What is the best method to modify rain downspouts for water barrels?

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I have been puzzling over this for a while now. I have plastic rain barrels to collect water from downspouts, however, I am not sure how to modify the downspouts to accomodate this. If I just cut them off, then what if I want to use a smaller receptical? Is there a butterfly mechanism that would switch from one type to another? I am all thumbs with fix-it stuff, but want to be practical and have a lot of foresight about this (water that is). We won't be able to move the big barrels once full (dip it out with pan I guess). I'm confused about what is best to do. I know you all have great preps and ideas, can you spare a few (ideas that is)? Thanks in advance, you are much appreciated believe me!

-- Sammie Davis (sammie0@hotmail.com), July 07, 1999


Sammie; saw your question and thought I'd suggest some things that might help. Ok, you have a 55 gallon plastic barrel, diverting the water from downspout to barrel should be done with a device ,like you said,butterfly flap. Some downspouts have this for cestern wells, go to a home center and look in the gutter section. It will look like a " Y " with a flap that changes the direction of the water from one place to another. So that you can fill your barrel and when it's full flip the lever and the water goes on the ground. Most of the ones I've seen will be round not square like downspouts are made now. I just thoought of something simpler.................... Ok, you have a down spout, cut it a few inches above the barrel. So that you can install an angle piece with a short lenght of downspout. Most gutters have a piece that is screwed inside the gutter to allow the water to exit and down the pipe. Just get one of these and place it inside the short piece from the angle piece. You will have to cut an opening just big enough to allow this metal piece to fit inside. So if you get that far use small metal screws to secure,silicone it to prevent more leaks. Now what do you have ? your own diverter w/o a flap. As the water flows down the downspout it passes over this metal piece and smoe water drops into your barrel ,the rest flows past it and down as it normally does. Do you understand ??? Email me it's real. if you have questions. Furie...

-- Furie (furieart@dnet.net), July 07, 1999.

My handyman cut off the downspout and provided me with exchangeable pieces - a short angled series of elbows that direct rainwater into the barrel and a longer piece that directs rainwater onto the ground when the barrel is not in place. They aren't securely fastened, so I don't know yet if the pieces will hold together. (I believe you can use screws, but then you'd have to replace them when you switched over.)

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), July 08, 1999.

Don't forget a cover for your water barrel as they make an ideal breeding ground for mosquito larvae.(memories of having one's hair rinsed as a child UCK!!) and if possible fix a filter over the downspout from the pipe into the water barrel.Old piece of net curtain will do as long as it is renewed at reasonable intervals.

-- Chris (griffen@globalnet.co.uk), July 08, 1999.

Great help! Thanks. It gives me several ideas to consider. I like the butterfly idea, but may have to call someone to do it, there goes the budget, again 8^D, but feel it is too important an item not to take special care. I live in the Pacific Northwest, so lots of rain. I have printed out all your ideas and will use them as a guide when talking possibilities with a 'real' handy-person (practically anybody but me!).

-- Sammie Davis (sammie0@hotmail.com), July 08, 1999.

Sammie ; Glad you like all our ideas, but right now is the time to learn how to do these things, later ,there might not be anyone to help you out... Noe after reading the others posts to you .I wnat you go get a hack saw and some small metal self tapping screws, 1-90 degree elbow for the downspout, a section of gutter that has the drain piece in it to allow water to go down the downspout, the thing hanging from the gutter. Now, cut the downspout a few inches from the top of the rain barrel, attach the gutter piece with the hole in it,with the metal screws. Make sure the gutter piece is over the barrel hole, if you have a wife use a leg from a pair of panty hose to filter the rain water coming down into the barrel. Now reattach the rest of the downspout to the other end of the gutter part. As the water passes over the hole it will be filtered into the barrel,and the rest of the water goes on the ground.

When I worked at Home Deopt, I told many people ,YOU CAN DO THIS ,because it is a do-it-yourself store. AND Sammie, you can do this yourself.... Furie...

-- Furie (furieart@dnet.net), July 09, 1999.

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