FAQ

General


What are Good Ideas products made of?
We make nearly all of our own products using LLDPE or Polyethylene. Some of our accessory items are made of metal or other organic materials. If you have a question about a specific product, check the product page on our site for more information.

Where are Good Ideas products made?
Virtually all of the products made by Good Ideas are produced right here in Lake City, PA which is very close to Erie. Some of our products are imported, such as our Compost Fiber (Coco Coir) which comes from a coconut farm in Sri Lanka.

Is there BPA (Bisphenol A) in any of your plastic products?
No. None of the parts that Good Ideas produces contains BPA.

What is the warranty for Good Ideas products?
Most products made by Good Ideas have a 1-year limited manufacturer's warranty on parts and labor. See our Terms and Conditions section or look at the individual product page for more information regarding the warranty.

Rain Harvesting
Can I leave my rain barrel out during the winter or cold weather?
You can, however, we strongly recommend that you drain your barrel before temperatures reach freezing. If water freezes in your barrel, it can put stress on the walls. This stress alone is unlikely to do damage to the barrel, however, a strong impact, such as from falling icicles, could cause damage to the barrel when it is in this state and would not be covered by the warranty.

My rain barrel is full but no/very little water is coming out when I turn the spigot on.
This is likely a problem with the spigot, but be certain that the barrel is actually full. First check that the spigot is installed correctly. Also, make sure there are no hoses connected to the spigot. There may be debris caught behind the valve of the spigot, blocking water. You can try to dislodge the blockage by spraying water from a pressurized hose into the spigot. If this doesn't work, try removing the spigot. If the water flows freely, then there is debris lodged inside, or the valve seal may be fault. However, if water does not flow out after removing the spigot, there may be a much larger blockage or you may have a defective barrel. If it is the latter, contact our customer service department for further instruction.

Can I use a hose with my rain barrel?
You may, however, do not expect pressures to be similar to that of a hose used from your home hookups. The pressure there is typically 30 PSI or greater where as a rain barrel produces little more than 1 PSI when full. In any case, you can use our special soaker hose which is designed to work with low pressure applications and will constantly water nearby plants.

How can I increase the pressure of my rain barrel?
Either install an electric pump or raise the barrel higher off the ground. This is true for all rain barrels

How do I connect my downspout to my rain barrel?
Simply follow the instructions included with your rain barrel. If you did not receive instructions, look on the product page for the product you purchased for a PDF, digital download of the instructions or contact customer service for further assistance.

How does the overflow work on my rain barrel?
This depends entirely on the model you purchased from us. However, there are typically two types: Screened/hole overflow and diverter channel. The first is simply a hole at the top of the barrel the allows excess water to flow out the front of the barrel. The diverter channel takes water as it overflows through the debris screen and diverts it to the front of the barrel and away from the foundation.

How can I seal my barrel so I can connect my downspout diverter?
This is an advanced DIY process but can be accomplished using a small piece of plastic and a 2-part epoxy that is compatible with Polyethylene. Silicone caulking will not suffice. Notice that performing custom work on your rain barrel may void your warranty and you should proceed with caution as this method is not endorsed by Good Ideas. First, find a small piece of plastic that will cover the hole at the top of your rain barrel. This can be made of polystyrene or another type of plastic, preferably Polyethylene. Then use the epoxy to attach the plastic to the rain barrel over the hole. Be sure to follow the epoxy label instructions carefully. Once completed, drill a hole that will accommodate your downspout diverter's hookup equipment. You will need to determine the size/shape based on the diverter provider's instructions. If you are using a Good Ideas rain barrel that features a connection node on the back for linking, you can alternately drill out the node using a 3/8 drill bit. You may then slide a connecting tube over the node and secure with an adjustable clamp.

