This rain barrel overflow solution is for people with open top rain barrels. If you have an open top rain barrel and it overflows instead of automatically redirecting the excess water through your downspout diverter and out your gutter system, this article is for you.
People frequently have this problem when they don’t use a closed rain barrel with their rain barrel downspout diverter.
Here’s why and how I fixed it: When my rain barrel was full, the water would spill over the side and erode the dirt where my flowers were planted.
What’s worse, I was afraid that the water would seep into my basement, since the rain barrel is right next to my foundation.
The total cost of the fix was $16. You could probably do it for less if you wanted to shop around or if you already had some of the items. Best of all, it was really easy to do.
Let’s take a sec to get the legal words out of the way. This article may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and buy from my partners, I will make a tiny amount of money at no cost to you. This in no way affects my recommendations.
Please don’t think that this project was a major feat of engineering. It’s just a really easy solution that someone who isn’t too handy can complete — for not much money — in about an hour.
Rain barrel downspout diverters
Downspout diverters are really awesome products when they are installed correctly. When the rain barrel is full, water backs up from the rain barrel into the downspout diverter. Then the diverter automatically routes the water back into the original gutter system.
As a result, the excess is channeled away from your foundation where it can’t do any damage. Downspout diverters also make it very easy to close up the system in the winter and restore the original gutter system.
Related: Everything You Should Know About Vegetable Garden Watering.
Keep in mind, however, that there won’t be any overflowing if your rain barrel is closed instead of open at the top. If you are going to use a diverter, get a rain barrel without an opening at the top.
A closed rain barrel will avoid any problems with water spilling over the side of the barrel. The water will automatically run through the downspout diverter and back through the gutter.
There is a way to position an open top barrel so that it fills, but doesn’t overflow. Unfortunately, if you place the barrel on the ground or on bricks that are on the ground, the position of the barrel will shift over time. There’s no way to get around this.
The weather and compaction of the soil will move your barrel up or down. So you will end up with the problem I had, or a system that diverts water back to the gutter BEFORE the rain barrel fills.
In either case, you aren’t getting what you want from the rain barrel.
Rain barrel overflow solution
Use these steps to fix an overflowing rain barrel:
Here’s the video showing you how I did it.
The end result of this “fix” is the water reaches the level of the overflow spout and then drains back into the gutter for the normal water path. The water doesn’t overflow and stays away from your foundation.
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