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How To Build A Rainwater Collection System

How To Build A Rainwater Collection System

Recycle your rainwater and keep your landscaping looking healthy, the eco-friendly way. Building a rainwater collection system is fast, easy and can save you money on your water bill.

Step 1: You will need

  • 1 paint strainer
  • 1 5 gallon bucket
  • 1 55 gallon drum w/ a lid
  • downspout fittings
  • 1 gutter strainer
  • 3 cinder blocks
  • 1 3/4" spigot w/ 1/4" turn ball valve
  • 1 permanent black marker
  • 1 jigsaw
  • 1 powerdrill w/ 7/8" spade bit
  • 1 half-round bastard file
  • 1 utility knife
  • 1/4" galvanized wood screws

Step 2: Cut A Bucket

The top of your rainwater collection system is made by cutting the top off of a five gallon bucket. With your 7/8” spade bit already attached to your power drill, put a hole in the side of the five gallon bucket to get your jigsaw rolling and cutting easily.

Use your permanent marker and the top of the five gallon bucket and trace around the top of the 55 gallon drum. Just like you cut the starter hole on the five gallon bucket, use your drill with the 7/8” spade bit and put a hole in the top of the 55 gallon drum Follow the guideline around the top of the barrel. The top of the five gallon bucket should fit snug in the opening of the 55 gallon drum.

Step 3: Spout It Out

No one likes a leaky spout – especially when the whole point of your rainwater collection system is to reduce the amount of wasted water. A sure way to get your spout to fit nice and tight into the bottom of your 55 gallon drum is to drill a hole using your 7/8” spade bit. Then take your half-round bastard file and file down the inside of the hole until you have a nice fit and can screw the ¾” spigot in securely. When you have a good fit, set your drum up on the cinder blocks.

Step 4: A Proper Fit

Using the existing downspout from your gutters, add and extension to run down into the collection barrel. Any hardware store will carry a variety of extension and fittings for this. Make sure to save the receipt so you can return any of the un-used fittings.

Measure and mark where you need to cut the fitting so that the end will run into the top of your rainwater collection barrel. Most fittings are made of flexible plastic and can be cut with a utility knife. It may be necessary to use a “splice” to fit the end of your existing downspout into the extension. Push these two pieces together until they are nice and snug. Use brackets to secure the fitting to side of your house.

Step 5: Strain The Drain

Standing water can be a haven for mosquitoes. An important thing to keep in mind when putting together your rain collection system is to make sure and secure a paint strainer to the top of the bucket. This will keep large objects and mosquitoes from getting into the barrel and spoiling your water supply. To prevent the collected, organic matter from hanging too far down into the rain barrel, tie a knot in the strainer before installing it into the lid.