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How To Install A Water Butt For Rainwater Storage

Updated on November 7, 2012

Water Butts to Store Rainwater

Water butts are used to store rain water from the gutters so it can be re used in the garden. Having a natural water supply already in the garden means you save money by not using expensive tap water. You are also doing your bit to help the environment too. Drinking water goes through many processes before you place your glass under the kitchen tap, using that water in the garden is such a waste of money and energy.

Choice of water butt

Water storage has become big business in recent years and with ever soaring bills and dry summers it should be no surprise that there are many companies creating ever ingenious ways to discreetly store rain water.

Whether you are looking for a simple barrel type tank, a slimline container or a wall mounted "flat tank" you shouldn't have too many problems finding one to suit your preferred specifications. buying a water butt has also become a lot easier in recent years, most garden centres offer a reasonable range with discounted or free delivery. There are plenty of specialist retailers and stores on-line. It is even possible to have a butt purpose built to your unique specifications.

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Installing a butt - hints and tips

While some water butts are wall mounted, most are freestanding. The following hints and tips should help those wishing to install a water butt:

  • Water butts should be placed near a rain water pipe
  • Use a 2-way rain water diverter rather than inserting the downpipe directly into the butt lid
  • A solid foundation is needed they do become very heavy when full of water
  • A stand should used so it's possible to place a watering can under the tap
  • Child safety lid should keep out more than kids - mosquitoes love stagnant water
  • Use a filter or gutter guard to prevent leaves, moss etc from clogging the diverter or butt

Installing a water butt is not a difficult task but does involve some basic knowledge of DIY. You may need to drill into the butt to insert a tap or to connect several butts together. You should always keep gutters clear to prevent moss and leaves from getting caught in the 2-way rain diverter, here is a list of gutter cleaning tools.

Prevent water butt from overflowing

Water butts should never overflow. If yours is then it's most likely caused by one of these two issues:

  1. Not installed correctly
  2. The diverter is blocked

The first thing to do is to check whether the butt is on stable ground, if it is tilting then it will most likely overflow. Also check and clear out the 2-way filter of any leaves and twigs etc.

One of the most common reasons a water butt overflows is because the 2-way rain diverter is incorrectly installed. If it is placed to high then the tank will overflow, too low and no water will enter the tank, please observe the image below, it shows exactly how the diverter should be fitted, take note of it's relative position when compared to the tank itself:

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