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Thursday, November 13, 2008

How to Winterize a Rain Barrel

If you live in an area that gets ice, snow, and/or freezing temperatures in winter, you should add one often overlooked task to your Fall Prepare for Winter Checklist: drain any standing water from your rain barrel.


During the winter, if the standing water you currently have in your rain barrel freezes, it could cause the rain barrel to crack or split, and well, then you’re out one rain barrel. Given the cost of those things, a rain barrel is not something that I personally would want to replace every spring or summer. Ouch.




Once you’ve drained the water from your rain barrel, be sure to disconnect it from the downspout of your home so it won’t refill during fall rains or with melting winter snow. Depending up how you have your rain barrel attached to your home’s downspout or rain chain, you may be able to simply set the barrel to the side and attach a longer piece of downspout to the remaining pipe for winter. Alternatively, you want to consider installing a downspout diverter to make the job easier.

After some research I found three examples of readymade downspout diverters.
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The Garden Watersaver downspout attachment.



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However I'm sure that there also metal downspout diverters  like this version I saw at the Columbus Zoo:
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Please excuse the photo quality. I snapped the photo with my phone.

Sadly, I don’t have a rain barrel (yet) so I don’t have any personal experience with using or installing any of these rainwater diverters on my gutters. However, if or when I do take the rain barrel plunge, this is something I’m going to consider to make winterizing the rain barrel much easier.

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