How to Winterize Your Rain Barrel

Posted by Gene Kelly on 29th Oct 2015

It’s getting to be that time again! As we are now approaching November, it is time to winterize your rain barrel.

Yes, old man winter’s freezing temperatures can wear and tear on your rain barrel, its diverter, faucet, and other parts and accessories.

In warmer parts of the U.S., rain barrels can be used year round. We believe it’s a best management practice that if you live north of North Carolina  you should winterize your rain barrel.

Start by draining your rain barrel. Be careful as a full rain barrel is heavy. A gallon of water weighs 8 lbs. and so a full rain barrel often weighs over 400lbs.

Simply turn on the spigot and let gravity slowly empty the barrel. Perhaps, now it is a good time to give your rain barrel a good cleaning on the inside. To do this prepare a solution of ¼ of a cup of distilled vinegar to a gallon of warm water and then add a teaspoon of a mild dishwashing detergent. Pour the solution into the rain barrel and swish it around with a mop or brush. Wash it clean with water and then you can even pour the solution on your lawn.

Now let your rain barrel dry. Once it is dry, you can either store it in your garage or basement. If you need to store it outside, rest it on a couple of bricks or concrete blocks so it will stay dry.

Your faucet will survive the winter. However, if you have a diverter or overflow hose you will want to store them inside.

The next step is the most crucial if you cut your downspout to install your rain barrel. You will need to add a gutter extension to channel the water away from the house.

If your rain barrel uses a diverter such as the flexi-fit-diverter found in the RainRecycle rain barrel kit or the Earthminded D-Y-I rain barrel kit, there is a winter hole cover provided. Simply install it and you are done. If you do not have a winter hole cover, you can order one from the