This is the time of year when those who collected rain water over the spring and through the summer storms get to reap the benefits of their forethought – and those who did not have to pay the water bill.  So, it’s a good time to get a rain barrel set up while you are thinking about it.  Here are some facts about rain barrels and rain water harvesting:iStock_000010104314XSmall

  1. The best water will come off of a clean, preferably metal or wood shake roof.  Shingles can lose granules over time and those granules may contaminate your water harvest.
  2. When harvesting rainwater, you will want to keep your gutters very clean.  It’s important to keep gutters clean for roof health, to ensure they don’t back up and flood your roof, and to keep excessive debris from clogging your barrel’s filtration.
  3. Rain barrels should have the capacity to filter out unwanted debris.  You can use a screen which gets cleaned periodically to catch anything you don’t want in your water.
  4. Open rain barrels can provide a place for algae to grow.  On the same token, make sure your rain barrel is removable – in case of overfilling.
  5. Think about when and how you will be using your stored water.  Health authorities do not recommend drinking collected rainwater, but you can use it to water plants in summertime or during a dry spell.

We get plenty of rainwater every year here in Portland.  Utilizing your rainwater can make for a healthy yard and a happy wallet.  It also may encourage you to keep your roof and gutters well-maintained – which can increase their longevity.

Tom Leach Roofing