How to Winterize your Rain Barrel System

If you have a rainwater catchment system, at this time of year chances are it’s full to the brim – or filling fast! We’re here with tips on how to protect your system from the frosty weather.

Winterize rain barrel


How to Winterize Rain Barrels

We serve customers all over the USA, so weatherization techniques will vary depending on your climate zone. (Click here for our nationwide network of barrel pickup locations.)

The general recommendation is to follow local protocols for outdoor plumbing in your region:


In areas with light intermittent freezes (e.g. most of northern California), there may be no need to winterize at all. Water tanks, barrels, and even PVC plumbing lines will tolerate temperatures below freezing if the water doesn’t have time to freeze solid.

SPECIAL TIP: If your pipes are unprotected and you fear they’ll freeze and break on especially cold nights, you can leave a slow-drip in the faucet or drain valve. Moving water requires much colder temperatures to freeze, so allowing a slow-drip will offer some protection. Just don’t forget to shut off the tap when the sun comes out in the morning!



Pipe InsulationIF IT’S C-C-COLDER…

In colder climates, plumbing lines can be insulated with standard pipe insulation available in hardware stores and home improvement outlets. If you are insulating other outdoor pipes, it’s probably not a bad idea to insulate the underplumbing on your BlueBarrel System.



In areas that experience deep freezes (e.g. if you’re ice skating on the local lake!), it is recommended to drain rain barrels and tanks during the coldest months of the year and detach from downspouts. We now have winter covers available under tools & accessories in our online store.* These will restore your downspout to normal function when you disconnect your rain barrels. Just don’t forget to reattach in time to catch the spring rains after the danger of deep freeze has passed!

See BlueBarrel’s Maintenance & Operations Manual for more details about weatherizing and maintaining your BlueBarrel Rainwater Catchment SystemTM.

*The winter cover is compatible with our current downspout diverters. If you ordered your RainKit after August 15, 2015, then it will be compatible. If you ordered before then, to disconnect your diverter, simply remove the inlet hose and plug the hole in the diverter and in your barrel.

Want to build your own BlueBarrel System?

Visit to size and site your BlueBarrel SystemTM. Then enter our Online Store to customize your RainKitTM and find recycled barrels for local pickup.

Check out our online photo gallery for inspiration, and contact us if we can help you with your order as you get ready to collect winter’s rains!