Water butt buying guide


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Rainwater is a vital natural resource and utilising it, at home, is much easier than you may think. Rainwater is much more delicious for our gardens than the water we get from our tap. When it rains, you’ll often notice how lush the garden looks and that’s because rain contains all the nutrients that plants crave.

As our gardens and plants need lots of water, collecting water to use at a later time is a cost effective and eco-friendly thing to do. If we collect water in a specially designed water butt we can have rainwater on tap, throughout the year.

Water butts are simple to install, easy to use and are a brilliantly cost effective way to water plants and help the environment at the same time.

What is a water butt, how it works and how to install it

A water butt is a plastic tank. The water butt/tank is connected to the downpipe of your house and collects rainwater via this pipe. The downpipe is attached to your guttering using a rainwater diverter. You may need to move or install a downpipe to make room for a water butt. If this in the case you should look to our ‘how to maintain your guttering' guide for further advice.

Reasons to use a water butt

  • You can do your bit to help the environment by collecting rainwater – it’s a simple and effective way to make sure we make the most of the water that falls naturally.
  • It will help to reduce your water bills as you can water your plants, in and out of the house, with rainwater.
  • Your plants with thrive because rainwater contains all of the nutrients your plants and garden need to flourish.
  • Some water butts can double up as planters and can make an interesting statement piece in your outdoor space.
  • When the summer heats up, and water is in short supply from the tap, you’ll still have plenty to use from your water butt.

What to think about

Decide how much water you want to save and choose a water butt with a capacity that will suit your needs. When you’re deciding which water butt to buy, think about the space you have available; water butts are available in a huge variety of styles and sizes.

If you have a small space, think about a slim-line water butt. If the tank will always be in sight, go for something that tones in with the garden such as a tank that also holds plants. For larger spaces it might be wise to choose something bigger so that you can take full advantage of any rainfall.

To use water straight from the water butt you will need to raise the tank off the ground so that the tap is easily accessible. A raised area of the garden, such as a wall, is a good place to put your tank. Alternatively, you can buy a stand which will help you to raise the tank sufficiently.

Looking after your water butt

It’s important to keep a lid on your water butt to prevent any debris or animals getting into the water. If you do notice anything in the tank there is no need to discard all of the water, simply add a few drops of specially created treatment to the water to ensure that it’s suitable to use again.

It’s a good idea to clean your water butt by washing out the debris that may collect in the bottom; try to do this once a year. A handy tip is to use a thin mesh over the end of the downpipe – a pair of tights works well – to make sure nothing gets into the tank in the first place.

Other things to consider

A water butt is perfect for filling buckets and watering cans although the pressure is unlikely to be enough for a hose. You could try connecting an electric pump to the tank to increase the water pressure and then you can use collected rainwater with a hose or pressure washer. With that kind of pressure you could water the whole garden with a hose or even use the water through the pressure washer to clean your car.

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