Green homes: a step-by-step guide to installing a water butt

This is a collaborative post

Not so long ago the only butts in most gardens were… discarded cigarette ends (not the other butts we’re more accustomed to on a day-to-day basis!). However, more recently there has been a growing trend in trying to be more energy efficient in the home – and the trusty Water Butt provides anyone with a drainpipe the opportunity to reduce their water rates, even just a small amount.

Attaching a water butt to your guttering

How much money will I save with a water butt?

An article published on thisismoney.co.uk estimates that using a hosepipe in the garden can cost around £1.50 per hour – using approximately 1000 litres of water in just this short time. Water butts, which cost anything from £25 for a basic, 100 litre model, and up to around £200 for a 500 litre barrel, are free to use, as they collect water naturally from above.

So, you could say that after nearly 170 uses of a 100 litre model, you’ll have started saving money. But the benefits are more than just small savings on your water rates. The benefit of natural rainwater to the natural environment is immense, and it is perfect for plants, lawns and even topping up ponds.

Water butt making watering the grass easy

Can I install a water-butt myself?

As it will involve risking the integrity of your downpipe from the guttering system above, it’s not an entirely straightforward task, although anyone with a bit of a DIY background should find it no problem. Although you can place the water butt directly below the downpipe, it’s recommended to use a rainwater diverter, and stand the butt beside the downpipe itself. 

Your water butt should also come with instructions but, if not, complete the following simple steps.

1) When you’re sure the water butt is level on the ground, or a stand, mark its height on the downpipe.

2) Cut the downpipe 3cm down from the mark you’ve left, attach the diverter to the hole, and reattach the piece of pipe you cut off to the bottom of the diverter

3) Approximately 8cm down from the top of the water butt, drill a hole in its side that fits the open end of the diverter

4) From here, you can then attach the diverter to the water butt, with the short piece of pipe supplied

5) Place the lid on the water butt, and wait for it to rain!

What if my water butt is overflowing?

If installed correctly, overflow water should bypass the water butt and head straight for the drain, as before. When they overflow, it could be that they have been positioned incorrectly, or that excess moss and debris from the guttering, above, has become clogged in the diverter.

In contrast, however, if you find that your water butt isn’t filling up whatsoever, it’s the guttering system above that may need some attention. If you’re not comfortable inspecting the roof yourself, look for a local guttering specialist. Alternatively, many roofing contractors, like Findley’s roofer in Sunderland, will be able to inspect your entire roof and roofline systems for damage.

Ultimately, people all over the UK are installing them for the environmental benefits primarily. They do certainly save regular gardeners money, over time, but the joy of knowing you’re doing something positive for the environment is reward enough for many -why not join the many and get one installed at your home this year?

Benefits of having a water butt

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