Still going strong
This will be the 3rd summer of use. Works great.
We didn't have a downspout diverter the first year, but since the whole backside of our house goes to that downspout, it was too much for the barrel & overflow garden hose I rigged up to handle, so water would spill over near the top which meant water ending up near the house. The current diverter sends about half of the water to the barrel & the other half to the ground.
4 issues (1 major & 3 minor):
- There are 2 overflow nubs of plastic )a few
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inches long & an inch or 2 in diameter), but there is no connection system/threads, so unless you find the exact size of hose (larger than a garden hose), you will have issues connecting something to the overflow areas (like I did)
- the main spout is cheap, just throw it out and buy a nice brass one for a few bucks.
- the place at the top for plants catches a lot of water in a storm, so if you don't want to drill drain holes you will have flooded plants. But if you do drill a hole or three, that nice potting soil/dirt can end up in the bottom of your barrel.
- the plastic filter that goes between the lid and the bottom section is hard to get out to clean. I rigged up a little piece of plastic (a pvc pipe seal) through one of the holes in the filter so i can pull it out.
Nice rain barrel
I like this rain barrel, and I only give it four stars because of unclear instructions. Here are some of the problems that I had. Hopefully these insights will make it easier for someone else assembling this thing.
- The package comes with two different sets of instructions. After about 45 minutes of trying to figure out which one I was supposed to follow, I finally realized that there are instructions for the "basic cascata rain barrel" (which does not include a pump) and the "deluxe cascata
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rain barrel" (this model, which includes a pump). After I figured that out, the rest was straightforward. The instructions for the deluxe barrel should be followed, and then eventually it will tell you to switch to the basic instructions and follow them to finish installation. Once you have switched back to the basic instructions, all you really need to do is put the mesh screen on, place the top on, and then route the downspout into it.
- I also had problems getting the drain plug installed. The first step sounds simple enough, as it is something like "screw the black drain plug into the bottom of the barrel." I tried and tried and tried until I realized that I was supposed to be screwing it from the inside of the barrel. This thing is almost 4 feet tall and reaching all of the way down in it is impossible. I finally got out my ratchet set, found a socket that seemed to match, but had to borrow another extension from a neighbor before I could reach inside far enough to properly tighten it down. I put the plug inside the socket and taped it down. Then I reached into the barrel and got the threads started. At that point I was able to pull the tape and ratchet out of the barrel, remove the tape, and then finish tightening.
- The instructions talk about routing the garden hose and the pump's power cord through the "larger" hole on the barrel. Both holes appeared to be the same size to me, but one sits slightly higher if you look closely. I finally found pictures on their website that showed that this was the hole that they meant. If you are standing at the front of the barrel (leaning over it to get to the back) it will be the hole on your right. If you are facing the back of the barrel directly, it's the hole on the left. The other hole is for overflow.
Other than that, this seems to be great so far. Make sure to place this on a solid, even surface (I put mine on a 24" square planter after leveling out the ground). You don't want it sitting on rocks or anything like that. I have been told that sitting it on uneven surfaces can puncture the bottom of the barrel once it is full (i.e. the weight of the water causes enough force for a small object to puncture the bottom). I am not sure how true this is, but I would rather not find out.
The pump is neat, just plug it in and it shoots water about 4 to 5 feet, which is perfect for watering a garden. Alternatively you can use the spout to let water drain out, perhaps into another container like a watering can, using only gravity. There is no power switch for the pump however. Once you connect it to an extension cord and plug that into an outlet, the pump is on. They also (obviously) recommend plugging the extension cord into a GFCI protected outlet.
The "overflow valve" is also a bit lame. It's just a hole at the top of the barrel that water spills out of. I plan on purchasing some rubber hose to attach to it so that I can route it down to the ground and into my garden as opposed to just splashing all over the ground.
We have had one night of moderate rain since installing this barrel, and it filled up about 60% of the barrel.
Finally, I cannot comment on the long term durability of this product since I have only had it set up for a few days (just got new gutters). Once I got past the instructions and got the right tools, I have been very pleased with it so far.