04 Sep DIY: Recycle your rainwater for home use
Feeling burdened by your hydro bill? Or are you exploring new ways to reduce your ecological footprint? Look no further!
Recycling rainwater is an easy and eco-friendly way to cut your water and energy costs. Every year, thousands gallons of rainwater fall on your home’s roof. During peak summer months, when water is typically more expensive, a simple rain barrel could save most homeowners up to 5,000 litres of water.
Many homeowners use harvested rainwater to water gardens, irrigate lawns, wash cars or top up their swimming pools. This alone can generate savings between $5 and $35 a month. With the right treatment process, however, your rainwater could be used both indoors and outdoors. From laundry, shower and toilet water to safe drinking water – rain is a fresh and affordable alternative to municipally-treated water.
So, how do you collect all of this naturally pure rainwater? Install a rain barrel.
Step One: Collection
You can purchase a commercial barrel, or get thrifty and re-purpose a food-grade 55-gallon container. These barrels may be available for free or low cost at car washes, bottling companies or food corporations. Just remember to clean them thoroughly with soap and water before installation!
Some homeowners link together multiple barrels to increase storage capacity using standard plumbing fitters. Others install their barrels underground to create an all-season indoor-outdoor rainwater harvesting system. Simply use gravity to feed water from your eaves troughs into the barrel. Make sure it’s properly sealed off so that mosquitos and other insects can’t get inside.
Not sure where to start? Here is a handy list of best practices for homeowners interested in collecting rainwater. Maryland’s environmental department has also outlined how to build your own rain barrel – using materials that cost less than $20! You also might want to check your municipality to see if they offer an incentive program or rebate for rainwater recycling.
Step Two: Purification
Rainwater is one of the cleanest sources of water available. It’s soft, mineral- and chemical-free and doesn’t require any conditioning. Once it touches your roof, lawn or driveway, however, it can become contaminated with dust particles, dirt, air pollutants, bacteria and dormant viruses.
If you’re intending to drink your rainwater, you should invest in a rainwater treatment system that removes three primary contaminants: sediment, chemicals and microbes. Our popular three-stage rain purification system uses a combination of filters and UV disinfection to guarantee pure, safe water.