Your Questions About Rain Barrels

Mary asks…

Can rain barrels be hooked up to your washing machine?

I have the 55 gallon rain barrels, and I thought it would be a good idea to hook one up to my washer. Any suggestions or can it even be done?

admin answers:

Unless the water is run through a filter (which would cost some money to rig up) it would not be a good idea to use for household use. The only thing i would use it for would be to flush the toilet.

Donna asks…

Rain barrels? Does anyone have experience with collecting rainwater?

I am looking to add rain barrels to our house and garage by allowing some of our downspouts to empty into rain barrels. I would then like to add a hose spigot to the barrels. Does anyone have any suggestions or experience with this?

admin answers:

I have a 50 gallon rain barrel that came with a hose attachment. The barrel will fill up in no time during a good rain. I have found that when you don’t need it, it is full and when you do need it, you use up the water really quickly. This spring we have had a lot of rain so I haven’t needed the rain water from the barrel. If it sits there too long it starts to smell bad so you have to add a little bleach. Also, I add some mosquito dunks just in case mosquitos decide to lay eggs in it. I think it would be great to have a rain barrel at each downspout. Also, the height and location of the barrel is important for getting the water to come out. It won’t flow up hill!

Jenny asks…

What can I use to raise my rain barrels off the ground?

I want to raise my 50 gal rain barrels off the ground about 3 feet to improve the feed pressure. As I calculate it, 50 gal of water weighs about 415 lbs. What can I use to support the barrels? Thanks…

admin answers:

Pallets are wonderful for holding heavy weighted items off the ground. Why the thumbs down? We live in the country and put round bales of hay on them that weigh in excess of 2000 pounds!

Linda asks…

barrels needed for rain collection?

i am in smith co tn. and i am looking for free or real cheap barrels to conver into rain barrels.
thanks for the info but i need to know where to get them at.

admin answers:

Barrels used to be free at many places. Now, steel barrels are about $5 and plastic are $20. Companies started charging customers a fee and made the barrels returnable.

Ruth asks…

I want to identify algae growing in my rain water/barrels?

I have a few rain barrels at my home garden. When they get full I transfer the water into 2 & 3 litre soda bottles. After a while some bottles have green algae and others have red algae. Can anyone tell me what kind of algae would form in rain-water and how harmful these algae might be to my vegetable garden or myself (if I splashed some in my face or something like that)?

admin answers:

The algae are not harmful to your plants or to you. Most likely, the algae are a type of green algae (even the red ones). I would be more concerned about mosquitoes laying eggs in the rain barrels. When you transfer water to the soda bottles, look for wigglers swimming downward and then slowly floating to the surface, heads down. If you see wigglers (mosquito larvae) then you are producing adult mosquitoes that will want to have a blood meal sooner or later! You could add some minnows, guppies or small goldfish to the rain barrels to control the mosquitoes if you have them.

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