How do I look after my water butt in Autumn?

On our sustainable gardening journey, many of us invest in a water butt to harvest rainwater to use on plants and other things around the house (read our previous blog on how to be water smart for some tips). Whilst this system should be used all year round, the weather can sometimes stop us from making the most out of it. We may be in for rainy weather over Autumn, but this could mean you can use your harvested water for other purposes in the house. To do this, you may need to care for your water butt a bit more as the weather changes.  

Read through our handy tips to help you carry on using your water butt throughout Autumn. 

Filtering 

Autumn is a very beautiful season full of change and colour. Unfortunately, this change includes falling leaves and seeds which can get into your guttering. A quick fix to stop your water supply becoming full of rotting debris and blocking your tap is to install a filter to your downpipe. If you already have one of these diverters in your system, you will need to check it once a week and clean it out, if necessary. Making sure your filter is clear is your first step to maintaining a fresh water supply.  

In addition to a filter, you may find a gutter brush really effective in keeping leaves away from your gutter. If you clip one of these brushes securely into your gutter, you can leave the brush to work without need to clear anything out for a while as leaves and twigs either bounce off the brush or degrade naturally.  

Freshening 

Unless you are using your collected water for a great number of things, chances are your water may run the risk of stagnating slightly in the Autumn months. To keep harvested water fresh, pop a water butt cleaning disc into your tank to kill any water borne diseases and fungi that may occur.  

Keep it flowing  

The best way to make sure your rainwater is at its best, is to keep it flowing. Use filtered and freshened water to clean fruit and veg, fill bird baths, hand wash clothes and wash pets. Drain water off every 10 days (or less) to make sure you don’t have an overflowing water butt and your water is kept moving. This will also stop larvae and flies from using your water butt as a home and breeding ground.  

dog hose watering

Cleaning 

Your water butt also needs to be kept clean so use safe products such as vinegar to clean the outside of the tank and the inside of the lid to not contaminate water with chemicals. If your water butt runs dry, give the inside a clean with lemon and vinegar for maintenance. Using natural products means you will not need to rinse your water butt after cleaning, but obviously rinse if your water is filtered for drinking!  

Repositioning 

As the weather becomes colder, water butts will need to be raised from the floor. Using a proper stand is best due to the weight of a filled water butt being very dangerous if not kept stable. This will also discourage small insects and slugs from living underneath your tank in the damp and dark conditions that they love. It is also best to elevate your water butt as the ground gets colder so that it does not contract and freeze due to contact with the floor and does not get stuck to icy floors in later months. Contracting and sticking to the floor can cause your tank to form cracks and break. 

Autumn is the perfect time of year to get ready for the harsher winter months so, reserve this season for cleaning, repairing and preparing your rainwater harvesting system. Some maintenance and care will mean your garden will thank you in the dryer months and you will have a healthy system ready to go again in spring.  

Discover our large range of water butts, accessories and specialist products at Water Butts Direct.