Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Project Rain Barrels - UPDATED


Project Rain Barrel Complete!  Okay, not really, only one rain barrel complete.  I ran out of time and I cannot wait to post this so the other two barrels will have to wait until the weekend to be finished.  Yes, 3 rain barrels, if you're gonna do it, DO IT!  Right?!?  

We painted a food grade, 55 gallon drum and transformed it into a rain barrel.  I put a pipe at the top for an overflow and two spigots, one for filling water cans and one for connecting a hose.  I am very pleased with the results.  My inspiration? Kathy at Lovelace Files!  Thanks Kathy for the great idea!!!

UPDATE: When the hose is attached to the bottom spigot, well lets just say it doesn't work as I imagined.  Even when the barrel is full, there just is not enough pressure to use a hose, the water comes out but lifting the hose stops the flow.  So the bottom spigot is just used for emptying the barrel of stagnant water or leaving it open when not collecting water as in winter months.  

I do have plans to make the tops of these barrels look a bit nicer...stay tuned...I should be posting on that within the next few weeks!  

Click Read More for the How To...
Materials / Tools (per barrel)
1 food grade (or soap) 55 gallon plastic drum
2 cans of spray paint that will adhere to plastic, I used Krylon, of course!
1 (1/2 x 3 1/2 inch) pipe, threading on at least one end
2 (1/2 inch) spigots
1 tube of silicon  -or- UPDATE:  5200 sealant
1 (4 x 4 inch) piece of fiberglass window screen
1 rubberband
3/4 inch wood drill bit
utility knife
a flower pot or two, optional
white marble rock, optional

How I Did It
1.  I grabbed the cutest little 6 1/2 year old that I could find and put him to work spray painting my barrels.  This is no ordinary 6 1/2 year old, he does such a great job following instructions that I didn't have to worry that about the dangers of giving a 6 1/2 year old a can of spray paint.  Mom did stand by to supervise and remind him of the safety precautions.  

2.  We let dry for two weeks.  Not because we had to but we had other things to tend to.  =)

3.  I took my 3/4 inch wood drill bit and drill and drilled three holes into the barrel.

a.  The first hole was approximately 3 inches down from the top and pointing away from the structure where my rain barrel will be placed.  A small threaded pipe will be placed here.  This is important because if the barrel fills up, this will let the water overflow out the side, away from your structure.

b.  The second hole was placed so that when a spigot was inserted, a watering can could be placed underneath it to be filled.

c.  The third hole was placed near the bottom of the drum approximately an inch and a half from the bottom.  This would be for an additional spigot so that we could empty the drum or leave open during the winter months.

4.  I inserted the overflow pipe and both spigots by screwing them into the drilled holes.  This is a perfectly tight fit.  I stopped screwing them in a few turns before they were completely in.

5.  I placed silicone on the threads and continued screwing until the threads were either completely in (or the pipe would no longer turn).  I applied more silicone to the pipe and spigots where they met the barrel when finished.

UPDATE:  I wasn't happy with the results using the silicone.  When I closed the spigots there was too much give and it I happened to over-tightened the spigot would actually move.  The hub came to the rescue...he suggested that I use...Fast Cure 5200 instead.  It is actually a marine adhesive/sealant.  Well, it worked great!  It is actually still pliable but nothing even thinks of moving!  Of course, if you happen to find a barrel that has a removable lid and you can get inside the barrel, you can use washers and nuts and the silicone would work just fine.

Note:  I made sure that the bottom spigot pointed towards the side instead of downward.  I did this so that I could put this as low on the barrel as I could, for easy emptying.

6.  I cut a 4 x 4 inch section of fiberglass screen, placed it over one of the holes in the top of the barrel and secured it with a rubberband.  (I made sure that this was the hole that the downspout would be draining into!)

7.  I used a utility knife to cut the downspout so that it would fit above the hole in the barrel.  The hub used a Sawzall to cut the other two for me.  I think he was napping when I did the first one.

And here she is...

8.  To take care of the water that will collect on the lid/rim, I drilled holes where the water began to collect so that it would drain into the drum.  I did this after water had collected so that I was sure of the low spots due to the pitches in the driveway or yard.  

9.  I placed a couple flower pots and white marble rocks on the top to make it look nicer.  I made sure to clean the rocks first.