Because green building is on the rise, rainwater collection systems are swiftly gaining popularity. They are a simple way to replace at least a portion of your watering needs. When rain is collected and stored for later use, you have a viable alternative for supplying your landscaping with water—even during a dry season.
Gutter accessories like rainwater collection systems may be a small investment of time and money initially, but they can help you save on your water bill and nurture a healthy garden and lawn for years to come.
Rainwater Collection 101
A rainwater collection system is a small, above-ground tank that gathers and accumulates rainwater for future use. The most common and practical way to collect this precipitation from your roof is via your gutter system. Doing so can help your plants, your budget, and the planet.
10 Reasons to Choose to Collect Rainwater
Here are some benefits to adding a rainwater collection system to your gutters.
- Rain is free! This absolutely free source of water shouldn’t be wasted. Why not store it for a later time when you will need it?
- It uses simple, cost-effective technology. Because there aren’t a lot of moving parts to a rainwater collection system, you can enjoy its low maintenance!
- Rainwater is more beneficial than tap water. Rainwater contains good bacteria and microorganisms that the soil needs to keep plants their healthiest. It is also loaded with oxygen and nutrients. And rain from most roofs is free from chlorine, ammonia, and other chemicals tap water has (that accumulate in the soil over time). Rainwater dilutes the impact of harmful chemicals on plants, making them healthier and even more tolerant to droughts.
- Collecting rainwater saves water. During summertime, homeowners can use up to 2-4 times more water than other months of the year. Why? To keep their landscaping and lawn looking its best. Irrigating with rainwater can decrease your water bill by 30%. One inch of rain on a 1,000 square foot roof yields over 600 gallons of water. Less than an inch of water can fill a rainwater collection system, decrease your water use, and lower your water bill.
- Other uses for rainwater. Since rain doesn’t have the salt and chemicals tap water has, it’s perfect for washing your car or filling up your bird bath.
- Prevent problems by protecting saturated ground from excess water. When storms hit, your basement can flood or water can build up next to your home’s foundation. Saturated ground can lead to mold growth, but rainwater collection can prevent that problem and more.
- Minimize flooding. Runoff from rainy and snowy weather can create problems downstream and lead to overflow at sewage treatment plants. It may seem minor, but collecting rainwater can help minimize flooding and leaks. If you find that you don’t need all the rainwater you collected, slowly release the excess between storms so water can soak into the ground.
- There are no restrictions on its use—even in times of drought. When you collect rainwater, you can use it in your garden and lawn throughout the summer. When restrictions are put into place to limit water use, you can still use your rainwater to nourish your landscaping. It is a backup source of water for emergencies.
- Lower the amount of urban water pollution—Urban areas covered in concrete create runoff during heavy storms, carrying pollution into waterways. When you collect rainwater, you decrease the amount of runoff and keep some of the pollution from getting into waterways near you.
- Decrease the workload on your local water treatment facility—When you collect rainwater and put it to use in your garden, you lower the need for costly, energy intense water treatment in your area.
How Do I Collect Rainwater?
A complete rainwater collection system consists of a variety of parts.
- Roof surface—Most roof surfaces work well for rainwater harvesting
- Gutters—Install gutter guards to keep large debris from clogging your gutters
- Downspout filter—A bit of self-cleaning can occur easily with the installation of a rain head
- First flush diverter—Prevents the first flush of contaminated rainwater from entering your tank
- Tank screen—Installed on the tank’s entry point and helps keep mosquitoes and pests out
- Rainwater tank—Comes in all shapes and sizes
- Insect-proof flap valve—Installed on the end of the overflow pipe to keep pests out
- Auto fill system—Keeps a minimum amount of water in your tank at all times so it doesn’t run dry
- Pump system—Provides pressurized rainwater to make it easier to use
- Irrigation filter—Catches any debris that may have slipped through the pump
- Water level indicator—A monitor that helps you know where you are in the usage of water from your tank
How to Add a Rainwater Collection System to Your Gutters
Rainwater systems are flexible and allow for expansion, reconfiguration, or relocation if necessary. Contact a contractor to install one for you.
How Stored Rainwater Can Be Used
Don’t let nourishing rain go to waste! Rainwater collection can be added to your gutter system and used for a variety of practical things:
- Watering your lawn and garden
- Washing your car
- Bathing your pets
- Refreshing your fish pond
- Refilling your pool
- Cleaning your driveway and sidewalk
What Kind of Gutters Can I Add a Rainwater Collection System to?
Rainwater collection can be accomplished with most gutter types.
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