How to Install a Rain Barrel Pump

Gutter directing rainwater into rain barrel

A natural resource homeowners have access to and don't always take advantage of is rain. It's free, doesn't require permission to use, there's no monthly "rain" bill to deal with, and it's readily available to use in various areas. As water runs off the roof of your home and drains into the ground keeping the surrounded lawn replenished, other areas of your lawn, garden, or potted plants may not be getting enough water between rainfall. This means turning on the faucet and using water you'll have to pay for if you live in the city. Enter the rain barrel with its attached pump; an environmentally friendly idea that lets you use the natural resource to the max.

Rain barrels are containers designed to collect rain water runoff from your home’s gutter system. Often, they are placed in strategic locations allowing you easy access for lawn and plant watering. The barrels incorporate a hose bib—affixed near the barrel bottom—that you attach to your garden hose. One drawback many homeowners realize when using water from a rain barrel is the lack of water pressure. The barrels depend on gravity to push the water through the hose, which decreases as the barrel empties. With the addition of a rain barrel pump, which were designed to overcome this drawback by providing a steady stream of pressurized water, you can use all the water in barrel to the last drop.

Rain barrel with pump

The rain barrel pump installation instructions in this post are general in nature. Always refer to the applicable manufacturer’s installation guide, instructions, and safety precautions when installing these products.

Note: Be sure to check you're local laws when setting up a rain barrel.

Basic Rain Barrel Pump Installation

Rain barrel pumps are designed to fit most types of rain barrels. Installation requires aligning the pump atop the rain barrel lid in a suitable location and drilling a hole through the lid of the rain barrel for the siphoning tube. You must measure the distance from the top of the barrel lid and cut the siphoning tube to length. This ensures the siphoning tube extends to the bottom of the barrel. Next, you attach the siphoning tube to the bottom of the pump, thread the tube through the drilled opening and rest the pump on the lid. Mounting ears on the pump allow you to easily secure the pump to the lid using coarse-thread screws included with the rain barrel pump kit.

Electric Rain Barrel Pump

Electric rain barrel pumps require a reliable source of electricity, most often a 115 volt power outlet located on your home’s exterior, near the barrel’s location. Once the pump is installed, you simply plug in the cord and attach your garden hose to the outlet nipple on the side of the pump. When you want to water, simply turn on the pump to pressurize the garden hose attached to the rain barrel.

Solar Rain Barrel Pump

Solar rain barrel pumps require positioning a small solar array—included with the solar rain barrel pump kit—in a sunny location for power. Next, you plug the solar array into the side of the pump. Once charged, the pump will provide you with a steady, pressurized flow of water from your rain barrel. Simply connect your garden hose to the outlet nipple located on the side of the pump to water or irrigate your landscape.

Manual Rain Barrel Pump

Manually operated rain barrel pump kits are available. This type of kit relies on you to power the pump by turning a crank lever on the side of the pump. While it is not feasible for a water hose, the pump is ideal for filling buckets and watering cans. Installation is similar to the method mentioned above.

Rain barrels provide an economical and efficient means to water or irrigate your home’s landscape. Installing a rain barrel and pump allows you to keep your lawn and garden looking its best by utilizing this free natural resource to not only help the environment, but also your budget.