Education

This resource page was produced as part of The Rain Barrel Project, a program developed by the Center’s educators for public and private school students in Media Borough to learn about the problems of stormwater runoff and how that rainwater affects their school, neighborhood and local streams.

Reasons to Have a Rain Barrel at Home

Rain Barrel Installation and Maintenance Checklist

The overflow from the barrel must be directed into a landscaped bed or lawn area at least 4 feet away from the foundation. Don’t allow the water to overflow and saturate the ground around your home’s foundation; use an adjustable diverter or an overflow pipe.

The barrel must be placed on a flat and level surface. 50 gallons of water weighs 400 pounds and you don’t want it to tip over.

Consider raising your barrel about two feet off the ground in order to enhance gravity flow into a hose and get good drainage. Cinder or landscaping blocks provide a good base. Remember, the higher you place your barrel, the more water pressure you get from your hose but use caution balancing height with stability. Barrels larger that 60 gallons should not be raised on any small pedestal.

Place your rain barrel on a surface that is pervious, like mulch or gravel. Otherwise, water could pool on paved areas and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Clean your gutters on a regular basis, and empty your rain barrel ideally within a week after a rain event to optimize your use for the next rain event. Leave the tap open if you won’t be able to empty it.

Winter Care

Rain barrels need special care in climates that have winter temperatures below freezing.

Words of Warning

Rain Barrel Resources

Rain barrels may be purchased from the following sources:

For tips about rain barrel construction, installation, accessories and guides, visit the following websites: