Use Rain Water Barrels in Green Home Design for Water Harvest

Rain water collection is an easy way to encourage earth-friendly habits by incorporating green home design into any existing dwelling. Rain storage allows the homeowner to save money by recycling rainwater for use in the garden, filling a pond or washing the car. There is an almost endless variety of water barrels available for water harvest for houses using some form of green home design.

The average rain storm can fill a 55 gallon barrel in one hour and the water is free of chlorine and other chemical additives found in tap water. Vegetable gardens and fish in ponds love rain water. Water harvest provides free water for emergencies especially when water supplies are scarce due to drought.

Rain Water Cisterns for Water Harvest Come in All Materials

Rain water barrels may be made from a variety of materials. Plastic, stainless steel, cement or fiberglass may be used. Commercial rain tanks have pre-cut holes on top covered with screens where the lower portion of a downspout is inserted to collect water from rain gutters. There is an outlet somewhere near the bottom of the water barrel for attaching hoses or collecting rain water in watering cans.

A simple rain barrel can be made from used 55 gallon barrels or common plastic garbage pails. Basic components of a good rain barrel are opaque water barrels with a screen covering the inlet on top to keep out debris and outlets for drainage near the bottom. Opaque water barrels are recommended for preventing sunlight from creating unwanted algae growth in the water.

Calculating Size and Number of Water Barrels for Green Remodeling

Choosing the appropriate size rain barrels for green home design depends on certain factors. Homeowners need to decide how much water they want to store and to be aware of the amount of rainfall in their area. Additionally, it is important to decide how much space will be designated for water storage.

Homeowners should also consider what the intended use will be for the rainwater, how much surface area on the roof will drain into the tank (s) and whether they want a steady, secure supply or just a few gallons.

When considering storage locations, investigate the variety of water cistern designs available. There are tank designs that allow for space saving water storage such as rainwater HOGs. There are those that offer humorous water storage space such as the UK water barrels called Water Butts. If the home is in an urban area, create a green space with a 100-gallon water tower harvesting system.

Budgeting Green Home Design Rainwater Cisterns

Calculating cost for rain water barrels can be as easy as purchasing used 55 gallon drums from a local company or on Craig’s list for as little as $15 each. Alternatively, homeowners can buy fancy commercial models made by environmentally friendly companies that range in price from $50-1600 each.

Dealing With Harvested Rain Water Contamination

One of the biggest problems with rain water harvesting is contamination. Everything from dead animals to bird droppings, particulate matter from industrial waste or mosquitoes may contaminate water. Run off from the roof and gutters may add chemicals from roofing materials and paints. Keeping rainwater barrels cleaned with frequent maintenance is necessary. Most important, do not use the water collected for human consumption unless specific steps are taken to make it potable.

When it comes to rain water harvesting, there is something for everyone in the way of water barrels.

Author: Susan Laverie

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