How to Install a Water Butt

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Installing a water butt in your garden to collect rainwater isn’t a particularly difficult job, and you don’t need specialist tools to carry out the work. If you’re into DIY, you probably already own the required tools (there’s a list further down the page), so the only thing you’ll need to buy is a water butt (and maybe a stand).

The table below lists some of the best selling water butts on Amazon.

Let’s get straight to it and look at the best case scenario for fitting a water butt in your garden. Obviously, you may need to change this up a little bit depending upon your personal circumstances, but the basic method is as follows.

Method for fitting a water butt in a garden

  1. Place your new water butt stand on firm, level ground. It should be no more than 500mm away from the downpipe you’re connecting it to.
  2. Place your water butt onto the water butt stand.
  3. Screw the tap into the hole provided at the bottom of the water butt.
  4. Using your drill, make a 25mm hole at the top of the water butt. This is for the hose.
  5. Attach the hose connector to the water butt using the washer and nut provided.
  6. Using a spirit level, mark out the section of the downpipe you want to cut out to accommodate the connector. This should be level with the hose connector on the water butt.
  7. Before you start cutting, check the manufacturer’s instructions and follow the recommendations for cutting out a section of the downpipe.
  8. Cut the diverter lid to the shape of the downpipe and install before connecting the diverter.
  9. Make sure the diverter is connected to the downpipe at the same height the hose enters the water butt.
  10. Cut your hose to the correct length, and connect the downpipe to the water butt.

Tools needed to fit a water butt

  • Water butt
  • Water butt stand
  • Water butt connector kit
  • 25mm drill bit
  • Utility knife
  • Spirit level
  • Power drill
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Saw

Different types of water butt

Water butts come in a range of sizes and typically start at around £20-£25 for the commonly used plastic type.

Smaller ones hold around 100 litres of rainwater, while the largest I’ve seen around the web holds 510 litres of water. If you want to buy one of the larger ones, expect to pay somewhere between £200 and £300.

Bigger is usually best as they hold more water, but if you don’t have enough space, you may prefer to choose a smaller one.

Water butts are usually made from rigid plastic, with green being the most popular colour.

They’re not exactly ugly and they aren’t exactly pretty but if this style isn’t quite right for you, take a look at Water Butts Direct, they offer a wide range of decorative alternatives.

If you prefer a more traditional look and feel, take a look at these oak barrel water butts by for sale on The Barrel Makers website. Prices start at £135 (at the time of writing) for a 40-gallon rustic oak barrel water butt.

If you don’t already have something to stand your water butt on (bricks, step etc), you’ll need a stand, otherwise, the tap will be too close to the floor and you won’t be able to get your bucket or watering can anywhere near it.

(The ‘how to’ instructions below assume you’re using a stand, rather than bricks or a step.)

Plenty of places sell water butt kits. They’re a good choice for anyone installing a water butt for the first time. The kit usually comprises of a water butt, tap, lid and down pipe diverter.

I’m sure you’ll agree, the process for fitting a water butt is really very simple and something the typical DIYer can easily manage in an hour or so.

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