Everything Rain Barrels

Having thoughts about investing in a rain barrel?

Wondering why and how you can benefit from them? Let me tell you everything you need to know before deciding if a rain barrel is a right fit for you and your home.

Rain barrels are important for our environment by reducing water pollution and decreasing the amount of stormwater runoff reaching our streams and rivers. A rain barrel is a system that collects and stores rainwater from your roof that would otherwise be lost to runoff and diverted to storm drains and streams. Rainwater is free, naturally soft, and has not been processing by the local utility for drinking, which requires energy and the addition of chemicals. You can use this water for a number of things, watering outside gardens, flowers, and vegetables, watering houseplants, washing vehicles, doing laundry, washing windows, topping off a hot tub, taking showers, and flushing toilets. The more ways you use the rainwater the more money you save.

Rainwater is free. It is naturally soft. It has not been processed by the local utility for drinking, which requires energy and the addition of chemicals. Rain barrels offer homeowners a chance to capture and use rainwater from the roof of the home and or garage.

Determining What Type of Barrel You Need

  1. How much of your roof will drain into the barrel?
    1. The size of your rain barrel should reflect the square footage of your roof that feeds the downspout that fills your barrel. If you’re not sure, we can help you out!
  2. How much water do you use?
    1. Untreated water will stagnate quickly and can become unpleasant. If you can only use 15 gallons a day, then it doesn’t make sense to install a 200-gallon barrel.
  3. What is the typical rainfall amount where you live?
    1. In Iowa, we experience an average of 36 inches of rainfall a year.
  4. Do you need high water pressure?
    1. If yes, the barrel should be smaller and elevated.

There are a variety of rain barrels on the market today, what you want to look for is:

Durability, does it have a screened lid to keep insects and debris out of the water, are the solid brass fixtures easy to clean and store during the offseason? Keeping these questions in mind will help get you what you need.

Rain barrels are easy to maintain and store. Before the offseason, you have to prep and store your rain barrel appropriately for winter. Properly storing the barrel is quite easy and will extend the life of the barrel. You will want to drain the barrel before temperatures drop below freezing. Detach it from the gutter and remove any attachments. Rinse the barrel out and remove the lid. Rain barrels are best stored inside a shed or garage and will help extend its lifespan. If outside is the only option keep it out of direct sunlight and store it upside-down. If you are wanting to help reduce water pollution and save some money in the process, rainwater harvesting is a great place to start.

The more ways you use the water the more money you save by not running city water through your meter.

Rain Barrel Rebate Programs

Easter Lake Watershed Project – If you live in the Easter Lake area you are eligible for a $100 rebate on a rain barrel. Contact Julie Perreault at julie.perreault@ia.nacdnet.net for more information.

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