Rain Barrels

Rain barrels are a great way to capture water and put it to good use. Rain barrels are large containers that capture stormwater from your roof that would otherwise be lost as runoff. Modern rain barrels are sealed, safe around children, and insect resistant – they can even be painted or decorated to your liking. You can divert water from your downspout to fill your rain barrel and a hose spigot on the front makes the water easy to access and use.

Around 40% of the total household water used during the summer months is for watering lawns and gardens. Rainwater doesn’t contain chlorine, lime, or calcium which makes it ideal for watering your flowers and vegetable garden or washing your car or windows. You may even notice a decrease in your water bill!

The Conservation Foundation sells rain barrels year- round through a partnership with Upcycle Products, Inc. The 55-gallon rain barrels are made of recycled food- grade plastic, come in a variety of colors, and can be purchased online for $64.50 (plus tax). Home delivery is available for an additional $32.50.

There will be a local pickup the first Saturday of each month from April - September from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Water Reclamation Facility (625 S. Rte. 83 Elmhurst). Barrels can also be purchased in person at The Conservation Foundation’s headquarters at McDonald Farm (10S404 Knoch Knolls Rd., Naperville). 

Rain Barrels are  available to PURCHASE HERE.

Quick Facts:

  • Rain Barrels They are 55-gallon containers, stand about 48" high.
  • Made of food grade recycled plastic containers (former pickle and olive barrels).
  • They are covered to keep them safe around children.
  • The screw-off lid is equipped with a screen to keep debris and insects from the water.
  • A valve on the bottom of the barrels to which a hose is attached makes the captured rainwater available through a simple gravity system.
  • An overflow connector at the top of the barrels allows for a hose to be attached and directed to other landscaped areas.
  • The rain barrels carry a one year warranty.
  • The rain barrel has been used to ship food products from Europe to the USA. It probably carried olives from Italy and can not be reused for food products. In the past these kinds of barrels would simply be thrown away filling valuable landfill space and wasting a very reusable barrel.
  • Since the barrel was used for shipping, it will not be a smooth unmarred surface. It will have scratches and damage that is normal as it is moved about. The surface can be lightly sanded and painted to help it fit in to your particular application and location. Be creative! Paint it with bright colors and make it a part of your garden.
  • The barrel capacity is about 50 gallons. Depending on the size of your roof or the area being drained by the particular gutter you are connecting to the barrel will fill quickly with even a moderate rainfall.

1 gallon = 231 cubic inches = .1337 cubic feet

1 square foot = 144 square inches
 The Equation:
(total capacity of barrels in gallons x 231) = # of inches of rainfall to fill (surface area of roof draining into barrels)


  • A house is about 60 feet long by 25 feet wide and half my roof empties into rain barrels, so the surface area in inches is 60 x 25 x 1/2 x 144 = 108,000 square inches.
  • It has 4 rain barrels at the backyard downspouts and they are 55 gallons each, so 4 x 55 = 220 gallons

So, (220 x 231) / (108,000) = 0.47 inches of rainfall needed.....

that's less than a half inch of rain to fill 4 rain barrels with 220 gallons of water!

Tips for using your Rain Barrel

Rain Barrel Installation