7 Disadvantages of Rain Barrels

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No one can deny the importance of water in our daily lives. Not only is it necessary for humans, but it is also necessary for the continuance of life. Although it is a natural source, several factors like high rate of consumption, random weather patterns, and high infrastructure costs have caused it to become an expensive commodity. That’s why there are numerous ways of saving water from waste. One of the items often used for saving rainwater is a rain barrel.

Rain barrels are used by homeowners commonly and are available in hardware stores, home improvement stores, and garden centers. They can be described as rainwater storage containers that come in different ranges from 50 gallons to 250 gallons. They can help you save some bucks by decreasing your water bills. If you add multiple rain barrels, you can save water in a larger quantity. Despite their benefits, there are also some disadvantages of Rain barrels too. There are numerous problems that you may face while using rain barrels, some of which are mentioned below:

Disadvantages of Rain Barrels:

Disadvantages of Rain Barrels:

1.     Limited Usage of Rainwater:

First, the water that is stored in rain barrels is not clean enough to be used for drinking. Since it is rainwater, you would need to install additional filters and cleaners if you want to use the stored water for drinking. Hence, the usage of rain barrels indicates that you will soon need to spend more of your hard-earned money to ensure the availability of pure and clean water.

If you opt for using a rain barrel, you would have to make sure no one drinks the stored rainwater. It includes humans, plants, and even animals. For some people who have animals and plants, it can be very difficult to be certain that no one drinks dirty water.

2.     Smaller in Size:

Rainwater barrels are not very large in size compared to water tanks. How is this a disadvantage? It is because they may not be sufficient to store water as per your family’s needs. Hence, the usage of rain barrels can limit the potential harvest of more water.

In order to ensure the availability of more water and maximize the harvest, one may need to connect multiple rain barrels. As you may have idea, increasing the connection points will also increase the likelihood of leakage. As a result, it can also lead to system failure. This means that despite spending more on multiple rain barrels, you may be required to pay more for the collection of more water, which is not a great solution.

3.     Usage of Currently Stored Water:

The idea of the availability of free water for your lawn and garden sounds great, but it comes with some limitations. For instance, you must utilize all the water stored in the rain barrels before the next rainstorm. How can you use such a huge amount of water so quickly? You can surely use it for gardening. In this way, your plants can get water, and your rain barrel will have more space.

It may sound like an effective idea, but it’s not. Here is the problem with this solution; nature automatically waters your garden through the rain. So how can you utilize the stored water before the next rain so fast? Eventually, the rainwater will still be wasted.

4.     Potential Source of Bugs:

Rain barrels can also cause the arrival of bugs, especially mosquitoes. As a result, the chances of your entire house and family members getting mosquito-related diseases to increase. So, having multiple showers of rain is not a very healthy solution in the long run. You might be wondering if they come with some protective measures to prevent the bugs. As a matter of fact, rain barrels do have mesh to prevent bugs and their eggs. However, once they start deteriorating gradually, your rain barrels will no longer be safe.

5.     No Guarantee of Stored Water during Summers:

Rain barrels can store water as long as it rains. But what would you do during the dry season when there is little to less rain? The simple task of storing water seems easy when it happens on its own through the rain. However, if you try storing or refilling the same amount of water during the dry season, it will be a lot of hard work. As a result, you may not even have sufficient water stored for your garden and plants before the end of the dry season. This can become a huge deal if you only plan on using rain barrels to water your plants.

6.     Possibility of Unpleasant Appearance:

When you think of something to add to your house, you’d want it to look pleasant. That’s because whatever you bring to your house will affect its overall appearance. Unfortunately, having rain barrels may not bring more beauty to your house’s looks. If you are planning to keep it somewhere outside of your house, the design may not complement your house. But it is only important if you care enough about your house’s appearance. If you are okay, as long as it’s adding the values, this factor may not bother you much.

7.     Rain Barrel May Stink:

Disadvantages of Rain Barrels:

While this may not happen right after you start using your rain barrel, there is a possibility that, at some point, you will notice a potent sulfur smell coming from the rain barrel. This can be due to the gathering of bacteria in your rain barrel. Even though the water would be used for many purposes, the idea of using smelly water would still be extremely unpleasant.


Despite having plenty of benefits, rain barrels can bring a lot of problems for you in the long run. We briefly touched on some of the potential problems one may experience after getting rain barrels. Not only can they be difficult to maintain, but they also offer very limited usage. You cannot store a huge amount of rainwater and use it in the longer run. Not to mention there will be a shortage of water during dry seasons if you are planning to only depend on rain barrels.