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How to Maintain a Rain Barrel

 

Over the past several years rain barrels have become extremely popular.  It’s a new take on an old idea that catches rainwater to be used to water flower gardens and landscapes.  Just buy a rain barrel, set it up, and enjoy the benefits of a greener landscape, and happy plants.  Simple, huh?  While rain barrels are a great way to recycle water, there are some things to know to keep your rain barrel in good shape.

One of the first things to consider is where to use the water from your rain barrel.  You know the water collected is not suitable for you or your pets to drink, but is it OK to use everywhere else in your landscape?  If you know your roof material contains no asbestos, tar and gravel, or is not treated cedar shakes, then it should be safe for your landscape and flower gardens.

However, some prefer not to use water from their rain barrels for watering fruit or vegetable garden since there is limited research on pollutants in the gathered water.  And, if you have your roof cleaned or treated for pests you should unhook your rain barrel for a couple of weeks to avoid contaminating your water.

Another thing to remember, like with all things, your rain barrel will require some maintenance.    To help, don’t allow water to stand in your barrel for more than 5 to 7 days.  For a rain barrel in direct sunlight, algae growth can be an issue.  If so, empty the barrel, wash with a solution of 3/4 cup of bleach per one gallon of water, and rinse well.  Remember to dispose of the bleach solution in a household drain to avoid damaging your lawn or garden areas.

Summer is the season for mosquitoes, and your rain barrel can become a breeding area for them.  Placing a fine mesh screen to the lid of the rain barrel can prevent adult mosquitoes from getting in and laying eggs.  Otherwise, you will need to empty your barrel every week so mosquitoes don’t have time to breed.  Check monthly and remove any debris that accumulates on the lid.  Clean your barrel on a regular basis, and check over-flow hose and connections to make sure all is working properly.

Having a rain barrel is a great way to conserve your water usage.  Keeping it clean and in good working order will help you get the most out of your rain barrel, and benefit both the environment and your landscape.

Have more questions? Call us—we’d love to help! Call the professionals at Go Green Plumbing at 336-252-2999 for service 7 days a week/24 hours a day. If water runs through it – We Do It!