* Prices may differ from that shown
Last summer was so wet I hardly had to water the garden at all. In fact it was so dispiriting that I've purposely planted less this spring and I'm not sure where to look for the watering can.
The little bit of sunshine this weekend has made me hope that my runner beans might need me after all.
If we do get an extended period of dry weather (i.e. three days) they'll impose a hose pipe ban quicker than you can say, "What about all that rain?" My problem with this is that I don't have a tap outside, which means a lot of carrying and traipsing in and out of the house. I have to water regularly, especially the beans, or there will be a small harvest and not so many vegetables on the table. Also, although I'm not a recycling or conservation fanatic, I do like to think that I'm doing my bit.
That's why I invested in a:
Harcostar Water Butt.
What you get is a large plastic butt or barrel, with a tap towards the bottom (water out) and a protruding pipe towards the top (water in).
The idea is that you catch water in the butt when it's rainy, so that you can use it later during a dry spell. The best way to collect the water is to situate the butt close to a downpipe on the outside of the house. This needs to be the downpipe that is allowing water from the roof gutters to run away into the drains.
You can buy an attachment, a rain trap, that will replace a section of the downpipe, allowing water to be diverted from there, via a hose to the in-pipe of your water butt. When the butt is full, the water simply runs away into the drains as normal.
The butt also comes with a safety lid. This prevents birds, animals and rubbish falling into the butt, while the safety locking mechanism means that a small child would not be able to remove it.
Setting it Up
Wherever you put it, you will need enough room below the tap to be able to fit your watering can or bucket. I have some large, old cobbles on which I stand mine, about eighteen inches off the ground. You can also buy a separate stand for these if you wish.
Once you have sited your butt and got the height right, you can then decide at what point on the downpipe you will position the rain trap and hose. This will be roughly level with the top of the butt and not below the level of the in-pipe.
It will be necessary to cut through the downpipe so that you can fit the rain trap between the upper and lower sections. A large hacksaw should do this job. The hose is then fitted to the in-pipe, you make sure that the lid is on and the tap closed and you wait for the rain.
Not a lot needs to be done. At first you will be keen to check that the water is, in fact, collecting. If it isn't, you might need to adjust the rain trap and hose slightly. The technical term for this is "giving it a wiggle" (seems to work for me!).
From time to time you should remove the rain trap to check that it isn't getting clogged with dirt from the gutter. Also check the upper section just above the rain trap as it can collect there also. This could lead to overflow further up the pipe, or from the gutter and water running down the side of the house.
Dirt can collect at the bottom of the butt, although it would take a long while for this to become a problem for the tap.
Once a year, when the butt is empty, turn it upside down to check that there are no signs of perishing.
Choice and Cost
There are various sizes of butt. Sizes are 114l; 168l, and 227l There is also a Magnum Barrel that holds 350l and comes with the tap already at a height to fit your can or bucket.
So before you buy, think about how much room you have and how great your watering needs will be. In our weather, you'll have no difficulty filling even the biggest butt, yet you might not be able to use all that water, given that our hot spells don't last that long. On the other hand, I have the 114l butt and only a small garden, but there have been times when I have exhausted the supply and wished I'd gone for a size bigger.
Mine is 66 cms high and 51 cms in diameter, while the 227 litre (50 gallons) version is 96 cms by 60 cms. When thinking about size, remember that it will stand further off the ground than this (a custom made stand is 27 cms high).
You might also feel that you don't want a big unit, for aesthetic reasons.
Bear in mind that you could, if you later wished and had the space, connect a further butt or butts to create a system.
Best prices at the moment are £29.99 for 114l; £38.99 for 16l; £47.99 for 227l and £72.99 for the Magnum Barrel but, as ever, you should shop around.
A rain trap would set you back about £10.99 and a stand in the region of £23.99
I think so. You will find cheaper butts, but they wouldn't necessarily wear as well. These come with a five-year guarantee. The tap, hose and rain trap have all lasted well without leaking.
I have enjoyed the convenience and I like the fact that I'm doing my little bit for water conservation and using soft rainwater on my plants, which have been able to flourish.
So five stars, lots of veg to eat and hardly any "butt" jokes. Can't be bad.
==Harcostar Child Safe Water Butt==
Having just moved into a new house with both front and back gardens we decided to get a water butt thinking that they could surely only be £20 odd. Having had a hunt around it seems they were a little more expensive than first thought and at a local garden centre we decided on this Carcostar Child safe one as it had a good capacity, was one of the cheaper prices for what you got and of course the safety feature was a plus for us too.
Water butts can be bought at a variety of different places and we checked both online and the usual stores such as B&Q but found a local garden centre had the best deal as the water butt stand was included in the price. Most places these are sold separately and to be totally honest I wasn't even thinking we needed a stand but that was the garden maintenance novice that I am thinking! Having a stand is clearly a must if, like me, the space in which the water butt is to stand is low ground and not on a built up area. This is because the tap at the bottom of the water butt needs to be raised up in order for the watering can to be filled up but I hadn't even thought about this aspect until it came to buying one.
