Do you have a full rain barrel, and you aren’t sure how to use the water in the most efficient way exerting the least amount of effort? Or have you ever found yourself wondering, “will a soaker hose work with a rain barrel?”
Well, if you’ve been in either of those situations, you’ve come to the right place!
It just so happens that a soaker hose can easily be used with a rain barrel, resulting in an amazingly efficient way to use collected water with little effort on your part!
What You Need To Know About Soaker Hoses
What Is A Soaker Hose?
A soaker hose looks similar to a standard garden hose and is an incredibly efficient way to water plants. Instead of spraying water out the hose end, a soaker hose contains many small perforations or pores that let water flow from the whole hose.
A soaker hose is laid on the soil surface near the plants you want to be watered. When the water is turned on at the faucet, it slowly seeps water, steadily delivering moisture to everything planted along its length.
How Does Water Move Through A Soaker Hose?
Or, “does a soaker hose need pressure?”
Yes, a soaker hose needs pressure to work. Water pressure pushes water through the hose and out the pores or perforations.
But a soaker hose needs much less stress than other methods like drip irrigation or built-in sprinklers. This makes it valuable for homes with lower water pressure that can’t run other irrigation systems.
To give you an idea, the water pressure coming from the faucet on most homes is between 40 and 80psi. On average, running a soaker hose at 8 to 10psi of water pressure is recommended. So even a house with lousy water pressure should be able to run a soaker hose.
Can I Use A Soaker Hose With A Rain Barrel?
We just talked about the main features of a soaker hose, and it’s clear it needs a specific amount of pressure—albeit low—to work correctly. The problem, though, is rain barrels have very low, if any, pressure.
How Much Pressure Does A Rain Barrel Have?
Unlike an outside faucet that is pressurized, there isn’t force or pressure moving the water through a rain barrel. To create pressure and push water through a hose, you must rely on gravity or install a pump.
For this article, let’s forget about installing a pump.
Therefore, you must raise your rain barrel off of the ground, so gravity is used to create water pressure. According to The Rainbarrel Man:
“Each foot in elevation change is equal to 0.433 PSI (pounds per square inch) of water pressure. So, if you place your [3-foot tall] barrel on a 3 ft. stand and your barrel is full, you will have 2.598 PSI of water pressure. To keep that level of pressure, the base of your barrel needs to be 2-3 ft higher than the highest point of your garden.”
Is Gravity-Driven Pressure Enough To Supply A Soaker Hose?
What this means is if your water level is six feet above ground, it has less than one-third of the pressure needed for a soaker hose. It’s certainly much less than the recommended 8 to 10psi.
You can try to attach a soaker hose to your rain barrel and see what happens. If water moves through the hose at all, it will drip out incredibly slow, and the amount disbursed will be negligible.
So, under ordinary circumstances, a regular soaker hose cannot work correctly with a rain barrel. For simplicity’s sake, let’s define “ordinary circumstances” as a rain barrel without a pump, either at ground level or sitting on a stand no more than 3 to 4 feet tall.
Now, you’re probably wondering why I said it works at the beginning of the article!
Why Did I Say Yes To “Will A Soaker Hose Work With A Rain Barrel?”
I just said a regular soaker hose would not work with a rain barrel because of the barrel’s low pressure. The vital part of that sentence is “regular soaker hose.” A low-pressure soaker hose will work with a rain barrel!
Low-pressure rain barrel soaker hoses emit the same amount of water as a regular soaker hose using non-pressurized water. They combine the water conservation of soaker hoses and water barrels without needing to install a water pump or install the barrel on the roof of your house!
“Like drip irrigation lines, most soaker hoses are designed to work optimally with certain amounts of pressure. But as rainwater harvesting grows in popularity, the industry has caught up and now there are special soaker hoses designed to work with no pressure…
…Rain barrel soaker hoses have a more porous wall so that non-pressurized water can easily seep into your garden. The rain barrel soaker hose offers much greater distribution than a drip line. Each hose is 50 feet long and according to the manufacturer specs, two hoses can be linked together for up to 100 linear feet of distribution by gravity feed.”
So, yes, a soaker hose will work with a rain barrel if it’s a low-pressure soaker hose designed for a non-pressurized water supply!
Best Soaker Hose For Rain Barrel
Rain barrel soaker hoses have become a sensational product among lawn owners because of their innovative nature! So, if you’re looking to make a smart, environmentally-conscious investment for your lawn, it could be the perfect choice for you!
