If You Don’t Have a Rain Barrel, You’re Losing Water and Money

Rain barrels have been popping up all over my neighborhood lately. I live in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., and water is expensive here. It can also be scarce in the summer, especially in the hot months of July and August, when flowers are in full bloom and trees and bushes are supposed to be growing. None of that happensif the plants don’t get enough water. In fact, I’ve hada lot of vegetables, azaleas, hydrangeas and even hundred-year-old oak trees die for lack of moisture.

We’ve turned to rain barrels as a free way to collect water, reduce our water bill, and minimizerun-off. A rain barrel is a big barrel, usually a 55 gallon drum made from heavy duty plastic or wood, that collects and stores rainwater from a roof. The barrel is attached to a gutter that drains water off a roof. A lid keeps mosquitoes and debris out. A hose connects to the bottom of the barrel to make it easy to drain the water out. You can install a rain barrel at each corner of your house, a garage, a shed, a barn, or any other structure with a roof.

The U.S. EPA says rain barrels can save most homeowners about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months.Lawn and garden watering make up nearly 40% of total household water use during the summer, so using a rain barrel to get water for free is pretty much a no-brainer. Plus, capturing rain water from your gutters rather than letting it flow aimlessly onto your property or into storm drains significantly reduces the impact of runoff into streams. A rain barrel is an easy way to get clean, fresh water to use outdoors for free.

Most hardware stores and stores with gardening departments sell rain barrels, including Ace, Lowe’s, Home Depot and WalMart. You can also find them online if you search “where to buy rain barrels.” Gardener’s Supplysells options that include a double barrel system with the couplings you need for your hoses.Plow & Hearth sells a beautiful terra cotta urn whosetop serves as a decorative planter to hold flowers.

Rain barrels can cost over $100, and upwards of $200 or more. You’ll eventually save that money on your water bill. But you can also make your own water barrel. Care2 shows you how here.


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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Angela AWAY
Angela K3 years ago

GREAT !!! Thank you for sharing

Melissa DogLover
Melissa DogLover3 years ago

interesting.... TY

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H3 years ago

It only helps if you have rain! We have been quite shy on our share.

Cuppy M.
Cuppy M3 years ago

Maybe one day when I don't live in an apartment. :S

Joemar Karvelis
Joemar Karvelis3 years ago


Angela B.
Angela B3 years ago

Great idea!! We had them when I was a kid.

donnaa d.
donnaa D3 years ago


Robert O.
Robert O3 years ago

Good idea. Whatever it takes to conserve water.

Andy W., maybe not yet but with climate change getting worse with each passing year water is going to be more precious than gold.

Janis K.
Janis K3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.