This Article is About
rain barrel
rain barrels
force of gravity
drought conditions
good solution
gardeners
backyards
water conservation
Can I Use A Hose With A Rain Barrel?
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Can I Use A Hose With A Rain Barrel?

If you spent any amount of time outdoors this summer, you probably experienced drought conditions or drought-related problems. Many municipalities mandated water rationing or restrictions, making it difficult to pamper a garden the way it needed to be. Smart gardeners have turned to a simple, once common home gadget to help them save their gardens: the rain barrel.

Humble rain barrel back in vogue

A decade ago rain barrel use was not common. Americans didn't consider the need for water conservation; water shortages just were not a problem. Today they're springing up in backyards across the country. Many homeowners don't even know how a rain barrel works, but they're purchasing them. Some gardeners envision using their rain barrel with a hose as in the catalog photos, but they may be sadly disappointed.

Using a hose

You can use a hose with a rain barrel, however, there are very specific ways to do so. First, the rain barrel pushes water through with the force of gravity, so your source of water needs to be elevated to get water to flow through the hose. If you’re planning on watering a garden that is at a lower elevation than your barrel, a hose will work. The speed and flow of water will depend on the amount of pressure you have on the water in the barrel. The more water in the barrel, the heavier and more pressure you’ll have; the same for the amount of elevation. For many gardeners the slope of the yard is just not enough to force the water through the hose successfully.

Pump it up

Many gardeners install a simple pump on their rain barrels to afford it pressure on demand. With a pump a rain barrel does not have to rely on gravity to push the water through so you don’t have to elevate to get the water running. Pumps are easy to install and very reasonable. If you plan to use your barrel for more than just filling the watering can a few times, a rain barrel pump is a good solution. They make using a hose on a rain barrel much easier.

Use a rain barrel stand

Another way to increase the force of gravity is to set your rain barrel on a rain barrel stand, specially made for your specific barrel. Since most rain barrel designs require the spigot to be at the bottom of the barrel for maximum pressure, it’s often difficult or awkward to place a watering can under it. Setting the barrel on a stand allows you more room to maneuver under the spigot. Special note: Do position your water barrel securely on the stand before you fill it. A full barrel of water can weigh up to 450 lbs. and you won't want to move that.

Be creative

Some enterprising gardeners build lofts to house their rain barrels a few feet above the ground to insure proper pressure for their rain barrels. While this plan does work, not everyone has the room for such a design.

Research before you buy

Rain barrels are an excellent way to save gardens during a drought, to save resources and a little money! Rain water is much preferred by plants and you have to admit the price is more attractive than municipal water. Just learn all the facts about rain barrel usage before you buy so you won't be disappointed. . If you plan correctly, you can use a hose with your rain barrel.

Just know the laws of gravity are very, very strict!


Street Talk

Great idea. I have seen plastic tanks with built in pumps that are sunk into the ground and connected to the downpipes of the home but they are very expensive this is a more affordable solution.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

We just got a couple of these for home, thanks for the info we were thinking about adding a hose!

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Good information, Lisa. And well-written, too!

Reply
  about 9 years ago

We live in the wettest part of England so rarely have a drought problem. However we do have a water barrel on our allotment and some years we do actually have to use it. Hosepipe bans have happened!

Reply
  about 9 years ago
Paul7  

I understand that these are pretty common in Latin America.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
Dom Wells  

I had no idea that there was so much to consider about using a hose, thanks!

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Rain barrels used to be a country staple. Glad to see they're making a come back

Reply
  about 9 years ago

A pump sounds like a good solution, but I like to do things by hand. Do they make hand pumps for such an application that you know of?

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Oh yes, you can get a hand pump. Good question., thanks

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Always a good idea to save water these days. Rain butts are a great idea using a pump makes using that water so much easier.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

The pump does alleviate some aggravation if you want to use a hose. No need to have a pump if you're just going to fill up your watering can or bucket, but it can be slow.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

I love this idea!

Reply
  about 9 years ago

thanks for reading Shawn!

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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