You can dramatically increase the amount of rain water you harvest by connecting a second (or even third) water butt. The advantage of this technique is you don’t need to cut into your down pipe again. It’s a simple project that can be done in an hour or so if you follow these instructions.
I alread save rainwater, but during the height of dry weather last year my water butt ran dry despite very careful use of its contents. I had a 100 litre butt and it was obvious that I needed more capacity. But I didn’t want to throw out my existing butt in order to get a bigger one. Instead, I’ve connected a second butt to the first, which was easy and relatively quick.
What you need
- Water butt (same height and dimensions as the first)
- Water butt connector kit
- Electric drill
- Suitable drill bit
- Sharp knife
- Friend (optional)
Positioning the water butt
This was the trickiest part and the bit where an extra pair of hands would have been useful. Thanks to lots of April showers my existing water butt was full and very heavy. I needed to shift it slightly to make room for the second one.
Even with help it makes sense to drain off some of the water into watering cans, buckets (and the second water butt), before you attempt to move it.
Positioning the water butts
Because I didn’t want to heave my existing full water butt too far, it was easier to make the new water butt the one that connected to the down pipe.
This was easy. All I had to do was disconnect the down pipe diverter from the old butt and connect it to the new one, cutting the connecting hose so it was shorter.
Usually, each side of a water butt has a small indentation that indicates where you should drill. If you only have one water butt, you drill on one side and connect it to the down pipe using a diverter kit.
Special drill bits help
When connecting two butts together you drill the second hole on the other side of the butt that’s connected to the down pipe and at the same height. For my connector kit I needed a 25mm hole. You can get special drill bits and hole cutters designed to drill larger holes and this saves a lot of fiddling. (Wear safety glasses when drilling anything!)
Lining them up
Line up the second hole in the water butt that connects to the down pipe with the only hole in the second water butt. They need to be on the same level and as close as possible.
Once you’re sure everything is level check that all the connector tubes, retaining nuts and hoses are tight to minimise leaks. When the butt nearest the down pipe is full the water flows into the second butt.
Tip: If you find you have a water butt which isn’t filling up it usually means that the down pipe diverter is too low. If it overflows, the diverter is too high.
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