Make a Wine Barrel Rain Catcher

What You'll Need
Old wine barrel

Rain catchers are a great invention which can help you to save money on your water bill while also helping the environment by reducing your water wastage, and making a rain catcher from an old wine barrel can be even more cost-effective and greener. Recycling wine barrels has become more popular as the desire to reduce deforestation has increased, and reclaiming an old wood barrel for an environmental cause can really help you to make a difference in your life. Even the most amateur of home improvement fans can build a rain catcher from a wine barrel in a few hours, just following some simple steps to help get the job done quickly and simply.

Step 1 - Preparing the Barrel

The first step in making your rain catcher is to convert the barrel. Wine barrels are usually leak-proof, as they are designed to keep liquids in, so you should not need any kind of liner. You may wish to remove any residue from the wine, as this can harbor microbes and chemicals which can affect the standard of your water. Fill the barrel full of water, and leave outside in direct sunlight for several days. Once you have tipped the water away, give it a rinse out, and the residue and wine staining should be gone.

Step 2 - Converting the Barrel

Now that the barrel is ready, you should prepare the wood on the outside by giving it a coat of outdoor wood finish. This will help to protect the outside of the wood from dry rot and mold. You should then remove the top of the barrel, either by pushing down until it drops into the middle of the cask, or by sawing through the wood, keeping as close to the edge as possible. The barrel is now ready for your water.

Step 3 - Adding the Pipe

Your rain catcher will need to catch water which is running off of the gutter. You can purchase pipes which split the water evenly between the drain and a rain barrel, or you can simply remove your drain pipe, and install a pipe which leads to the barrel instead. Cut your pipe to the desired length, and then fit it to the gutter using a plastic pipe joint. Hold the pipe to the wall, and keep it there by putting brackets every 2 to 3 feet down the length of the pipe. You may wish to make the pipe take a slight turn outwards at the end of the run, in order to drop the water directly into the barrel. You can do this using another piece of pipe joint, and just turning it so that the pipe extends at right angles from the wall.

Step 4 - Add a Filter

In order to keep your barrel from becoming clogged with debris and mold washed down from the roof, you should try to add a filter. A fine mesh filter will prevent stones and grit from falling into the water and contaminating it. You can add this filter at the bottom of the pipe by taping a cone filter (such as the style used in cars) to the end of the piping.