How to Winterize your Rain Barrel System

Just in time for winter, we’re here with tips on how to protect your rainwater catchment system from the frosty weather. Read on for three ways to winterize rain barrels!


winterize rain barrels

Snow-capped barrels from our customers in Connecticut.


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:


Slow drip

A slow-drip can keep water from freezing short-term.

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 Insulation

Standard insulation can keep pipes from freezing.

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 a good idea to insulate the underplumbing on your BlueBarrel System, too.




Winter Cover

Winter cover restores downspout when disconnected.

1.5″ Expandable Twist Plug caps the barrel inlet.

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 detach from downspouts during the coldest months of the year.

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. Order winter covers along with a 1-12″ twist plug (also available from our Tools & Accessories menu) to cap the exposed inlet hole in your barrel. 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—both in the diverter and in your barrel—with the 1″ Expandable Twist-Plugs, available in our online store.

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!



We are still up and running…

This is an intense time on our planet and we are all in this together. At this time, BlueBarrel is still able to serve you at full capacity:


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