FAQ’S

  • How Do I open the barrel?

    The lid is a screw top. Left is loose. Sometimes the lid gets off its track in shipping or hot weather may cause the lid to stick. When this happens use WD-40 and a friend to help unscrew the lid.

  • Where are the instructions, parts and diverter?

    All parts and instructions are shipped or delivered inside the barrel. If you ordered a diverter with your barrel it is shipped inside the barrel.

  • Why do I need the Save the Rain Diverter?

    The Save the Rain Diverter captures water from your downspout and channels it into your barrel. The ideal condition for the diverter is when the barrel is placed in front of the downspout. During the water collection season the diverter stays open and diverts water into the barrel. When you put your barrel away for the winter you simply close the flap on the diverter and your downspout resumes its original function without having to reassemble it.

  • Can I use the bung hole in the center of the lid to channel water directly into the barrel?

    The bung hole is intended to release the build up of pressure when the olives cure in the barrels. It is not part of the water collection system. We do not recommend adapting a direct feed into the barrel thru the bung hole, so there is no risk of water backing up your downspout and possibly causing damage to your home.

  • What are the dimensions of the barrel?

    The barrels stands 39″ tall with diameter of 24″, it weighs 20 lbs.

  • Why do you supply two elbows?

    When you receive your barrel there will be a packet inside with instructions, a spigot and two ¾” overflow elbows. One elbow will be placed in the open hole at the top of the barrel. We recommend attaching a ¾” ID hose or flex tube for overflow. The second elbow can be used for additional overflow if needed or for linking barrels together.

  • Why plastic spigots?

    We tried brass and found that brass was not a good mate to plastic. Brass corrodes and clogs with the introduction of certain bacteria and minerals and it is much stronger than plastic. In areas of extreme temperature change the brass will conduct the temperature at a different rate than the plastic and ultimately breakdown the molecules around the joint of the barrel resulting in leakage. The brass was also not easy to replace because strips the threading in the joint. So we decided to go with a plastic spigot that is easy to replace. This way the barrel will out live the spigot! We also like the way it looks.

  • Why do you paint the barrels?

    We want to encourage people to use recycled material as much as possible, however we understand that people have pride in their homes and gardens and want something with an aesthetic appeal. Our barrels are recycled shipping drums and have scratches, markings and a dull finish. We paint them to make them look better. The paint that we use is a recipe of industrial products not available for retail that is sprayed on at our plant. We offer our barrels in three environmentally compatible colors along with the original unpainted.

  • If I put my spigot 14″ above ground how do I get the water out when it falls below the spigot line?

    One of the benefits of The Great American Rain Barrel is the screw top lid. This offers a lot of flexibility in usage. If the water falls below the spigot line unscrew the lid and dunk the watering can inside the barrel. Or carefully tip the barrel forward to fill the watering can.

  • Will the water get too hot?

    No, that is a myth. The water will get warm but not hot. Plants also like warm water

  • Why do you have a series of small holes on top of the lid?

    Some newer manufacturers of rain barrels make larger holes in the lid with a screen below. We have 8 x 3/8″ holes in the top of the lid. There is no need for more. This lid serves as a tray and the water drains into the barrel, acting as a filter to prevent unwanted debris from getting inside. If the holes are too big the screen beneath could easily be damaged by debris exposing the water and inviting mosquitoes to breed. The firmer lid also serves as host to stones or plants to create a more interesting aesthetic for your barrel. The amount of roof runoff captured by your downspout determines how much water goes into the barrel not the holes in the lid.

  • My lid is broken, How do I replace it?

    Not all barrels have the same lid. If you need a replacement lid, please ship the lid or email a clear photograph to us and we will send you a new one.

  • How do I replace my spigot?

    Order a spigot directly from us. See products.

  • My downspouts are too large for the Save the Rain Diverter™.

    We now offer two size diverters to accommodate all plastic and metal downspouts. Measure the depth and width or diameter of your diverter to see which diverter will fit. The diverter is designed so that you can crimp the sides of the downspouts to fit the diverter.

  • My barrel is leaking?

