Since the spigot is a very simple mechanical device, there usually is very little that can go wrong . . . other than some organic material stuck in the path. . . or . . . sometimes a small spider will make a nest/web at the bottom of the outlet, preventing water flow or water shut off. Here is a suggestion that usually will fix the problem quickly. Using an adjustable wrench, loosen the 6 sided nut (located right below the spigot handle) by turning left (do not remove the spigot from the barrel). Once completely loose, lift the entire (on/off) handle out of the spigot fixture (you may want to put a small bucket beneath to catch water that will now flow out). Using a thin wire (coat hanger) or brush, clear out any debris in the spigot base (go in both directions). Wipe off the washer of the handle assembly (that you've removed), then put the handle unit back in place and retighten the nut.
If the barrel is leaking between the metal spigot and the plastic barrel, the best remedy is to turn it counterclockwise and remove from the barrel. Wrap the spigot threads several times with simple teflon tape (white plumbers tape available at any hardware store for $1.00 or less) then rethread the spigot clockwise into the barrel until reasonably tight. Do not over-tighten as this will expand the plastic and create a similar situation as you are trying to correct. Still leaks . . . try again with more tape surrounding the metal threads.
Water Use & Cleaning
Collected water contains properties that plants love. It’s warmer than well water (plants won’t be shocked during watering), it‘s highly organic (unlike chlorinated municipal water), and it’s collected from nature. Keeping this in mind, users shouldn’t consider water fit for drinking, even though it appears to be fresh and clean.
Rainbarrels (and the screens) will collect small amounts of organic material (such as pollen) over time, so for best operation we suggest an occasional cleaning of the intake and overflow screens 2 or 3 times per year. These screens can easily be removed, cleaned and replaced in just minutes to enable optimal water flow in and out of the rain barrel.
Lift the ridgid aluminum intake screen by the corner and rinse the mesh screen beneath - now snap the rigid screen back into place on top of the mesh screen (if the shipping screw was still attached to the intake, it can be removed and discarded). To clean the overflow screen, slip the hose off the exit fitting at the back of the barrel (this is where another fine screen is located). Rinse the fine screen and slip the overflow hose back over the screen and exit fitting. For simpler water flow exiting the barrel, you can alternatively reposition the overflow screen at the other end of the overflow hose. Just cover the end of hose with the screen and wrap the screen with a small rubber band to hold in place.
Some customers like to empty the barrel and rinse out before winter begins as small amounts of fine debris and organic material can accumulate through the course of a year. This matter can also add to organic growth inside the barrel which is harmless to plants, but may omit an odor. To remedy this situation, add 2 tablespoons bleach to full barrel . . . or . . . use just water more frequently. To clean the inside of rainsaver, lift the rigid screen on the top of the barrel, turn it on it's side and rinse with a hose. You also can reach inside the intake area with a brush to clean the barrel sides if desired. You'll find if rain water is used frequently, cleaning is rarely necessary. The rainsaver can be stored outside in a convenient spot or it's original place, as it is unaffected by cold temperatures.
Winter Care in Freezing Climates
We've tested the Spruce Creek Rainsaver for several consecutive winters, leaving barrels completely full and allowing them to freeze all the way through. The rain barrel will bulge outward and upward by the pressure of expanding ice, but once thawing occurs the rain barrel will return to it's original shape. Winter freezing has proven no damaging effect on our rainsaver (other basic barrels require empty/indoor winter storage) so little winter maintenance is required. However, because expanding ice in a full barrel will create powerful stretching, we suggest that barrel is opened at the upper spigot level during the coldest months of winter (Dec, Jan, Feb) when daytime temperatures stop rising above freezing. For extended life of the barrel, we suggest users partially drain water to relieve this pressure of expanding ice. (54 gallons does make a pretty large ice cube). Open the top spigot access, drain to this level and then leave open to prevent pressure from water expanding inside the barrel. In the early spring when snow and ice begin to thaw, close the spigot and start saving the melting precipitation. In warmer climates where consistent daytime freezing does not occur, no action is needed.
Spruce Creek Rainsaver
Spruce Creek Rainsaver TM