Why Harvest Rainwater & What You Can Do with it
With the increasing unpredictability of the British weather, there hasn’t ever been a better time to harvest rainwater for use around your home and garden. It may sound more complex than it is but, in basic terms, all you’re doing is collecting water that would have been wasted to put to use. In this post, we’re looking at what benefits there are to collecting rainwater, how you can collect water and what you can do once you have it.
Benefits of Harvesting Rainwater
Harvesting rainwater can have some huge benefits for both you and the environment. Below, you’ll find a list of some of the key reasons why you should be collecting it:
Eco-Friendly – Recycled water cuts down on the demands of the mains system as you’re using water that would have gone down your drain, for some of the main sources of water waste.
Save Money – As you won’t need to use mains water as often, your water bill will be reduced. Depending on how much you save, these effects will hugely vary but every little can help.
Store Water for Summer – You can store water for the summer months when we’re most likely to be hit by droughts and hosepipe bans.
Reduce Mains Pressure – The more people that choose to collect and use rainwater, the less pressure will be put on the mains system. Maintenance won’t be as frequent.
Help Reduce Flooding & Erosion – As the rainwater will be collected during heavy rains, the chances of flooding and soil erosion won’t be as high. This is a huge benefit during the winter and wet seasons.
You’re Covered in Emergencies – If the worst happens and you’re cut off from the water main, you have access to water if required.
It’s Free & Simple – Although there will be some set-up costs involved, these are minimal and will be recouped over time with your savings. Once you’re up and running, there’s very little required in terms of expense or effort. Basic maintenance may be needed but systems are generally self-sustaining.
How to Harvest Rainwater
When it comes to rainwater, you can collect water in water butts or water tanks. The water is collected from gutters, both open and closed, and siphoned off before it can go down the drain. Water is then stored for when you need it or directed to somewhere in your home.
Water harvesting systems come in all different shapes and sizes, so depending on the size or your home and room you have available, you can choose a system that suits you. Keep in mind: the more water you collect, the more water you’re able to save. You can also decide between above and below ground storage.
Water may need to be filtered before you can use it for some of the jobs below. For example, if washing clothes, filtered water is recommended.
Uses of Harvested Water
There are many ways you can use the water you have collected around your home and garden. Check out just a few of the ideas below.
Filling the Toilets
Rainwater can be used to fill your toilet cistern for flushing. It’s estimated by hooking the water up to the toilet, you’ll save around 30% of the water a household uses daily. Not only does this save water, but it also saves the unnecessary treatment of water which is then used to flush the toilet.
If you are using water in your toilet, you will have to connect the collected water to the cistern. You’ll also need to ensure there’s a mains backup, just in case you run out of water.
When washing your clothes, it’s estimated that between 15 and 40% of the water you use weekly is used, depending on your family size etc. Like with flushing the toilet, water that’s used for washing clothes, doesn’t need to be treated to the level of drinking water. Using rainwater, you’ll save between 39 and 53 litres per wash.
Watering Your Plants
An ideal way to use collected rainwater is to water both your indoor and outdoor plants. It’s also thought that rainwater is better for your plants than mains water, as it’s naturally softer and filled with minerals and nutrients, which can help with the health of your plant.
If you love your garden, you’ll not have to worry about the dreaded hosepipe ban during a long and hot summer. As you’ve collected your own water, you’re able to use it as you please.
You can also use an irrigation system with some water butts, helping you water in a more eco-friendly and effective way.
Washing Your Car
Another area that suffers during a hosepipe ban, harvested water can be used to wash your car during a dry period. You’ll also save a great deal of water, especially when compared to using a hose.
Water can be used by hand or in a power washer for use both externally and internally. If using the water indoors, it will likely be best to filter it before use. Water can be used to wash windows, floors, patios, decking etc.
If you’re composting your waste, it’s essential that your compost is damp. If not, the waste will not biodegrade. Add a little bit of water to your compost pile, especially during the summer.
Pets & Animals
Unlike humans, pets and livestock can drink rainwater without any danger to their health. You can also use it to give them a bath and keep them clean. Just make sure the water is filtered if they’re drinking it.
Refill Ponds & Bird Baths
Use the water to top up your pond, bird bath, water feature etc. If you’re lucky enough to have a pool, you may also be able to use it in this, however, you’ll need to double check the chlorine you use.
What You Shouldn’t Use Rainwater for
Although there are many uses of harvested rainwater, unless you’re 100% safe, you should avoid using it with anything you ingest and personal bathing. If using the water when eating or drinking, you can leave yourself open to bacteria and organisms in the water. For bathing, if the water is vapourised, you may breathe in potentially harmful bacteria.
If you are looking to use water for these purposes, you will likely need to use a UV disinfection system. This will help to kill the bacteria in the water and help to make it safe. Be careful when doing this and consult an expert for any advice.
Are you ready to harvest rainwater now? Find your solution at Gutter Mate today.