Rainwater harvesting: 4-Step rain barrel fabrication

Collecting rain water is a smart and efficient way to save a few bucks while minimizing your environmental...

Collecting rain water is a smart and efficient way to save a few bucks while minimizing your environmental footprint. Another incentive is that Georgia awards residents for having a rainharvest system. So if you're an Atlanta resident, get a tax credit for using equipment that reduces energy consumption. Not sure where to start? By following these four steps, you'll have your new rainwater harvesting system in no time!

Step 1: Clean your barrel

Even if it's brand new, you'll still want to give the barrel a once over, as it may have been sitting for quite a while (any size is okay, but 55-gallon containers usually work best). Generally, lawn equipment is stored outside and exposed to the elements and is likely to be at least a little dirty. A one part bleach to five parts water solution will do the job just fine. Thoroughly wipe down the interior with a soft cloth or sponge. Let the barrel dry before proceeding to the next step.

Step 2: Attach your downspout

After the lid of your barrel is firmly in place, cut a hole in the top using a hole saw. Before attaching the extender to your downspout, cover one end with mesh screen; this will keep dirt and bugs from contaminating your water. After this is complete, attach your downspout extender/diverter to your existing downspout on one end and feed the other end of the diverter into the newly made hole. You can use Teflon tape or plumber's putty to create a watertight seal around the opening.

Step 3: Drill hole for your spigot

This needs to be about 4 to 6 inches above the bottom of your barrel to allow for secondary collection. Using a drill and the appropriate sized bit, drill until you've cleared the inside of the barrel. Now, simply fasten the spigot in place and liberally apply PVC cement around the inner threads.

Step 4: Raise your new rainwater harvester

This is the easiest step in the process. All it requires is a platform for your newly created harvester to rest on. Why the platform? Well, it further eases collection by generating greater water pressure. You can build your own with particle board or there are a few Atlanta-area landscapers that'll not only do this for you, but walk you through the entire rainwater harvesting process!

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