Recently, I bought a Fiskars Salsa Rain Barrel (58 gallons/219 Liter) for our house because I am just amazed by its built quality and the overflow design. Before I bought it, I read a lot of reviews on the Internet complaining about 2 things:
1. Does not work for square downspout or it’s leaking
2. Connector hose (36″) is way too short
Now, I am going to show you how to solve these problems because I am having the exact same issues. First of all, I built a solid base by using some left over interlocking stones from my previous Driveway Extention Project. A leveled solid base is important because a rain barrel filled with water is around 500 lb, you definitely don’t want it to tip over.
To extend the hose for more than 36″ (I need 5′ – 6′), there is an easy way to solve this problem. You can simply buy “Rain Barrel Connector Kit” (item#5960) OR ANOTHER “DiverterPro Rainwater Diverter” (Item#59626935) and then connect the two black plastic hoses using a 1″ fitting, dumping the rest into garbage.
Since my local hardware store don’t carry that either of these Fiskars items, I have to go with my DIY way:
- 1″ (inner) PVC water hose
- Tapcon 10 pieces
- 5 x brackets to hold the PVC hose
- 2 x fittings for 1″ (inner) diameter
- 5 x metal clamps
It is pretty straight forward to put everything together as you can see, I strongly recommend that you use those metal brackets on the wall because PVC hose is pretty heavy. Without the brackets, you can’t keep the hose level, and water may not flow properly.
For the square downspout (2.5″), treats it as 2″ x 3″ in the manual. Cut 3.5″ at the top and then 10.25″ at the bottom (refers to manual). Just force the aluminum into the 2″ x 3″ adapter comes with Fiskars kit, by applying pressure from the sides. Then, put a lot of silicone caulking to fill the gaps, this is important otherwise it will leak. Do the same thing for the lower part, it looks ugly inside but it’s wide enough for water to pass through. Trust me, I did similar thing with my roof’s downspout many years ago and there was no issues.
Adding Anti-Theft Rain Barrel lock
After I sold my boat years ago, I have a left over steel cable and a brass Abloy lock (it was used lock the outboard motor). In order not to ruin Fiskars’ design, I used their pre-drilled hole on the other side of the barrel. So, I bought a eye hook and a pad lock plate hardware. I applied some plumber’s putty on the eye hook to make sure it is water tight (this stuff is good only for non-high pressured application). Now, the most critical part is to prevent people from removing the eye hook – I used some automotive repair ePoxy. When it dries, it is hard as a rock and this prevents people from removing the eye hook. (Mighty Putty works too, I have both) The rest is pretty much self explanatory, of course, this can easily be defeated by brute force or cutting the cable/plastic. Similar to cars alarm and steering wheel lock, this is more on the theft deterrence side - hopefully they move onto other easy targets instead.
As you can see in the last photo, the extended hose worked very well and the rain barrel was filled with water without overflowing and without leaking from the anti-theft eye hook.
Overall Review for Fiskars Salsa Rain Barrel:
- Built quality is so solid and strong
- One side is flat against the wall without wasting space
- Color, texture and look are stylish, paintable too!
- The diverter/overflow design just amazed me
- Totally enclosed container, no metal wire mesh
- Unlike the traditional Rain Barrel design (with downspout pointing directly to the barrel), the diverter will not capture 100% rain from the downspout, some will just go right through especially for small scale of rain. In general, this is not a problem for me because it gets filled up pretty quickly. However, it is a problem if you live in some areas where it lacks of rain.
- Expensive, I paid $119 CAD + tax (on sale), regular price is $159 CAD.
- Must use with downspout, while the regular rain barrel (with wire mesh on top) can be used to collect rain in any open space
Rain Barrel for $25 Alternative
If you live in York Region in Canada, you can get the Rain Barrel (with government subsidy) for just $25, check out WaterForTomorrow.ca However, consider these:
- My friends told me that you have to wake up at 6:00 AM on a specific Saturday to beat the line up
- Only available for certain day while quantities last (probably 1-2 times a year)
- The tap is too close to the ground, you can’t use the handheld watering can
- Overflow design doesn’t work, you need to fix it yourself. Check out Vincent Ma’s Flickr
(All Photos were taken using iPhone)