Friday, May 24, 2013

Make a Rainwater Collection System: Part II

This post is a continuation of the series Making a Rainwater Collection System. In Part I, I showed you how to create a level stand for the rain barrel to sit on. For a long term use (such as the entire summer season) it is really important that the rain barrel sit on a level hard surface. You don't want the thing to tip over when you go to turn the faucet open! It is also important to raise the barrel up off the ground so you have access to the faucet at the bottom. If you missed the first post that shows you how to do all that, you can see it here.

Today, we are going to install a gutter downspout that is attached to the gutter system on the house. It is super easy! I made mine a temporary downspout. When the summer season is over, I plan to remove it and put the original downspout back up. Let me show you what I did!

First, I had to go to the home improvement store to get a new downspout. I wanted one of the flexible pieces so I could shape it the way I wanted it. I needed a long piece, about 7 feet. The only pieces I could find in white were about 4 feet long. I thought about linking two sections together but the ends were not made for that. I could only find the right size in black. It wasn't expensive at all, about 9 dollars total. So, I bought the black one with a can of white spray paint.

To start, I had to remove the permanent downspout. It could not have been easier - I removed one screw and pulled the top piece off. Here is a picture of the screw that had to come out.

Once I removed the upper section, I measured where the hole was drilled for the current downspout and then measured it out on the new one. I didn't bother to pull the drill out (that uses electricity!), instead I used a hammer and nail to make a new hole. It took about 15 seconds. I put the downspout on a block of scrap wood and drove the nail in. Here is a picture of the old piece next to the new piece.

Then I tested the new piece in the gutter opening, making sure it fit well.

Added the downspout to make sure the size was correct and that I had plenty of extra to shape it the way I wanted it.

Notice here you can see the permanent downspout still attached to the house with just the top section removed. I played around with the shape of the pipe for a few minutes until I found something I liked. Then, I took it down to paint it. 

Paint one side, let it dry, then paint the other. I used a paint and primer all in one. It was specifically made for plastic.

Once dry to the touch, I reattached it to the gutter opening. However, I found that I didn't like the shape I made. It looked 'weird' and wasn't shaped like the other downspouts. I readjusted it so it's shape better matched the other downspouts on the house. The only problem with doing that was it exposed some areas that were not painted. I had to do some touch up painting after it was installed. It really wasn't a problem - I held a piece of cardboard behind it as I sprayed, so I didn't get any on the house or siding.

To make the new piece look like all the other downspouts, I decided to use some of those plastic cable tie straps and strap the new piece to the existing downspout. This will give the new piece better support and when I am ready to remove it, I can just cut the ties off. Next year, I will repeat the process. 

Lastly, I needed to check to make sure the piece didn't look 'weird' from the front of the house. If it looked too 'out of place' the neighborhood association would send me a letter telling me to remove it. Here is a picture from the front of the house. The rain barrel is on the back corner of the house behind the fence.

I think it looks just like the other one in front! My guess is no one is even going to notice that it is attached to the rain barrel! That is just the way my neighborhood association likes it! 

Super easy to do and it wasn't expensive either! You should consider installing one. The best part is you can save all kinds of money and/or water this summer and still have a wonderful garden!

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  1. Very nice, you did a terrific job!

    1. Thank you so much! I wanted to show that installing a rain barrel does not mean that you must cut up your downspouts and set it up permanently. Temporary works just as well. AND if you ever decide to move, it can come with you!


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