Have you been searching for a way to be a little more environmentally aware? While you may be taking shorter showers, turning down your water heater temperature, and flipping off the light switch as you leave the room, did you know there is one other simple way you be ‘green’?
Rain barrels are simple barrels or covered devices that are designed to catch rain water as it runs off the roof of your home or garden sheds. This water would normally run out of the downspout into the ground or the storm sewer. Much of today’s water consumption is used for residential irrigation, so any amount of water that is conserved can ease the need for water demand.
Benefits of Using Rain Barrels
If you are thinking of using a rain barrels to catch the water running off of your roof, you are in luck. There are many benefits to using these types of barrels.
- Unlike tap water, rain water does not contain calcium, chlorine, and lime. The water is naturally soft and perfect for watering plants inside and outside of your home. It can even be used for washing your car and cleaning the windows in your home. It is important to note, however, that if you use this water when washing your car, you should move the car over onto your lawn before you begin washing it. This will prevent any chemicals from the driveway from washing down into the sewer.
- When rain water moves through your down spout and falls onto the ground, there is a possibility that it will flood both your yard and your basement. With a rain barrel under the downspout of your garden sheds or home, you can catch this water and slowly distribute it to your garden. This will help you reduce the chances of flooding.
- When you use water from a rain barrel, you can redistribute it into the ground and replenish groundwater supplies. This means less pollution in waterways and moderation of stream erosion.
- As with many other steps toward being green, using a rain barrel can save you a lot of money. Instead of having to use the hose or the faucet to water your plants, wash your cash, and keep your windows clean, you can simply use the water from the barrel. This water is free and can be used at any time.
- For heavy rainfall, you can attach more than one rain barrel together to catch all of the rain. This will prevent your rain barrels from becoming too full and overflowing into your yard. This will also ensure that you have plenty of water available in the event of a dry spell.
While you may be concerned about mosquitoes laying eggs in your rain barrel, this is an issue that can easily be prevented. You can prevent this by using the water regularly, capping the barrel with a fiberglass screen, or adding a tablespoon of vegetable or cooking oil to the water to create a thin sheen to the top of the rain water.
If you want to be a little more environmentally conscious, save a bit of money, and have all of the water you need for watering your garden, consider installing a rain barrel under both the downspout on your home and your garden sheds.