The City Stormwater Bureau and SaveIt! would like to remind residents to winterize their rain barrels.
It’s that time of year again! As we approach December, and the winter chill settles in for good, it is time to winterize your rain barrel.
Freezing temperatures can damage rain barrels, their diverters and faucets, and other parts and accessories. So, we recommend property owners winterize their rain barrels. Here a few tips:
Be careful! Full rain barrels are heavy! A gallon of water weighs over 8 lbs., so a full rain barrel can weigh more than 400lbs.
- Start by draining the rain barrel. Turn on the spigot and let the water slowly drain out.
- Once the rain barrel spigot has stopped flowing, disconnect the rain barrel, remove the lid and tip the barrel to empty any remaining water.
- After emptying the rain barrel, we recommend a quick cleaning before storage.
- To clean the inside of the rain barrel, prepare a solution of 1/4 cup of distilled vinegar and 1 teaspoon of a mild soap (e.g., castile soap) to 1 gallon of warm water. Pour the solution into the rain barrel and swish is around with a sponge or brush, then rinse with clean water or hose thoroughly. This solution can be safely poured out on lawn or grassed areas..
- After cleaning, allow the rain barrel to dry.
- Store rain barrels indoors, in a basement or garage, if possible. If rain barrels must be stored outside, place them upside down on an elevated surface so it will stay dry and empty.
- During winter, downspouts should be reconnected and positioned to drain any roof runoff and snow melt away from the building foundation.
If you’ve purchased a rain barrel through the Lancaster County Conservancy Rain Barrel program over the last several years then you most likely have the DIY diverter kit. Winterizing this system (or any diverter system) takes a few simple steps to insure a functional rain barrel for years to come.
– Disconnect the rain barrel from the gutter downspout – Disconnet the black hose that runs from the barrel to the downspout (image above), save and store in dry place over winter.
-Gently remove rubber insert from downspout and replace with cover (image below), save and store rubber insert in dry place over winter.