From Laurie Sabol:
I’m always amazed at how quickly our rain barrels fill when it rains. The downside is easily emptying the water. We tried two methods, neither of which I was satisfied with. The first was to attach a hose to the spigot at the bottom of the outside of the barrel. This was an exercise in futility as I watched the water dribble out of the hose so slowly as to be almost useless. Talk about drip-irrigation! Next I tried emptying the water into 5-gallon buckets, which was exercise of another kind. Lifting a 40-pound (when full) 5 gallon bucket out of the rain barrel was more of a challenge than I need. Alternately, placing the bucket under the rain barrel spigot resulted in a similar problem: I still had to transport heavy, full buckets to my garden.
Enter the pump! Prior to my husband’s suggestion, I had no idea this kind of equipment existed. We bought an Everbilt 1/10 HP non-submersible transfer pump and it has done the job very successfully. It’s easy to set up and works quite well. One section of it is placed in the rain barrel to suction the water out. It attaches to the pump, which can sit either on top of the rain barrel or elsewhere. The pump has two outlets: one to accept the suction unit and one for a hose. Attach a hose, plug in the pump and you have highly-pressurized rain water with which to water your garden. Three caveats: 1) the pump is somewhat noisy; 2) pay attention to how quickly the water empties from the barrel so that the pump doesn’t run dry (our barrel empties in about 15 minutes but you should definitely keep an eye on it) and 3) the directions say you shouldn’t use a hose longer than 50 feet but we used ours with a 75 foot hose and it worked fine.
This gizmo has been the answer to my dreams! Now, if we would only get some rain…