I think I read all instructables on this site about collecting rain water.
Finally I've decided to build my own one with a wine barrel because I didn't want to destroy the look of my future-to-be terrace. I always found rain water collectors super ugly. It's usually an old plastic tank or barrel; handy but not very nice to the eye (and I didn't have the motivation to build something like this to hide it.
Anyway, here's how I did it.
- a wine barrel (found on eBay for 50 EUR) - make sure to get one with a lid and a cork (usually it's a special cork located in the belly part of the barrel)
- a rain water collector to hook up to the gutter (found on eBay for 19 EUR - but otherwise available in nearly all DIY shop) - I choose that model because the collected water would come out via a little tube and not an "open-air" half-pipe
- flat wood drill heads
- some screws
- an old piece of board about the length of the barrel's lid
- a handle
Step 1: Prepare the Barrel's Lid
Usually wine barrel's lids are a bit wobbly.
They are made of some planks inserted in each other, and are supposed to be inserted in a groove at the top, inside the barrel. Because of that I had to make the lid stronger so it would resist to frequent usage.
I found an old piece of wood board in my garage and screwed it tight at the back of the lid. I made sure to use rustproof (inox) screws. In order to be able to close the barrel and properly put the lid back on, (and because the lid is round) I had to saw the 4 corners of the board as you can see on the picture.
Last year we bought a new kitchen and we received two extra handles (don't ask me why), so I've decided to use one of them for my barrel.
The screws that came with the handle weren't long enough to go through the thickness of the lid + the board attached at the back. So I used a flat drill head to make a wider hole and reduce the thickness so I could properly attach the handle.
Make sure to place the handle in the middle of the lid, it's not only more beautiful but also easier to manipulate when you open/close the barrel.
Step 2: Connect the Rain Water Collector on the Gutter
I followed the instructions that came with the PVC rain water collector (rwc) to hook it up to one of my gutter. It was super easy, I just had to saw a section of 8cm off the gutter at the right height and insert the collector.
IMPORTANT! In order to have an overflow and avoid my barrel to be overfilled, I installed the rwc a bit lower than the top of the barrel. Therefore the water in the barrel can't go higher than the height on the gutter where the water is collected.
I drilled a large hole with the wood flat drill head, inserted the transparent tube that came with the rwc then used silicon (same as for a shower tub or bath) to sealed it and make it water proof so the water could flow back via the tube should it reach a certain level in the barrel.
Step 3: Here Comes the Rain
Within one week my barrel was full to the top (I was even surprised to get so much water in just a week). I now use it to water my plants, flowers, to wash my terrace etc...
There's still a little bit of wine smell when you open the barrel, but that's more a positive point than a negative one ;-)