Today I am going to show you how to make a rain barrel for around $50 dollars, the hardest part about this project is locating a quality food grade barrel for the right price. That’s where Craigslist comes in, today I was not only able to find a quality food barrel for $25 dollars, but the guy was also nice enough to deliver it since he was headed my way anyways. So head on over to Craigslist and use the search term “food grade barrel” to see what’s available in your area. Make sure the barrel you buy wasn’t used for any kinds of toxic chemicals.
I wanted to find a way to build this as cheaply as possible, and without having to modify the downspout on my gutter too much. After some searching, I was able to find this excellent diverter kit by EarthMinded for $25 dollars at my local Walmart, or get it even cheaper at Amazon for $22.95 . What’s nice about this kit is once the barrel is full the rain will continue to flow out your downspout as normal, so water won’t flood your foundation. This kit comes with everything you need to convert your food barrel, even the hole saws, the instructions are easy to follow and it only takes about an hour or so. Since the kit gives detailed instructions, I’m just gonna post a few steps showing how easy it was.
The first step is to clean your rain barrel, I just filled it about 1/4 way and added about 1/4 cup bleach and rolled it on my front lawn for a while.
Next step is to drill your three holes in the barrel for your drain, valve and water inlet fitting and insert the rubber seals. Use dish soap on the seals it makes them easier to install.
Next screw in your drain and valves.
Next drill your downspout and insert the diverter.
Last but not least connect the fill hose and you are all done.
Like I said I didn’t go into detail on all the steps because the diverter kit comes with detailed instructions. The kit also comes with a plug for your downspout so when you store your barrel for the winter, you just remove the diverter and install the plug.