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Rain Barrel Level Gauge

Posted by Maddy Kangas -

This rain barrel level gauge is a simple project that can be done in less than an hour. The rain barrel will have a bulkhead sized and threaded for either a half inch or three quarter inch pipe. Our example has a three quarter inch fitting.


You'll need some hardware and some tools.


  • 2 pipe wrenches
  • 1 screwdriver





  • 3/4" galvanized pipe nipple
  • 3/4" galvanized pipe tee
  • 3/4" to 3/8" hex bushing
  • 3/8" X 3/8" hose barb
  • 3/8" inside diameter clear plastic tubing
  • Plumber's tape


1. Assuming you already have a rain barrel with a 3/4" spigot installed, first drain the barrel until there is no water above the bottom of the spigot hole. Save the rain water in buckets if you can.


2. Use a pipe wrench to remove the spigot. You might need a second pipe wrench to keep the bulkhead fitting from turning.


3. Next, wind plumber's tape around the threads on a 3/4" pipe nipple and screw one end of the nipple into the barrel bulkhead.


4. Follow that with a 3/4" pipe T with the T facing up.


5. Now you can screw the spigot onto the other end of the T, keeping the T facing straight up.


6. Use plumber's tape on a 3/4" to 3/8" galvanized hex bushing and screw the bushing into the T.


7. Next, screw a 3/8" X 3/8" hose barb into the first bushing.


8. Take a length of 3/8" inside diameter clear plastic hose and push one end firmly onto the barbed bushing. Pull the hose taught up to the top rim of the barrel and cut it about half an inch above the rim.

9. Use an awl to poke a hole clear through the hose at the top. Use a long deck screw to attach the hose to the top rim of the barrel.


10. Return the water to the barrel or wait for rain.



By Roger Inman

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