As our environment continues to be negatively affected by issues like climate change and pollution, general concern for dwindling clean water resources is high. Because of this, using a rainwater collection system is not only a popular option, but also an important one. Capturing and harvesting rainwater is a partial solution for high water demand, and it begins with your gutter system.
Wood or whiskey rain barrels are a very popular and aesthetically pleasing choice for rain harvesting systems. However, there are plenty of DIY rain harvesting systems that use garbage cans, plastic bins, etc. Rain barrels provide an alternative to using municipal water or well water.
- First, plan to install a barrel underneath a downspout nearest to where you need the water (EX: near a garden or plants for irrigation purposes).
- Elevating the barrel will improve the flow rate.
- Water collection amounts will vary depending on the slope and size of your roof.
- Also, it is important to plan for overflow as a 1-inch rainfall on a 100-square foot roof can generate about 60 gallons of water. Have a plan for this overflow that aids in its flow away from your home.
- Lastly, choose a barrel based on how much water you expect to collect. You also may want to choose a barrel that coordinates with your home and landscaping.
Connecting Rain Barrel to Downspout
When connecting your rain barrel to your downspout, doing this correctly is very important. Things to consider:
- Cut the downspout at the proper height to ensure proper connection into the barrel.
- The Brothers that just do Gutters can install a diverter that connects the downspout to the barrel.
- Or we can replace a part of the downspout with a custom section or a flexible downspout extension.
Gutters and Rainwater Collection System
Things to consider with your gutters when it comes to your rainwater collection system:
- Making sure your gutters actually work correctly is key in ensuring your harvesting system works as expected. If your gutters are not flowing properly to your downspout, the water will not flow properly into your harvesting system.
- Have gutter guards installed! Not only do you not want your harvested water to be full of debris, dirt and pests, but without filtering the water before it enters the harvesting system, your barrel can become clogged. Additionally, the water will not flow to your rain collection system if there is a clog.
Caution – Rainwater Collection System in Barrel is untreated
- The water that is collected from the runoff is untreated. Therefore, it is unsafe for you, your family and/or your pets to drink this water. However, you can install a filtration system. Also, when using this water for irrigation, it is important to wash your vegetables prior to consuming.
- Try to use water within a week or two of collection to avoid odors and algae growth.
- Before winter, drain and disconnect the barrel. Make sure to prepare your downspout for winter as well by reinstalling the removed portion of the downspout, or setting the diverter to downspout use.
- If your gutters are copper, do not use runoff on edible plants.
- If chemicals have been applied to your roof for any reason, keep in mind that this water will contain the chemical too. An example of this would be a treated cedar shake roof.
Best uses for your harvested water
- Watering plants and lawn
- Store for unexpected water shortages
- Drinking water (if filtered)
- Washing clothes
Why harvest water?
- Saves money
- Provides a consistent and natural water supply
- Reduces dependence on wells
- Prevents flooding
- Eliminates pollution
In addition, rainwater collection systems can also be installed underground if a barrel is not of interest to you. An underground drainage system allows for a cleaner look, and a larger water storing capacity. Being environmentally conscious and practicing sustainability is key in guaranteeing that we have resources that we need to survive. Your gutters are already flowing water away from your home into your downspout, with an easy connection and barrel, you can collect this water for all of the above uses and more! Need help connecting your rainwater collection barrel to your downspout? The Brothers that just do Gutters can help!
Contact us today for your free estimate!