How to connect metal downspout

Connect and connect rain barrels

A rain barrel is often worthwhile in the first year, because the lawn alone is a real swallowing woodpecker and when it is hot it pours liters of water behind its stalks. But you will also be amazed at how much water window boxes or a few potted plants require in the heat. If possible, buy the largest rain barrel that you can accommodate. Common hardware store models with their 300 liters are not long enough, because even 300 square meters of garden area with lawn and beds can use up 1,000 liters quickly.

How can you connect rain barrels to the downpipe?

There's no point in simply putting a rain barrel somewhere in the garden and waiting for the rain to fill it. That would take way too long. The necessary amount of water is only available in a downpipe, which directs it into the rain barrel. There are different methods of connection - with or without an overflow stop, depending on the model. The downpipe is either drilled or completely cut through.

The corresponding connection pieces for the downpipe are offered as rain collectors or automatic filling machines, sometimes also as "rain thief". The choice of the right model depends on the roof area and the amount of work. Connection pieces, in which the downpipe is completely cut through and a complete piece of downpipe is exchanged for the rain collector, usually have a higher water yield than models that are only inserted through a hole in the downpipe. They are therefore also suitable for larger roof areas. The mounting height determines the maximum possible water level in the rain barrel.

All models filter autumn leaves from the water flow and only let pure rainwater into the rain barrel. This can be done either through a sieve and / or a leaf separator.

The easiest to assemble are rain collectors that are simply inserted into the downpipe. They can often be bought as a complete set including seals and crown drills. Proceed as follows for assembly:

  1. Drill the downpipe at the desired height with the supplied drill bit. All you need is a cordless screwdriver.
  2. Insert the rain collector through the hole in the downpipe. The rubber lips can be easily pressed together and adapt exactly to the diameter of the downpipe. Then transfer the mounting height to the rain barrel with the spirit level and drill the hole for the hose connection there.
  3. Insert the other end of the hose with the matching seals into the rain barrel.

How to remove the rainwater

With simple, small rain barrels with a capacity of 200 or 300 liters, you can draw the water in the classic way with a bucket or a watering can. Some models also have a tap just above the floor, under which you can fill up your watering can - however, the water flow is usually low and it takes a certain time until the watering can is full.

The most convenient way to distribute the collected rainwater in the garden is with special rain barrel pumps. A pressure switch registers when the spray nozzle at the end of the hose is opened and the pump starts automatically. Models with a battery can also be used well in allotments, for example, where there is often no power connection. But even in the home garden you save yourself the annoying tangled cable.

How can rain barrels be connected to one another?

If the space is limited in width, you can simply put several rain barrels in a row and connect them together. This series connection turns small rain barrels into a large rain storage tank. In principle, any number of barrels can be connected, provided there is enough space. Even setting up and connecting across corners is not a problem, but the rain barrels must all be at the same height.

When connected in series, the rainwater first runs from the downpipe into the first barrel and from there automatically through the connecting hoses to the next. Special ribbed hoses with screw connectors and seals are a durable and robust method, but for this you should drill into both rain barrels at about the same height. It is important that the connection on the barrel that fills up first is at least as high as on the next rain barrel.

You can attach the connectors to the top or bottom of the rain barrels - both methods have their advantages and disadvantages.

Connect rain barrels at the top

If there is a connection in the upper area, only one rain barrel will fill up at first. Only when this is filled up to the hose connection does the water flow into the next rain barrel. This method has the disadvantage that you always have to move the rain barrel pump from one rain barrel to the next as soon as a container is empty. The advantage: the connection is frost-proof when properly installed, as the hoses are not completely filled with water in winter.

Connect rain barrels below

If the rain barrels are to have a uniformly high water level, you must attach the rain barrel connectors as close as possible to the bottom of the barrel. The water pressure then ensures an even fill level in all containers and you can take almost the entire amount of water from any rain barrel, so you do not have to move the pump. The disadvantage: If the water in the connecting hoses freezes in winter, the hoses easily tear open due to the expansion of the ice. To prevent this, you should mount a shut-off valve at both ends of the connecting hose, which must be closed in good time if there is a risk of frost. Also insert a T-piece in the middle of the ribbed hose. Attach another piece of hose to it with a stopcock. After you have closed both valves, open the tap to drain the hose connection.

This is how you set up rain barrels correctly

Rain barrels should be positioned so that they can be easily reached and the water can be easily taken out. In order for the watering can to fit under the tap, the bin must stand on a stable base or pedestal. You can buy this from plastic or build it yourself. If the subsurface is firm and stable, you can, for example, pile up a few concrete blocks and cover the rows with a pavement slab as a base for the rain butt. There is no need for mortar - it is sufficient if you stack the stones dry. The weight of the filled water barrel provides the necessary stability.

There are no compromises when it comes to the subsurface for the rain barrel - it has to be stable and stable. One liter of water weighs one kilogram, with large rain barrels over 300 liters that adds up quite a bit of weight. If the bins are on soft ground, they can literally sink in and, in the worst case, even fall over. You can place smaller rain barrels on paved surfaces, well-compacted soil or paving stones. For large bins with a capacity of more than 500 liters, a little more effort is required: digging topsoil 20 centimeters deep, compacting the subsoil with a rammer, filling in ballast, leveling and compacting until the surface is firm and level: the work steps are the same as those for paving Paths and seats, although cobblestones are not absolutely necessary - the compacted gravel is sufficient as a conclusion.

Gravel is not enough for rain barrels with a soft (foil) bottom, as the weight of the water presses the foil onto the irregularly shaped stones with their peaks and valleys. In this case, fine grit, sand or smooth concrete slabs form a good base.

Empty the rain barrels in autumn

A disadvantage of most rain barrels is that they freeze up easily in winter. To make your rain barrels frost-proof, you should empty them at least halfway in case of doubt. Freezing over ice in particular often leads to too much pressure on the walls and these to break at the seams. The drain tap should also not be closed in winter, as freezing water can also cause it to leak.