    It is rare that our barrel will leak. But if it is not properly winterized it may cause damage to the molecules of the plastic and cause leaking or cracking. Should this occur empty the barrel, dry it and place duck tape inside the barrel on the crack. If a leak develops around the spigot or plugs use Teflon tape at the connection. If your spigot is leaking it will need to be replaced.

  • I have connected two barrels together and the water will not flow into the second barrel?

    For best results, place barrels side by side. Use a short piece of hose piece about 6″ to 3’long. Sometimes it helps to elevate one barrel.

  • How do I get more pressure?

    Rain barrels are gravity fed. For additional pressure you can place the spigot in the bottom drain hole and attach a hose. This works best if you have the barrel elevated slightly.

  • Can I use the barrel to store drinking water?

    NO! Still water is a breeding ground for bacteria. The water collected from your gutters is not sterilized and the barrel is not sealed. Use the water in your barrel to offset your water needs. Do not use the barrel for drinking water

  • Why is The Great American Rain Barrel better?

    It is a recyled by product from our food importing business. It is incredibly durable. It is appealing and it is simple. With the proper care our barrel will last virtually forever. It is versatile and safe to use. Water will not back up your downspout; the spigot can be easily replaced. The barrel is easy to install. It can be opened and cleaned so there is no build up of odors. We are a strong and established business that has been in business since 1990 and sold over 100,000 rain barrels nationwide. We are experienced, we know what we are talking about and we stand by our product. Oh, and did I say it is recycled?!

  • Can I buy barrels and diverters directly from you?

    Yes, we offer wholesale and retail prices for our barrels. See where to buy to contact us for prices and resale information.

  • What if I want to paint my own barrel?

    The Great American Rain Barrel Company offers a selection of environmentally compatible paint colors to suit most settings.  If these choices are too limited for you, or you want to try something decorative, we recommend purchasing an unpainted barrel.  The most common product used is Krylon spray paint. Please be sure to read directions for use. Barrels are washed but we would recommend that you wash again.

  • Why do you place the spigot so high?

    We recommend placing the spigot 14” above ground so that a watering can be placed beneath it.  The barrel is only 60 gallons and is gravity fed. If the spigot were at the bottom it would have to push thru  a hose, perhaps 6’ or 15’, there is not enough pressure to push it into through a hose and up into a watering can.  The other consideration is that the barrel fills and you empty, fills and you empty, fills and you empty , so you are working in the upper quadrants. If you spend too much time in the lower part of your barrel you need another one! One of the easiest ways to get water out is to remove the lid and dunk your  watering can, especially  when the water level falls below the spigot line, or you can tip it towards you. You always have the option of raising the barrel and putting the spigot at the bottom. That will increase pressure and allow for a watering can. You can also attach a soaker hose. To do so we recommend using 4 cinder blocks on the long end.

  • How do I know which size diverter I need.

    By now you know that the Save the Rain Diverter comes in two sizes. Counter intuitively,  the small diverter is  the more universal size . Originally the small diverter was considered a standard size that could fit all downspouts. This was because the upper portion of the downspout can be crimped with needle nose pliers to fit into the top of the diverter and the lower part of the diverter would then rest in side the downspout, using  the tabs to hold it in place.  But overtime the proliferation of larger downspouts created enough demand that we created the large diverter.   The small fits downspouts that are approx 2 x 3 inches or about 10-11 circumference and 3″ round. If the downspouts is a little large than the diverter use needle nose pliers to crimp the edges so it will fit inside the diverter.  A snug fit is good and will hold it on place.  Use the 3×4 large diverter for downspout that measure something greater than 3×4 or 14″ circumference or a 4″ round.

  • How do I choose color for the unpainted barrel?

    The unpainted barrels are predominantly black or gray. The gray barrels bring olives from Spain and the black bring capers from Turkey. All the drums are emptied at our plant in Hyde Park and the contents are packed into jars and shipped across the country to retail stores for you to buy!  When you purchase an unpainted ran barrel you may get black or gray, based on availability. We do not guarantee colors. If you must have  a certain color please purchase a painted rain barrel.

