The biggest way to make green choices as a homeowner can also be the most costly. Collecting rainwater is considered the greenest solution to rainwater runoff for 2 reasons: The homeowner can utilize the collected water for resources around the home or they can benefit the surrounding environment by filtering it before letting it into the water systems.
In our last post we talked about various rain barrels that the homeowner can apply to capture rain runoff and utilize it for other functions around the home. Collecting rainwater might seem like a good idea but there are many precautions and steps to take to ensure proper rain water harvesting. Rain runoff can contain a lot of harmful chemicals. As a homeowner, be mindful of where the contaminants can come from.
How To Avoid Contamination
Contaminants can come from:
- Bird droppings that have collected on the roof
- Shingle-Roof contaminants
- Polyaromatic Hydrocarbon – Zinc, Arsenic, Lead, Chromium
Wood Roof Contaminants – Chemicals to protect the wood (usually chromated copper arsenate-CCA)
- Copper Gutters
- Galvanized Gutters
- Contaminants in a rain barrel
- Tree dirt that drops onto the roof
A green decision in one area can effect a green decision in another area. For example, choosing a slate roof may yield safer water run off but will increase the heat accumulated in the home. Similarly, wood shingles offer a bio-degradable likeness that lends itself to being green. Although, a metal roof is usually made of aluminum, which creates enough heat in summer to possibly sterilize itself, but also makes cooling the home more difficult. Therefore, there are some health concerns using aluminum that have not all been satisfied and tested but it is something to consider.
A Houzz ideabook that we like, discusses green roofing options.
Collecting Rainwater From Your Gutter System
When it comes to gutters, copper and galvanized gutters release very high amounts of toxins. And therefore are not to be used when collecting rain water. That leaves us with aluminum gutters as your best choice. At the Brothers Gutters, aluminum gutters account for the highest number of installs. They last a very long time and don’t react to rain water unless the rain is highly acidic.
- Barrel construction material
- Maintenance of barrel
- Protection of the water source
- Safe retrieval of the water from the barrel
- Whether to bury the cisterns or collect above ground
- Filtering the water – determine the cleanliness of the collected water and its purpose
If the rain barrel is left open to the air, algae can grow in the tank causing contamination of the water source. Alos, depending on what the water barrel is made of-wood or plastic, contaminants can seep into the water source and impact the source. Plastic releases lots of toxins when heated up to certain temperatures that may be present during the hotter summer months.
In addition, this will help avoid insects from entering the water source. Cockroaches and mosquitoes are of the biggest concern. The cockroaches can carry pathogens when entering the water source. Standing water in the dryer seasons can offer a great habitat for mosquitoes that are in search of new breeding ground.
Can You Drink Rain Water?
To safely use rain water as a source for drinking water, the homeowner would benefit from an underground storage tank that has a filtration system attached to it. This system for water storage is enclosed underground. Most obvious are the immediate and future challenges of an underground cistern. Installing requires digging up the yard to install and may require digging in the future should there be a need for repair.
Rain Water & Plants
When using the collected rain water to water plants, there is just not enough clear evidence that the plants inhabit and pass on the contaminants found in rain water runoff. The choice of whether to filter the water used for this purpose comes down to each individual.
Caring For Your Gutters
Brothers Gutters can help you with the most crucial elements of your gutter installation. Water barrels are not the only place that water collects. If the home has a poorly installed rain gutter, water may not be draining properly from the gutter. In turn may be causing pooling in the gutter. This can enlist all the contaminants stated in the water barrel collection.
Furthermore, the best way to avoid a clog in the gutter and downspout is to install a guard on the gutter. Our gutter guards are constructed with stainless steel mesh and aluminum. Stainless steel is considered one of the best solutions to storing clean drinking water. Check out a recent blog where we illustrate what a dirty gutter can look like and the cost to keep your water flow clean without guards.
In conclusion, being more environmentally sound is great for our communities we live. Being more mindful of our living space and staying up-to-date on various eco-friendly practices is key. Collecting rainwater is just one example of how we can encourage you to play your part.
To find out more information about gutter guards or to have us look at your gutters, give us a call at 845-223-6111 or head over to www.brothersgutters.com.