Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Using a rainbarrel to recover rainwater

Who says you have to spend a lot of money to "Go Green"?
Well, many people may think that you have to spend a lot of money to reduce your carbon foot print.

Some will think they have to put up expensive solar panels. Others think they have to buy expensive appliances.

Well you have to think: "What is there around the house that I can do to "Go Green" without breaking the bank?"

Maybe it is just changing some of our habits, such as reducing the length of showers every member in the house takes to just 5 minutes. This will actually save you money without spending a dime. You have just saved water, saved on gas/electric to heat the water and sent less water down the drain to be processed by the sewage plant.

Speaking of reducing the amount of water we use; I was able to acquire some 55 gallon recyclable plastic barrels to turn into rain barrels. We get enough rain here in Upstate New York, so why not collect some.

I have already painted and installed a spigot on one. This first one served as my test model.

I found the cost to buy one of these could run you well over $100, depending on where and what you buy.

Well I ended up spending just under $50. I spend about 3 to 4 hours total painting it and installing the spigot. I am hoping to reduce the cost a little more now that I know what parts I need. I am also sure I can reduce the time spent on painting and installing the little faucet on it, now that I know what I am doing there.

Plain rain barrel

Here are pictures of the barrel before and after paint. (The blue stood out a little too much.) I will have to add a second barrel next to this one as one good rain storm filled it up and more.

Completed rain barrel with spigot

I am using the rainwater to water all the plants around the house. And because my mother gave us a bunch of new perennials this spring, there are plenty to water.

It makes it easy for the kids to help water the plants. They don't have to use the faucet in the garage, which saves me from having to dry the garage floor after them.

The bottom line: Our family just became a little "Greener" without spending a lot of money.


  1. Kudos to you RN.Looks like a winner. El just spent upwards of $90 for something with 1/2 the capacity. Perhaps I can parley off your idea and run a hose from the overflow to a unit similar to yours.

    My only concern would be getting a barrel and what kind of noxious material was inhabiting it. I just have to look around.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. These barrels used to contain tomato sauce so I think they are pretty safe.

  3. The designs at http://www.aquabarrel.com look a bit safer and all the parts come in a kit. I just picked up a barrel and will have it ready for Spring thaw!

  4. Hi Robert,

    I read your blog and decided to also make my own rain barrel, they came out great and I use them to water the back grass and the flowers in the back yard. This is such an easy way to save water and money. I really look forward to the information on your blogs.


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