How to set up a rain water collection system

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There’s no question about it: rain water translates to a lot of water wasted – water that could be put to good use for various chores around your home.

The problem, of course, is collecting the rain water in an efficient way. We’ve heard tales of people installing entire collection systems in their yards, but in reality, you don’t need much more than a couple of good barrels and a little bit of knowledge. My cousin has some great information on his website at

Making it simple

Before even thinking about collecting rain water, make sure you have a set of working rain gutters. Your home’s roof is a huge surface, and a rain gutter system will collect most of the rain water that comes pouring down it. If your home doesn’t have a set of rain gutters, it’s high time to have one installed: their benefits go far past the ability to collect rain water as they can prevent flooding disasters both on flat and sloped roofs.

Just as important is having the right downspouts: these simple mechanisms will direct the water downwards and into the container of choice. Having broken-down downspouts can also lead to flooding – you should perform regular checks to ensure that they’re not clogged in any way.

After getting the basics out of the way, it’s time to think about the containers you’ll be using. In theory, you can use pretty much any barrel of sufficient volume, but there are issues with this: some might not be able to hold lots of water for prolonged periods of time while others could be made from materials that are susceptible to leaking. Instead, try and invest into a couple of barrels built specifically for holding rain water. Aside from being made from the right materials, they’ll also tend to have insect and dirt protection at the top – you don’t want your precious gallons of rain water becoming polluted through a simple oversight.

That’s all there is to it if you’re looking to keep it simple. However, those truly serious can consider installing the aforementioned rain water collection system in their yard in order to save up as much water as possible.

How these systems work

A rain water collection system is no small thing: like any major addition to your property, it’s going to take a lot of work to get running. Therefore, you can expect that an entire team of skilled workers will be needed on top of the expensive materials necessary for the construction. As you can see, the costs can quickly pile up, not to mention that much of your yard will be inaccessible while the workers are at it.

Rain water collection systems are best installed on property that you have no intention of selling – if you’re planning to live in the same home for what could be well over a decade, a collection system is certainly a good idea to consider.

There’s also something to be said about the purity of the water. Rain water collected in barrels isn’t going to be nowhere near safe enough to drink – you’ll mostly use it for gardening and washing inanimate objects. With a collection system, though, you can have a purifying filter installed that’s going to make the water clean enough for bathing, showering and even drinking. Keep in mind, though, that this filter can end up using electricity, which is another expense to think about.