Stinky Rain Barrel Water: Should You Be Worried?

One of the most common questions rain barrel users have is, “Why is my rain barrel so stinky?”

Stinky Rain Barrel Water: Should You Be Worried?

Rainwater itself doesn’t “expire,” so rain barrel water won’t technically go bad – so even though it may be smelly, it’s not necessarily “bad.”

It’s important to note that rainwater hits your roof first before it hits the barrel.  Unfortunately, this allows plenty of opportunities for the water to pick up bacteria like E. Coli, plant debris, bird droppings, chemicals, and other organic matter.

What to Know About Storing Rain Water in a Barrel

Practical Rain Barrel Water Maintenance Tips

Here are some best practices for maintaining clean water in your rain barrel.

To make your life easier, it is a good idea to install gutter guards on top of your downspouts and screens on top of the barrel. This will greatly minimize the number of leaves and sediment that enter the rainwater barrel.

Maintain Your Downspouts and Gutters

Limit Bacteria and Algae Growth

Regularly using the water in your rain barrel is the best way to avoid smelly water and organic material accumulation.  This also helps ensure that there is enough room in the barrel to collect rainwater during the next storm, which helps prevent overflow and damage to your home’s foundation.

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