Despite being the most abundant resource globally, access to fresh water has always been a problem. Among the numerous water harvesting methods, rain barrels have stuck on over the years providing a much-needed resource during dry seasons.
They capture rainwater from the roof and store it until when the droughts come. The water is then used to irrigate the lawn and keep the flower garden alive.
The use of rain barrel water is unlimited. It can clean your car, water your lawn, fill the toilet, and irrigate your plants, among many others. It goes without saying that you don’t need to treat the rainwater before watering the plants, only that you should pour into the soil and not on the plant.
One downside with rain barrels water is that it is not suitable for human consumption given the acidity levels and potentially pathogenic microorganisms present. This article takes a look at the pros and cons of rain barrels in a broader aspect. Continue reading along.
What are the Pros and Cons of Rain Barrels
If you have rain barrels at home, you definitely know that the advantages stretch far beyond the disadvantages. Still, most people don’t have them installed, and others are just thinking about it, which is okay because that’s the first if you are looking to buy something.
Once you realize that a rain barrel is something you can consider having around your home, it would be best if you got to know the pros and cons.
Pros of Having a Rain Barrel
1. Saves Money
During the summer, a homeowner in the US uses about 40 percent of domestic water for outdoor use. By adopting the use of rain barrels, residents can save up to 1300 gallons of water. Water bills are among the highest-paid accounts.
For instance, the average water bill in the United States is about 70 dollars for 100 gallons of water. You can save part of this money by installing rain barrels.
An average family uses about 300 gallons of water every day. Furthermore, the costs involved in water purification are way too high. Rainwater doesn’t need to undergo any treatment, especially when used for washing cars and promoting plant growth.
2. Water Conservation
Freshwater is already a scarce resource. Letting rainwater flow down the lawn is nothing short of wasting the supply. It would be best to save it in barrels so that we have something for the lawns and plants when droughts come.
By using the rainwater in barrels, we conserve that from taps for more basic activities like cooking.
3. Reduces Pollution and Erosion
Most countries are struggling with pollution, trying to put it under control to no avail. Runoff water collects fertilizer, oil, pesticides, leaves, and even plastic to lakes. These contaminants contribute to the growth of algae which inhibit the thriving of marine and freshwater lives.
More so, runoff water sweeps away leaves and plastic down the street, blocking waste water drainage. By having rain barrels, we reduce runoff water to the streets, lakes, and oceans.
4. Promotes growth of healthy plants
Tap water contains heavy metals such as lead and mercury absorbed by plants when used for irrigation.
These metals are not suitable for human consumption and cause health complications such as lead poisoning. Rainwater doesn’t have such contaminants making it perfect for the growth of healthy plants and soil conservation.
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5. Prevents Soil Erosion
Runoff water carries away the topsoil around your house, damaging your foundation. Also, it washes away the high-nutrient soil away from your garden.
Soil erosion is an unadorned problem that needs to be addressed, and the number one cause is rainwater runoff.
Having gutters and rain barrels helps prevent losing the high nutrient topsoil perfect for your garden plants. More so, your foundation and landscape remain undamaged just by employing such mechanisms.
Cons of Having Rain Barrels
Despite the numerous benefits, having rain barrels still present some disadvantages.
1. Breeding ground for Mosquitoes
When rain barrels remain uncovered for long periods, they become perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Most mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, and within a few days, they hatch into their thousands.
Therefore if you have a rain barrel around your home, ensure it is completely dry when not used or covered with a lid when preserving water.
Rain barrels don’t come cheap. Most people would consider them to be way over their budget.
More so, other elements should be installed for barrels to be effective. Such include gutters around the house to catch the rainwater from the roof.
Once the rain barrel is filled with water, it may require you to move it manually to a different place. Furthermore, the installation process is also quite demanding since you have to construct the gutters and a flat surface to position the barrels.
Are Rain Barrels a Good Idea?
Having rain barrels installed in your home is a good idea for many reasons. First, the water doesn’t have toxic minerals and heavy metals such as lead, making it suitable for non-drinking purposes like cleaning the car and watering the plants.
During the dry seasons, most states restrict the use of tap water. However, if you collected rainwater in your barrels, you will have the freedom to wash your car, water your lawn and plants, and even wash a few things around the home.
You will save some money on water bills given the high rate of consumption. Besides, fish and other marine life will enjoy more water now that you are using that which would have gone to waste.
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How do Rain Barrels work?
You probably are wondering how rain barrels work. Well, it is not rocket science. Over the past few years, the need for more water during the dry season has prompted many gardeners and homeowners to install rain barrels.
The use of rain barrels is a great way to capture rainwater from the roof of your house. Of course, you don’t have to physically fill the tank. This is how it works:
First, you need to install gutters around the roof of your house. When rain falls, water flows down the roof to the gutters, and depending on the slope, it takes a particular direction.
The gutters are usually directed to the barrel using a downspout pipe located in one corner of the house. If you have the gutters and a rain barrel, you can purchase this rain barrel adapter kit, including a downspout diverter and spigot.
Once the barrel fills up, always cover the top to prevent algae growth and the breeding of mosquitoes.
Check out this rain barrel and rain barrel adapter
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FAQ’S on How Effective are Rain Barrels
Do rain barrels save money?
Yes. Rain barrels save money. By harvesting water during the rainy season, you get to save on your utility costs at the end of the month, given the high water cost.
Water usage during the drought is restricted only to household activities. Having rainwater in your barrels saves you the extra costs you’d have undergone to wash your car or even water your plants.
What happens when rain barrels are full?
If you are using a gutter diversion kit, water will divert to the downspout once the barrel is full.
However, some barrels are not equipped with the diversion kit, so the water will just overflow from the top.
Is rainwater good to drink?
Rainwater is usually pure and free from bacteria. However, it can get contaminated at times and get infected with bacteria and parasites, which are harmful to human beings.
More so, fumes from factories and cars pollute the air, which contaminates the rainwater during a downpour. Such chemicals increase acidity and carbon presence in the water.
The popularity of rain barrels in water harvesting is gaining momentum as people strive toward sustainability. It is an excellent way for people to save money and water for use when it is much needed.
A good rain barrel will make it easy for you to stock enough water for later use. They present numerous advantages: preventing soil erosion and pollution, saving on utility bills, and promoting healthy plant growth.