Rain Barrel BasicsRain water has been collected for many years. About 1,000 years ago, people in England were collecting water in simple clay pots. The same practices are being carried out with rain barrels today.
We do not have a limitless amount of water, and with the rising cost of city water, it’s more important than ever to save water. Not only does it contribute to saving our natural resources but it also saves money overall.
Most people believe that water is an infinite resource. The truth is that water is becoming more scarce. Underground water chambers that provide water are being heavily depleted, and there is not enough water to replace the used water. With a rain barrel, you can stop using govermental water sources and start saving money and help the environment!
This report is intended to explain the benefits of rain barrels. After reading this manual, you will lean how valuable rain barrels can be and how easy you can make a rain barrel.
Why Use a Rain Barrel?Over sixty-Five percent of the Earth is covered by water, yet only 2.% is fresh water and the rest is sea salt water. And out of that, most of it is found inside glaciers and ice caps.
The fresh water that is purified and pouring out of your sink everyday is found in freshwater streams, lakes and rivers. And due to desertification and contamination, much of that water is threatened. With such little usable water available, it is even more critical that water be saved.
As a result of our depletion of natural resources, conserving water decreases the demand for domestic water from those rivers and lakes. Residential irrigation can use up to forty percent of the area’s water. By using rain barrels, you not only help contribute to saving water and therefore the environment overall, but you save money personally!
If you live in an rainy area, collecting rainwater with a rain barrel can save you a surprising amount on your water bill. Even if you live in an area without much rain, the few times during the year it does rain can help later during the hotter, drier months. Or if you live in a rural area with a well, you may find that a rain barrel helps harvest rainwater much easier. Of course, once someone sees how something helps, momentum can pick up. If you start harvesting rainwater in a rain barrel, the idea can catch on in your community, thereby saving everyone water. Since all of us (humans, animals and plants) need water to survive, you are helping everyone out!
Rain Barrels can be used in a variety of ways. Most people tend to use it in their garden, where they can just pour the water directly onto the flowers and grass and more. Although you can drink rainwater, it takes special filtering treatment to do so. Additionally, many cities require the water drinking system to be a certified filtration system, and that the water is tested regularly. Rain Barrels for your garden are beneficial to the garden, since rain is a natural soft water without minerals, chlorine or other chemicals. Your garden, in turn, will continue to grow and thrive in appreciation for giving it natural ingredients.
How-To Collect WaterCollecting water differs depending on the system used. Some are more advanced, involving pumps and flow controls, while others simply catch all the rain they can.
The first thing to measure is your roof catchment area, or the total square feet of your house plus your eaves. Rain falls evenly everywhere, so the shape of your roof does not matter, just the space it encompasses and the surrounding area. Measure the area of the outside walls, and then add the overhand of any eaves. For example, a house that measures 42x 48 feet with 2-foot eaves means you add 4 feet to each wall for a total measurement of 46x52 feet. Then multiply the length times the width (46 times 52) to find the total roof catchment area (in this case, it’s 2392 sq ft).
So what does this mean? For every inch of rain that falls in 1,000 square feet of your catchment area, there is up to 600 gallons of rainwater. Four inches of rainfall means there are 2,400 gallons of rainwater you can collect! Let’s round up our example house to 2400 square feet. This means that this house could catch up to 1440 gallons (since you multiply 600 gallons times 2.4). Think of how much you’ll have saved and added to your water supply just by using a rain barrel!
Harvesting systems are not 100% accurate; most of the time, they fall between 70-90%, since all Rain Barrel systems are going to lose some rain water due to gutters spilled, wind or evaporation. However, it’s still quite an improvement from zero!
Rain BarrelsNow that you know how much you can save, it’s easy to see why a rain barrel is such a great investment. Of course, you want to figure out the best kind of harvesting system for yourself.
Choosing a Rain barrel depends on how much you can spend, how much space you have, and the type of barrel. Any rain barrel you choose should have a good container that holds liquid. For those that think a trash can will work just fine will learn that it cannot stand water pressure for very long. This does not mean you need to choose the most expensive rain barrel, but don’t try to cut back and save money by using an inferior piece of equipment.
If you’re on a budget or don’t have much space, put a rain barrel under a gutter downspout diverter to save water. A 30 Gallon rain barrel is probably the best way to go, since you don’t want a giant one that will take up too much space. For a more complex system, connect several rain barrels with PVC pipes or hoses, and pump the water directly into the garden to drain all the rain barrels at once.
Where you put your rain barrel is crucial, since you want to collect as much rainwater as possible. Place it on ground that is level, because when it reaches its maximum capacity, it will be considerably heavier and can tip over on unstable ground.
If you live in a colder climate, disconnecting rain barrels during the winter is a good idea to avoid water constantly thawing and freezing. The construction of the rain barrel can weaken or crack, so keep it out of the cold and store it upside down to keep it clean until it starts raining.
Rain barrels on the market today offer all sorts of handy attachments or special parts that make harvesting your rainwater even easier. Spigot, overflow fittings, automatic overflow, and drain plugs are just a few. Again, depending on how rainy the area you live in is you can choose from smaller sized rain barrels to ones that store over fifty gallons of water. Whatever rain barrel you choose, make sure it has a cover and can fit in your backyard.
Safety FirstTwo rules must always be followed when it comes to Rain Barrels
1: Never leave your rain barrel uncovered or open with out a downspout diverter attached.
2. Always keep you rain barrel faucet closed between uses. This way, it won’t get dirty with leaves,yard debris or insects and will avoid becoming contaminated.
3. Also, any system you use should come with a downspout diverter system to keep out silt, soil and leaves or have .
Not only do you want to keep your water clean, but you also want to be safe. Be careful with rain barrels and small children. Some rain barrels are massive, and children can drown in just a few feet of water. Plus, animals (both domesticated and wild) can become trapped and drown in the barrels. Moreover, standing water is home to swarms of mosquitoes. Since the West Nile virus is growing and mosquitoes are generally unwelcome creatures, extra precautions must be taken to keep mosquitoes away from rain barrels, such as emptying water within ten days or buying a rain barrel with a mesh screen or using a Rain Barrel Downspout Diverter.
Some containment, unfortunately, in bound to happen. Leaves, dust, and the elements in general will affect the water. It’s fine to use on your garden, since that water would fall on those plants anyhow, but in order to drink it, you will absolutely need a good filtering system.
If your unsure of how much pollution is in your area, go talk to someone at your city hall or a municipal official about how many pollutants are in the area and how it may affect the quality of the rainwater.