There are many reasons why you might want to install a rain barrel spigot. This method allows you to hook up a standard garden hose or soaker hose to any water catchment device. Whether you’re planning to use a 55-gallon plastic barrel, a 5-gallon bucket, or a 275-gallon tote, a rain barrel spigot kit will come in handy for this most common purpose.
Catching rainwater off of a shed or house is a great way to ensure you’re getting clean water for your garden or even for cooking and drinking. It’s also reassuring to have a backup method for obtaining water should this service get cut off for any reason.
In the following video, we use a rain barrel spigot kit we assembled after ordering many kits and parts on the market. We call this our “Everything But the Barrel” Kit because it comes with all of the materials you’ll need except a drill and drill bit which we assume most of you will have.
Watch now for a comprehensive rain barrel spigot installation tutorial or keep reading for step-by-step instructions.
Our Beef with Most Rain Barrel Spigot Kits
Most rain barrel spigot kits we tested had two major drawbacks as it related to our goal of hooking up our water catchment system to our water distribution system (a.k.a. a garden hose).
*Most garden hoses will be ¾ inch, five-eighths inch, or half inch diameter. If you aren’t careful, you could purchase a rain barrel spigot kit that has different size fittings than you really need for a simple garden hose connection or you may have to purchase additional adapters.
Our spigot kit comes with a ¾ inch lead-free metal hose spigot. It also includes:
Rain Barrel Spigot Kit
Our “Everything but the barrel” kit contains all of the parts needed to install a standard hose spigot onto a rainwater barrel, garbage can, bucket, etc. Unlike other barrel conversion kits, our spigots are high quality metal, and connect directly to a standard ¾” garden hose or soaker hose for easy passive watering.
This rain barrel spigot kit comes with the following parts:
How to Install Our "Everything But the Barrel" Rain Barrel Spigot Kit
We get 55-gallon food-grade plastic barrels from a yogurt company. We clean them out and then use our rain barrel spigot kit to prepare the barrels for catching rainwater off our shed and home.
Here are the steps to our quick, easy, and cheap installation process:
Step 1: Drill a hole in your rain barrel.
Use a 1 ⅜ inch or 35 millimeter drill bit to make a hole for the spigot to go in. You can put this hole anywhere on your barrel depending on if you are positioning the barrel vertically or horizontally.
Some people put the hole higher up on the barrel so they can fit a watering can under the spigot and a lower hole for draining out excess water.
We like to put a one hole high enough so we can attach a garden hose and allow sediment to sink to the bottom, but low enough so we are getting as much water as possible. The sweet spot usually ends up being about six inches off the bottom.
It’s always better to go smaller on the hole because if it is too small, you can always file it to give more space for the attachment.
Step 2: Attach a weight or washer to a string, drop it into the barrel via one of the two uncapped openings at the top, and thread it through the hole.
To install the spigot to a closed top rain barrel, the easiest kind of barrel to source for cheap, you’ll have to use a sort of pulley system to attach the bulkhead fitting body to the barrel.
Once the washer is through the hole, step on the excess string so it doesn’t go back into the barrel.
(You can skip this step if your barrel has a normal lid.)
Step 3: Put an EPDM gasket on the bulkhead fitting.
This is an important step because the EPDM gasket creates a seal so the water doesn’t leak.
Step 4: Pull the string through the bulkhead fitting and EPDM gasket and lower it into the barrel through the uncapped hole.
Grab your bulkhead fitting and pull the string through it. Make sure to pull the string through the pointy end first so it slides down the string in the correct direction.
When it’s time to put it through the uncapped hole at the top of the barrel, you may find that the bulkhead fitting can’t squeeze through the opening pointy side first. You will have to put the larger end of the fitting in first. As long as the string has been threaded through the bulkhead fitting properly, it will go through your drilled hole perfectly.
Step 5: Screw the bulkhead nut on.
Next you’ll grab your bulkhead nut and you’ll screw it onto the bulkhead fitting. To tighten the nut, you’ll screw it on to the left instead of the right, which is standard with most nuts.
You can put glue on at this stage to ensure proper sealing and avoid leakage. We find if we screw on the nut tight enough, however, glue is unnecessary.
Step 6: Put glue on the inside of the spigot and screw it onto the bulkhead fitting.
You can use the tip of the glue or your finger to spread it inside of your spigot.
One word to the wise is when you're applying the sealant for this step, make sure you're leaving a large enough pathway for water to get through. It is easy to put too much glue and actually occlude the spigot. This reduces the water flow to a trickle and it doesn’t work very well for gravity fed irrigation.
Once you adequately apply glue, screw the spigot to the bulkhead fitting as tight as it will go. You may have to loosen the bulkhead nut to get the spigot exactly where you want to be. For example, if you’re trying to make the opening parallel with the ground.
That’s it! Now you’ve got a fully functional rainwater catchment barrel!
Planning the Rest of Your Water Catchment System
We’ll have future articles and videos explaining how we connect the rain barrel to our gutters, but for now, check out this universal diverter system and downspout rainwater collection diverter for completing your water catchment project.
If you already have some parts of a rain barrel spigot kit, here are some useful materials we recommend to help you round it out:
Flex glue: https://amzn.to/3N8uOtT
Hole saw set: https://amzn.to/3Ov3Td1
Plastic water barrel: https://amzn.to/3HKqqQH
Soaker hose: https://amzn.to/3ycEIGT
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