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How Does a Rain Barrel Work?

For thousands of years, rain barrels have been used as a system to collect rainwater. It is said that even the cavemen kept the rainwater in tanks made of animal skin and then, with the invention of the barrel, the man began to use them for the same purpose. There is evidence that the Romans also used the practice of collecting rainwater from 2,000 BC for domestic use, as did the Israelites, Egyptians and Africans, who did it for domestic and agricultural purposes.

In the natural cycle, rainwater falls and filters through the soil, enters the subsoil and then, slowly, reaches a stream or a river. However, in a city, this cycle changes due to the paved streets and roads that stop the natural flow of rainwater and, instead, drains into sewer systems, overloading them, increasing the risk of flooding. 

Why Use Barrels For Rain?

These accessories for rain gutters have become very common in residential properties in recent years, thanks to the conservationist boom and the increase in water bills in the United States. Similarly, rainwater harvesting has many benefits for plants and the garden during the summer, since it is a source of pure water with many favorable characteristics and without chemical additives.

The primary function of the barrels for rain is to take advantage of the free source of pure water available in nature with the help of the rain gutter system. These accessories are handy to minimize the impact of the stormwater flow on your drainage and, at the same time, reduce the cost of water in your home, which will be reflected favorably in the bills. The question may come to your mind “How to Use a Rain Barrel“.

How Do Rain Barrels Work?

Rain barrels are containers designed to store the water that flows from the downspouts of the gutter system. In turn, the collected water is ideal for different purposes, such as domestic use, gardening, car washing, among others. In the market, they are in sizes of 30 to 100 gallons, made of plastic, clay or wood, either connected to complex pump systems or just the single drum. Also, they come in decorative designs, perfect to combine with the facade of your house.

To install a barrel to your rain gutters, place it under the downpipe, previously cut, preferably on a platform to raise it, so that you can use the tap of the water without problems. You can attach your barrel to the rain gutter system using a diversion kit or by adopting a flexible tube to the downpipe just above the barrel. The most common type of barrel had the upper part open but covered with a fine mesh that filters the rainwater, to avoid the entry of any waste.

As for the maintenance of rain barrels, there are some habits that you must include when cleaning your gutters. Always keep the lid firmly closed, since exposure to sunlight will promote the growth of algae. Be sure to remove filter debris each time it rains and then secure it back to the barrel. Rain barrels should be washed at the end of each season. The above, with the aim of avoiding the storage of water for long periods, since this produces the stagnation and proliferation of mosquitoes.

Uses of Rainwater

If you dare to collect rainwater with the help of a barrel for rain, it is essential that you define the use you will give the water, whether to water your garden, wash your car or wash your clothes; in this way, you will determine how many barrels you will need. Rainwater is an ideal source of water that is used for activities both inside and outside your property, such as:

  • Watering the garden

    It is an excellent option during periods of drought, just place a large barrel under the downspout and you will collect a considerable amount of water ready to nourish the plants and soil. Since the rainwater is free of salts and chemical additives, which are usually found in municipal water, and has the exact pH level, it is perfect for your plants to grow healthy and beautiful.

  • Car Wash

    Use the water stored in your rain barrels to wash your car, so you contribute to the preservation of the environment, instead of wasting gallons of water with the hose. Also, rainwater gives a cleaner finish to your car, free of stains.

  • Laundry

    Usually, the washing machines consume a lot of water in each load, so we recommend saving a little using collected rainwater to wash your clothes so that you do not waste so much water and contribute to the preservation of our planet.

  • Toilets

    On average, a person discharges 30 liters of water every day in the bathroom, and the tanks use 12 liters of water or more per discharge, that’s a lot of water! Therefore, let’s be more ecological and take advantage of rainwater. It is a good idea to connect your toilet to the best rain barrel, with a diverter, so you can use the tap water when the water in the barrel is finished.

Benefits of using Rain Barrels

For your garden

Rainwater is perfect for your garden! It has high levels of oxygen and is free of salts and fluoride compounds that accumulate in the soil and, over time, damage the roots of your plants.

For your budget

Save money, since you will use your water reserve without restrictions or worries about water bills. The more barrels of rain you install, the higher the savings.

For the environment

Minimizes the pollution that considerably affects rivers and lakes, since the current coming from the drains carries all the pollutants of fertilizers, pesticides, oils and the contamination of the soil that affect fish and their habitats.

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