to round up all the parts that are required. Here's a list:
Food Grade Barrel
1" ID (Inner Diameter) Hose
3/4" Drill Bit (optional, Utility Knife can be used instead)
1" Drill Bit
Nylon 3/4" MIP to 1" Barb Adapter
3/4" Hose Bib
Rain Water Diverter (can be bought or made. It is important that the diverter handles overflow when the barrel fills up)
Barrel - $20.00
Hose - $5.76
Adapter - $2.71
Hose Bib - $4.94
Total - $33.41
The diverter can easily cost as much as the rest of the system if it is bought online.
Step 2: Let the Water In
The first step is to make a hole so that water can get into the rain barrel. This is easily accomplished using the MIP to Barb adapter, 3/4" drill bit, and drill.
Notice how one (or both) of the two plugs for the barrel have threads in the middle of it. As it turns out, these threads can be used to connect our water source to the barrel. All that is necessary is to drill out the bottom of the threaded hole using a 3/4" drill bit. It is also possible to use a utility knife to cut out the bottom of this hole (be careful not to damage the threads!).
Now, screw the adapter into the plug. Be sure to put the plug back in the barrel and tighten it before you screw the adapter into the plug. The plug is much easier to tighten into the barrel when the adapter is not installed. This is a good time to make sure the other plug is tightened as well.
Step 3: Letting the water out
In this step, the hose bib will be installed to allow the water to be emptied from the barrel.
1. Mark the position where the hose bib should go. Be sure to mount it high enough that the barrel can sit on flat ground without resting on the bib.
2. Drill a 1" hole to mount the hose bib.
3. Screw the hose bib into the barrel
The rain barrel is now ready to be used! How simple was that?
Step 4: Find a suitable mounting spot for the Rain Barrel
It is important that a level location is used for mounting the Rain Barrel. Also, the rain barrel should be elevated as much as possible. By getting the barrel up off the ground, it will allow draining the rain barrel to higher locations. This is especially important if raised beds will need to be watered using captured rain water. The barrel should also be close to the water source (probably right beside the gutter downspout).
Install the rainwater diverter and make the connection from the diverter to the rain barrel.
Enjoy watering your garden/yard with your new Rain Barrel!