  • What are the barrel specs:

    Dimensions

    • 24D x 39H in.
    • 60 Gallon Capacity
    • Weight: 20 lbs. empty

    Lid

    • Wide mouth hard top lid
    • Screw On
    • Perforated to receive water

    Material

    • 3/16” polyethylene
    • Recycled Food Grade Plastic Resin
    • UV Protected
    • BPA Free
    • 1 Year Limited Warranty

    What you get

    • Plastic spigot threaded for hose connection
    • Two Overflow fittings
    • Drain plug
    • Insect screen to keep water clear of debris
    • Available in 3 environmentally compatible colors
    • Link to other barrels with a .75-inch piece of garden hose (not included)
    • Spigot port 4 or 14 inches from ground
    • 1 year limited warranty on barrel and parts

    What’s Not Included

    • Save the Rain Diverter
    • Polished River Stones
    • Flex Tube for overflow (unless otherwise specified)
  • What are the diverter specs?
    DimensionsSmall 11L x 3W x 2.5H inchesLarge 11L x 4W x 3.25 H inches
    MaterialGalvanized Steel
    Warranty1 Year Warranty
    WeightLess than 2 lbs.

    Selection

    The small fits downspouts that are approx 2 x 3 inches or about 10-11 circumference and 3″ round.   The large fits downspouts that measure something greater than 3×4 or 14″ circumference or a 4″ round. Don’t be deceived by thinking if you downspout is slightly larger you should go with the larger diverter.  In this case crimp the bottom of the downspout to fit into the diverter. A snug fit is good. Think of it like the downspout is funneling the water into the diverter.

    Details and Installation

    • Draw a line on the downspout approximately 9 inches above the top of the rain barrel
    • Move the barrel away
    • Use a hacksaw and cut the downspout at the line or marking
    • If the downspouts is a little larger than the diverter use needle nose pliers to crimp the edges so it will fit inside the diverter.  A snug fit is good and will hold it in place.

    Note:
    if a downspout bracket is below your cut, remove the bracket and place it above the cut

    • Attach diverter and set angle
    • The diverter is designed so that you can crimp the sides of the downspouts to fit the diverter
    • Tools needed: a hacksaw & measuring tape
  • Why are the lids different?

    In the old days the barrels were used for storing food, mostly olives, in the barrels while they cure.  The curing is a fermentation process which causes a  build up of pressure. The barrel lids were designed with a raised circle in the middle roughly 2″ in diameter that actually has a screw cap. A key would be inserted into the cap and turned to release the pressure. Product is more and more commonly cured in tanks now so the need for the “bung hole” to release pressure has become obsolete.  Most barrel manufacturers have eliminated the cap do reduce plastic production.  As a result some lids will have the bung hole and some will be smooth. We do not recommend using the cap. If it is open debris could fall into the cap area and compromise the screen, allowing insects into the barrel and other unwanted debris. We do not guarantee which lid you will get.

  • How do I put the spigot into the lower port.

    Feeling like ya got short arms? Well trying to put the spigot in the lower hole will challenge even the longest of arm marsupials! The best way to do this is to lay the barrel on its side on a table or bench to get it closer to waist height. If you have a partner who could help that would be ideal but if not proceed anyway. Place the spigot and one washer on the port and push the neck into the hole. Ask your pal to hold the spigot in place while you reach into the barrel and put the washer and nut onto the neck and hand tighten as much as possible. If there is no one to help,  turn the barrel so the spigot is face down on the table, this will hold it in place while you reach in and tighten washer and nut onto the spigot neck.

  • Do I need downspouts to collect rain water?

    Many people want to save rain water but do not have a gutter system. Certainly a gutter system is a natural way to harvest  the rain that washes over the roof as it directs it into a concentrated location and  fills your barrel quite quickly (most barrels fill in less than 1/4″ of rain). However there are still ways to collect rain water without gutters. Look at your house the next time it rains and identify a location where water flows off in a concentrated stream. Sometimes there is a pitch or valley in the roof where this happens, or perhaps a joint where two roof planes connect and place your barrel beneath it. Some people use rain chains to help direct the water. One note of caution is to be careful attaching metal to wood, as it will rot. 

    It  does not make sense to put a free standing barrel out in the open to collect rain water. It will fill inch for inch. In New England that would take about a year, while a rain barrel collecting off a roof will fill in a storm or two. 

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