Water barrels are a simple, inexpensive and ecologically safe method to counteract water shortages in arid environments, lower utility bills, and to achieve dramatic garden growth. Civilizations have used rain barrels for thousands of years. To get you started, here are a few simple tips for achieving big savings with a water barrel.
1. Choose a place that is in near to your downspout. Although flexible hoses are available, they can add to the installation cost.
2. Make sure that you have an adequate base. The barrels are large, heavy when full, and could sink or tip in the soil when full.
3. Determine your need before installation. There are many rain barrel calculators online that do this automatically for you based on your roof size. A general estimate is that for every inch of rain, per 1,000 square feet of roof, 600 gallons of water can be collected. Plan accordingly, install the proper amount of barrels, and prevent the run-off from overflowing the sewage system, our lakes and rivers. Run-off water is the leading cause of erosion. We lose about 1 percent of our topsoil each year to rain. Also the more you collect the more you can use. Installing the correct amount of water barrels will not only save you more money, but save the environment.
4. Make sure that you install a screened louver to prevent mosquitoes from using your water barrel as their breeding grounds. Mosquitoes carry deadly diseases, like West Nile virus. Mosquitoes will turn your water barrel into a breeding ground if you let them. Protect your family, friends and pets.
5. Make sure to raise your barrel up off the ground slightly to assure that you can access the spigot.
6. Rainwater is the safest water, free of chlorine, fluoride and other harmful chemical. These chemicals are harmful to your soil. In addition, rainwater is soft water and your plants and soil will love it. City water is hard water and effects the pH levels negatively. Any chemicals that you have used on your roof can spoil the advantage that rainwater has. If you have used any chemicals on your roof, allow a couple of rainfalls to pass before collecting. This will wash off excess toxins.
7. If you use a recycled barrel make sure you clean it out thoroughly.
8. Never drink, cook or clean with the water from your water barrel unless it is properly treated.