Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rain Barrels in Winter

Rain barrel winterizing advice from Karl Haworth.

Well it's that time of year again and freezing temps are here. For those of you who put in rain barrels during the summer wasn't it wonderful to have rain water for your plants. I used one of my barrels to keep my fish pond filled as the evaporation during the hot spells dropped the water level.
Now is the time to put the barrels away to await a warm spring day. I have one still in operation but the temps in the low 20's can cause damage to the connections and extended cold can rupture the barrel. Last year I tried to leave the hose connections open at the bottom thinking that would work but  alas not so good.
This year I have taken the barrels out of operation and used 4 inch plastic drainage pipe to fit between the gutter drain pipe and the over flow which with my system goes under ground. Or you can just put a section on the down spout to carry the water away from the house. It is important to have tubing as large as the rain gutter pipe keeping water away from the foundation to prevent a cracked foundation.
Maybe in the future we can come up with a design that will work better with freezing weather but I still think it is a good idea to empty any debris in the bottom and turn the barrels bottom up till spring.

Plans to make a rain barrel are at this Springfield website.  Much more information, a video and a discount offer is at here.

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