An old song inviting a playmate to come out and play lists some of the fun stuff they can do together. One of the things is “look down my rain barrel”. Until recently, the rain barrel, literally a barrel which catches rain from a downspout, was considered a thing of the past. Environmental awareness has brought it back, for a lot of reasons, and with great new features.
One of the best benefits to collecting rainwater is the money it can save on your water bill. The healthy effect rainwater has on your plants and lawn are a happy side effect. Come the growing season when you need to water daily, you won’t have to cringe in dread of the annual rise in charges to your water bill. Rainwater is free.
Water from the rain barrel is better for your garden. Tap water in many areas contains harsh chemicals, such as fluoride compounds. These can build up in the soil, causing harm to your plants. Besides, rainwater can help clear the salt build-up from the soil, making it healthier for plant roots. This purer water is preferable for washing your pets, for watering your compost, and washing your car, too.
Rain barrels help reduce runoff pollution. Every time it rains, runoff water from your roof picks up dirt, fertilizer, oils, pesticides, and other contaminants, washing them into the soil, lakes, rivers, streams, and even the oceans. This can cause algae to grow and alter the habitats for marine life and wildlife. More people collecting rain in barrels results in less runoff.
The same principle applies to runoff in areas where land erosion is an issue. Take a look at your downspout during a heavy rain, and picture where that water goes without being collected in a barrel. That’s right. Into the ground where it washes soil away.
If the water doesn’t go directly into the soil, it probably goes into a storm sewer, where it meets with other sources of water, and has to go through some sort of filtering process. This processing costs money for the equipment and filters used to purify it. Collecting rain in a barrel lessens that process for every drop you collect.
On a more personal level, collecting rain is good for your own property. Rain that runs off your roof can gather around the foundation of your home, making it vulnerable to cracks and leaks, not to mention mold and mildew. Collecting rain in a barrel greatly alleviates this problem.
Once you begin using a rain barrel, and spread the word about its benefits, the practice could spread to your family, friends, and neighbors. Just think of the effect on the local environment when whole neighborhoods are collecting rain. It could very well be a selling point if you decide to list your home for sale, especially if buyers understand the benefits; this is a green, eco-friendly feature to be sure.
Learn more about using rain barrels from this article in Get Busy Gardening. Here are some tips on using rain barrels from the DIY Network. Let us know if You’re interested in listing or buying a home in the York area. The Jim Powers Team of local Realtors® is here for you from start to end. Visit our website to learn more, then contact us or give us a call at 717- 417- 4111.