Pros and Cons of Owning a Rain Barrel on the Homestead

Dawson Steele

If a homesteader is like you, you know that saving money and collecting water are critical components of your lifestyle. As summers grow hotter and rain becomes less common, it is essential to have ways to conserve and store water for those dry days. One way to do this is by installing a rain barrel on your property. I’ve been homesteading for years now, so I can personally attest that owning one of these handy tools has benefits and some drawbacks.

For this blog post, I’ll discuss the pros and cons of having rainwater tanks on a homestead, drawing from my own experiences and professional advice on the topic. My family has had many successes in the rain barrels over the years! We mostly use them in our garden beds because they provide enough water for our plants to remain moisturized during long dry periods.

When it rains, the rain pours we save every dry drop we can! From his wise words alone, we can see how important it is to collect water during drought or heat waves. If done correctly, you can save money as well! With careful planning and proper installation techniques, you won’t need to buy expensive watering systems for your garden beds, a few strategically placed barrels will do the job nicely!

Benefits Of A Rain Barrel On The Homestead

Rain barrels are one of the best investments a homesteader can make. Not only do they provide free water, but they also help protect the environment and save money in the long run. In this article, I will discuss the top 10 pros and cons of owning a rain barrel so that you can decide whether it is right for you.


Free Water: Rain water is free and easy to come by! This will save you money in the long run by keeping you from buying potable water from outside sources, which costs money.

Cost Savings: Collecting rainwater in a rain barrel during storms helps save money in several ways.

Staying True to Nature: You are staying true to nature by reusing what we have been given instead of relying on energy-dependent municipal water systems whenever we wish to water our plants or gardens.

Soft Water: Unlike tap water, rainwater is much softer and won’t strip away essential nutrients from your garden soil like chemicals if used too often or incorrectly applied (not to mention the nasty chemicals)!

Resourceful: He’s smart and resourceful. The preservation of wildlife downstream is facilitated by the reduction in runoff into nearby streams and rivers due to rain barrels capturing the water.

Easy Installation: All that needs to be done is periodic cleaning when algae accumulate inside the tank. Still, otherwise, no maintenance work at all is necessary. Depending on your property, there may be rules about how close you can be to homes or other buildings. Still, they are generally very easy to install anywhere, making them a superb option when examining ways “green up” your house in the short term and long term.

Durability: Even though front-end costs may be high, these tanks made from tough materials such as plastic or steel have been known to last well over 20 years with proper care, which means they’ll endure many years without needing replacement pieces or even new units!

Versatility: Rain barrels can be used not only for watering plants but also for laundry detergent mixing (if using soaps that will degrade naturally), car washing, toilet flushing, fire suppression, etc., allowing you to be inventive about amount/property usage!


Initial Cost: The initial cost of purchasing a rain barrel may seem high depending on the size and material used; however, it pays off in the long run with all of its uses and benefits mentioned above!

Limited Capacity: Rain barrels have limited capacity depending on size, so it’s important to consider how much water you need for your homestead before investing in one, as well as understanding that it may need frequent refilling depending on the amount of rainfall received each season/year!

Maintenance Required – Though minimal maintenance is required for rain barrels, it’s important to note that some cleaning, such as scrubbing out algae growth, will need to occur periodically throughout its lifetime!

Legal Restrictions: Depending on where you live, there may be legal restrictions regarding installing rain barrels, so it’s important to check local laws before installing one!

Potential Contamination: If not properly maintained, there is potential for contamination of stored water due to debris entering through overflow pipes or insects getting inside tanks. Hence, it’s important to watch for any signs of contamination and take action accordingly if needed!

Key Takeaways:

  • Free water source
  •  Soft water for plants
  •  Preserves wildlife downstream
  •  Easy to install & maintain
  •  Long-lasting with proper care
  •  Multi-purpose usage
  •  Money saving & eco friendly

Challenges Of Installing And Maintaining A Rain Barrel

A rain barrel is a great way to conserve water, but it isn’t without its own challenges. Depending on where you build the rain barrel, such work may include drilling through walls or roofs to connect the rain barrel directly to existing gutters. In addition, if your home already has a gutter system, you may need additional equipment, such as diverters and overflow pipes, to properly install the rain barrel. Once installed, routine maintenance will be necessary to ensure that your gutter system and rain barrel operate correctly and safely.

Rain Barrels: A Great Idea for Water Conservation

Rain barrels are a great way to conserve water and save money. With all their benefits, some difficulties come with installing and maintaining them. This article will discuss the pros and cons of using rain barrels, installation tips, and upfront costs.