The best rain barrel soaker hoses are low-pressure, high output hoses designed to work with rain barrels or gravity-fed irrigation systems.
* RECOMMENDATION HERE *
How To Attach A Soaker Hose To A Rain Barrel
Soaker hoses are as easy to attach to a rain barrel as attaching any garden hose to a spigot.
If your barrel isn’t equipped with a spigot, you’ll need to install a valve. You’ll get the best results with a self-sealing high-flow valve, but they aren’t necessary.
- Drill a hole in the side of the barrel 2 to 4” from the bottom using a hole saw slightly smaller than the faucet neck.
- Wrap PTFE sealing tape around the threads on the spigot neck.
- Insert barrel seal into the hole from the outside, ensuring it is flush against the barrel wall.
- Thread the spigot neck through the barrel seal until it is as snug as you can get it using your hand.
- If included in the valve kit, reach inside the barrel and thread the nut onto the neck until hand-tightened.
For manufactured barrels with a ball valve or pre-made connection, you can thread the soaker hose directly to the connection, or you can put a splitter on it. A splitter gives you the ability to attach a soaker hose and a supply hose.
- Make sure the rubber gasket is snugly inside the female connector.
- Align the female end of the hose with the threaded male end on the faucet connection.
- Thread the female connector onto the male in a clockwise direction until hand-tightened being careful not to cross-thread the connectors.
What To Keep In Mind When Using A Soaker Hose
A soaker hose is a fantastic way to use water efficiently when irrigating plants. Still, you need to consider some things when using one, regardless of whether you’re using a standard or a no-pressure rain barrel hose.
- Only lay hoses where you want water. Soaker hoses deliver water along their entire length, so you don’t want to lay it in spots that don’t need moisture.
- Don’t use hoses that are too long. As water travels through a hose, friction is created as it comes in contact with the internal surface area. This leads to a loss in water pressure as the hose length increases. So don’t buy a hose longer than you need, and don’t use one more than 100 feet long. Quoting PlantCareToday:
“For soaker hoses to perform optimally they should have a maximum length of 100 feet. Make sure to purchase the length that fits your garden. Use a garden hose to connect the soaker hose to the faucet.”
- Keep an eye on the pressure. You want the water to drip at a slow to moderate rate from the hose, not run out quickly or spray out as jets. Open the faucet to let some water seep from the soaker hose, and then adjust the pressure until it is flowing the way you want.
- Don’t forget to set the timer. Without a timer, you might let the water run too long and overwater—which isn’t conserving water. Diligently set a timer, so everything gets adequate water at the right time of day.
- Prevent contamination of your water supply. A back-flow preventer on the faucet is absolutely indispensable. It keeps water from reversing direction and flowing back into your drinking water.
Q. What kind of hose works best with a rain barrel?
The best hose for a rain barrel is a standard garden hose or a rain barrel soaker hose in the shortest usable length.
Q. Can you use a rain barrel for drip irrigation?
On its own, a rain barrel does not have enough water pressure to run drip irrigation. If a pump is installed to raise the pressure, you can use a rain barrel for your drip line’s water supply.
Q. How often should you water with a soaker hose?
The optimal amount of time to run your soaker hose depends on the soil conditions, climate, and time of year. Start by running your hose for 30 minutes twice a week and keep adjusting until you find the right balance for your garden.
Hopefully, this information clears up confusion about using a soaker hose with a rain barrel!
Let’s face it, a soaker hose paired with a rain barrel is a fantastic way to efficiently use water while expending minimal effort. It’s definitely a win-win-win situation (or is that considered a three-win situation?) for you, your garden, and the environment.
The key to using a soaker hose for a rain barrel is using a specially designed no-pressure soaker hose since a rain barrel’s pressure is too low for a standard one. These special hoses are more expensive, but without a doubt, they are worth the extra cost!
Here are a few additional irrigation articles that relate to this article:
► When To Stop Watering The Lawn
► Can You Overwater Grass Seed
► My Full Guide To Buying A Hose
► How to Measure Garden Hose Diameter?
► How to Stop a Hose From Kinking?
► How Can I Increase My Outdoor Water Pressure?
► Is it Safe to Drink Water From a Garden Hose?
► How to Cut Grass Under a Trampoline?