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May 04, 2011

How to build your own rain barrel

Sure you can spend $55 on a rain barrel, or if you're handy you can save some cash you could save some cash and build one yourself.  This info is from the City of Ottawa web site:


Tool checklist:Material list:
  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Hacksaw
  • Drill
  • Five inch hole saw bit OR Jig saw with a hacksaw blade
  • Three-quarter inch hole saw OR Drill bit
  • Utility knife
  • Large adjustable wrench
  • Pipe wrench
  • Vice
  • Steel wool
  • Glue or epoxy
  • 55 gallon (250 litre) barrel with lid
  • A piece of mosquito-resistant screen
  • Brass faucet with 3/4 inch pipe thread and 1 inch standard hose fitting
  • 3/4 x 3/4 inch galvanized coupling
  • 3/4 x 1/2 inch galvanized bushing
  • Teflon tape for pipe threads
  • Outdoor silicone sealant
  • 3/4 inch pipe thread to 1 inch hose adapter
  • 3/4 inch lock nut
  • Garden hose with a coupling with inside threads at one end
  • 4 x 4 inch outdoor lumber and bucket of gravel or cinder or concrete blocks

The tools and materials are available at most hardware stores. Barrels may be available at select hardware stores, and at businesses such as material recyclers and food importers. For safety, always use personal protective equipment such as gloves and safety glasses.

1. Ensure all tools and materials are available and in working condition.

2. Create a 5-inch hole (inlet) in the lid of the barrel. Use a drill with a large saw bit or a jig saw. Note, cutting into plastic requires care and attention.

3. On the underside of the lid of the barrel, use glue or epoxy to bond the screen to the lid, making sure the screen fully covers the inlet.

4. With the drill, use a 3/4 inch hole saw bit and cut one small hole near the base of the barrel to serve as a faucet, ensuring sufficient room to install and operate the faucet.

5. Drill another hole about 2 to 3 inches from the top of the barrel for the overflow.

6. Wrap Teflon tape around the faucet threads to ensure a good seal. Clamp the coupling in a vice, and with a pipe wrench screw the faucet into the coupling.

7. From inside the barrel, push the bushing through the bottom hole, and tightly attach the faucet unit from the outside.


8. Place a bead of silicone between the coupling and the barrel wall to ensure a tight seal.

9. Similar to Step 7, install the overflow fitting in the top hole. A seal is not critical for the overflow, and there a silicone bead is not required.

10. Construct a box frame with treated lumber and fill with gravel to serve as a raised base. The inside lengths of the box should equal the diameter of the barrel, at a minimum. A base can also consist of cinder or concrete blocks placed on levelled ground. Make sure your rain barrel is placed high enough to allow a bucket to be placed below the faucet.

11. Level the ground, place base in position, and fill it level with gravel.

12. Place rain barrel on the base and mark height on the downspout to determine cut location. Remove rain barrel from base.

13. Shorten your downspout on the house using a hacksaw. Dull the cut edges with steel wool.

14. Reinstall the elbow so that water is directed into the barrel.

15. Secure the cover so it cannot be opened, and align the inlet hole with the downspout. Position the overflow hose to direct excess water away from your home.

16. Periodically check your barrel to ensure that it remains in good working order.

17. If your rain barrel appears to fill up quickly, consider connecting two barrels together.


See also: Why there's a water ban in Barrhaven, Manotick and Riverside South...

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