How to Seal a Spigot in a Plastic Barrel

Barrels are often cheap and plentiful.
Barrels are often cheap and plentiful. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Homeowners seeking to curb water use have relied on plastic rain barrels as a convenient way to store large amounts of water. Some have diverted rainwater from downspouts -- water that in many places is destined to the storm sewer -- to cisterns. The problem lies in outfitting those rain barrels with a spigot that can be used to water the lawn on a dry day. The secret, as with many watertight connections, is the use of a rubber washer.

Things You'll Need

  • Empty plastic rain barrel
  • Spigot with a threaded end and locking nut
  • Rubber washers that fit snugly around both sides of spigot
  • Drill with a bit about the same diameter as spigot

Attaching a watertight spigot to a rain barrel

Select a place for the spigot. Lower is better. Drill a hole into the plastic using the drill.

Place one rubber washer around the threaded part of the spigot. Slide the o-ring so that it sits snugly against the lip of the spigot, where the threaded part stops and the finished part begins. Place the spigot in the hole, so the o-ring sits tightly between the barrel and the spigot.

Place the other rubber washer on the threaded part of the spigot, inside the barrel. Slide the rubber washer so it sits snugly against the inside of the barrel. Secure the rubber washer with the locking nut. Tighten with your hand.

Test the seal by filling the barrel with water. If the barrel leaks at the seal, tighten the locking nut.

Tips & Warnings

  • Rubber washers come in various shapes and sizes, but they are usually available at your local hardware store or home improvement center. The wider the washer is, the better for this job, so long as it fits snugly around the threaded part of the spigot. If your spigot doesn't have a large lip, or has a lip larger than the hole you drilled, you may have a harder time getting a water-tight seal. In this case, place a metal washer between the lip and the rubber washer to provide a better seal.

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