Rain barrels, or as some know them, water barrels, can come in various forms and styles. For the DIY rain barrel it's important to start with a container that once held food grade material. Chemical containers or barrels could still have residue material tucked into crevices. Oak wine barrels may provide a nice appearance, but there is potential risk of water leaks down the road. Another important factor to consider when picking a rain barrel is the existence of a screen on the top of the barrel. Water entering a rain barrel should pass through a screen to filter out debris which could plug your hose at some point down the road. A screen is also critical to prevent your water barrel from becoming a mosquito larvae incubator.
In building or placing your rain barrel there are a few things to consider. First, fully loaded these barrels are extremely heavy. One does not want to set up a rain barrel where it stands the chance of tipping over. Second, in the event of leakage, one should make sure there is a path available for the water to travel so it doesn't do damage by flooding a structure, or causing soil erosian in a flower bed. Third, it's very important to remember that should you chose to not hook your tank up to some form of pump then these water barrels provide water via gravity feed. Rain barrels used in this manner may need to sit on a slightly raised surface, (i.e. concrete blocks or several layers of paving stones).
Accessibility and Availability
Rain barrels vary in size, shape and are made from a great variety of materials. Some rain barrels are designed to sit buried, while the more traditional rain barrel sits on the surface and is free standing.
More and more suppliers of rain barrels are popping up as this trend grows stronger. many hardware and gardening centers now stock one or more styles of rain barrel. A few minutes conducting an online search will yield a great number of suppliers who will arrange delivery right to your door.
The image to the left is a rain barrel made by RTS, and can be purchased at Rain Tank Depot stores which carry the RTS Home Accents line of products. The significant feature of this particular rain barrel is that it demonstrates how some rain barrels are now coming designed to fit flat up against a wall. Some manufacturers of rain barrels also provide inside corner rain barrels.
This is our favorite rain barrel for practicality reasons. This barrel is made from a heavy duty PVC bladder which is supported by a steel frame. When empty this rain barrel can collapse and slide easily into most vehicles. This tank comes in two different styles accommodating from 120 to 250 gallons of water.
EMSCO Rescue Water Urn rain barrel with built in planter has become a very popular and appealing tank due to it's ability to blend into it's surroundings, enhancing a garden and home instead of sticking out like a sore thumb.
While there are many suppliers of rain barrels in various countries and the texture, shape, color and holding capacity of these tanks vary greatly, these rain barrels above provide you with a good concept as to what you should look for.
We encourage you to take your time to research out which style of rain barrel or rain barrels would work best for you. The important thing is making the decision to conserve one of our greatest and most easily taken for granted resources- our water.
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