Rain Barrels are all the rage these days as the world moves more and more in the direction of going green. Only 3 percent of the world’s water supply is fresh water and around 2 percent of that is in the form of frozen glaciers. That leaves only 1 percent of the world’s water that is safe for humans to use. Factor in that many countries, such as China, India, etc. are moving to more industrialized economies, the need for water conservation is more prevalent than ever.
How much rain water can I expect to catch?
For every 500 square feet of catch area, you can expect to collect 300 gallons for every inch of rain water that falls. To figure out how much catch area you have, measure around the perimeter of your home, plus an additional overhangs that will collect water that will drain into a gutter and then finally to a downspout. Keep in mind that every house has multiple downspouts, so the total catch area for each downspout will be less than the total catch area of your house.
For example, let’s say your home measures 28′x38′ with a 1 foot overhang around your home. If you add the overhang to your original dimensions and you now have a 30′x40′ area. Multiply 30 x 40 = 1,200 square feet. Then divide by .6 (ratio of gallons collect/ square feet of catch area) and you come out with 720 gallons/inch of rain fall. Most major US cities get between 25′ to 40′ of rain fall per year. Let’s assume the median city gets around 33” of rain fall per year. If you are collecting all the rain water from all you downspouts you would catch approximately (720×33=23,760) 23,760gallons of water!
Tips on setting up a rain barrel
Unlike water coming out of your hose bib, the water inside a rain barrel is not pressurized. This means that you will need to rely on gravity to do the work. That’s why we recommend that you elevate your rain barrel on some concrete blocks or anything that will bring it further off the ground. That way when you go to use the hose on your rain barrel, or if you are just filling up a watering bucket, you can get adequate pressure.
Another question that we encounter quite often is, how do I get the water to drain into my rain barrel? One way or another you will need to cut your downspout with a hacksaw to redirect the flow of the water into the rain barrel. Some rain barrels have an attachment that hooks up to the downspout. With this type of connection you can get the water to drain into your rain barrel until it is full. Then the water will redirect and continue to drain down the downspout. Most rain barrels don’t offer this feature. Instead they come with an over flow tube that allows you to redirect the water to run off in a particular direction, so it doesn’t just overflow over the top of the barrel. Some rain barrels come with attachments to connect one barrel to another. When the first rain barrel fills up, the water starts filling up the next unit.
Some people are concerned about using a rain barrel because it will collect standing water. Most rain barrels have screens or something along the top that will prevent all large debris and some mosquitoes out of the standing water. To ensure you don’t get any mosquitoes breeding in the water we recommend that you use mosquito dunks. They are an inexpensive way to keep your water safe.
We offer a wide variety of rain barrels. When they first became popular a couple of years ago, there was not a lot of selection. Now there are even decorative rain barrels!