I received my first question last week about winterizing a rain barrel. It was kind of a weird question and became apparent to me quickly that this person had purchased a rain barrel from a competitor when they said that they could not get all the water out of the rain barrel. WICHITA RAIN BARRELS are made to be left in place all year, even in the winter. As long as a short piece of hose is connected to the spigot AND the spigot is left open you will have no problems. I have left mine in place for over 4 years now and have had no problems.
Last year we performed our first long term winter experiment. We let one of our Wichita Rain Barrels filled all winter. We let it freeze and then every day for a week would go out and break the ice up by hitting the side of the rain barrel with a hammer. We did this for a few reasons, first we wanted to test the integrity of the rain barrel in extreme weather, and second we wanted to make sure that it was frozen solid. The water did freeze solid and the barrel did expand but nothing broke. We do not recommend treating your own barrels this way.
Our recommendation for winterizing all WICHITA RAIN BARRELS is to keep them in place all year. In November when the temperature begins to creep toward freezing, empty the rain barrel and make sure to keep the spigot OPEN for the winter. Attach a short length of hose to the spigot, making sure that the end is pointed into an area of your yard that will not be effected by some extra water. I have ours go to a bush and a tree. We recommend doing this to make sure on any drainage from your roof does not end up in your basement, crawlspace or near any place that it could create damage.