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Water butt connection to cast iron downpipe

rachelQrtJHBjbrachelQrtJHBjb South BucksPosts: 466
Has anyone successfully attached a water butt to a cast iron downpipe? If so, how did you do it? House is listed so replacing part of the downpipe with a plastic section is not ideal. TIA.
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  • KT53KT53 Posts: 4,595
    Getting the adaptor is one thing, modifying cast iron pipes to accommodate it is a potentially much bigger issue altogether.  Cutting cast iron pipes is not the easiest job in the world.
  • rachelQrtJHBjbrachelQrtJHBjb South BucksPosts: 466
    KT53 said:
    Getting the adaptor is one thing, modifying cast iron pipes to accommodate it is a potentially much bigger issue altogether.  Cutting cast iron pipes is not the easiest job in the world.
    That's my issue. Our roof would generate so much water for the garden but it is very difficult to see a way of collecting it. Trouble is the building is listed, hence the cast iron rather than plastic.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 7,335
    edited 13 January
    I would look at other methods for collecting rain/ adapting gutttering rather than trying to mess with an iron pipe. Is there a shed or an extention? Could you put up a shed? I don't know if Japanese rain chains or 'rain rooves' or other technology could be of use. Perhaps, lots of heavy duty rain chains (easy to install), non-invasive, cheap. If properly designed for the situation, you should get little splash.
  • Ferdinand2000Ferdinand2000 Posts: 433
    edited 14 January
    Can you put a plastic pipe out of sight just round the corner, then remove it when you leave?

    I guess the other way if it is long term is to do a proper subterranean system using a tank (plastic 'bottle' septic tanks are most reasonable pricewise perhaps) and a pump.

    “Rivers know this ... we will get there in the end.”
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 5,518
    I work on a lot of listed buildings and normally the first port of call for this type of query would be the local authority conservation officer. Drop them a polite email asking if they have any advice for this type of situation and hopefully they'll be good enough to point you in the right direction. It's very situation dependant though. Some listings aren't so strict and you can replace the whole downpipe with an aluminium or even plastic replica with the appropriate collection fitting. It might also be possible to fit a hopper somewhere along the pipe to conceal a fitting if it would be too visually harming.
  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 2,027
    You might go right back to the beginning and ask yourself why you need a water butt. If it is for the quality of the water or to make watering your garden easier then fair enough.

    However the installation costs in this tricky situation will likely be more than many years’ usage of mains water out of the garden tap. And maybe, like us, you’re not even on a water meter.

    I know most gardeners like to adopt environmentally aware practices and conserve the earth’s resources. The thing is, in the UK we have an abundance of water so long as it is properly managed. I justify to myself my (pretty moderate) use of water on two grounds. First a couple of small water mains leaks in our village have existed for about three years. If the water authorities had done effective repairs it would have offset my garden usage a thousand times over. Secondly, and please don’t judge me, I think the idea of a daily shower and washing many clothes after a single wearing has been a trend over the last 30 or so years. It is not one I have adopted but do not consider myself to be in the slightest bit unclean. 

    On the balance sheet of water usage I therefore believe I am in credit and have no qualms about watering the ornamental plants and vegetables when necessary, allowing the ample lawn to fend for itself. And, incidentally, I do have a water butt attached to the greenhouse.
  • rachelQrtJHBjbrachelQrtJHBjb South BucksPosts: 466
    Thank you @wild edges, I may contact the conservation officer for their thoughts.

    @BenCotto we are on a water meter and I barely water the garden, even though we were pretty drought stricken last summer. The water is really for the veg garden and new plantings in their first couple of years of establishment. For example, we put in 60 trees as young whips and they needed a lot of water last summer. We will repeat this process annually over the next 5 years or so. We have plans to sink a collection tank elsewhere on the farm to deal with run off from stable roofs. It's mainly about being water-wise - I would never consider watering the lawn even if it goes completely brown as it did last year.

  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 5,518
    BenCotto said:
    I know most gardeners like to adopt environmentally aware practices and conserve the earth’s resources. The thing is, in the UK we have an abundance of water so long as it is properly managed.
    You make good arguments against rainwater harvesting but just to balance things out you do have to consider the energy used to pump water all around the country and the chemicals needed to treat tap water. Living in a high rainfall area we're more concerned with getting rid of excess water here than saving it but in times of drought more water is drawn from rivers and reservoirs than is good for the ecosystems too. Rainwater harvesting can also relieve pressure on the sewerage system if done correctly. The less we use for needless tasks the better but as you said the costs are a significant factor.

  • FireFire LondonPosts: 7,335
    I would work out as close as you can, how much water you are likely to get off the house roof and how you would store it. I have two 200 litre butts - one from a shed and one from the house - and the storage is pretty pointless. They are full in the winter, when I don't need the water, and empty fast in the summer. (I live in London which is pretty dry. As Wild Edges says, high rainfall areas face different problems). If you have capacity for proper sized underwater storage tanks, then good for you. But yes, there is the installation, pump and tank cost etc.

    Instead of storage, I have rigged up a system of hoses from the butts, which are open most of the year. I leave the open hose end at the bottom of a newly planted tree so that all the rain I get goes straight to where it's needed. I then move the hose around every few days or weeks as needed.
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