Will my rain barrel get algae if water stands in it too long? If so, how do I get rid of it?
We have rarely had complaints of algae in our rain barrels, however it occasionally happens, and is more likely to occur with lighter colored barrels. If you notice algae developing in your rain barrel, drain the barrel until it is nearly empty (water is a few inches above the spigot level) then add 2 oz of laundry bleach. Wait for a few hours to let the bleach work. Then fill the barrel with water and drain completely. You may also rinse the barrel using a hose to ensure the bleach is diluted.

Is my rain water potable?
No. If you wish to use your rain water as drinking water, it must be treated first.

My rain barrel has a planter top. How do I plant it?
The planter top is basically the same as any other planter and the way you plant it may be determined by what you're planting. In general, we suggest laying down a layer of small gravel or rocks to help with drainage, followed by sand or coco fiber (a peat moss replacement) and then a growing medium of some kind such as top soil or potting mix. If you want to maximize the amount of soil in the space for roots and don't want rocks or other soil amendments, simply pack some rocks or gravels against the drainage hole(s) and fill the remaining area with soil. This way, loose soil won't clog the drainage and keep the roots from flooding. We also suggest using plants that like a lot of water, particularly if you're in a moist or moderate climate (arid climates have less to worry about). And if you decide not to plant anything, it's advisable to fill the planter area with decorative stones. This will prevent standing water in case the drain holes are blocked in any way. And it looks great too.

 

Composting


What is compost tea?
Compost tea is simply compost that is added to water. Typically this is made by taking a handful of compost and placing in a 5 gallon bucket that is nearly full with fresh, chemical-free water and then aerated for a few days with a fish pump.

Can I compost in the winter?
Yes, however, your composting will be much slower. You can try to make it compost faster by keeping more sunlight on the composter (if available), keeping the unit in a heated area (such as a garage) or covering the composter with thick fabric such as a horse blanket. If your compost batch does not start up again in warmer weather, your aerobic bacteria may be all but dead and you'll need to start a new batch.

What can I put in my composter?
Most organic materials can be placed in your composter. Each composter product page has information on specific items that can be added. You should never add toxic or chemically hazardous materials, protein rich compounds (meat or feces from meat-eating animals, bones, etc), diapers, synthetics (plastic, metal, glass), paper printed with ink with lead, or weeds that have gone to seed.

My compost is too wet or a solid mass. What should I do?
You've added much more nitrogen than carbon. You'll need to break up the mass and/or add some carbon rich items, such as sawdust or dry leaves and grass.

My compost is too dry. Can I add water?
You can, however, this is usually a sign that there isn't enough nitrogen in your mix. Try adding some fruit and vegetable scraps to the mix. Remember, water may work as a bandaid, but aerobic bacteria work better when they have the right balance of nitrogen and carbon.

How often should I turn my compost tumbler?
Once a week but more often is even better.

There are maggots in my compost, what should I do?
This usually means that you added some type of meat or dairy product and attracted flies to the anaerobic bacteria that ensued. Maggots or grubs are not harmful or damaging to the compost. In fact, they are probably helping to get rid of the anaerobic materials. But you are likely to have flies once they metamorphose. If you can't stand to have these critters near your compost, try to dry the pile out a bit with dry top soil or blood meal. Be careful with what you add as you do not want to harm the beneficial bacteria in the mix.

What is the difference between batch composting/tumbling composters and continuous composting/standing bin composter?
Batch composters are typically tumblers and allow you to compost quickly by aerating the entire batch at once. The downside is that once you have started your batch, you can not add more material unless you want to reset the clock on composting time. Bin composting uses a freestanding bin or even just a pile. This style just lets gravity and nature do the work. It is slower however and you'll need to aerate the pile manually with a rake or aerator to get even aeration. Many people are finding great benefits of combining the two methods together. They will use standing bins to store material in bulk. Then they can use some of the partially composted material in their tumblers for fast compost when they need it.

How much can my composter hold? When should I stop adding material?
This depends on the total capacity of the composter but you should not exceed 3/4 the full capacity of any composter. If you do, you will cut off oxygen supply and have a large mass of uncompostable material. Yuk.