With the storm season upon us, we thought it important to prepare a few articles to help you prepare. Remember to check the comprehensive guide on storm preparation found here. Let’s dive in to today’s topic, rain barrels.
Having an ample supply of water during periods where the storm may disrupt waterflow to your home is important. So in this article we take a look at rain barrels.
Rainwater harvesting has been around for a long time, thousands of years. However, indoor plumbing and urbanization minimized the need to harvest runoff water. After all, it was more convenient and safer to use tap water.
With the rising water bills, global warming, and prolonged dry seasons, rain barrels and rainwater harvesting are slowly making a comeback. Rainwater is easier to harvest and a 1000 sq. Ft. has the potential to yield ten gallons from rainfall, at the rate of one inch every hour. It means that you won’t have to wait for long for the barrel to fill up.
Rainwater is soft and free of chlorine and other compounds that characterize tap water. The harvested water is pure, and ideal for the succulent tomatoes you are growing outside.
The Benefits of Rain Barrels
Rain barrels play an important role in keeping pollutants off our rivers and other major water bodies. The rushing waters from our roofs carry oil spills, sewers and other undesirables to the rivers. These pollutants thus jeopardize life in the water such as fish and plants, necessary for a healthy ecosystem.
The containers require minimal maintenance and can last for years, preserving water for home use. You, therefore, have a good supply of gardening water, for a decent period.
Tips on using the Rain Barrels and Harvested Rainwater
The biggest concern with rain barrels is mosquitoes, which love stagnant water for breeding. To avoid these insects finding their way into your water and making it their home, cover the barrel using a fine screen.
Harvested runoff water is soft and ideal for gardening. You may need a plumber to install a spigot and other necessary features to help direct the water to a hose and the garden – installation is easy, and you can even do it yourself.
If using the water in your garden, utilize trickle or drip irrigation to minimize chances of contaminating the leaves. The water comes from the roof where birds, dirt and other microorganisms contaminate it. If using a garden hose, then direct the water to the soil, near the roots.
It is important to use the harvested runoff water within the shortest time possible to prevent algae growth and development of odors. Even with the rain barrel covered, mosquito larvae can still find its way inside from the roof through the inlet spout. Using the water frequently washes this larva away before they develop into adult mosquitoes.
An unsecured barrel is a safety risk, especially if you have kids around. To prevent tipping, secure it and ensure it fits snuggly on the wall, for additional stability. Some manufacturers recommend leaving some water inside for stability purposes. Check for leaks and defects on a regular basis and make sure to use all the water before the next rain.
Keep the barrel clean not to attract any pest and diseases. Clear the fine screen and wash off any remaining residue within the barrel. To protect it from freezing, and eventual damage, keep the barrel disconnected during the cold months. And always rinse the container before storage.