Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Advantages of Rain Barrel Water

Catching Rain Water on my Patio
It doesn't really matter what you use to catch rainwater. Don't be fooled into thinking you need to spend hundreds of dollars on a expensive barrel. You can find several items in your own home that will work as well, if not better. The three main requirements for harvesting showers are that your chosen receptacale is sturdy; preferably plastic, have a tight storage lid and be clean. Rain water is typically trapped using a container placed beneath a gutters down spout. Place what ever utensil you plan to use beneath any area where rainwater over pours. Balconies are good for gathering rainwater pour off, as well as a steply slanted roof with no gutter.
The EPA estimates that the average household utilizing natural resources could save 1,300 gallons of water during the summer months alone. The warmer months tend to optimize water usage for lawn and garden irrigation. Many states are experiencing drought like conditions. Cities are opting to place homeowners on watering restrictions which place vegitation in danger of dehydration. Not only does rainwater help economically, but imagine how much it can help the environment. Rainwater can even be more beneficial to gardens and lawns since it does not contain tap waters required chlorine, fluoride and other minerals. Chemicals and minerals which can possibly reduce a harvests production. Don't neglect the indoor plants. They enjoy a healthy does of rainwater too.

Harvesting rainwater doesn't have to be a major chore or expensive task.  I simply use 5 gallon buckets that are placed in spots I know will fill have a rush of water during rain.  If you don't have any buckets no problem.  Check the bakery counter at you local grocer.  Many of the items such as icing and lard come in these buckets.  Since they have no use for them and typically throw them out they will be glad to donate them to you.  You can also check any donuts shop.

If your gutter system is clean and your gatherings clear enough there are even more uses for rainwater. Use rainwater to wash a vehicle and the typical residue left behind by tap water disappears. Another beneficial use of rainwater is to wash your dog. Rainwater tends to be less harsh than tap water so you are more likely to see a shinier coat. Grab a bucket of water and your mop. Those leftover streaks on your tile won't be a problem any more. You may even want to try adding rainwater to your washing machine for more savings. It has been recommended that rainwater be used for drinking and cooking. However you would need to spend money on a specialized filter for cleaning the trappings. To me contradicts the purpose of saving money so I stay away from this in favor of more practical uses.

Avoid trapping more rainwater than is necessary. Place your filled container in a fairly dark place. Direct sunlight attracts unwanted toxins. Kept over a long period of time rainwater tends to become stagnate and can appeal to mold. Take advantage of your rainwater as often as possible and clean the container between uses. Once the water is contaminated it becomes ineffective. Always keep the waters container tightly sealed. Any standing pool of water attracts an enormous amount of bugs which can be difficult to get rid of. Mosquitos tend to breed aggressively and are harmful around pets.

Another point to keep in mind is the environmental impact of harvesting rainwater. The rain you trap is not flooding your yard and damaging plants. When needed the most the nourishment your garden needs will be available using your own resources. If we all found the benefits of rainwater it would make a great impact. Once you see the savings and realize the environmental vale of harvesting rainwater I think you will find it a habit that is hard to break. For more information on this and other "green" topics visit