So This Harcostar Water butt ticked a lot of boxes as well as not looking too hideous like some other water butts I had come across did. Luckily it is going in a slightly discreet area of the garden but even if it wasn't I think the green colourings of both the base and the butt itself is a fairly inoffensive shade and doesn't make it stand out too much.
The 227 litres or 50 gallons is not the largest butt that you can buy but it is a pretty standard size where it doesn't stand out too much or take up such a large amount of space in the garden.
The child safe lid is easy to remove when you know how is is a simple case of pressing in a side button for the lid to be released but this does make it super secure for any inquisitive children that are left alone in the garden.
The material it is made from it thick and durable and I can't see there being any trouble with this for many years to come. The water butt came with a tap which is easy to turn to let the water come out either at a fast or not so fast rate. There is a hole at the top of the water butt which is seemingly positioned higher than a lot of others we looked at which enables full capacity of the butt without over flow problems. The connector to the drain was another aspect that needed to be purchased separately but this was easy to install and even a novice like me had no problem setting it all up and getting it in position ready for any rainfall.
All in all the Price of £60 for the water butt and stand seemed like a good price for this piece of hard wearing, good looking garden equipment. Unfortunately since buying it there hasn't really been much rainfall here and it hasn't had as much use as I would have liked. Seeing as I am into growing a lot of veg and already have a fair bit going I am having to use water from in the house but still being savvy in the fact I am using the cold water from the tap when I am trying to get warm water for washing up so as not wasting the water! Bring on a bit of rain I say (not too much though)
It has to be a top score from me I feel. The water butt was a good solid purchase which was easy to set up and when there is water in it, it does come out easily. I have no complaints with this item and for that reason would be happy to award a top score of 5 out of 5 stars and a high recommendation,
I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you
Many thanks for taking the time to read.
Have you ever looked out of your window on a rainy day and wondered about collecting the rain water so you can use it if and when we get a hot summer and the rain fails to fall, causing your garden to dry up as the local authorities implemented there usual '2 day of sunshine house-pipe ban'.
Well, now you can store that rainwater, saving it for a not so rainy day, with the help of something called a 'water' butt, allowing you to not only keep your garden watered but also by helping to save the environment, which is good.
** WHAT IS A WATER BUTT..?
A water butt is simply a container which collects and store rainwater. They can be attached to a down pipe outside your house and can even be attached together, via connecting kits, so that you have a supply of rain water through even the harshest of droughts.
Water Butts come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but all do basically the same job, water storage. But, (pardon the pun), the one I am going to tell you about today is the one I have been using in my garden for quite some time, (in fact I have a few of them in my garden, all attached together and, at the moment all almost full due to the rain we've had recently).
The particular water butts I own are all the same and are called the Harcostar Child Safe Water Butt, which, as the name suggests, are one of the safest on the market.
** HOW DO YOU USE IT THEN..?
The Butt can be connected to the down pipe from your guttering using a kit called a 'rain trap system'. This kit contains a 'clamp' which goes around your down pipe, once you've drilled/cut a suitable sized gap in the down pipe first of course, a black flexible hose and a 'plug' which connects into the pre-drilled hole on the top of the water butt.
The connection to the down pipe should be made about the same height as the water butt so that gravity can do what it does best
Then you let nature take its course and allow the rain water to fill up the water butt ready for when there's another hose pipe ban in the event of a few days of hot sunshine.
Plus, due to the way the 'Kit' is connected to the down pipe, when the butt becomes full, the excess water will simply flow back into the down pipe and into the drains, unless you've got a few butts piped together as I have, then the excess water will flow into them first.
Just remember that these butts are filled by the force of gravity and water flows easier down hill than up, so make sure the pipe attachments allow for this.
** DO I NEED ANYTHING ELSE..?
To use it to its full extent you will need to raise it from the ground and the best way to do this is with a stand, which in most shops is sold separately. So why, as this is quite an essential part of the actual unit, don't most shops sell it as one unit is beyond me, talk about wanting to get as much money from the consumer as possible.
Anyway, the reasoning for the stand is so that you can actually get at the tap to fill your watering can.
Also, to connect to the down pipe, or to connect Butts together, you will need 'connector kits', which are all sold separately.
** MY OPINION...
As I said, water butts come in various sizes but this one stands about 660mm high, (approx. 1000mm on the stand), and is around 510mm in diameter, capable of holding approximately 227 litres, or 50 gallons, of water, (be it rain or tap).
It is built quite solidly, being about 4mm thick hardened plastic, being a dark green colour, and is designed to be left outdoors in all weather without the need for any special treatment, although, as it is plastic, I don't keep mine in direct sunlight.
The Butt comes with many of the attachments needed to set it up, including a tap which screws into place near the base, but it does not come with the 'down pipe' connection kit or the 'Butt to Butt' connection kit
There are two holes around the top, both having a black plastic plug pushed into them which come out with the help of a flat headed screwdriver or the like. These holes are used for either adding another Butt to it or connecting it to the down pipe from your guttering to drain the rain water straight into the butt. Both these connection require a connection kit which is sold separately
The safety feature on this particular Butt is the 'lockable' lid, which is the reason for this being called a 'child safe water butt', when I say 'lockable' I don't mean it opens with a key, it locks by means of a 'pushing' mechanism which is quite stiff to activate, so it is therefore difficult for a child to take off and accidentally fall into the water filled Butt.
