When I woke up this morning to reports of wind chills in the teens I was reminded that it is probably time to empty my rain barrels for the winter. If you are like me, you use these water saving devices for a wide variety of things.
Around the house, mine capture rain as well as condensate from my geothermal system which I then use to water my gardens and keep the dog bowl full. Down at the barn, a series of barrels collects rain to help supply water to our horses and chickens and to rinse off our fresh eggs. I even fill a few five gallon buckets from the barrels to keep the compost pile moist and active.
But when winter weather arrives, you need to drain your barrels to avoid damage from freezing. If you don’t take this precaution you risk rupturing you barrel when ice expands inside. It can also damage your spigot or burst an attached hose. I plan on draining mine today and leaving the spigot or any connected hoses open; I also will take the opportunity to empty any accumulated debris in the bottom of the barrels – this will ensure clean water when they are refilled next spring.