What Should I Do About Rain Barrels in the Winter?

Now is a good time to take down any water barrels.  Freezing may cause them to crack, and at over $100 each, that can get expensive in a hurry.  I drain any remaining water onto trees so they can get one last drink before winter.  I rinse mine out a bit, totally drain them, and put them on their sides in an out-of-the way place in my yard where they won’t blow away. Rotate the barrel to put the drain valve up or high on the side (between 9 and 3 o’clock) so water won’t fill it and crack it.  If you were using hoses connected to the drain valve, drain them and store them inside the barrel.

Rather than letting the water splash where the rain barrel was, and assuming you have downspouts to direct water to your rain barrels, get a length of downspout and connect that to the existing downspout elbow and direct the water away from your house.  If this is your first time cutting downspout, you can cut downspout with a hacksaw.

If you had issues last winter with canales draining onto patios, sidewalks, or driveways and creating ice hazards (oh wait, we didn’t get enough snow in Santa Fe to have problems!), now is a good time to set up a Canale Catcher©  on problem canales.  If you wait until you have ice problems it’ll be too dangerous to set up a ladder.