How to Winterize Your Rain Barrel

Get tips on protecting your rain barrel from damage through the winter months.
Preparing a rain barrel for cold weather can avoid costly expenses.

Preparing a rain barrel for cold weather can avoid costly expenses.

Preparing a rain barrel for cold weather can help avoid costly expenses.

Preparing a rain barrel for cold weather can help avoid costly expenses.

In warmer regions, rain barrels can be used all year long with little maintenance, but in cold climates, winter weather can spell trouble for even the sturdiest rain barrels. As ice expands, hoses split, barrels burst and water flow can be inhibited, causing damage to gutters or fascia. 

Before freezing temperatures take their toll, taking measures to ensure your rain barrel is protected can save the hassle and expense of replacing parts or even the barrel itself once warm weather returns.  

Consider these simple tips to make sure your rain barrel is winter-ready before the deep freeze sets in.

Drain rain barrel by opening all spigots. Once drained, turn the barrel upside down, if possible, to empty it completely. The average rain barrel weighs nearly 500 pounds when full and should be fully drained before attempting to move.

Remove hoses and rain spout diverter and leave faucets open.  Hoses split easily in cold weather and should be stored out of the elements until temperatures remain consistently above freezing. Replace rain spout diverter with a flexible extension to redirect downspout away from the house to avoid potential damage to the foundation.

Clear debris from the barrel and the filter screen. An empty barrel is a good opportunity to clear out the muck that can lead to mold and fungus growth.

How to store. If space is available in the garage or basement, storing the barrel inside during winter months can protect it from incidental damage. If left outside, the barrel should be covered with a tarp or turned upside down to prevent water accumulation.

Next Up

Installing a Rain Barrel

See how adding a rain barrel can help conserve water and keep your plants happy through the hot summer months.

How to Winterize Your Lawn

Learn what to do to prepare your lawn for winter. Taking the right steps in fall prepares your grass for quick spring greening.

How Ice Melting Products Affect Your Landscape

Learn what ice melting products have to offer, and how to identify and repair salt damage in your landscape.

How Do I Protect Plants from Frost?

Easy ways to prevent winter injury.

Winterizing Plants

Discover easy techniques for getting plants ready for winter’s chill.

Tips to Perk Up a Bleak Winter Garden

Recommendations for adding cold-weather appeal to the garden.

Tips for Late Fall to Winter Gardens

Say hello to indoor gardens and sharp evergreen plants as temperatures begin to drop.

How to Winterize Your Roses

Check out these tips to get your roses through the winter unscathed.

Winter Woes: Protecting Plants from Cold Temperatures

Learn how to shield plants from winter elements with these simple tips.

How to Prevent Cracks in Terra Cotta Pots

A crackpot in the garden is one thing, but nobody wants cracked pots. Don't let the weather damage or ruin your terra cotta containers.