Do you like free stuff? I thought so. We all like getting free stuff. So, how about getting free water? Free water falls from the sky in many different forms of precipitation. While rain can ruin a family picnic or a baseball game in a hurry, it can be a blessing for the Earth. Whether your section of earth includes a full garden or just a lawn, it appreciates a good drink every so often. Unfortunately, Mother Nature can sometimes get skimpy on the precipitation creation.
This is where a rain barrel can make a bad situation a little bit better. During the summer, there will inevitably be a week or two during which your garden or lawn is begging for some water. Instead of getting out your hose, attaching it to your house, and paying extra for your water bill, you could be hooking up to a barrel of free, collected rain water. Plants like rain water, as it’s naturally soft and usually free of chemicals.
How do I set up a rain barrel?
The most advantageous place for you to set up a rain barrel (which are sold online and in home stores like Home Depot) is where water drains off of your roof. If you have a downspout attached to your gutters, you’ll want to set your rain barrel underneath that. There are various ways to reroute the water into the barrel. You’ll probably want to remove at least a part of your downspout, so that you can buy a downspout redirector or somehow position the downspout to the hole on top of the barrel. However, you must be very careful to make sure that the water is all making it into the barrel, rather than splashing out around it. Too much water falling right near your home can damage your foundation, or even lead to basement flooding.
If you don’t have a gutter or downspout, you’ll have to find another suitable place for your barrel to collect water. Just watch the next time it rains, and notice where a lot of water is falling in one spot. Perhaps it flows off of one corner of your roof, or runs freely off of your garage in one particular spot, etc. Again, you’ve got to be careful that you’re not positioning it so that a stream of water is flowing too quickly to the ground around the barrel, as that will begin to erode your foundation.
You’ll also want to make sure you’ve got some sort of screen installed, so that you don’t get debris in your barrel. Pine needles, leaf pieces, and dirt can accumulate on the bottom of your barrel and clog up the spigot. A mesh screen should be enough of a barrier to keep out debris. Also, make sure to make the ground stable underneath your barrel. Collecting all that rain just to watch your barrel tip over would be very unfortunate!
Using Your Water
Depending on the size of your barrel, you should be able to keep your garden from getting parched during some potential drought-like conditions. You can also use your water between rain storms, when the sun is particularly strong and dries land quickly. Just remember to use your water wisely – you probably don’t want to use it all on your lawn within a week, if there’s a drought that lasts for a month. Rain barrels do fill up pretty quickly, though, as more water falls on your roof during a storm than you think.
Overall, using water from a rain barrel not only conserves water, but it also can get you through those drought periods when using a sprinkler or hose is prohibited due to water shortage. Setting up a rain barrel is just one thing you can do to conserve water and put less stress on the environment.
If you’re interested in other ways to make less of a carbon footprint and you’re part of a non-profit organization, contact EnerChange today for your free energy assessment. EnerChange works to save your non-profit organization money by saving energy – for free!
Image Credit: thanh.ha.dang