Rain Barrels being installed

Rain Barrel Installation and Care

MMSD Rain Barrel Installation and care Instruction

Follow these instructions below to properly set up the black rain barrel you received from MMSD.

For downloadable instructions please click here.

After you have installed your rain barrel, share an image or video of your rain barrel and we'll send you a FREE t-shirt for being a Fresh Coast Guardian.

Step 1

After selecting the proper location, dig up the turf grass around the area where the barrel will be placed. Tamp area once turf grass has been removed. Add gravel and tamp again. Place concrete blocks or other sturdy base on top of the gravel. Ensure your base is level.  


Leveling area for tan MMSD rain barrel

Step 2
Prepare Your Rain Barrel

First, insert the threaded rubber seals into the pre-drilled holes on your rain barrel. Second, screw the spigot into the top threaded seal/hole and drain piece into the bottom threaded seal/hole. Place your rain barrel on the base and choose which pre-marked location on the side of your rain barrel you want to use (closest to the downspout). Using the small hole saw (1.5”), drill into that spot. Insert the rubber seal, then twist the fill hose into place. 

Drilling the black MMSD rain barrel

Step 3
Measuring the Downspout

Place the rain barrel on your level base. Place a level or other straight edge on the top of the rain barrel (without a lid) and align it with the downspout. Use a ruler or tape measure to measure 3-inches down from the level or straight edge you have on top of the barrel and mark the center of the downspout with a pencil. (Note: if you have a 2x3 downspout you will drill into the front of your downspout, and if you have a 3x4 downspout you will drill into the side of your downspout.) 

Drilling the downspout for MMSD rain barrel

Step 4
Drilling the Downspout

Align drill bit with 3-inch mark and the center of your downspout. Drill into downspout using the larger hole-saw (2-1/8”). When drilling use one hand to stabilize the downspout and the other to hold the drill. Do not force the drill. Cut slow and steady. Always use safety glasses when drilling. After you drill the hole, put on safety gloves and file around the edges of the hole you created as it will be sharp. 

Drill the Downspout for MMSD Rain Barrel

Step 5
Attach Diverter to Downspout 

Place diverter piece into hole by squeezing the sides, making sure the collection cup faces up. Place vertically so the two pre-made holes are on the top and bottom of the diverter piece (not side-by-side). Push in until the diverter is entirely in the whole and sits flat against the downspout. Drill screws into pre-made holes to securely attach diverter to the downspout. 

Attach Diverter for MMSD rain barrel

Step 6
Attach Barrel to
Diverter & Lid

Attach the fill hose you attached to the barrel in Step 2 to the diverter piece inside of the downspout. Attach the lid to your rain barrel. If you choose the right-side-up “traditional” style, secure it with the additional screws provided with your rain barrel. If you choose to do the upside-down “planter” style, replace the plug with the plastic drain piece and simply place the lid on your rain barrel.  

Attach MMSD barrel to downspout

Step 7
Enjoy Your Rain Barrel! 

Finished MMSD black rain barrel


Around Halloween, remove diverter piece from downspout and replace with winterizing cap (included in installation kit). Reattach screws to secure winterizing cap. Bring rain barrel inside.

Winterizing your rain barrel

MMSD Rain Barrel Care

Rain Barrel Maintenance


            1. Wash out debris.

            2. Check spigot and other fasteners for tightness.


            1. Empty within a few days of rain.

            2. Check for leaves caught in diverter from time to time.


  1. Check for leaves caught in diverter from time to time. 

  1. Around October, or when temperatures get cold, remove the diverter piece, drain your barrel, and clean with a soft cloth.  

  1. Install your winterizing cap. 

  1. Store barrel upside down in your basement or garage. 

Rain Barrel Care Tips

Water isn’t flowing to the rain barrel – what’s wrong?

  1. Barrel is too high, relative to the diverter. The hole on the back of the barrel should be below the diverter hole in the downspout
  2. Fill hose is clogged
  3. Downspout/Gutter is clogged

How much water can I collect?

Rule of thumb:

  • A 1000 square foot roof can provide:
    • ~600 gallons of water during a 1" rainfall;
    • ~300 gallons in a 1/2” rainfall;
    • ~150 gallons in a 1/4” rainfall;
  • Up to 12 gallons of rain per minute flows in out of your downspout

For more rain barrel care and maintenance, download our Rain Barrel Care Manual.