As mentioned in a previous post, gutters can help you capture rain water. A rain water catchment system isn’t just environmentally friendly: it’s a great way to lower your water bill, too.
Collecting rain water isn’t hard, but there are a few things you will need to do before you begin. You actually want to start by checking your gutters and your roof.
If your gutters have been painted with lead based paint or have lead solder in them then it’s a good idea to have them replaced before you try to build a rain water collection system. This is especially true if you think you’re going to try to purify your rain water for drinking.
You should also look at your roof. Treated cedar shake, tar, gravel, and asbestos roofing material can all contaminate the rainwater beyond any ability to use.
Next, you’re going to want to make sure your downspouts are long enough. Each downspout will need to reach into each of your rain barrels. You may need an extender. The gutters may also have to be adjusted in other ways to handle the system.
Next, choose your rain barrel. Larger rain barrels will mean a system that requires less of your time, since you’ll have to transfer collected rain water to other barrels if your barrel gets too full.
Some people choose to create and customize their own barrels, but there are plenty available at the store. These will already have spouts attached so you can get at the water from the other side. Some can hold incredibly impressive amounts of water!
You need to make sure that you’ve placed your rain barrel on level ground. Otherwise the barrel may pull at your downspouts as it fills and becomes unbalanced. This could damage your entire gutter system, so this step is important.
If you can’t find level ground you may have to create it. This can mean using gravel or cinder blocks to make sure the barrel is sitting flat when it goes to work.
Next, you’ll need to install a filter. If you’re going to use your rain water for watering the lawn, watering your garden, filling your toilet or washing your car you’ll need only a simple filter to keep debris out of your rain barrel.
If you plan on drinking your water then you’ll need a filter with a little more kick. This means a chemical filter or a reverse osmosis filter. You’ll also need to purchase a water testing kit to be absolutely sure the water is safe to drink.
Most people don’t drink their rain water. They simply reserve it for other uses.
If you plan on installing a rain water collection system make sure you speak to your gutter contractor. The contractor may have some ideas or suggestions about how to get the job done right.
There’s certainly plenty of rain to be had in the Tampa Bay area, so why not enjoy the benefits of a reduced water bill?