The practice of collecting rainwater is possible by anyone who is looking for a free, easy, and environmentally-friendly method for saving water. Rainwater can be used on commercial and home premises. Many benefits come with rainwater collection, including saving on water bills, reducing the risk of flooding, providing your garden with better quality water, and much more.
Here are some excellent tips for rainwater collection.
- Make Sure You Are Following the Law
In most states, the collection of a modest amount of rainwater for personal use is allowed, and in some areas, you might not even need a permit. Rainwater collection permits can vary from state to state.
However, in individual states, the collection of rainwater is considered illegal. Therefore, if you do not want to get in trouble with the law, before setting up a rain barrel make sure you know the rules and regulations for collecting rainwater in your area.
- Choose the Right Equipment
The largest piece of equipment that you require is a barrel for catching the water. You will have to choose a barrel which is designed to hold large amounts of water efficiently. It is essential that the barrel does not leak or contain toxic materials that can contaminate the water.
Luckily, there are barrels on the market that are made specifically for rainwater collection. Most barrels that are designed for rainwater collection come with a secure cover, screen, and will have access for cleaning.
To make the process of using rainwater easier for yourself, you will need a spigot to attach to the bottom of the barrel. The tap needs to fit in tightly to prevent leaks.
Furthermore, a hose adaptor, mesh, a jigsaw, and a wrench are all important pieces of equipment that will be needed if you want to build a primary water harvesting system.
- Use the Correct Building Methods
For your harvesting system to work at its optimum level, it is best to place the barrel beneath the gutter of your home.
It is essential that the barrel is on top of a firm, flat surface. You can also secure the barrel on a stand, which will ensure easy access to the spigot.
To filter the incoming rainwater, you can use a mesh screen on the top of the barrel. This prevents bugs, leaves or other debris from entering the barrel.
If you want to use the water for watering your garden, then a connecting-hose will make the process much more manageable. You can also use it for your self-watering tomato buckets.
- Make Sure You Have the Right Roof Surface
Unfortunately, not all roof types are suitable for rainwater collection as some may add chemicals and toxins to the water, if not filtered properly. For example, very old asphalt shingles are likely to pollute the rainwater with toxins, while new ones are not.
One of the several acceptable options is metal, and some roofs are even certified for rainwater collection, such as steel sheet, cement tiles, and clay tiles.
In the case that your roof is inappropriate for rainwater collection, you can always place your water catchment barrel in another area on your property.
- Close off Your System
It is best not to have a rainwater barrel that is open on top because sitting water can make a great breeding ground for mosquitoes or other bugs. Other animals might also be attracted to the open water source.
If rainwater is running into your barrel directly from the gutter of your roof, then you can use a tube or hose to connect the gutter with the barrel. This way it is possible for you to close off the rest of the barrel.
- Keep Safety in Mind
The last thing you want is for your barrel to tip over or to have contaminated water.
First of all, you should always make sure that the rainwater catchment system is stable and can hold the weight of the water.
Second of all, keep in mind that even if the barrel is free of toxins and chemicals, outside elements can still contaminate the water. Things like leaves and dirt can also contaminate it. Therefore it is essential to keep your gutter clean if you want clean drinking water.
- Choose the Purpose of Your Collected Water
Anyone who wants to drink collected rainwater will have to make sure that the water is adequately filtered. Rainwater can also be used for cleaning, gardening, doing the laundry, or bathing.
While rainwater with some dirt and leaves in it might still be useful for watering the garden, it would not be a good idea to wash your clothes with it. That is why it is best to establish what you will be using the rainwater for and choose the right filtering methods.
If, eventually, you decide to use your catchment water as drinking water as well, then a proper filtering system needs to be installed and you can always test your water to be 100% sure it is safe for drinking.
- Use Proper Maintenance Techniques
For quality water, you will need to take proper care of your system. Apart from cleaning out the barrel from time to time, you will also have to make sure the gutter, rain heads, and water diverters are cleaned and serviced on a regular basis.
- Consider Possible Contaminating Elements
Many people worry about acid rain when they are considering installing a rainwater barrel. However, this is the last thing that you will have to be concerned about. If you are living in a polluted area then even washing your car would probably not be such a good idea, but the fact is that all water is somewhat acidic.
Most rainwater has a neutral pH, but even the one which is a little acidic is not to be of concern.
Things that you should have to be worried about is, for example, bird droppings, insects, and dirt because they can contaminate the water. Additionally, areas that are around radioactive sites and volcanoes will not make ideal locations for collecting rainwater for drinking purposes.
Setting up a rainwater harvesting system will have its upfront cost, but the system will pay for itself over time in water savings. That is why a rainwater collection system is a great way to cut back on cost and become more self-sufficient. By following proper safety methods and sticking to the regulations, rainwater harvesting systems can provide many benefits.
Author: Mattea Jacobs
Short bio: Mattea Jacobs is a freelance writer who mostly writes about both interior and exterior home design, and environmentally-friendly ways to improve homes. She is also a green activist and a mother of two beautiful sons. You can reach her on Facebook and Instagram.