Rain Barrels and cisterns are a cost-effective way to capture rain water and reuse it to water your landscape. Capturing rainwater also reduces storm water discharges. Water that normally would have run into the storm drains and out to the ocean, is now being redirected into a system that allows you to return it to the soil and recharge the groundwater.
A cistern, essentially a larger form of a rain barrel, is a rainwater harvesting system for storing water, usually underground. It captures non-potable water run-off for the purposes of reusing the water for watering gardens.
Where to Get a Rain Barrel
- Rain Barrels Intl.
- Lincoln Avenue Nursery Inc.
804 Lincoln Avenue
- Pasadena True Value Hardware
409 N. Fair Oaks Avenue
- La Crescenta Nursery
3654 La Crescenta Avenue
- Southeast Construction Products
1239 S. Myrtle Ave.
Monrovia , California
- Glendora Gardens
1132 South Grand Avenue
- Other Retailers: Home Depot, Lowes, Amazon, and Gardeners Supply Company
How to Install a Rain Barrel
- Find the best place to put your barrel. Look for places where downspouts lead to hardscape areas and where overflow can be diverted from foundations and used on a garden area.
- Raise the barrel about 10-15". You may want to place the rain barrel on concrete blocks if you are going to use a hose to direct water to your garden or if you want to fill up a watering can from the spigot.
- Decide how to best reconfigure the downspout. It will likely need to be shortened and have pieces/elbows added.
- Cut the spout at the desired mark with a hacksaw.
- Attach the elbow(s) over downspout. Use needle-nose pliers to crimp the ends of the cut downspout and slide it inside the elbow. Attach the elbow to the downspout with screws, or for added stability, consider securing the elbow to the building with a bracket.
- Conduct a test run. Use a water hose to flow water through gutters and into the rain barrel. Make any needed changes.
- Secure the rain barrel with metal/all-weather earthquake straps. Use anchors and screws to secure to side of house/building.
How to Maintain a Rain Barrel
- Empty rain barrels completely. Use wet/dry vacuum or empty any water into the garden.
If there is any build-up of organic matter, spray out with a hose.
- Check earthquake straps and footing to ensure they are secure. Repair any holes in the mosquito screen and/or replace filters as needed.
- Check for leaks in the barrel, valves and overflow to make sure they are working properly. Repair as needed.
- Inspect overflow area to make sure that water will continue to drain away from structures and does not flow onto pavement or neighboring properties.
- Once your rain barrel is installed, maintenance is easy. Simply use the collected water and make sure that the rain barrel is emptied on a regular basis. Right before a big storm, double check that the rain barrel is ready to go.
What are the benefits to using rain barrels?