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Installing a rain barrel is an excellent way to reduce runoff, keep storm water out of the municipal system, and save money. Pure rain collected from your rooftop has relatively few contaminants, and is perfect for a variety of outdoor uses.
The idea of harnessing rainwater has intrigued me for years now, but I’ve never gotten around to implementing it. That is, until a few weeks ago when I stumbled on a promotion for heavily discounted, professionally crafted rain barrels. I was smitten!
Why you should use a rain barrel
What follows is a list of some of the advantages of using a rain barrel:
- Rainwater is free. Using rain water will reduce your water bill. If you have “city water,” you pay your municipality for supplying the water based on your usage level. If you have “well water,” you pay for the electricity to run your water pump. Rain barrels
- Rainwater can reduce your sewer bill. Because many cities base your sewer bill on your water consumption, rain barrels can provide additional savings. In such cases, your only real alternative is to have a separate water meter installed for your outdoor spigots. A rain barrel is much, much cheaper.
- Rainwater is natural and useful. It’s soft, free of dissolved minerals, and chlorine free. In other words, it’s great for use on your plants, garden, lawn, and for washing vehicles.
- Rainwater usage is sustainable. Collecting rain water for use around my home is no different than the concept of harnessing wind power for electricity. Use of naturally occurring systems reduces the load on our existing infrastructure. I’m not a tree hugger, but I am interested in a more intelligent system.
Rain barrels are a simple, inexpensive, and practical way for us to save money, reduce our environmental impact, and increase our independence from established municipalities. Whether you live in the city, the country, or the suburbs, you too can use and benefit from a rainwater collection system.
Why municipalities want us to use rain barrels
Rainwater collection systems don’t just benefit individuals — they benefit local communities, as well. This is especially true in areas where storm sewers and sanitary sewers are still combined; by collecting rainwater, you can reduce the load on your local water treatment facilities.
In addition, 40% of the water that people use during the spring, summer, and fall goes into such outdoor applications as washing cars and watering lawns and gardens. As such, rain barrels can reduce demand during peak months.
Where can you get rain barrels?
Given the above, it’s not too surprising that many municipalities are selling truckloads of rain barrels with little or no markup. If you’re curious about this possibility, contact your local government to see if they’re doing something like this. I purchased 2 rain barrels for $48 apiece. At retail prices, these would’ve cost me around $150 apiece!
If you’re not as lucky as me, you still have some options:
- Make your own rain barrels. I won’t delve into the necessary parts, tools, and instructions that you’ll need if you go this route. Instead, I’ll provide you with this links to a downloadable pdf with instructions on how to build your own. Unless you find a great deal like I did, I’d suggest going this route — the difficulty level is not very high.
- Purchase retail rain barrels. If you’re not a do-it-yourselfer, and you can’t find a deal from your local government, then check your local hardware store. Not everyone sells them, though, so you might want to call ahead to be sure they have what you’re looking for.
I’m fired up to finish the installation of my new rainwater collection system! They’re assembled and ready to go… I just need to connect them to my downspouts. I plan on finishing this project over the weekend.
Have you been kicking around the idea of installing some rain barrels for your home or business? With the many benefits outlined above, this is a great time to put your plan into action and realize the idea! Or do you already have rain barrels in place? If so, let us know how you like them.
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