Set up the stand: Our stands are built from treated lumber (now available as special order in cedar) to withstand the elements for many years. No additional treatment is needed. Be sure to place the stand on firm, solid ground (freshly tilled areas or new construction need special attention), on pavers, bricks or a bed of pea gravel. The stand should be well-supported under all four legs. Use a level to be sure the stand is level from front to back and from side to side - don't just "eyeball it." A stand supports about 450 pounds per full rain barrel. If you chose a larger tank, calculate the weight of the tank (on our Online Store) plus 8.33 pounds per gallon. Serious weight here.
Set up the barrel: As above, be sure the stand is level and on a solid base. Place the barrel so that the spigot is easily accessible for buckets or attaching hoses, using our stand's recessed front. Check that the lid is tightened down securely and the screens are clean. Make sure the spigot is closed so you don’t lose the water you intend to harvest.
Set up the downspout diversion:
●Control the flow of water - A diverter can be added to your downspout to allow you to choose where the water goes. A simple lever inside directs the flow into the rain barrel or to your normal drainage pattern (outspout or tile). Diverters available at Rain Barrels Iowa are for 2"x 3” or 3"x 4” downspouts, come in multiple colors, and are made in Iowa. We have "leaf eaters" for you, too.
●Simply direct the flow - Cut the downspout above the barrel and attach elbows and/or extenders to bring the water to the barrel. Rain chains (visit our store or check the online store for these beauties) are an excellent and decorative way of bringing the water down from the gutters.
●Free flow - You can simply detach your downspout at the gutter and let the rain fall. If you don’t mind splashing this is fine. However, it can cause damage to the lid over the years - make sure your screening remains intact. At the end of the season, redirect the water flow back into the normal discharge for your landscape. Empty the rain barrels and store them for the season with the lids screwed on. I like to use an old rag mop to clean the inside of the damp rain barrel as I empty them for winter, so they are clean for the spring rain harvest. We put any leftover water on our trees or into our rain gardens.
Set up the overflow: The overflow at the top of the standard rain barrel is designed to allow you to channel excess water away from the foundation when the barrel is full. A hose must be attached to direct the overflow water back into your downspout system or otherwise 10 feet away from your foundation. Please use a reinforced hose connector for your overflow or a "goose neck" to help change the angle of the hose (available from our store) as even "non-kinking" hose will kink. This overflow is best used for a garage or shed. You can also purchase our Internal Overflow Rain Barrel which offers larger overflow capacity. This has a 1.25" standpipe on the inside which exits on the side of the barrel near the bottom and comes with a 12' flex hose for running the water away from your foundation. We recommend this style for installation near a foundation for better overflow control.