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How to install a water butt filter and diverter ...

How to install a water butt filter and diverter ...

With the UK’s weather patterns becoming increasingly erratic, water conservation and recycling is something that all of us should be considering. It’s something that practically any home can often do with a low cost set up and a wide range of options available.

Over the past few weeks in many areas we have again seen records broken for the least amount of rainfall. At Freeflush we stock water butt connectors, rainwater diverters and filters from various manufacturers; these all help to capture and conserve the water when it does rain. For a deeper analysis of filters and diverters read our blog here.

Water butts

Used to collect water from your roof, a water butt is an instrumental part in any rainwater harvesting system. The water will be diverted from your roof through the downpipe, into a diverter and out into your water butt. This is by far one of the cheapest and most effective ways of harvesting rainwater.

The water diverted from your downpipe is far better for your garden than chlorine treated water from your tap. Plus if you are on a water meter it’s going to be saving you money from the minute you install it.


A diverter is a very simple device that connects directly to your drainpipe. As the name would suggest it then diverts the water from the drainpipe directly into your water butt.

A diverter will normally consist of the main body which will contain a leaf trap, a section of pipe either rigid or flexible to link your down pipe to your water butt, and a threaded coupling which is used to attach the pipe.


Water butts come in a variety of shapes and sizes so it’s always a good idea to decide where you want to put it prior to purchasing it. Your water butt will need to be placed on a firm level site; if the site that you have chosen is either grass or soil it would be a god idea to put a concrete slab down first. In the event of the ground becoming saturated, this will ensure that the water butt remains stable. Some water butts are designed with tap at the bottom and so must be raised off the ground with a stand. These maximise the storage but in windy conditions they can become unstable and easily blow away. Other water butts sit the tap above the floor of the water butt which ensure there is always weight in the base for stability and that no stand is required.

Connecting a diverter to your downpipe is something that you can quickly do yourself and will not require professional assistance. Most of the diverters Freeflush supply come with instructions detailing how to do this.

Most diverters require a section to be cut in the downpipe to allow the diverter to be fitted; it is important that this is measured correctly and carried out in accordance with template supplied. A hole can then be cut into the water butt and the connecting pipe can be fitted between the two.

A new generation of diverters have appeared in the form of the speedfit diverters. This kit provides all the parts and holesaw to cut directly into the downpipe. Watch the video here:

Of course overflow needs to be taken into consideration when installing a water butt and diverter. The water butt will eventually reach capacity and need to let any additional water flow elsewhere. If for example your water butt was positioned next to your house and a continual overflow spilled onto the ground, it could have longer term effects to the integrity of your property.

The diverter on your drainpipe should be fitted below the top of your water butt; that way when the water butt is full the diverter will act as an overflow and the excess water will flow back through the down pipe rather than over the top of your water butt.

An alternative installation to a diverter is to bring the downpipe straight into the rainwater tank and fit an overflow to the tank.  The benefit of this method is that all the flow is captured until the water butt is full. The overflow should be fitted just below the top of the tank so that the outlet is completely submerged when the tank is full. The overflow is usually fitted with a length of hose taking to the excess to where it is required. A smart use of the excess is  it to discharge it to a raised bed,  planter failing that the closest drain. 

Once complete sit back, admire your work and wait for the rain :).

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