A rain barrel is a great way to make your property more river friendly. Collecting roof runoff in a rain barrel reduces the amount of water that flows from your property, which protects nearby streams and rivers from water pollution. It’s also a great way to conserve water and save money on your utility bill.
In Virginia, the freeze-thaw cycle can damage or destroy rain barrels, so it is recommended that you “winterize,” or decommission your barrel during the winter season. Here are 3 steps to winterize your rain barrel:
- Drain all water from the barrel. Begin by using the spigot to release as much water as you can, then tip or invert the barrel to remove the rest.
- Disconnect the hose and downspout diverter. Cover both holes with the caps that were included in your rain barrel kit.
- Store the barrel and components in a sheltered area. Keeping the barrel and connection kit in a basement, garage or shed will help extend the life of your barrel. If left outside, cover the barrel with a tarp and turn it upside-down to prevent water accumulation.
Don’t forget the most important step: set up your barrel after the last frost in the spring, so it can continue to make your property more river friendly.
River Steward, City of Fredericksburg and Stafford County