Rain barrels are a great way for homeowners and gardeners to benefit both the environment and their wallets. Using a ran barrel is simple.
Rain barrels are a popular way to collect excess water for use around the house and in the garden. There are many benefits to installing a rain barrel for residential water use.
Rain barrels benefit both homeowners and the environment by collecting rainwater that would otherwise contribute to run-off and erosion, and rainwater is free for homeowners to use. There are many factors to consider when purchasing a rain barrel.
In this article:
Rain Barrels are Good for Watering Gardens
Water collected in rain barrels is great for keeping a garden lush and well watered, even during the driest parts of the year. Even a small amount of rain can contribute a great deal of water to a rain barrel, especially if the barrel is collecting water directly from the roof of the house, which will quickly fill most barrels after only a few hours of rain.
Don’t use rain barrel water collected from asphalt roofing for drinking water, as it often contains petroleum-based pollutants from the asphalt that can be damaging to human health.
Collecting this water and using it to water a garden prevents the chemicals from entering the water table and contributing to run-off pollution.
Many homeowners with only one barrel can use it for the entire summer without needing to refill it; collecting water in a cistern or using a system of connected barrels is a good option for people who want to get as much rainwater as they can.
Rain Barrels and Housecleaning
The water collected in rain barrels is perfect for cleaning projects around the house. Washing the cars, doing laundry outdoors and general housecleaning projects can all use the water collected in a rain barrel. Use this water to complete general chores and save a great deal of money on water costs each year.
Using water from a rain barrel saves both energy and money on the water needed to keep a house clean and tidy.
Algae and Mosquitoes in Rain Barrels
A standing pool of water provides an ideal habitat for mosquitoes to lay eggs and congregate. Rain barrels can attract a large number of mosquitoes, which can carry disease and are very often irritating, especially for gardeners and individuals spending time outside.
Keep the rain barrel covered with a mosquito screen or treat the collected water with chemicals to prevent mosquitoes from using the collected water for laying eggs.
Algae and bacteria can thrive in standing water, which can make the water useless for use by humans or in a garden, and can also make the water smell.
Use dark colored barrels as rain barrels to keep sunlight out of the water, which prevents the growth of algae and bacteria. Treat the water with roughly a cup of bleach per gallon. Clean the rain barrel with soap and water and a scrub brush between uses to remove growths.
Acid Rain and Rain Barrels
Rain can often be slightly acidic due to chemical pollution from human influences like agriculture, factories and vehicles producing greenhouse gases.
This can affect the quality of water collected and stored in a rain barrel. In most cases, rainwater will not be acidic enough to cause serious damage to plants. Check the water quality of the water in the barrel to determine whether or not it is safe for garden use.
Environmental Benefits of Rain Barrels
Rainwater that runs off of the roofs of houses contributes to soil erosion and the pollution of waterways like rivers, streams and ponds.
The amount of water that runs into storm drains instead of being absorbed by the earth or used in gardens is an expensive and wasteful example of poor environmental infrastructure.
The simple use of rain barrels can reduce the damaging environmental effects of polluted water and save homeowners a great deal of money as well.