Rainwater is often wasted, and can represent a valuable way to recycle natural resources within the home. Given current problems like the UK hose pipe ban, it is important to think about alternative sources of water, and how correct storage, cleaning and usage can make a big difference to bills and the environment. Rainwater systems should focus on the right kind of water harvesting and filtration, as well as thinking about how to store and use water to deal with different household tasks. Some basic safety precautions should also be followed when using rainwater:
1 – How to Collect Rainwater
Rainwater can be collected, or harvested, by using butts attached to roofs. Water drained through storm gutters can be fed into water butts with different capacity levels. Depending on the average amount of rainfall in an area, the potential for storage can be significant. Water butts can be easily sourced, with professional systems particularly recommended for their filtration and storage capacities of over a hundred litres.
2 – Correct Filtration
Water butts with filters can help to remove any debris and items from rainwater. This process is particularly important if water is running through roof drains before passing into a butt. Water butts can occasionally be cleaned out if there seems to be a buildup of materials within water, or if it changes colour.
3 – Storage
Rainwater can be stored in underground tanks, and connected up to a property’s water supply. Planning permission may have to be sought for any underground tanks that affect existing sewerage systems for an area, as well as for any significant changes to plumbing systems. The size of a tank, and its long term use, will also depend on how much space you have for storage. Filling a large tank is recommended if you expect there to be a drought, making a good supply of water essential for providing an alternative to any other shortages.
4 – Uses
Stored Rainwater can have multiple uses. Due to its low mineral content, rainwater can be used as an effective cleaning solution for windows and cars. Moreover, rainwater can be used in the garden, with storage during dry seasons allowing you to get around the hose pipe ban. Greywater schemes can also be set up, where stored water can be used for flushing cisterns.
5 – Benefits
Correctly stored water can help cut down dependence on water from a meter, and can result in 30 to 50% savings on systems.
6 – Maintenance
Water butts should be fitted with secure lids, which will prevent children from tampering with them, as well as restricting the chance of animals breaking into containers. Sealed tanks will also help with the oxygenation process for stored water. You may also have to regularly clean filtration devices for water butts if they become blocked with debris. Calming inlets can also be installed to prevent blockages caused by heavy water flow.
7 – Precautions
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about rainwater is that it is not drinkable. Rainwater is supposed to act as a recycled substitute for potable water from plumbing systems, and should be used for cleaning and flushing.
Photo by Short Journeys