The tap itself is fitted in such away that any 'gung/debris', that has managed to get into the butt, will fall to the bottom, below the tap, and therefore not be able to block the tap at all.
** ENVIRONMENTAL CLAIMS...
The claims on this water butt state that it is made from recycled material, which many companies claim just so the friends of the earth brigade give it a tick and more people want to buy it because of the fact. But, (pardon the pun), I can confirm that Harcostar, the company that make this water Butt, and many other 'blow moulded' plastic garden goods, do in fact use recycled material to make all there good, such as plastic milk cartons and bottles.
I can confirm this as, a while ago, I did a little bit of 'IT' work for this company, who are based in Disley, Derbyshire, and was intrigued by how the goods were made.
Believe me, this company re-uses and recycles anything plastic it can, with very little waste at all.
** WHAT ABOUT THE PRICE..?
This particular Butt sells for between £35.00 and £50.00, (which may seem a little pricey).
The stand, if not as a package, sells for around £15.00, and the connection kits sell for around £10.00 a piece
** IS IT MONEY WELL SPENT..?
£50.00 may seem little steep, but as it will last you probably as long as your house will last, £50.00 is quite a low price.
As for the other parts you may need, I am pretty disgusted that many shops sell the stand separately, considering it is an essential part of this butt, and as for the connection kits, well, they are quite a reasonable price for what they are.
In all, if you want to store rain water that usually washes down the drain, and you want to do your bit for the environment, then you should maybe have a look into buying this particular water Butt.
Having just moved and finding out that I'm now on a water meter made me start to think about cheaper or free ways to keep the garden watered and avoiding the use of tap water.
Well, here's an obvious one. The Harcostar Child Safe Water Butt holds an astonishing 227 litres of water (or 50 gallons in old money) which is enough to fill the average watering can 40 times. Now obviously you have to get that water into it, so here's how it works:
You get (usually separately) a Harcostar Universal Rain Trap - this is a catchment system that is designed to be very simple to fit to a downpipe anywhere around your house. All you do is cut about an inch or so out of the downpipe, at a level just below the top of the water butt. You then remove one or two of the downpipe brackets so that you can swing the top section (above the cut) out, and fit it over the top of the Rain Trap. The bottom section of downpipe fits underneath the Rain Trap. The Rain Trap is designed to fit a variety of different round and square downpipe diameters.
You then have a tube coming out of the Rain Trap pointing into mid-air - best to do this job while it's not actually raining. You need to then make a hole, about 25mm or one inch diameter in the side of the Water Butt, just below the top, and at about the same level as your Rain Trap. Slot the hose connector into the Butt, screwing tight from the inside using the provided plastic nut. Some Silicone Sealant is recommended at this point to make a watertight fit. Then fit the tube onto the connector.
Now what I should have said earlier is that the Water Butt really needs to be on a stand, otherwise you will find it next to impossible to get the water out of the tap, which is near the bottom of the Water Butt. So make sure the Butt is on the stand before you start drilling holes and cutting things.
Once it's all fitted up you should be ready to go. You might well be amazed at how quickly the Water Butt fills up once you get some proper rain. Mine filled up to the top in about 1 hour! Once it is full you don't need to worry about it overflowing, if you've fitted the Rain Trap correctly the excess water will just flow straight down the gutter downpipe and into the drain.
The Child Safe lid is very effective, it will prevent little hands removing it, in turn preventing nasty accidents caused by little ones climbing up the Butt and falling in - it doesn't bear thinking about. The lid is also very effective at preventing evaporation of the stored water, and will also prevent wind blown debris and leaves landing in that water.
Once you've fitted one, and realised how much tap water you're saving, you might end up doing what I have done, and that is to buy another one and join it up (using the Harcostar Connector Kit) to the first Butt. That way if the first one becomes full, the second one fills up too before the rest goes 'down the drain'.
The Butts are made of a heavy plastic, which is easy to drill and cut but is also very strong and should not present any problems for many years. The wall thickness is about 3mm, more than adequate for the weight of water when full.
The total price to buy the Water Butt, stand and Rain Trap comes to about £60 or so at 2009 prices. So, you won't really start to make back any money for quite a long time, compared to using tap water on a meter. But it's satisfying to know that you are helping the environment a little, you are just a little bit more self-sufficient, and your plants will enjoy rain water far more than chemically treated tap water.
An excellent water butt that holds up to 227 litres (50 gals) of water and comes complete with hose connector tap and a child safety lid. The extra safety with this unique child safety lid gives peace of mind when storing water. The water butt measures 660mm high by 510mm diameter. This water butt has 2 holes at the top of the waterbutt, for accessories one can be used to link a rain trap to a downpipe the other can be used used with a linking kit to attach another water butt. (All holes come with plastic plugs)