Simplest Rainwater Diverter:
The main purpose of a rainwater diverter is to move the water collected off the roof of your home into your rain barrel. The simplest device, shown to the left, uses a gutter downspout as the rain diverter. The bottom of the downspout can be positioned inside the rain barrel or can be cut off above the rain barrel – so the water pours onto the top of the rain barrel. If the rain barrel is an open head type, you can attach a screen under the top of the barrel to collect the debris before it has a chance to sink to the bottom of the rain barrel. If you’re using a closed-head rain barrel, you’ll have to rig some screen inside the diverter to prevent the debris from entering the rain barrel. If allowed to enter the rain barrel, this roof debris (consisting of leaves, twigs, and roof material) will clog the spigot at the bottom of the barrel and make the water inaccessible.
Simple Rainwater Diverter:
With this metal rainwater diverter, you can reroute water from your downspout into your rain barrel by flipping the diverter between the On and Off positions. You can install a rain barrel or collection bucket next to your downspout and point the diverter at it. Just add the rain diverter to the tubing from your gutter - it connects like a junction pipe. When the water spout is open, water will be channeled out of the chute, and when its closed water will flow through the downspout as if the diverter wasn't even there. This item is made of galvanized steel and measures 11" tall and 3" wide.
As with many simple solutions, while these simple rainwater diverters solve the main purpose, they don’t solve some other significant purposes:
Filtering out debris from entering rain barrel
Connecting to rain barrels not directly over downspout
Routing overflow water
Flexible Tube Rainwater Diverter: A more “advanced” rainwater diverter is a flexible tube, as shown to the left, which can be found at most hardware stores. This tube requires the cutting of your downspout a few feet above the top of your rain barrel. Since the tube extends about 50 inches, you can position your primary rain barrel some distance from your gutter. As with the downspout diverter above, you can position pour onto the top of the rain barrel. And, as with the downspout diverter, you have to perform routine maintenance to prevent the diverter from getting clogged and/or cleaning the screen under the open-head lid.
Advanced Rain Diverter: The next level of rainwater diverters is Aunt Molly's Diverter which will divert rain water from your downspout into your rain barrel until the rain barrel is full, and then automatically send the rest of the water through the downspout or into another rain barrel. I’m not too impressed with the feature of filling another rain barrel, as I like to have the rain barrels connected at the bottom. That way they all fill at the same time/rate, but more importantly, you can drain them all from only one spigot. And I like the opportunity to route any overflow water to those parts of my yard that might not get enough water from the normal rainfalls – like those areas
under big trees or those areas that get a little too much sun. Plus, device still requires screening for debris at the top of the rain barrel, and thus ongoing maintenance is still needed.
This diverter fits both 2" x 3" and 3" x 4” downspouts, with no adapter needed. You can see this more advanced diverter at Aunt Molly's Rain Diverter.
Most Advanced Rainwater Diverter: The most advanced rainwater diverter that I’ve seen is the Rain Water Diverter System – which can be found at Abundant Earth and Rain Reserve. This most advanced rainwater diverters is similar to the advanced rainwater diverter, with one more feature - a back-flow detector. So, when your rain barrel is full, rather than having an outlet to route the overflow from your rainbarrel to some part of your yard, this device routes the water back down the downspout positioned under the diverter. While this feature does have some technical appeal, it’s not my personally favorite. I like the ability to route any overflow water from my rain barrels to those parts of my yard that might not get enough water from normal rainfalls – like those areas under big trees or those areas that get a little too much sun.
Another variation of this type of debris filter/back-flow rainwater diverter can be found at at Garden Water Saver. The main purpose of a rainwater diverter is to move the water collected off the roof of your home into you rain barrel. The simplest device uses a gutter downspout as the rain diverter. The bottom of the downspout can be positioned inside the rain barrel or can be cut off above the rain barrel – so the water pours onto the top of the rain barrel.