I finally got around to setting up our rain barrel last week. I felt a little silly since it is so hot and dry, but what the heck.
I've had the plans for how to build your own rain barrel for a couple of years. This past year I finally picked up a barrel from a guy who sells used ones ($10). The other day while on vacation I decided it was time to put that puppy to use. So I made a list of all the supplies I would need, and headed down the street to Menards. I walked in, armed with my nifty list, and started off in search of what I thought would be the hardest to find item first - the skimmer basket. I went outside into the garden section, rounded a corner, and what should I find but a whole section of items for making rain barrels! In fact, they had a kit that contained every single thing I needed (other than the cinder blocks)! So then I had to decide whether to just spend the $39 and get the kit and be done with it (it has a '15-minute setup guide'), or whether to try to save a few pennies and buy all the parts separately. I finally decided to just purchase the Complete Diverter Kit from RainReserve (and 2 cinder blocks - which were $.92 each). That was all I needed.
I went home and in no time I had the holes drilled in the barrel (the proper bit comes in the kit), the spigot installed, cut the downspout and inserted the diverter, hooked up the tubing and... presto, chango... we have ourselves a rain barrel!
I didn't think it was ever going to rain, but the very next morning we got a brief sprinkle. I thought maybe it would result in an inch or less of water in the barrel. Imagine my surprise when it was half full! According to the kit literature it says that a 1,000 sq. ft. house that receives one inch of rain will produce 575 gallons of water. That seems like a lot. And I don't have all my gutters hooked up to this barrel. I do have it under the longest span though, so it should work just fine. And it was super easy to hook up and install with the kit.
Here's a pic of the completed project.