4 Advantages of Using a Rain Barrel

A rain barrel against a barn.

Many people have never heard of a rain barrel, much less used one. But there are an array of benefits associated with having a container of some sort to catch rain water at your home. Keep reading to learn about why they're so useful, and you may find yourself installing one very soon!

What Is a Rain Barrel?

The name of this outdoor device gives it all away; a rain barrel is a large container that allows you to collect rainwater from your roof and gutters. The barrel stores the water rather than letting it go into a runoff or storm drain, which is what typically happens. Typical rain barrels look as you would imagine them to—like a big, 55-gallon barrel with a vinyl hose attached. These are likely to include PVC couplings as well as a screen grate to filter out debris and insects. Rain barrels sit under a gutter downspout, and they’re easy to use and install. Below are four specific ways rain barrels are worth considering.

1. Rainwater Has an Abundance of Uses

A rain barrel with a person dipping a watering can into it.

Everyone wants to have a beautifully landscaped and maintained yard, and a rain barrel makes it easier to achieve that goal. Because rainwater is highly oxygenated and devoid of salts, inorganic ions, and fluoride compounds that are typically found in tap water, it’s the ideal substance with which to water your plants and lawn. Even if you only use rainwater occasionally on your lawn, shrubs, and flowers, it still provides a benefit, diluting the impact that tap water has. All in all, rainwater makes your plants and lawn more drought-tolerant, healthier, and more resilient in surviving tough climates.

Rainwater can also be used to help you cross other items off your to-do list, believe it or not! This substance can be “recycled” when you wash your car, and it’s actually a better option than hose water. This is because rainwater lacks the salt and chemicals found in tap water, which can damage the finish on your car.

Finally, rainwater can easily be added to your compost bin to keep the material moist and to keep it generating as you’d like it to. Since it’s not particularly “green” or “eco-friendly” to use tap water to moisten your compost bin, rainwater is the ideal choice.

2. Rain Barrels Reduce Your Water Bill

The use of a rain barrel could have a positive effect on your water bill, and everyone wants to save some green where they can! For the average homeowner, garden and lawn watering accounts for approximately 40 percent of water use during the warm-weather months, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Using the water collected in a rain barrel can account for up to 1,300 saved gallons of water while your garden blossoms, which really adds up! This alone makes a water barrel a great investment.

3. Rain Barrels Reduce Runoff

A rain barrel with a lid on it and a gutter attached.

There are several reasons why reducing rain runoff is a good thing for the environment, your property, and your home. First, storm runoff that isn’t treated can prompt algae growth in lakes, and the soil that is picked up in the runoff alters the natural habitat of water for its inhabitants. The bacteria that ends up in lakes, streams, and other bodies of water due to runoff can make them dangerous for human recreational activities, too.

Runoff could also be a culprit when it comes to causing excess and unwanted moisture in your home. The foundation of your house is prone to flooding, increased moisture, and even mold as a result of rainwater runoff in the absence of a rain barrel. This tool is very helpful in eliminating that issue.

Finally, runoff frequently leads to erosion in certain areas where it's known to be a problem, such as on hillsides. Reducing runoff can slow erosion in troublesome areas, which is quite helpful.

4. Rain Barrels Are Easy to Install and Maintain

Rain barrels have a wide range of benefits, and one advantage of these tools is that they’re easy to install and maintain. They're also inexpensive, making them a complete no-brainer. These barrels cost significantly less than that of a water purifying system or water pump, and their maintenance isn't invasive and doesn't require much time and energy. When it rains, the barrel does all the work, simply collecting as much water as it can without you even having to think about it! Talk about convenient!

Rain barrels offer a wide range of benefits at very little cost economically—or in time or energy. Install one in your yard today and start reaping the benefits after the next rainy day!