Learn 6 Benefits and Uses of Rain Barrels

An aged barrel beside purple flowers in front of a white wall.

You may be aware that rain barrels serve as a great tool to collect rainwater, but do you know about the additional ways they can be used and the benefits they offer? To name a few, rain barrels can help save money on your water bill, keep your plants healthy and even help reduce pollution. 

Curious to hear about the functional details and the additional benefits rain barrels bring to the table? Keep reading — in this article we discuss six uses and benefits of rain barrels, along with tips on how to install and maintain them.

What are Rain Barrels?

A stainless steel rain barrel on a wooden platform.

A rain barrel, often called a rainwater tank, is a small above-ground storage tank that captures rainfall from downspouts on your roof and stores it for use in the garden or other household applications. It is an eco-friendly way to conserve water while also saving money on your water bill.

Let’s take a closer look at the uses and benefits of these systems — some may just surprise you. 

6 Uses and Benefits of a Rain Barrel System

1. Conserves Water

In areas with frequent drought conditions, rain barrels can help reduce the demand for municipal water supplies. The average family uses approximately 50 gallons of water per day, but only 10%-15% of that is actually used for drinking and cooking. The rest is used for laundry, bathing and watering plants.

Collecting rainwater allows you to use less tap water, which saves both money and energy. Rain barrels can be used to water lawns and gardens, wash cars or fill pools and jacuzzis. Some rain barrels come with a spigot or hose attachment for easy watering while others have a design that allows them to be hooked up to a garden hose.

In addition, while rain barrels typically have a capacity of 50-60 gallons, larger models are also available — the more water you are able to collect, the more money and energy you’re able to save.

2. Reduces Flooding

By directing water away from homes and businesses and storing it in barrels or other suitable containers, the system can help reduce the amount of runoff that occurs during a storm and help prevent flooding.

This also helps protect the foundation of your home from water infiltration due to excess rainwater and flooding.

3. Preserves Groundwater

Groundwater is an important natural resource, and collecting rainwater helps preserve it. When you utilize the water stored in your tanks, you reduce the demand placed on groundwater-based public utilities.

4. Improves Soil Drainage

Rainwater collected in a barrel may help in the drainage of your garden or lawn soil. Rain barrels act as a buffer by slowing down the flow of the rainwater, allowing the ground to absorb it before it runs off.

5. Helps Plants Thrive 

The extra water that rain barrels provide can help your plants flourish, especially during times of drought. Using rain barrel water for watering plants is better for the plants because it is free of chlorine and other chemicals found in treated municipal water supplies.

6. Environmentally Friendly 

Stormwater runoff is a major source of pollution in our waterways. Using rain barrels reduces the amount of stormwater runoff, which helps keep our water clean and healthy. In addition, stopping the runoff also helps prevent erosion.

Installing a Rain Barrel System

An white rain catcher with vertical details

A basic rain barrel system is composed of a few parts:

  • A rain barrel or other suitable storage device
  • Downspout adapter with screen to direct the water into the barrel
  • Tight fitting cover to prevent leaves, debris, mosquitoes and other pests from entering the barrel and contaminating the water
  • Spigot to easily access the water in the barrel

The system can be set up in a few hours with basic hand tools. First, install the spigot on the side of the barrel. Level the spot where the rain barrel will sit, and place it on a concrete pad or solid cinder blocks to keep it from sinking into the ground. Cut the downspout to the proper length, and attach the screen and adapter so it fits tightly in the cover.

Of course, there are other options available, such as installing a filter system in the tank or a pump if you want to pump the water out, rather than using gravity.

What Does it Cost?

Rain barrels can be made from anything that holds water without leaking or contaminating it. For a quality installation, it is recommended you purchase equipment specifically for that purpose. A 54-gallon single barrel system that can be expanded as the need dictates could be purchased for about $257.00. Larger systems that will hold up to 1,200 gallons are available for $1,980.00. Of course, there are many options in between.

Maintaining Your System

To get the most out of your rain barrel, it is important to properly maintain it. Here are a few tips:

  • Empty and clean your rain barrel at least once a month — more often if you live in an area with heavy rains.
  • Inspect your rain barrel periodically for leaks and cracks — repair or replace as necessary.
  • Keep gutters cleaned regularly to prevent blocking the flow of water to the barrels.

By following these simple tips, you can keep your rain barrel system functioning properly for years to come.

Tank Depot Carries Rainwater Collection Systems at the Best Price

A dark green cylindrical rain barrel sitting in grass.

If you’re interested in rainwater collection, our team at Tank Depot has the perfect system for you. We carry rainwater barrels and tanks in various sizes to meet your needs. Our rainwater systems are made of high-quality materials and are easy to install. Plus, we offer the best prices on the market. 
Don’t miss out on this environmentally-friendly and cost-effective way to collect rainwater. Contact us today to find out more.