Pros and Cons of Using Rain Barrels

Using a rain barrel has many advantages. It reduces the need for municipal water use, helps conserve water during drought or arid periods, and can save money in the long run since we won’t have to pay additional monthly fees for municipal water usage anymore! On the other hand, there are some drawbacks to using a rain barrel.

Installing a rain barrel can seem intimidating if you don’t have experience in either plumbing or carpentry work. Additionally, pipes may burst if your system isn’t designed to handle freezing conditions in winter or if you live in an area with frigid temperatures. Lastly, maintaining your rain barrels requires regular cleaning of debris, such as leaves and branches collected inside from rainfall throughout the year.

Installation Tips

Before beginning your rain barrel installation project, it is important to research to know exactly what steps need to be taken to ensure proper installation. Ensure that your system is equipped for freezing conditions in winter or frigid temperatures if you live in an area with such weather patterns. Additionally, consider investing in a decent kit upfront, as it could prove worthwhile over time, even if you only use the equipment during drought or arid periods.

Upfront Costs

Creating a fully-fledged system complete with gutters and pipes connected straight from the roof can be costly but pays off in the long run since we won’t have to pay additional monthly fees for municipal water usage anymore! Setting up a decent kit may cost more initially. Still, it could prove worthwhile, even if we only use the equipment during drought or arid periods.

Key Takeaways:

  • Rain barrels save water and money
  •  Installing requires plumbing/carpentry knowledge
  •  Must account for freezing temperatures in winter
  •  Regular maintenance is required to remove debris
  •  The upfront cost of the system may be high
  •  Benefits include no monthly water fees

Cost Considerations

Rain barrels are an excellent investment for homesteaders, providing a cost-effective way to conserve water and save money in the long run. Rain barrels collect and store rainwater from rooftops, which can be used for various purposes, such as watering gardens, washing cars, and flushing toilets. Rain barrels are typically made from recycled materials, such as plastic, and can be purchased at most home improvement stores. Additionally, many municipalities offer incentives for installing rain barrels, such as tax credits or rebates.


Before you buy a rain barrel, it’s important to consider the costs associated with it. The price depends on the size and quality of the bowl, so if the price is your concern, look for second-hand or previously owned equipment! It’s also important to factor in ongoing costs, such as maintenance and cleaning supplies, when considering whether a rain barrel is right for your homestead setup. Regular removal of leaves and debris from the top of the barrel prevents mosquito breeding grounds, so investing in regular maintenance products makes financial and environmental sense.


Using harvested rainfall can reduce your reliance on city water, lowering utility bills each month. This can be a great way to save money in the long run. Rain barrels also help conserve water during dry seasons, keeping your garden growing strong. Granddad used to say that a pound of cure is worth an ounce of prevention!

Key Takeaways:

  • Rain barrel: cost/quality/material
  •  Maintenance/cleaning supplies
  •  Reduce reliance on city water
  •  Longterm savings

Environmental Impact

Rain barrels are an amazing way to conserve water and reduce your homestead’s environmental impact. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of having a rain barrel on your homestead so you can decide if it’s right for you!


Rain barrels are incredibly cheap compared to other water sources, like wells or municipal systems. Other than that, they are easy to install and maintain! The collected rainwater from your rain barrel is ready for use as soon as the moment the rainfall begins; no city approval or well drilling is required.

Suppose you switch to rainwater, captured instead of tap water, and use it for drinking and showering instead of tap water. In that case, you will significantly reduce your consumption of clean water, thus lightening the load on local resources!

A rain barrel can come in any design or shape to suit the homestead aesthetic (or even make one of your own)! Collected rainwater isn’t just for watering plants; it can also be used to wash cars, fill pools, flush toilets, and more…Possibilities are infinite!


Depending on the size of the barrel you choose, their storage capacity will vary greatly. If not properly installed or maintained, the collected water could become contaminated with debris like leaves or insects, rendering it unusable for any purpose besides draining away safely down the road later.

Insects’ ability to lay eggs in still waters pose an increased risk of becoming mosquito breeding grounds, so extra precautions must be taken, such as treating them regularly with larvicides, etc. Also, naturally occurring debris will build up inside such items over time and contaminate stored supplies making them unusable afterward.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cheaper than other water sources
  •  Easy to install and maintain
  •  Reduces clean water consumption
  •  Variety of designs and shapes
  •  Use for watering plants, car washing, filling pools, flushing toilets
  •  Storage capacity varies depending on the size chosen
  •  Risk of contamination if not properly installed/maintained
  •  Can attract mosquitoes
  •  Debris can accumulate and contaminate stored supplies

Practical Uses For Collected Water

Rain barrels are an increasingly popular way to collect and store rainwater in homesteading. With the right setup, they can provide a reliable source of clean water for household and agricultural uses. This article will discuss the pros and cons of using a rain barrel on your homestead.

