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How to install a rain barrel

Prepare your garden for dry spells and reduce water consumption by fitting your own rain barrel. A small rain barrel won't take up a lot of space and is easily fitted to a downspout to collect rain water for use in the garden. Your local Builders Warehouse stocks a selection of small and medium rain barrels, but you could also use a plastic dustbin, large plastic container or drum, or sealed barrel, to serve the same purpose.

 

1. The rain barrel needs to be situated as close to a downpipe as possible. Prepare a base with pea gravel if you don't have a solid area already in place. This barrel has a base accessory, but you can easily mount a rain barrel on bricks to support and lift off the ground. Elevate the rain barrel as high as possible for increased water pressure coming out of the tap.

GOOD TO KNOW

Raise a rain barrel off the ground you can set in on breeze blocks, or build a wooden stand using treated timber.

Prepare the area so that it is level and use a spirit level to check before setting everything up. Once the rain barrel starts to fill up with rain water, moving it will be difficult.

2. Position the barrel on the base and make the necessary marks to fit a diverter pipe from the downspout to the barrel. Ideally you want the diverter pipe about 20cm down from the top of the barrel, but check the manufacturers recommended guidelines for installing the model you have.

3. Use a junior hacksaw or fine-toothed saw to cut through the downpipe. You will remove a section of the pipe in order to fit the diverter assembly. If you were not supplied with a diverter assembly, or have zinc pipes, leave out this step and see further down.

4. Remove the cut section of pipe and insert the diverter, using any adaptors that are required.

5. Using a suitably-sized hole saw, drill a hole in the side of the rain barrel to fit the adaptor pipe. Be sure to use any washers supplied to create a watertight fit.

6. Insert the section of pipe required to join the rain barrel into the socket. Measure the length to the outlet on the diverter, remove the pipe and cut to the correct length. Some rain barrels are supplied with flexible pipes and it may not be necessary to cut this down.

7. Push the pipe firmly into the socket on the diverter and then into the adaptor on the rain barrel. Now all that's required is to wait until it rains to test that everything is working correctly.

GOOD TO KNOW

Remove the connector pipe from time to time to remove any debris from the filter.

Creating a drainage hole at the top of the barrel will enable overflow water to escape.

If you have zinc or square downspouts, drill a hole in the downspout that will allow you to fit an adaptor and pipe to divert water from the downspout to a rain barrel.