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Saving water not only helps protect the environment, it saves you money and energy (decreased demand for treated tap water). Diverting water from storm drains also decreases the impact of runoff to streams. Therefore, a rain barrel is an easy way for you to have a consistent supply of clean, fresh water for outdoor use, FREE.
Generally speaking each rainfall event that falls on a roof will likely produce far more volume than can be captured in a typical 55-gallon rain barrel (even a small amount of rain falling on a small roof will quickly fill a typical rain barrel). Most manufacturers provide ways to connect individual barrels in series to increase storage capacity. In addition, larger rain storage tanks are available for sale and can be considered based on your needs.
Some manufacturers have an abundance of unwanted barrels that they would love to give away. Sometimes you may be able to find barrels on Craigslist. However, if you are purchasing or acquiring a “recycled” 55-gallon plastic barrel to modify into a rainwater harvesting collection unit, be sure the barrel is food grade. This means that the only material in the barrel was food and not chemical. It is preferred to find a barrel that has a removable lid, but this may be challenging. Even a barrel with a “bung” at the top can be converted in to a rainwater harvesting unit. Additionally, be sure the barrel is a dark color, such as blue, black or green. You can use an opaque-colored barrel, such as white, but it will require a little more attention to prevent algae from growing.
Yes. This can be more challenging in locating the collection unit, but can be done. In this situation, the barrel would be located in proximity to the roof line convergence (where two points of the roof come together) and the rain water usually runs off at a high rate. Another way, is to create or purchase a large “funnel” and place in the downspout hole.