Winterizing your rain barrel

Rain Check provides tips for keeping rain barrel in good condition during cold weather

Don’t forget to show your rain barrel some TLC. MELISSA KOMAR / STAR PHOTO

By Melissa Komar

As temperatures continue to drop and snow continues to fall in the River Wards, it’s time — if you haven’t already — to show your outdoor rain barrel som TLC.

Rain Check for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society provides free rain barrels to Philadelphia residents through the Rain Check Rain Barrel program.
The program is funded by the Philadelphia Water Department and managed by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in partnership with the Sustainable Business Network.
The overall goal of Rain Check is to help residents protect the environment while beautifying their homes in conjunction with the city’s stormwater management initiative “Green City, Clean Waters.”
Rain Check provides tips to keep your rain barrel in tiptop condition during the winter months, with disconnecting your rain barrel from your downspout” before temperatures consistently drop below 32 degrees” ranking at the top of the list.

Follow these steps to disconnect your rain barrel:
1. Drain it by opening the spigot at the bottom.
2. Use a Phillips head screwdriver to remove the two screws connecting the downspout diverter to the downspout.
Pull out the diverter and replace with the rubber winter cap that was provided during installation.
4. Screw in the cap using the same two screws removed from the downspout diverter.
The accordion tube and downspout diverter should be stored in a safe place until spring, but can be left attached to the barrel itself.

Replacement winter caps can be purchased online at rainbarrelparts.com. Be sure to purchase the correct cap — round or rectangular — for your downspout. To sign up for the Rain Check program, visit PWDRainCheck.org. From now through Feb. 20, if someone lists your name when applying to participate in Rain Check, you will be automatically entered to win two tickets to the 2018 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show. For questions about the Rain Check program, email RainCheck@pennhort.org or call (215)988–8767.