Rain Barrels

Did you ever wonder why we all pay for a storm-sewer infrastructure that drains our rain water away from our home - and then we buy the water back for watering the yard? Yes, most of us pay twice - with taxes to build and maintain the municipal storm sewer system, and again with our monthly water bill. Rain water is clean water and perfectly suitable for irrigating plants, and washing your car, windows and even your laundry! There is no need to let it go and buy it back later. You can collect rain water and store it in rain barrels (and cisterns) for later use.

To capture that valuable rain water, we installed rain barrels at the southwest and the southeast corners of the house. Each corner has three 55-gallon barrels that are connected through simple plumbing. These six rain barrels receive the rainwater runoff from the entire south half of the roof. The barrels themselves are recycled car-wash detergent barrels.

Here are some rain barrel ground rules: 1) Place a filter (screen) in the barrel inlet to catch leaves and other debris. 2) A faucet should be at the very bottom and allow you to completely drain the barrel. 3) Light colored barrels do not heat up as quickly as dark colored ones. 3) The barrels should be impervious to light to reduce the risk of algae growth. These rules (particularly item 3) help to maintain good water quality and reduce the risk of the water turning foul.

You can download an INFO SHEET for detailed information on the rain barrel plumbing, winterizing the barrels, and other interesting facts. You can also browse various images of the rain barrel INSTALLATION and the FINISHED PRODUCT.

 
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