Water is a resource that many of us take for granted. In fact, many of us don’t actually realize how privileged we are to be able to flush fresh water down the toilet after we use it. Fresh water is certainly something that we overlook, but more people are starting to realize how wasteful they are with water. As a result, many have switched to using sustainable practices that involve harvesting and using rainwater. Since rain is essentially water that falls from the sky, it’s a smart idea to harvest it and use it for a variety of things around the house.
So in this post, we’re going to take a look at how you can start harvesting rainwater and the many uses it has. You’d be surprised at how simple it can be to start harvesting rainwater in order to cut down bills, reduce mains water usage and also learn how to be more sustainable at home.
How do you harvest rainwater?
To start, let’s take a look at how you can harvest rainwater. In most cases, it involves collecting water that falls off your roof. Since there’s a large slanted surface area, it can catch a lot of rain and collect it into the gutters around your home. This water can then be collected into a drum where the water can be bucketed out for use. Companies like Tanks Direct offer strong and sturdy rainwater tanks that can be used for both urban and rural applications. We suggest doing a bit of research to see how much space you can dedicate to a water tank in your backyard.
However, it’s important to consider the pollutants that can affect the water. A very simple sand filtration system can remove most pollutants and contaminants. This water can then be used for things such as flushing the toilet. If you want to make it suitable for drinking, then you’ll need a different filter that removes smaller particles. You may even want to consider an ultraviolet light sterilizer that kills microorganisms in the water to make it potable.
However, filtration systems that make the water drinkable can be expensive and most people don’t harvest rainwater to be consumed. As such, having a simple sand filter can remove most pollutants and contaminants to make it usable around the house. Once you’ve installed your harvesting system and filter, it’s time to start putting that rainwater to use.
So how can you use rainwater?
Here are a couple of common suggestions when it comes to using rainwater at home.
- Washing your car – Washing a car can easily consume up to 100 litres of water. Even if you’re washing a relatively small car, a water hose pushes out a lot of water that can end up being wasted as you wash your car. As a result, we highly suggest that you consider using harvested rainwater to clean your car. Just make sure the water is filtered and use an efficient car washing routine to save water.
- Watering your garden – Rain already falls on our garden to water our plants, but you can also use harvested rainwater when there’s no rain. Instead of using potable water, why not consider filling up a bucket with rainwater and using that instead? Many of us rely on rainy days to help water our plants, but if there are periods of reduced rainfall, we’re forced to use the water from our main supply. This can get expensive if you have a large garden. As a result, it can be a lot more cost-effective to harvest rainwater during rainy seasons and then use that to water your plants when there’s no rain.
- Flushing your toilet – Perhaps the most common use for rainwater is to flush our toilets. It may seem completely normal to hit the flush, but keep in mind that you’re essentially flushing fresh and clean water down the drain. As long as the water is filtered to remove debris and particles, you can pour down a bucket of rainwater to flush instead of using your mains supply. Flushing is actually the biggest waste of water in the house, typically using anywhere from 2 to 5 gallons of water per flush. If you flush several times a day, those gallons can quickly add up and you’ll essentially be throwing money down the drain.
- Washing your clothes – If you live in an area with hard water then you’ll know that washing your clothes can often be a pain. It requires a lot of detergent and we need to wash our washing machine due to limescale buildup. However, filtered rainwater is naturally much softer, meaning it requires less detergent and won’t build up as much limescale in your washing machine. If you reduce the amount of water used from your mains when washing your clothes, you could save a serious amount of money every time you wash. If you want to save even more money, you could hand wash certain types of delicate fabrics using filtered rainwater.
- Filling ponds and water features – If you have a pond or any kind of water feature, it’s a good idea to fill it using rainwater when possible. Since it’s soft and free from chlorine residue, it’s healthy for your wildlife. While you might not be able to fill an entire pond using just rainwater, it’s good to have some around to top up the pond when it’s getting a little low. With a good filtration system on both your harvester and the pond itself, the water will be clean and perfectly acceptable for all kinds of wildlife.
Hopefully, this article has shown you some of the many uses of rainwater around the home. While it can be a small investment to start collecting rainwater, we highly suggest you adopt this habit for the sake of saving money and the environment. It’s simple to set up, requires no special knowledge or tools and you can start taking advantage of it as soon as it rains.