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Fall and Winter Care for Rain Barrels

Fall is a great time to clean and if needed, winterize your rain barrel.

Start by draining the barrel of any remaining water. Then disconnect the rain barrel from the downspout. Lay the barrel on its side and spray rinse the interior. A long-handled brush will help you dislodge any debris or algae. If needed, use a vinegar and water solution, scrub to remove stubborn debris, then rinse with clear water.

Reattach the rain barrel if gardening in mild climates.

Those in colder areas need to remove and store their barrels for winter. Cap off the opening left when removing a downspout diverter. Or connect an extender to shortened downspouts to direct water away from your home’s foundation.

Remove overflow hoses and spigots to reduce the risk of damage. Store the barrel in a shed or garage or covered and upside down in a sheltered outdoor location.

A bit more information: This is also a good time to check gutters and downspouts for clogs and debris. Clean as needed to avoid backups and water spilling out of the gutters onto the soil next to your home.

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