Harvesting rainwater is becoming a popular way for people to keep their lawns and gardens watered while keeping rainwater away from the foundation of their home. Most roofing contractors will help you install rain barrels at the end of your gutter system so they look good, are safe, and can be used efficiently to collect and store rainwater. However, if you are installing the barrels yourself, here are some things you should keep in mind.
Make Sure There Is a Screen Over Your Gutters
Most gutter systems either have a screen over the entire gutter or over the downspout. Either way, it is important to make sure that debris does not clog your downspout or your rain barrel. You should make sure your gutters are clear of debris and that your screen is properly installed. You may want to install an additional screen at the entrance to the rain barrel to collect any debris that may have passed through the top screens.
Raise the Barrel Significantly Before You Measure Where You Will Cut the Gutters
When using the water you have stored, you will most likely rely on gravity to get the water out of the barrel and through a hose. For this to work, your barrel will need to be raised off the ground, sometimes as much as two feet. You should put your barrel at the height you intend to install it and make sure there is enough water pressure before you cut your gutters to fit the rain barrel.
Be Sure to Include an Overflow Outlet
If you are purchasing a specially designed rain barrel, it will most likely have an overflow outlet. However, if you are making your own rain barrel from another type of barrel, there may not be an overflow outlet. It is important to install one and make sure there is a hose that allows overflow water to drain well away from your foundation. Otherwise, you put your home at risk for water damage.
Make Sure There Is No Pressure From the Barrel On the Downspout
The barrel should be installed level and should not be leaning against the downspout. If it does lean against the downspout, the pressure from the extra weight as the barrel fills can lead to problems such as the downspout pulling away from the home. To avoid this problem altogether, you can have the downspout empty an inch or two above the rain barrel as opposed to being connected to the rain barrel.