Blogs

Everything You Need to Know (and More!) About Doing Laundry with Rainwater

June 1, 2017

If you think doing laundry with rainwater is only for folks living off-grid, it's time to think again! As guest blogger Linda Holliday explains, free liquid from the sky can be used rather than expensive municipal water in modern electric washing machines, and it gets clothes cleaner than hard well water. Read More...

To First Flush, or not to First Flush

May 23, 2017

It's an age old question, but surprisingly, many rainwater harvesting professionals do not recommend using a first-flush diverter. This article explores the what's and why's of first flush so you can decide for yourself. Read More...

Environmental Benefits of Rainwater Harvesting

April 22, 2017

The environmental benefits to collecting rainwater onsite are many! Most of us know that rainwater harvesting is good for the environment, but we need a little help articulating why. Here are some of the major ways you align Read More...

Capturing Rainwater for Household Use

April 12, 2017

This article gives a broad overview of rainwater harvesting for household use, including potable and non-potable systems. Rainwater harvesting has many benefits to homeowners. Read More...

From Drought to Deluge: An Ecological Approach to Water Crisis

March 23, 2017

Heavy rains, coming on the heels of years of drought, highlight the need to rectify our relationship to water, both as individual land stewards and communities alike. What is the role of rainwater harvesting? Read More...

DIY Drip Irrigation System: Irrigate from Rain Barrels by Gravity Feed

February 28, 2017

Irrigating with rainwater is wonderful because the plants love the water so much. Fresh from the sky, rain is completely free of the salts, minerals, and chemicals that are found in other water sources. Rainwater also has the perfect pH balance and nitrate delivery to keep plants and soils healthy! So now that your rain barrels are full, how do you get that super high-quality water over to your thirsty garden? This blog post offers a handful of tips on DIY drip irrigation, and how to automate your rain barrels with gravity. Read More...

10 Wintertime Uses for Rainwater

January 3, 2017

In many North American climate zones, it rains during the winter when we're not irrigating. So what can we do with those full rain barrels while we wait for the irrigation season to start up again? Plenty! Read on for ideas on how to use your rainwater in the winter. Read More...

How to Winterize your Rain Barrel System

December 3, 2016

At this time of year, your rain barrels are probably full! In areas with light intermittent freezes, there may be no need to weatherize 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. But in colder climates, we have a few expert recommendations for winterizing rain barrels. Read More...

8 Things to Know about Gardening with Native Plants

November 15, 2016

Did you know that fall into early winter is the best time to plant California natives? And in fact, planting with a native plant palette is a great way to bring your landscape into balance with nature - wherever you are. Native landscaping extends habitat for pollinators, and works with nature rather than against it in terms of water needs and climate conditions. It is also a way to honor the natural heritage of your local environment. Read More...

What’s up with the California Drought?

October 30, 2016

As California enters its 6th consecutive year of drought, everybody wants to know... now that we've seen a little rain, what's up with California's water supply, and what can we expect for 2017? Read More...

How to Purify Rainwater for Drinking

September 16, 2016

September is National Emergency Preparedness month, and a great time to think about emergency water supply. Rainwater is not potable without treatment, but it can easily be treated for drinking. This post contains links to many water purification products - including options to fit every budget! Read More...

Use a Pump to Keep your Rain Barrels Full Year-Round!

August 27, 2016

This blog post offers a solution to a common BlueBarrel predicament: there's more rain to catch, but no room for more barrels! BlueBarrel's founder, Jesse Savou, demonstrates how to install an overflow system, and pump water from one system to another to keep your barrels full year round. Read More...

Is Rainwater Harvesting Illegal? Colorado’s Journey to “Legalize It”

August 11, 2016

The phrase “Legalize It” has taken on special significance Colorado recently. And the lesser known reason is the epic legalization of rainwater harvesting that went into full effect on August 10th, 2016. As the only state in the USA where rainwater harvesting really was broadly illegal, this is huge news to celebrate! Read More...

Get Recycled Plastic Rain Barrels – All Over the USA!

July 5, 2016

July is a time to unite in community across America and be thankful for all the gifts of this land. From the marshy bogs of the East to the dry deserts of the West, rainwater harvesting is an essential and age-old technique for sustainable water management; both conserving this life-giving resource in dry climates, and managing its abundant overflow where it's wet. BlueBarrel serves customers all over the USA making recycled food-grade barrels available to each customer locally. Read More...

Summer Inspiration: Why Summer is the Best Time to Install a Rainwater Collection System

June 21, 2016

If you live in the arid west, you may not think too much about rain during the summer. But did you know summer is actually the best time to install a rainwater catchment system, regardless of where you live? Why is that? A couple of basic reasons: (1) You've got time to plan; (2) You can build on dry ground; (3) You're all set and ready for the abundant autumn rains; and (4) You don't have to... Read More...

History of the Blue Plastic Barrel

June 8, 2016

You’ve seen them everywhere: along the side of the road, in refuse yards, in your neighbor’s garage (or maybe even your own!); and repurposed into all kinds of things like ballasts, floats, storage bins, planters, and of course rain barrels. What could we be talking about?  55-gallon blue plastic barrels – what else?! This blog post contains everything you ever wanted to know (and more!) about the ever-present blue food-grade drum. Read More...

