One of my favorite Craigslist purchases this year was my rain barrel. I bought it over the summer, but didn’t get around to installing it until September. It holds about 50 or 55 gallons, and it needed to be set up underneath one of our downspouts.
I thought it would be pretty easy. Just pull off a few sections of the existing gutters and stick the rain barrel in there. Ha! Little did I know that gutters are sometimes riveted together. Plus, the barrel is a circle and doesn’t fit tight up against the house. Therefore, the existing gutter won’t feed into the rain barrel without some modifications. Not to mention the overflow pipe.
But, don’t be scared. After assessing the situation, I dove in. Supplies that I used: rain barrel, flexible gutter piping, extra gutter elbow, sheet metal screws, drill, level, safety glasses, bricks, and various plumbing connectors. So basically, if you have a drill and access to a hardware store, you can manage this project by yourself on a Saturday. Remember to connect an overflow pipe so water is directed away from the foundation of your house. Also, since Milwaukee freezes over the winter, I will remove the rain barrel. Ice inside could bust the barrel.
After the rain barrel was installed, I felt so proud! It was the largest hands-on project that I had ever undertaken alone. Now every time it rains, I get plenty of water to use with a soaker hose along some newly seeded grass, on my house plants, and in other creative ways. For the environment, it helps offset water rushing off of paved surfaces and into storm drains. Plus, it reduces my use of drinking water for the plants and yard.