Rain water is a resource that many people overlook. All too often, people see rain as either a personal nuisance or something “good for the farmers”, but not many think of how to recycle rainwater to use for their own purposes. By installing a DIY rain catcher, you can store and use free rainwater to water plants, yards, and gardens. Rain catchers are connected to existing gutters and downspouts to catch and store rainwater before it can drain into sewers and become contaminated. If you’re considering installing one for yourself, here’s a post to help you do just that.
NOTE: You can purchase rain catchers from most home improvement stores, with prices as low as $35 for collapsible units to upwards of $500 for larger, more ornate models.
Choose the best spot to place your DIY rain catcher. It should be on a level surface next to a downspout that is near the area you want to water. Choose an area that can handle water overflow if the rain is just too much to handle.
If using a hose to water your plants, yard, or garden, place the rain catcher on cinder blocks to elevate it so gravity can affect the water flow. Gravity will affect the water in the rain catcher either way, but an elevated position will help the water flow through the hose more forcefully.
Position your rain catcher adjacent to the downspout.
Cut the downspout to allow 12 inches between the downspout and the rain catcher so you can add an elbow section. If you live in a region that gets a lot of snow during winter months, save the cut off section to reattach while you store the rain barrel during the winter.
Attach a gutter elbow section to the remaining downspout with screws. Be sure to overlap two pieces to avoid water seepage. Position the lower part of the elbow so it’s aligned with the opening of the rain catcher.
Secure the downspout to the house with a gutter strap and screws so the downspout doesn’t move away from the house and the water misses the rain catcher.
Attach a hose to the overflow hole in the top of the rain catcher and place the other end of the overflow hose in a place that can absorb excess water like a garden. Even if you don’t think overflow will be a problem in your area, it’s a good idea to do this anyway because otherwise, any overflow will cover the area immediately beneath your rain catcher and could cause serious flooding issues in that area.
If using a hose to water your plants, yard, or garden with rain catcher water, attach that hose at this time. If you choose not to use a second hose, you can use the on board spigot to fill containers when you need them.
Secure the lid to keep debris out and also to prevent it from being a safety hazard to children and animals that may frequent your backyard. Your new rain catcher is now ready to collect and store rainwater.
DO NOT drink the water collected from a rain catcher.
While the rainwater is clean, it still flows through your gutters and downspout before reaching your rain catcher. Only use it to water plants or wash off dirty items like boots, tools, cars, or other items.