Just as its name implies, a rain barrel diverter, or downspout diverter, simply directs rain from your roof into your rain barrel. It diverts the flow of rain from the downspout into the barrel. Not all barrels are created equally; some need a little more help gathering up the rain and require a diverter.
Open-topped rain barrels don't need diverters
Rain barrels with no lid or with an open top design are easy to set up. Simply place the open barrel in the right spot: catch the rain coming from a leaky gutter, under a shortened downspout, or use a downspout extender to channel rain to the barrel. You can also use a rain chain to direct the rain into the barrel. These methods work easily and add little additional expense to your rain barrel purchase.
The open rain barrel has drawbacks, however. It can pose a danger to small children, be a breeding ground for pesky mosquitoes, and produce overflow puddles during high surges of rainfall..
Why enclosed rain barrels need diverters
The enclosed style rain barrel is safer for families with small children but doesnt capture the rain as easily as the open-top style barrel. These barrels need a special rain barrel diverter attached to the downspout to channel the rain from the roof into the barrel.
The beauty of this devices is that it diverts rain into the barrel until the barrel is full then automatically directs the water back through the downspout and away from the home. Some come with removable filters to keep gutter debris from entering the barrel.
Benefits of Rain Barrel Diverters
Redirects rain back through downspout when barrel is full
No barrel overflow during heavy rain storm
Keeps insects and debris out of barrel
Enclosed barrels are safer for small children
Downspouts remain functional.
What to look for in rain barrel diverters
How far from the downspout will your barrel be placed? Some diverters come with 7 ft hoses, others are only 3 ft.
On what side of the downspout will the barrel be placed? Some models only have outlets on the right or left side. Some have outlets on both sides.
What size downspouts do you have? Many homes have the standard 2x3 downspouts, some have the larger 3x4 size. Check to make sure your divert kit will fit the size you need.
Does color matter? Some models only come in black, others green. Since white is the most common downspout color, color choice might pose a problem.
Diverters are a good solution for enclosed rain barrel designs. Finding the right rain barrel diverter for your barrel should be easy as long as you consider the placement of your barrel, the size of your downspout and the desired color.