This time of year is when the water run off from your roof can be made extra useful. But, short of setting buckets out to catch the water, what can you do? There are various things that you can do to utilize that run off effectively, throughout the year. Here are just some ideas:
Install a rain chain: A rain chain is a chain which replaces downspouts and directs water from your gutters into an open basin at the bottom of the chain. You could also utilized it to allow water to flow into an open-topped rain barrel. Rain chains can add a unique look to a home, and generally don’t get clogged like downspouts can. However, you still need to get your gutters cleaned regularly to remove any debris blocking the flow of rain water from your roof to the chain. Also, the fact that there is an opening to light in the rain storage container means that algae can grow, so it’s best to either move the water to a completely enclosed environment, or use it quickly.
Install a rain barrel: This is a pretty simple installation, and can hold plenty of the water captured from a Pacific NW rainstorm. It’s smart to splurge on the extras for a rain barrel, like a screen to catch debris and a tap at the bottom for getting the water out of the barrel. Just remember that you will likely have to clean and replace the screen periodically if you want to keep the water-flow into the barrel consistent.
Get a cistern: This is really for those most dedicated to utilizing rain water for their garden. You can direct your rain water to a cistern which then has an automatic drip-feed system for your plants.
If you install any of these systems, remember that since this water is run-off, it’s not exactly perfectly clean. We don’t recommend you drink it. But, it can usually be used in the garden or yard. Additionally, check with your roofer as to toxicity of the materials used to build your roof. It’s unlikely that there would be a major issue with this, but you can never be too careful.