Rain Barrel Tip: No water is coming from your Rainbarrel? Solutions

In this video, Lars answers a question from one of our readers concerning a rain barrel with an absence of water coming from said barrel. The question at hand is this:

“No water is coming out of my barrel. Ok, so it was my big moment. I have the rain barrel, I bought a nice new hose. I connected the hose to the spigot (located at the bottom of the barrel). I turned it on, I waited. I waited longer, I waited even longer. No water has come out of the hose yet. Any suggestions? Maybe the hose has too much curl? Maybe it’s not downhill enough? I tried sucking on the hose to see if that helped. It didn’t. Thanks.”

This is a great question. First off, we want to hope that you really aren’t sucking any water from your rain barrel. No one wants to end up with a mouthful of dirty rainwater, and you certainly wouldn’t want to swallow any of that water, either.

The first thing you want to do is take off the hose and make sure that water is coming out of the spigot without the hose connected. This is to be sure that the spigot is not stopped up. If the spigot is working fine, then chances are your rain barrel is not downhill enough. Rain barrels do not generate pressure like a waterhose when you hook it up to a spigot. So, if you have a 50 or 100 foot hose, the hose must be downhill the whole way. You can also try using a shorter hose, this would also help. Additionally, you want to be sure that your rain barrel is downhill enough to ensure proper water flow.

Additionally, if you don’t want to use a hose and the spigot is working properly, you can use buckets to get the water out of your rain barrel – straight from the spigot.

Hope this helps! Excellent question, Sarah…thank you so much!


Cathy May 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Cannot get the overflow drain to drain when the barrel is full. It will not flow thru the hose.

steve May 16, 2012 at 2:09 pm

@Cathy, Water will not flow only if something is restricting it. Check to be sure the hose or port on the rain barrel is not clogged.

Mike May 23, 2012 at 1:00 am

Understand need to raise the entire barrel in order to get pressure on the outlet hose. I have a 50 gallon bbl.
Q1: how close to the ground can the bbl base be, and still have reasonable flow?
Q2: What is/are the best methods for preparing a level base that will support ~400 lbs of water in a filled bbl?
Q3: The immediate area for the bbl slopes away from the house, which is good, but I need some sort of base that will keep the bbl level, and not let it sink off level, or leak water behind it into the actual side of the house.

steve May 25, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Mike, Try to get the rain barrel at least 12 inches off the ground. It can be at ground level and get ok result, just fill your barrel with water and open the valve and you will see how much water pressure you have. As for preparing the base, pack the dirt add some gravel, pack the gravel and add your base. We have found cinder blocks work well as a base.

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