Rain Barrel Diverter




Introduction: Rain Barrel Diverter

This instructable explains how to build a rain barrel diverter. This allows a rain barrel to be connected to the house downspout. The diverter allows water to go into the rain barrel until it is full and then it diverts excess rain back to the house's downspout. This design has a clean out plug to easily remove debris. It is also easy to get it ready for cold winters.

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Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools


  • 1 - 2 inch PVC 2 ft or longer
  • 1 - 45 degree elbow 2 inch PVC
  • 1 - 90 degree elbow 2 inch PVC
  • 1 - 2 inch PVC Wye
  • 1 - threaded clean-out adapter
  • 2 - threaded clean-out pllugs
  • 1 - package window screen patches
  • 1 - male garden hose mender
  • PVC glue and purple primer
  • silicon caulk


  • saw
  • ruler and/or tape measurer
  • sand paper and/or emery cloth
  • Sharpie marker
  • wire cutters (optional)
  • round rasp (optional)
  • knife (optional)

Step 2: Cut Pipe

Use tape measure and Sharpie to mark the PVC pipe to lengths 2, 4, and 6 inches.

Use saw to cut at marks.

Step 3: Modify Garden Hose Mender

Take clippers and cut the tabs off of the mender. This allows nut to be threaded down all the way.

Step 4: Modify End Cap

Cut off the square part of the end cap, then mark a circle the same size as your hose mender, the side that doesn't connect to a garden hose.

Use a dremel, file, or sandpaper to round out the hole.

Tip: Insert the end cap into the threaded adapter attached to a pipe to make it easier to work with.

Step 5: Connect the Hose Mender to the Modified End Cap

Insert the hose mender into the end cap hole, then place the window screen patch over the end of the mender.

Put silicone around the inside of the end cap and also on the threads of the mender.

Screw the nut onto the mender making sure the silicone completely covers the base.

Step 6: Test Fit and Marking

Assemble all the parts without glue to ensure everything lines up. The intake at the top should be directly in line with the overflow discharge at the bottom. If anything doesn't line up then the PVC pipe can be shortened to make it work.

When everything is fitting mark both the PVC and fittings to ensure they line up when gluing.

Step 7: Glue Up

Disassemble the parts and glue them one at a time. Clean the pipe or rough it up with some sandpaper. Use purple primer and PVC glue to connect all the parts. Use the marks made previously to line everything up.

Step 8: Attach to House and Rain Barrel

Attach the diverter to your house by cutting out a section of your downspout and inserting it. Since downspouts are different in various regions the downspout to diverter adapter will be different for you. One example would be a downspout to 3 inch adapter and then a 3 inch to 2 inch adapter. This would allow the diverter to be directly attached.

Step 9: Winterization and Clean Out

The main unique feature of this rain barrel diverter is that it can be opened up for cleaning out debris, and can be plugged up for winter months.

Simply remove the threaded end cap with the hose attachment and then attach a standard end cap for the winter.

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