Before installation, make certain that all gutters are cleaned. Debris in gutters could be washed into barrels and possibly clog the water flow into the gutters or out of the barrel.
Routinely check your barrel and gutters to make sure there is no debris build up that could block the flow of water to your barrel.
Make sure to empty your barrel monthly to ensure that there is no algae buildup inside the barrel. If you suspect there may some buildup, a cap of chlorine bleach poured into the barrel will take care of the algae. This small amount will not be harmful to any plants should you choose to water them with the contents of the barrel.
Every few years, clean the inside of the barrel using a solution consisting of 2 teaspoons of vinegar and 2 teaspoons of organic soap per gallon of water. Be sure that after cleaning, the barrel is thoroughly rinsed.
Disconnect the barrel from your downspout and put the downspout back in its original position.
Remove any other items connected to the rain barrel and store inside.
IMPORTANT: Drain the rain barrel completely. Any significant amount of water left in the barrel will freeze and possibly crack the barrel.
You can leave your barrel outside during the winter if you choose but it must be emptied. The barrel's high density material makes it durable, but the brass spigot and harvesting system may not hold up well in the freezing weather.