Stretch your Water Supply with Beautiful Flowers – Robert’s Plant List for Rainwater

May 16, 2016

This article includes tips for how to pair drip irrigation with rain barrels, and a suggested plant list indexed by USDA hardiness zone for rainwater gardeners all across the USA - from author, drip irrigation expert, and BlueBarrel guest-blogger, Robert Kourik. Read More...

Rainwater for Gardens: Why Plants Love Rainwater Best

May 1, 2016

It's no secret that plants prefer rainwater head-and-shoulders (or should we say "leaves-and-stalks!") above any other water source. And why is this? There's more than must one reason. Do you know all four reasons that plants prefer Mother Nature's rain? Read More...

Downspout Diverter in Action!

March 24, 2016

A good downspout diverter is the key to the kingdom when it comes to rainwater harvesting. Some downspout diverters handle overflow automatically so you don't have to worry about what happens when your rain barrels fill up. This blog post contains two short videos showing just how they work! Read More...

How to Paint Barrels – Any Color You Like!

February 12, 2016

Our March 5th Hands-On Installation Workshop is just around the corner, and our hosts are busy prepping their site and painting their barrels! That's right, they're painting their barrels to match the house. Many of our customers ask us why the barrels are blue, and how to paint them. This blog post includes a step-by-step for how to paint barrels - any color you like! Read More...

The DIY Files: Site Prep for a Rain Barrel System

January 30, 2016

As we prepare for our March 5th Hands-On Installation Workshop, we thought we'd highlight some of the details involved in prepping a site for a BlueBarrel Rainwater Catchment System. Our workshop hosts are busy preparing the foundation. They've shared some photos of their site prep process, so let's take a look! Read More...

What to do with Overflow: Rain Gardens and More!

October 20, 2015

Have you ever thought about catching all the water that over flows when the barrels are full? With 600 gallons of runoff produced for every single inch of rain falling on 1000 square feet of rooftop, even with a very large rain catchment system you're certain to have overflow. Rain gardens are a perfect way to store that excess! Read More...

The DIY Files: SoCal’s most Water Conscious Resident (and Potable Rainwater!)

September 26, 2015

Meet BlueBarrel customer Rob Greenfield: tiny-house homesteader and water-conservationist extraordinaire. Rob lives in sunny San Diego, California, where "normal" years boast 12" of rain on average. But Rob lives in abundance, employing a handful of techniques to allow him to live on just 5 gallons of water per day. Read More...

The DIY Files: “Introducing My BlueBarrel System!” – Notes from a DIY rain barrel customer

April 28, 2015

Ever wonder what it's like to build a BlueBarrel System? Wonder if you have the skills? Read this blog post by BlueBarrel customer Melissa, blogger and homesteader extraordinaire, on her blog, Forgotten Skills: Introducing My BlueBarrel System. Read More...

Watch Rain Barrels Filling in Real-Time!

April 10, 2015

A single inch of rain falling on 1000 square feet of rooftop will generate 600 gallons of harvestable water! That's enough to fill 11 standard sized rain barrels! Watch for yourself to believe it! Read More...

How to Measure Water Level in your Rain Barrels

November 17, 2014

How do I measure the water level in my rain barrels? Although a careful feel can give you a really good hint, it's not easy to tell exactly where your water level is just by tapping. Read on to learn about a special tool and a hand-crafted technique for gauging the precise water level in your BlueBarrel System! Read More...

How Rainwater Harvesting Replenishes Groundwater

September 17, 2014

California Governor, Jerry Brown, has recently taken action to address the dire groundwater situation in that state. What's the issue? Namely that groundwater is being pumped out faster than it's being replenished—think of it like overdrawing a bank account. And what does rainwater harvesting have to do with it? Read on! Read More...

Shop LOCAL with BlueBarrel, Wherever You Are!

August 6, 2014

If you're hip to water conservation and gardening with rainwater, you might also know that supporting local businesses is a key part of the sustainability puzzle. What does this have to do with rain barrels? In our case, a lot! BlueBarrel works with food manufacturers across the country to "upcycle" used food-grade barrels LOCALLY in each community that we serve. Read More...

Rainwater vs. Greywater

July 30, 2014

Rainwater and greywater are wonderful ways to nourish a garden while making the most out of every last drop of water. But it's important to understand that rainwater and greywater are not the same. Their applications are complimentary, but they are different. Read More...

BlueBarrel in Schools

June 26, 2014

School's out for Summer... But that's no reason to wait on your rainwater harvesting project—at home or at school! Summer is the perfect time to plan and build to be ready for the season's first catch! Learn about the special programs and discounts BlueBarrel offers for schools. Read More...

A BlueBarrel System™ for FREE?!

May 16, 2014

It sounds too good to be true, but it could very well be within reach—a FREE BlueBarrel Rainwater Catchment System™, that is! Read More...

Meet BlueBarrel on Video!

May 7, 2014

Check out our 2-minute video - and share with your friends to spread the word about BlueBarrel! Read More...

Does Rainwater Harvesting Make Sense in Dry Climates?

January 12, 2014

Spoiler Alert: YES!!! In fact, the drier it is, the more important it is to catch the little rainfall you get. And believe me, you can catch much more than you might think! Read on for details... Read More...

Downspout Connections for your Rainwater Harvesting System!

July 19, 2013

Often, the last part to complete with a rainwater harvesting system is the downspout connection. I always remind folks that every downspout tie-in is a custom downspout tie-in and you have many options. Read More...