As the cold days of winter approach, it’s time to consider winterizing your rain barrel. Rain barrels are subject to harsh weather conditions. Disconnecting and storing them during the winter months can increase their longevity. Follow these three easy steps to prevent wear and tear caused by freezing temperatures.

Step 1: Drain it. Completely drain harvested rainwater from your rain barrel. 

Tip: After your rain barrel is completely drained, consider cleaning interior and exterior surfaces. Be sure to remove sediment and debris from inside the rain barrel and use a biodegradable cleaning solution to scrub surfaces (We recommend Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner). You’ll thank yourself for cleaning your rain barrel now come springtime.

Step 2: Disconnect it. Disconnect your rain barrel from the downspout it’s connected to. 

Tip: If your rain barrel is assembled with a RainRecycle Rain Barrel Kit, you can order a RainRecycle Downspout Cover from The Rain Barrel Depot.

Step 3: Store it. Store your rain barrel and its components in a dry location such as a garage, shed, or basement. Rain barrels can be stored outdoors, just be sure it is stored in a place or manner in which it does not collect water.

Tip: If you need to store your rain barrel outdoors, store it upside down to prevent rainwater and snowmelt from getting inside it.

Thanks to our longtime partnership with Coca-Cola Consolidated and local partners, including James City County, Lynchburg Water Resources, Richmond Department of Public Utilties/RVAH2O, and Richmond Public Library, the James River Association distributed 200 rain barrels across the James River basin through the River Hero Homes program in 2022. We are already planning rain barrel workshops for next year. If you are interested in being notified about future rain barrel workshops, click here to sign up to receive notifications.

Did you know? Since 2019, we have distributed over 500 rain barrels to residents of the watershed!