Hello, I am considering installing a rain barrel, but need to advise on gutter diversion options so that the gutter works ‘normally’ during winter months when barrel is not in use.
Good for you to install a rain barrel! Since a single rainstorm can fill a barrel quickly, you may want to consider installing a second or even a third, all connected, so that as one barrel fills, the overflow goes to the next.
There are several downspout accessories that make it easy to divert the downflow to the barrel or to continue it down to the ground outlet. Eavestrough / gutter installers sell and install them, so just contact a couple of these firms in your neighbourhood to learn about their options and prices. They will cut the existing downspout and insert the diverter. My own diverter is a y-shaped device with a simple slider that directs the flow and has been installed for 10 years with no issues.
For a do-it-yourself solution, there are many brands of diverters available in big box stores and online. Just Google “best rain barrel diverters” and you will find several to compare, as well as YouTube videos instructing you how to do the installation.