Rain Barrel FAQ

What about water quality?

The quality of rainwater shedding off a roof or gutter system is more than adequate for plants.  In fact, “soft” rainwater can be beneficial due to the lack of chlorine, calcium carbonate or other salts and minerals found in water that has filtered into the ground and a lower pH level than utility-provided water. As rainwater sheds off a roof or other catchment area, it can possibly carry with it some levels of algae, roofing chemicals or bird droppings. These are not a concern for non-potable uses or occasional contact by the homeowner.

Is maintenance required with my rain barrel?

If your rain barrel is properly installed, it should require very little maintenance. Periodic inspection of the tank for cracks or buildup of debris on the bottom may be all that is needed. Some barrels, especially light-colored or clear ones that are in direct sunlight, may become brittle over time.  They can be painted to make them last longer.If you have placed a screen in the downspout or over the barrel opening, this will require periodic inspection and cleaning to ensure a good water flow.

What about mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes and other insects are always attracted to standing water. If you have a tight fit where the downspout enters the barrel, there should be few problems with mosquitoes getting into the barrel.  Small gaps or holes can be filled with caulk or covered with window screen.  Also, make sure the guttering is sloped properly and free of debris to prevent standing water where mosquitoes can breed.  If keeping mosquitoes out of the tank is impossible, there are products available at home centers of pond supply stores that will prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

Will my rain barrel tip over?

Water weighs a little over 8 lbs. per gallon, so a 50-gallon rain barrel will weigh over 400 pounds when full.  If you have small children or pets, and are concerned that the barrel might tip over, you may want to strap or attach the barrel to a nearby wall or other stable structure (fence, tree, etc.). Any type of frame can be built around the barrel, or straps can be wrapped around or screwed into the barrel and then anchored to a wall or other stable structure.  If the barrel sits on a level and stable platform, tipping over is not a problem.