Rain Barrel Parts List and "How To"
Planning Lots of planning so you dont waste money and materials.  You can use bigger pipe/fittings than we did, which is fine, just adjust all the sizes below as you gather your parts on the list below.
Patience and Perseverance How much depends on your temperament and state of mind.  With enough of this you can pee a hole through a brick, which could make this endeavor seem like a walk in the park.  Also keeps whatever religion you may have intact.
Barrels 2 or more.  And, you know what they say, Go big or go home.  Ours came with double threaded bung hole plugs which, was a bonus so, all we had to do was drill out the center of the plug and screw in the  inch Brass to CPVC/PVC connector.  If your do not have dbl threaded plugs then you will need bulkhead flanges to connect the outlet pipe going to the Ts in the manifold pipe.
PVC or CPVC pipe  at least 1  8 foot length, but this depends on how many barrels, how big, etc.
inch 90 Elbow(s)  one for each barrel between the first and the last because the middle ones arent open and do not need an air displacement hole
Rubber Grommet for each barrel that needs a hole for air displacement
45 or 90 Elbow = 2 inches  need one for overflow
Straight PVC Pipe  1 short piece to fit in above elbow for overflow
1 Tank to Bowl Gasket (TBG) with alteration to make it a huge grommet OR 1 huge grommet  sized to fit overflow hole to accommodate the overflow pipe/elbow.  If you use the TBG then use 2 inch pipe/elbow for overflow and it is a perfect fit!!
Spade Bits or Hole Bit these bits need to be whatever size the holes need to be which is 100% dependent on the size of pipe/fitting/gasket you choose to use.  We used a combination based on what we already had in our tool box.
Ball Valve Spigot ball valve allows faster water flow and used to connect water hose.  I recommend brass.  Keep in mind that these probably will have female connectors at both ends.
inch MALE to MALE Brass Coupling/Connector this will be used on the outlet end of the Ball Valve Spigot so that you can connect a water hose to the system unless you plan on carrying buckets, which is okay if you need something to occupy yourself.
Inline PVC or CPVC Valve  only if you anticipate adding more barrels, but, really, who doesnt
Intake Strainer Basket  We used a Replacement Filtration Basket that is used in pool filters because it was a good fit and it was relatively cheap and accessible to buy.  I guess you could use any kind of strainer thingy, but we wanted to add even more filtration with a fabric to fit over the intake strainer basket
Filtration Sock  To filter out small debris.  You could use a lot of different things here, but the socks made to fit the pool filtration basket was, again, cheap and easy and you get 5 in a packet and they slip up over the downspout flex pipe which closed that area to mosquitos and other bugs (depending on how you use them).  If these hold up, we can wash and re-use over and over.
Flexible Downspout Pipe hopefully this needs no explanation.  If it does, then just quit reading and order a pre-fab kit, hire someone to install it while you passively supervise J  You could use one of those fancy diverter kits, but we did not have good luck with one we bought for a single barrel a few years back  the rain barrel never did fill up and these diverters arent cheap.  We built this system because we want to collect rain water, and if this straight pipe gives us too much overflow in barrel #3 then we will add more barrels  hence, the inline valve!!!
inch MALE Brass to PVC/CPVC fitting 1 for each barrel (plus the one that connects spigot to manifold if it is a dbl female).  These screw into the inside of the bung hole plug after wrapping in plumbers tape if you dont want to worry about losing water with expansion/contraction of system.  If you dont have the threaded bung hole plug, then you have to use a  bulkhead flange, instead and drill hole to accommodate the outside diameter of the flange but not so big that the gasket doesnt fit.
inch PVC/CPVC 90 elbow  1 for each barrel and are glued into the PVC/CPVC end of the brass to PVC/CPVC fitting with PVC solvent. We used the sanitary type elbow which have a less severe inside angle than the regular 90 which allows liquid to drain more efficiently.
Small pcs of the PVC/CPVC pipe Length depends on barrel size, where you drilled the outlet hole, and how far out you want the manifold out from the barrels.  How many you need depends on how many barrels you have.  1 for each barrel.  These short pieces are all cut to the same length and go from the above mentioned 90 out to the T in the manifold pipe.
inch PVC/CPVC 90 T connectors  1 for each barrel if planning to expand; if, not then use a  inch elbow on the first or last barrel in place of a T.
More Small Pcs of the PVC/CPVC pipe  Length depends on how far your barrels are set apart from each other.  Set 2 barrels side-beside, dry fit the pipe/connectors out to the T, decide how far apart you want them then, measure the distance between the tees.  REMEMBER, about  -  inch of this pipe slips up inside each T so you will lose twice that length when they are glued together (   1 inch) so, take this into account before you cut all your pipe for this run.  If you do not intend to expand system then how many you cut is one less than the number of barrels you have.
Blocks or a wooden Platform how many and length depends on how many barrels you have.  If you need a wooden platform, then you are on your own to find the how to instructions. Water is very heavy at 8 lbs/gallon so build accordingly.  Using blocks keep in mind the higher the better because water flows faster the higher it is from the ground, but you want it at least high enough to fit a 5 gal bucket under your spigot even if you are using a garden hose on the spigot.  If you do not go up high enough the water will flow very, very, veeeerrrrry slowly and you will have to drain the whole system to raise the barrels - not to mention unscrew the piping from the barrels before you move them.

Tools and accessories:
  
Spade or hole bit for these holes:
               bung hole plug
               air displacement hole on the side that will be the top of the barrel when in place
               Overflow hole in the very last barrel opposite end of system where water come in
               Pilot hole for jig saw to cut bigger hole for strainer basket
Jig saw   Strainer Basket Hole   carefully used at a severe angle to remove excess thickness around grommet holes
Rough Hasp - to smooth edges of holes if needed
Utility Knife - for minor adjustments to holes if needed
PCV/CPVC prep and solvent  to weld plastic pipe/fittings together
Plumbers Tape  just to be anal on brass to plastic connections
Wrench(es) - to tighten screw together fittings
Blocks - with or without wooden stringers laid across them as your platform/riser to set barrels on
Shovel to level the ground if needed  barrel TOPS must be level or very near level
Music
  just for good morale and to muffle any bad words that may be said when something doesnt go
 right.  I know, I know, you planned it all out very carefully and everything will be perfect so, just
                lay it for good morale.

So, with holes cut and everything dry fitted before you go hog wild and start gluing stuff, you can now move and assemble your collection system in the location it will be permanently.  Look at the pictures to see how it all fits together and how we did ours.  The pictures pretty much tell the story.

NOTES: 
Bulkhead flanges may not stock items at Lowes, but can be ordered from Agrimart in Owensboro, KY
( https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=agrimart+bulkhead+flanges&tbm=shop ) and when they state that they have same day shipping, they mean it and their price is very competitive.  We were originally going to use BHF, but changed our mind/design and our barrels just happened to have dbl threaded bung hole plugs so, we have some beautiful BHF that arrived 2 days after we ordered them from Agrimart J  Oh, well, we will use them later because we always have a project going on and this was our first rain collection system project and our next barrels may not have the convenient plugs.


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