General Practicality

Rain barrels save money over time by eliminating the need for expensive bottled water or plumbing systems like traditional wells.

Environmentally friendly stormwater harvesting can improve groundwater reserves and reduce water usage in households, commercial enterprises, and agricultural ventures by reviving existing wells and preventing soil erosion on rooftops and driveways.

Rain barrels are extremely easy to maintain, requiring only periodic cleanouts every few months, depending on how much debris was featured in storms!

Rainwater collected in rain barrels can be used for a variety of tasks, such as watering plants in your garden or yard, washing cars/boats/RVs (or other outdoor projects), flushing toilets, and more!

Practical Disadvantages

Most residential rain barrels have a limited capacity (between 50-200 gallons). If you live in an area with frequent heavy rains or get multiple storms at once, it may not meet the needs of all that extra rainfall!

Suppose there aren’t enough barrels in your stockpile after a storm. In that case, there is always the potential for overflows that could result in nearby flooding damage if properly handled with proper drainage systems, etc.

Depending on the location of your barrels near standing ponds of stagnant water can also increase opportunities for insect breeding to be created, so you certainly should take this into consideration before installing any type of collection device outdoors!

When creating a typical system, the setup time is not excessive; however, if multiple barrels need to be linked, etc., this will still require some work upfront…Once emptied regularly each month, the airbed also adds extra time to get everything running smoothly again!

Key Takeaways:

  • Easy to maintain
  •  Environmentally friendly
  •  Save money over time
  •  Variety of uses
  •  Limited capacity
  •  Potential for overflows/flooding
  •  Setup time required

How To Get Started With A Rain Barrel System On Your Homestead

Constructing a rain barrel system on your homestead is an inexpensive way to conserve water and reduce runoff. Collecting rainwater from your roof allows you to use it for irrigation in your garden or yard and pay less for water each month. To get started with a rain barrel system, identify a location for the barrels and determine how large the containers need for adequate storage capacity.

Install gutters on buildings that don’t already have them, purchase components like hoses and fittings, then link them together. Finally, build a stand or buy one so the barrels will be elevated off the ground. With these steps completed, your rain barrel system is ready to go!

Rain Barrels on the Homestead: A Cost-Effective Way to Conserve Water

Rain barrels are becoming increasingly popular on homesteads because they provide a free source of water for gardens and lawns and are an effective way to conserve water. Rain barrels are an easy and cost-effective way to collect and store rainwater in your garden or other outdoor activities. Having a rain barrel system on the homestead has its advantages and disadvantages. Still, most people find them a priceless source when attempting to conserve water while caring for their gardens or lawns throughout the year.

Improve Your Homestead

A rain barrel is one of the most cost-effective ways to collect and store rainwater for use in your garden or other outdoor activities. I recently installed two rain barrels at my homestead and was amazed at how much money I saved over time. It was definitely worth the initial investment! Environmentally friendly – using harvested rainwater for watering your plants or washing cars helps reduce the strain on our local water systems. It’s also great for children to learn about conserving resources and protecting the planet!

Maintenance Requirements

Unlike some irrigation systems, rain barrels require relatively little maintenance. If something happens and your barrel fractures, most companies offer warranties to make repairs quickly and easily!

Drawbacks of Rain Barrels

The biggest drawback to having a rain barrel is that its capacity is limited, as previously said. Unfortunately, standing water attracts mosquitoes which can be annoying (and dangerous!). To prevent infestations, make sure that lids are properly fitted on barrels to prevent them from providing a habitat for these pests. Additionally, adding mosquito tooth caps periodically (available at hardware stores) can help prevent them from invading the area around your home.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cost-effective and easy to maintain
  •  Conserves water and protects the environment
  •  A great educational tool for children
  •  Limited capacity
  •  Risk of attracting pests


After considering the pros and cons of homestead rain barrels, it is clear that they are better than the alternatives. Rainwater barrels are plumbed reservoirs that provide cheap, clean water ideal for your irrigation system.

They provide:

  • A cheap solution for managing runoff.
  • Preventing erosion.
  • Helping you save money on utility bills.

Even though there may be some drawbacks to having a rain barrel, you can eliminate them by taking proper care of them and installing it properly.

With that in mind, it is safe to say that having a rain barrel on your homestead can be beneficial in many ways! So why not add your name to the steadily growing list of ecologically responsible people? It will also help you become more sustainable and provide beautiful landscaping and an extra water source during times of need! 

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