Rain barrels on the cheap (and hidden from 'the Man')

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by CATO, Sep 22, 2014.

  1. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    Cheapest DIY Rain Barrel (that works better than most) - Alex's Hobby Site

    Cheapest DIY Rain Barrel (that works better than most)

    So I found a way to build an effective rain collection barrel for around $40. All parts were purchased at the local Ace Hardware store.

    I used a trash can (32 gal) for easy cleaning and construction. A 55 gal blue barrel could be adapted for increased water needs.

    1 trash can with lid
    2 plastic downspout extenders (accordion style), fitted to the size of your downspout
    1 bulkhead fitting
    1 boiler drain valve
    1 tube silver gutter sealant


    At first I tried silicone to seal the seams, but it wouldn't stick the the trash can material. My next move was to try Seamer Mate, found in the roofing/gutter section of home depot. A full-size caulk tube is not necessary, and you have to throw it away after you open it, so try to find the smaller tube to save some money.


    Since using Seamer Mate, I found the Lowe's version. I can't remember the name, but it's found with the gutters and it comes in a caulk tube. It's clear and you don't have to throw it away after opening. Much more economical.
    This stuff has a million waterproofing uses, and what great adhesion!

    Here is a close-up of the bulkhead fitting. This is essential to keeping water in your barrel! Notice how the inside is threaded so you can add a drain valve.

    The best part about this design is that every drop of rain is directed into the barrel, and once full, all rain is redirected into your drain system.

    During winter, the barrel can be removed. Just take the top accordion and reconnect the two sections of downspout for flawless performance.

    If the trash can is too much of an eyesore, you could always build a little house like I did here. I found some old doors and used them as my walls, with just some planks as a roof. It doesn't have to keep out water, just hide the barrel from view.

    I put hinges on the front for easy access,

    And when the season is over, I just disconnect and store the barrel inside!
    Here is another version that I built using a 275 gallon cube tote tank. It required some creative use of PVC to fit the outlet, but the design is the same. I used some stockade fence to hide it.

  2. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    Perfect!! Great design and hidden is key!!
  3. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Aggravating to have to "hide" your water container/S. A bud has a rack of about a dozen horizontal 55 gallon plastic barrels connected to his roof drains. They use it for grey water, dish water, shower, and gardens. The barrels have a shed over them and are about 4' off the rear patio. Gives them storage under the rack. Good to live in the country.
    AmericanRedoubt1776, GOG and kellory like this.
  4. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Put a good Filter System on those, and your friend could certainly use that Water as Potable Water.... 2 Micron PreFilter, 10 Micron Activated Charcoal Filter, followed by a UV Sterilizer Tank, and he would be ALL SET.....
  5. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    They use a Berkey. We have a UV unit and a Berkey for drinking water even with our wells
    Tully Mars and BTPost like this.
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