With the lack of water supply and the cost of water these days, many are asking themselves, "Would it be worth it for me to catch and use the rain water falling on my roof"? If that's you, you've come to the right place. However, first we must understand the correct way to get set up your rainwater harvesting system to get the most out of it and to avoid mistakes that could waste your time and money.
Rain Harvesting Basics:
First let's talk about the basic concept of harvesting rainwater. Taking advantage of the large square footage of our roof top, we can capture the rain water that falls onto it using the gutters, and channel it through a filter (to get rid of debris and pollution) into a storage tank for use when we need it.
Now you might be thinking, "OK great, but how do I set this up?". To explain this diagram in better, below are 3 simple steps to begin harvesting rain water.
- Make sure that your roof has gutters - This is so you can catch the rainwater when it does fall (if not you will need to have gutters installed or find some way to capture the rainwater from your roof).
- Make sure you have a water storage container - Whether you already have some sort of water storage container or you need to go purchase a water tank, it is critical that you make sure your storage container is big enough for the amount of rain water you are catching in order to prevent overflow. There are a large range of options for containment including totes, 45 gallon drums, bladder tanks, metal tanks, poly tanks, and more, although we recommend you use a proper water tank with food grade poly for safety and preservation of the water.
- Hook up your storage container to your catchment system - Next you will need to hook up piping to channel the water from the catchment system to storage container. Quick Note: Some people have found it helpful to add a small section of flexible pipe between the regular pipe they are using and the water tank so if there is any shifting with the tank it won't result in cracked pipe. It is important that you include filtration somewhere in the piping process when you start to harvest rainwater, in order to protect against bugs, leaves, and other debris that might contaminate the water.
Other Rainwater Harvesting Tips you should Know:
- Avoid Algae Growth: Algae needs the presence of sunlight in order to grow, so to prevent algae from growing you will need to prevent sunlight from entering your tank. This can be done in a few different ways.
- Wrap your tank in black plastic
- Paint your tank black
- Use a tank with Light Block™ technology
- Setup an Overflow Valve: The purpose of an overflow valve is so that in the case that there is too much rain water for your tank, you can channel the excess water away from your house to a better drainage location rather than having it overflow at your gutters and run down the side of your house. Having a pipe come out of the top of your storage container is one way to set this up.
- Have an Air Supply/Vent: The purpose of this is to prevent pressure or suction when the rain water is entering the tank by ensuring there is sufficient air flow. One way to do this is have a section of pipe that is mounted vertically off of the pipe going to the storage container.
I hope this blog post has helped you with the questions you had regarding how to harvest rainwater. Is there anything else you were wanting to learn but didn't find here? Leave me a comment in the section below. I'd love to help out where I can.