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Use a Rain Barrel to Save Money and Protect the Environment

Some say when it rains, it pours, but regardless of your thoughts on precipitation, it can’t be denied that rain is not only useful, but necessary for survival.

Even if the rain forces your activities indoors, you can take advantage of it to save money on water costs and protect the environment at the same time.

Rain barrels, which have been popping up under gutter spouts across the country, are an environmentally-friendly, cheap and efficient way of collecting water that would otherwise be wasted as runoff to nearby streams, rivers, or storm drains.

When used, the barrels provide a supply of free “soft water” - water that contains no chlorine, lime, or calcium - ideal for watering gardens, washing cars, or topping off pools, among other uses. They store and collect the water that gathers in your gutters, saving it for when you need to use it.

During peak summer months, times of heat and possible drought, the EPA estimates that rain barrels could save the average homeowner about 1300 gallons of water!

Not only are rain barrels cost effective, they are also extremely environmentally-friendly. They help to filter runoff rain water, which often carries pollutants to bodies of water, save energy by decreasing the demand for treated tap water, and help to protect the environment. Not to mention, they allow people to take advantage of a natural resource in a safe, green way.

Not sure where to find a rain barrel? Check your local hardware or garden supply stores, as many carry a pre-made product available for purchase.

If you don’t find one there, you can build your own, with a 55-gallon drum, a vinyl hose, PVC couplings, and a screen on top of the barrel to keep out debris or insects. For complete supplies and instructions, visit the EPA’s how-to PDF.

Once you have your rain barrel, just place it directly under a rain gutter, and collect away!