Step 9: Connecting the barrels and installing the overflow

The first picture is the end result of this step. The remainder of the pictures are in construction order.

The plan is to connect the two barrels so that we only need one gutter inflow for both barrels and a single overflow for both barrels. Staring at the garden plumbing parts at Lowes (USA Home Improvement Store) I was able to piece together a system that I thought would work.  Fortunately they did. The parts you need
  • Hose Real Leader 5/8 in  x 6ft  (Lowes)
  • Gilmore 2 hose connector (Lowes)
  • Gilmore 5/8” diameter ¾” fitting hose mender (Lowes)
  • 6ft x 1-1/2” PVC tubing for overflow
  • 1-1/2” PVC Elbow for overflow
  • 1-1/2” PVC Threaded fitting to screw the overflow into the barrel

Place the rain barrels on the stand. Attach the hose leader to the left side barrel. This is the gutter inflow barrel. Measure the distance to the right side barrel and cut the hose. About 4ft should be fine – don’t cut the hose too short or you'll be making another trip to the hardware store!

Attach the tube mender to the hose. This is quite difficult but after much cursing (make sure there are no kids within earshot) you will be able to get it on. Then fasten the clamp as shown in the pictures.

Attach the “2 hose connector” to the right side tank and screw the leader house onto it. Now when the water enters the left barrel (assuming the faucets are both open), it will flow into the right barrel (making sure that the outflow valve of the “2 hose connector” is in the off position). Displaced air will flow out of the overflow pipe which we haven’t constructed yet!

For the overflow pipe, drill a hole about 5” down from the top rim of the right side barrel. I used a 1” hole saw for this. The resulting hole was a little larger than I would like but it works.
Thread the fitting into this hole after covering the threaded part with PTFE tape to seal the threads. Using a heat gun, heat a bend in the PVC as shown in the pictures and then run the pipe through the table. Make another bend to direct the overflow toward the front of the table. You may need to drill a hole in the deck of your stand for the PVC pipe to pass through.