06 January 2012

Rainbarrel Rehab

Two summers ago, not long after we moved into the house, we bought two rainbarrels. Rainbarrels are surprisingly expensive, so we opted for a collapsible style that seemed a lot more affordable. While typical rainbarrels are about 60-70 gallons, ours are 104 and 154 gallons (for about the same price). They look like this:


(picture from amazon.com)

I had read some reviews of this style, and the main complaint was that the sides don't stand up when they're empty, but I was willing to give it a try.

The reviews were right. Especially since it rarely rains down here, they stay empty (and therefore collapsed) most of the time, and I was always running outside during storms to prop them open to collect enough water to stand on their own. When empty, they looked like this at the best of times...



...but more often like this:



And I think it ended up on an uneven surface at some point, and when it tipped over, the weight of the remaining water broke two of the supports, so it wouldn't stand up anymore, regardless of how much water was in it.



There was trouble in Rainytown (not that this town is rainy...).

I thought both problems might be solved with a little rebar. Although only two of the supports were broken, the ten-foot piece of rebar I bought was enough to replace three, so I took out the bad supports plus the most warped of the other four, alternating the remaining three with pieces of rebar that I cut with a hacksaw.

Before I cut the rebar, I drove one end into the dirt where the rainbarrel sits, just to see how far it would go.




Since it easily went six inches into the ground, I cut the pieces six inches longer than the old supports so I could drive the finished supports into the ground to keep the sides of the rainbarrel standing. The old supports had these caps that fit into the ends...



...that happened to fit perfectly around the rebar...



...so I popped them on the ends to protect the rainbarrel material from any sharp edges on the rebar.

When all three posts were cut, I took the rainbarrel back to its spot under one of the rain chains and pushed the rebar down into the ground. And it works!



By the way, the rainbarrel material has held up surprisingly well, especially during such a harsh summer, so I'm glad they're both back in service (especially because we're expecting rain on Monday).

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