Monday, February 23, 2009

FAQ: Rain Barrels

A rain barrel is a simple, low tech way to conserve impressive amounts of water. All you need is a container of the right size, a rain spout, and a spigot. Good rainfall also helps, but even in the desert, the amount of rain a storm produces can fill a 100 gallon rain barrel quickly. If you have wondered whether a rain barrel would be a good investment for your house, here are the answers to a few questions you may have thought of.

What benefits can rain barrels offer me?

In addition to providing a free and self replenishing source of water, barrels also reduce the amount of water settling around your house's foundation, reducing long term structural damage.

How big a rain barrel will I need to get started?

55 or 100 gallons is a good starter size. Many people find that once they get used to using rainwater, they need larger tanks, or start stringing together multiple 100 gallon barrels. If you own a large building, such as a business or an apartment building, you may find that you can use an even larger tank; many public buildings and schools have rainwater collection tanks that can hold 2,000, 5,000, or even 15,000 gallons.

What kind of containers are acceptable as rain barrels?

A barrel can be made out of any material, from old fashioned wood to metal or high tech plastic. If you adapt a container that was not made to be a rain barrel, make certain it will not corrode or leak chemicals into the water. For example, adapting an ornamental copper pot is a bad idea, no matter how attractive it would be, because copper verdigris is deadly at trace doses. Certain plastics have also come under scrutiny for their propensity to shed chemicals, so there is a small but growing movement away from plastic. If you want a plastic rain barrel, buy one made of food grade plastic.

I live in a heavily polluted area where the rainwater is not safe to drink. Should I bother with a rain barrel?

Absolutely! Even if the local rainwater is undrinkable, you can still put it to a number of uses. Watering the lawn takes a considerable amount of water, so suburban expanses of lawn are a major drain on any municipality's water supply. Providing your own lawn water from a barrel is an excellent way to both use undrinkable water and reduce the strain on the local water system. Washing your car is another water intensive task that does not require perfectly clean water. You can also water houseplants and wash floors with collected rainwater. And, of course, the classic use for rainwater is as flushwater for a green toilet system.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Why rain barrels are so helpful

It may be a somewhat harsh realization, but the fact is that by our very existence, human beings have placed quite a bit of a toll on the environment. With many of the planet's natural resources in danger of being depleted at some time or another in the future, our consumption of water is an increasingly crucial matter. With all the water that each of us uses up on a daily basis, there is a very real threat that there may not be enough left for future generations. This concern is particularly pressing in many parts of the world where water is scarce, and it is a situation that will likely become more and more common as time goes on. It is now more important than ever to take certain steps in order to conserve water as much as possible, and we can do our own small part by installing rain barrels.

Rain barrels perform the basic but very necessary function of allowing you to collect rainwater, which you can then use in a wide variety of tasks. From watering plants to washing windows, cleaning gardening tools and outdoor equipment and many more uses, rainwater is a tremendously valuable resource that we would do well to take advantage of. This water is particularly suited for the irrigation of outdoor plants and lawns, because it is after all coming from a natural source and is typically softer than the water that you can get from your tap.

Rain barrels come in many shapes and sizes, from commercially available models with a host of fixtures and attachments that make it easy to connect to other rain barrels, to homemade ones improvised from gallon jugs. Whatever type of rain barrels you go for will do a good enough job of collecting rainwater, although you will have determine how you want to use it when making your choice of which type to buy. If you want to install rain barrels in an area of your property where there is no ready supply of water available from a mains source, a commercial model may be a better option since it will allow you to attach a garden hose easily. Many commercial rain barrels also come with features that prevent rainwater from flowing over the sides and into the ground below, and instead redirect it to another receptacle.

If your needs are fairly basic however, you may find that homemade rain barrels are more than enough to get the job done. These can be fashioned from anything from plastic gallon jugs to barrels and even large capacity pails. These types of rain barrels are by far the more inexpensive option, and you can easily install one or more of them around your home for only a few dollars.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Take Advantage Of Using Fresh Rainwater, Try A Rain Barrel

In using a rain barrel to collect and recycle water, there are a variety of different uses that you can benefit from. There are more and more individuals every single year who are taking advantage of the benefits that are to be had in collecting water in these handy containers that are very simple to use. There is an endless amount of ideas that fresh rainwater can be used for such as washing your automobiles, in the sauna you have installed in your backyard, watering plants and a limitless amount of other tasks. You just might be surprised in the dollars that you can save every single month that would generally be spent on high water bills.

There are several of us who have experienced hot summer months where we have received very little rainfall. When this happens it can quickly cause many frustrating problems for those who have decorated landscape on their land, and those that have planted food in gardens. One convenient way that you can solve these frustrating problems is by collecting fresh rainwater whenever you can by using a rain barrel that has been placed conveniently underneath a downspout drain that runs off the roof of your home.

It might be surprising to know that in collecting rainwater, many families can save up to 1,000 gallons during the summer when large amounts are generally being used. In several cases 40 percent of this is water that is being used to tend to such tasks as taking care of the yard and plants. Just imagine the other fun things you could be spending your hard earned money on that these high amounts can add up to each month.

By purchasing a couple of items from any hardware store, you can choose to make a rain barrel yourself and it can be achieved very easily. Some individuals find that it is much more convenient to buy a container that has already been made. For constructing your own container, the Internet has been known to be a very useful place for finding directions and other useful information that are most commonly needed for this type of project. If you plan to use what you have collected over a long period of time, there are filters that you can purchase that help a great deal in keeping the rainwater safe to use for long period of time. This gives you the advantage of using it whenever you need to.