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FAQ About Rain Barrels

How long does it take to fill my rain barrel?

It depends on how much roof area drains into your barrel.  The average size roof area that drains into one downspout is 300 sq ft or 30 ft long by 10 ft wide.  It takes only 0.3 inches of rainfall to fill one, 55 gal barrel off of 300 sq ft of roof!

Can I run a sprinkler with my rain barrel?

Rain barrels operate by gravity, which means it is not pressurized to efficiently run a sprinkler or through a long section of garden hose.  However, the more elevated you place your barrel, the more pressure you will get, which is why we recommend raising your barrel off the ground.  Rain barrels do provide enough pressure to operate drip irrigation and soaker hoses without too much effort.  If you do want to run a sprinkler, exterior pumps are available.

What about mosquitoes?

Our barrels feature small screen or completely enclosed tops making it extremely difficult for mosquitoes to infiltrate your barrel.  Regular use of the rain barrel will make your rain barrel less attractive to breeding mosquitoes, since they need standing water for at least 10 days to reproduce.  If you do notice a few mosquitoes, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the rain barrel.  It creates a skim layer on the top of the water that mosquitoes don’t like & they will leave.

 How heavy is a rain barrel?

Our oak rain barrels weigh 130lbs empty and 625lbs when full.   Plastic rain barrels weigh about 20lbs empty and 400lbs or more when full.  Always make sure your rain barrel is on a secure, level surface.

Is the rain barrel water safe to drink?

We never recommend drinking rainwater from a rain barrel. 

Why is rainwater better for my plants?

Rainwater is better because it does not contain the chemicals & additives that many cities add to drinking water to make it safe for human consumption.  Well-water often has a lot of minerals and other deposits that affect plant growth.  Rainwater contains nitrates, which contain nitrogen, a vital ingredient to plant health & vigor!   Once you switch to rainwater, you will notice your indoor & outdoor plants grow bigger & healthier

My oak rain barrel leaks a little, is it defective?

95% of leaks from oak rain barrels are due to extended periods of sitting void of liquid, or “empty”.  This occurs during summer months where we experience extended periods of dry weather or after winter storage.  Simply fill your rain barrel to capacity and let the wood soak the water up.  The oak will naturally expand back and close the leaks, usually within a few hours.

I’m getting little flow out of the spigot, what’s wrong?

Sometimes a piece of charcoal from the inside of the wood barrel or other piece of debris such as leaves will clog the spigot.  Simply unscrew the spigot and remove the obstruction.

Does the water become stagnant if I don’t use it right away?

For rainwater to stagnate, it needs to have organic matter in it.  The decomposing organic matter such as leaves or twigs will cause bacteria and other microorganisms to call your rain barrel water “home”.  Make sure to keep your gutters clean and the screen on your rain barrel secure to prevent debris from entering the barrel.

We don’t have gutters on our house, can we still use a rain barrel?

Yes!  Simply order a wooden rain barrel with the open screen option or utilize one of our plastic barrels by placing it where you normally receive a lot of runoff from your roof.  Good locations are usually where the roof line creates a valley that directs the water onto the ground.