How Can You Collect Rainwater?


Rain barrels are a great way to save rainwater for watering plants and washing your car. You can build your own rain barrel in a couple of hours using inexpensive materials.

  1. Gather your materials

    You need a large plastic garbage can or a recycled barrel made of food-grade quality material. You also need a drill, a cutter suitable for use on plastics, a rubber washer and a metal washer, Teflon plumbing tape or a tube of waterproof sealant, a spigot, a short length of hose or PVC pipe and landscaping fabric.

  2. Cut your holes

    Cut one hole sized to fit your spigot near the bottom of the barrel. Make sure this hole is high enough off the ground to allow you to fill a watering can beneath your spigot. Cut a second hole near the top of the barrel for overflow, sized to fit the hose or PVC pipe. Cut a hole in the lid of the can or barrel that is large enough to accommodate the flow from the downspout that fills the barrel.

  3. Insert and seal the spigot

    Place a metal washer over the threaded end of the spigot, followed by a rubber washer. Insert the spigot from the outside of the barrel and seal it in place with sealant or Teflon plumber's tape.

  4. Insert the overflow hose or pipe

    Insert the overflow hose or pipe into the hole prepared for it, using sealant or Teflon tape to hold it in place. Place the hose or pipe so that the overflow goes into a second rain barrel or a gutter to avoid soil erosion right around the barrel.

  5. Mosquito-proof the barrel

    Cut a piece of the landscaping fabric large enough to fit securely over the barrel's opening and place the lid over it. This keeps mosquitoes and other insects out of the water and prevents mosquitoes from laying their eggs inside.

  6. Position the barrel

    Place the barrel with the opening in its lid directly underneath the downspout you wish to use to fill it. When it rains, you can start using the water right away for almost anything except cooking, drinking or bathing.