How to Install Eco-friendly Water Collection System

Just like all eco-friendly home improvement projects, there are a range of options, prices, level of difficulty, and time investment when it comes to installing a rain water collection system. A system using a large rain water collection bladder can collect several times the water of a rain barrel. However, this system is also fairly pricy at a few thousand dollars and moderately challenging to install. In this DIY article by Rooters On Time, we will focus on a more feasible and affordable solution: a rain barrel system. The water collected should only be used for outdoor water use. A single rain barrel can hold 55 gallons of water and the typical rain 1-inch rain shower would produce 700 gallons of water off the roof.

Materials Needed

  • 55-gallon heavy duty trash can with lid or rain barrel
  • Filter
  • Cinder Block
  • Downspout flexible elbow
  • Drill
  • Level

​8 Steps to Installing Eco-friendly Water Collection System

Step 1: Choose Location

You want to place the rain barrel in a location that gets a lot of water runoff. Therefore, find a spout where the gutters come together. This ensures your eco-friendly use of outdoor water.

Step 2. Build the Base

Using the cinder blocks, build a base for the rain barrel. The base should be about 12 to 15 inches above the ground. Use the level and make sure that the base is flat and does not slope. This will keep the base sturdy.

Step 3. Place the Rain Barrel on the Base

Now that the base is built, place the barrel on it. Make sure that the base is centered and stable. If necessary, secure the barrel on the base. The spigot from the barrel needs to be placed in the front so that the water can be drained from the barrel.

Step 4: Detach Downspout Straps and Remove Lower Spout

The bottom portion of your downspout needs to be made more flexible. This ensures that the water will drain correctly. Add an elbow piece and a flexible hose to the bottom of the spout.

Step 5: Place Debris Screen

One of the concerns of a water collection system is open standing water serving as a breeding ground for mosquitos. A simple debris screen helps to deter this problem. The other way to stop mosquitos is to regularly use the water in the barrel.

Step 7: Clean Barrel Annually

Make sure to clean the system at least once in a year. In addition, check the rain spout a couple of times a year to make sure it is not clogged.

Step 8: Utilize the Water Appropriately

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Water from a rain spout should only be used for outdoor purposes. This water is not safe for drinking or bathing. Use watering cans and transport the water where it is needed for an eco-friendly money and time saver.

You are not ready to use your own rain barrel. If you have a need for more outdoor water, consider finding a second location to complete an installation. You will need the same materials. This system can be connected to a drip irrigation system to maximize your water use.


Leo is the owner of Northridge-based, family owned plumbing company Rooters On Time. On his free time, he enjoys blogging about plumbing, writing DIY articles and tutorials to help others solve any plumbing issues.

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