Monday, March 26, 2012

10 Tips for Rain Barrel Maintenance and Safety

rockville I know I’ve written a lot of posts about rain barrels, but that’s because I think they are a real no-brainer for an eco-friendly garden.

Rain barrels are easy to make, easy to install and they help the planet in two ways: by both conserving and protecting our planet’s water supplies.

Rain barrels capture and store the rainwater running off a rooftop. The harvested rainwater can be stored for later use, or used immediately for watering lawns and landscaped areas, filling ponds or fountains, or washing cars. This stored water helps to save money and it really comes in handy during times of mandatory water restrictions.

By collecting runoff from rooftops, rain barrels can also prevent stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff is caused when heavy rains  run directly into streets and storm sewers, carrying it (and the pollutants it collects) directly to the local waterways.

Rain barrels require very little maintenance. However, to make sure that they remain problem free, here are:

10 Tips for Rain Barrel Maintenance and Safety

  1. Rain barrels can weigh about 400 pounds when full, but they need to be elevated for good water flow. Make sure that they are placed on a sturdy, level base to avoid all possibility of toppling over.
  2. Make sure that all overflow pipes or hoses are directed to pervious (landscaped) surfaces so that overflow water soaks into the ground instead of pooling where it can create slippery puddles.
  3. Don’t drink the water from your rain barrel. There is no telling what substances the rain has collected from your roof or gutters.
  4. Use the water in your rain barrel before using other water sources to help prevent standing water in the barrel.
  5. Clean your gutters regularly to reduce debris.
  6. Once a year, tip your rain barrel over during a dry spell and rinse it out with a hose. You can also put a capful of chlorine bleach into the water to help prevent algae growth.
  7. Check your rain barrel on a regular basis to make sure all openings are clean, free of debris and flowing freely.
  8. During severe rain storms, check your rain barrel to make sure the overflows are working properly.
  9. If your rainbarrel springs a small leak, most can be repaired with aquarium caulk, a clear sealant available at most hardware stores
  10. Rain barrels should be drained and removed for the winter months to prevent ice damage.

Related post about rain barrels: The Rain Barrel Response

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