Do’s & Don’ts When Making A Rain Barrel For Rainwater Collection

gravity-fed-rain-barrels-by-vinzcha.jpg Rain barrels are all the rage these days!

Did you know that 623 gallons of water can be harvested from 1 inch of rain on a 1,000-square-foot roof?

In terms of rain barrels, a typical 1/2-inch rainfall will fill a 50- to 55-gallon barrel.

Here are some fun and easy ways to make your own rain barrel:


Rain Barrel Do’s & Don’ts

DO keep pets and children safe by making sure your rain barrel has a sturdy top.

DON’T cook with or drink water that’s been collected in a rain barrel.

DO make sure all openings on your rain barrel are screened to keep out mosquitoes.

DON’T use old barrels that formerly held something toxic.

DO make sure your rain barrel adapts for overflow (either direct excess rainwater away from the barrel or link multiple barrels together).


More About Rain Barrels:


Here’s a great video that shows how to recycle rain water, rather than letting it become wastewater:


Smelly Rain Barrel Water

If the water in your rain barrel gets starts to smell (or turns green), try adding goldfish! They keep the water very clean by eating the algae that turns it green. However, don’t dump the goldfish in a stream or river because they’re invasive. Instead, give them to a child with a fish tank or return them to the store.

Barley-straw pellets are another option. They kill algae but won’t harm plants.

A DIY option is to pour a small amount of vinegar into the water. It should clear it up relatively quickly. As a bonus, the vinegar also kills mosquito larvae.

Lynnette Walczak

Lynnette Walczak

I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money -- so I frequently write about "outside the box" ideas that most wouldn't think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed several years until switching gears to pursue things I was more passionate about. I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo -- to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun websites).

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Fun From Around the Web

  • possiblymeprobablyme

    Here’s a don’t for you: Don’t do this in the state of Utah. In Utah, the state owns the water that falls on your land and you aren’t allowed to collect it.

    • Marilyn Williams

      Are you for real on this?!?!
      I’ve been out of the Stares for a few years, if this is true, I’m never going back!!

      • Lois56

        This is true for several states!

    • Day Thomas Smith

      Not true (at least, not anymore!). Utah allows for the direct capture and storage of rainwater on land owned or leased by the person responsible for the collection. If a person collects or stores precipitation in an underground storage container, only one container with a maximum capacity of no more than 2,500 gallons may be used. For a covered storage container, no more than two containers may be used, and the maximum storage capacity of any one container shall not be greater than 100 gallons. Utah Code Annotated §73-3-1.5

      • FunTimesGuide

        Thanks for the update!