Water is a precious natural resource. Though rain provides a fresh source of water that can help us to replenish our supply, much of it is not captured, as it falls onto roofs, and on asphalt, and onto the pavement. A lot of water is funneled through the sewer or ditches and is not usable.
However, you can help to capture some of that precious water for your home by setting up a rainwater collection system. You won't be able to use this water for drinking (unless you set up an expensive purification system), but you can use it for watering your lawn and garden, cleaning your car, and cleaning your home. You can even use it to supply the toilets in your home. Here are a few tips about how you can set up a rainwater collection system for your home:
Start with a Quality Tank
You can buy many barrels that are specially designed for collecting rainwater, or you can use your own barrel in which you have cut the needed holes for your water lines and faucets. The key is to select a barrel that is made of food-grade plastic so that it does not degrade or leach harmful chemicals or other materials into your water. Even though you won't be drinking the water, it will be irrigating your yard and your garden, and the chemicals in it could find their way into your food.
Make Sure It's Covered
Standing water can attract all kinds of pests and become a breeding ground for mosquitos, bacteria and other harmful elements. If you do not buy a commercially available rain barrel, then make sure that whatever tank or barrel that you set up is covered. There should be a tight seal on the container to keep the water inside safe.
Attach the Collection Lines
Now you'll need a way to get the rainwater into your barrel. The easiest way to do this is to attach drainage pipes directly to your gutters. When the rain comes down, it will be funneled through your gutters, into your pipes, and into your rain barrel. You can attach as many pipes as you like to the barrel, or you can set up multiple barrels. Just be sure that you properly calculate how much a barrel is likely to get from each rainfall and how much water you are likely to use from it.
Make Sure There is Overflow Release
You may get a downpour or you may end up using less water than you thought you would, and in both cases, your rain barrel could start taking in more water than it is putting out. Make sure you have a mechanism in place to release any overflow. This is usually a pipe or tube that runs out of the top of the barrel and onto the ground. When the barrel becomes too full, the rainwater will gush out through the pipe.
Install a Pump or Faucet
The last step is to find a way to get the water out of the barrel and into your garden. This is most often accomplished by adding a pump or faucet to the side of the barrel. You can then turn it on the way you would the faucets on your house. You can even attach a hose to it.
If that seems to complicated for you, you can also just attach hoses or irrigation pipes directly to the barrel and run them through your yard or garden. As the tank fills, the water will naturally run out the pipes and irrigate your yard and plants.
Collecting rainwater for your home is not difficult. Doing so will help you to reduce your consumption of water, helping you to preserve this precious natural resource and lower your bills. This is especially important if you experience a drought, but being more mindful of your consumption of natural resources all year round is important to being a good global citizen.
Bio: Amber Satka writes on financial topics, such as her look into low interest auto loans. Amber is a former office manager and current mother and writer.