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Money from the Sky: What You Need to Harvest Rainwater

Did you know that money falls from the sky every time it rains? It’s true! And as you may have guessed, this money is in the form of water. Harvesting rainwater is a simple way to save on the cost of expensive, chemically treated municipal water while helping the environment at the same time. Though this is an old practice, there have been many innovations in rainwater collection in recent years. Here, we discuss the three most important elements of the modern rainwater harvesting system:

  • Collection surface. This is the area from which falling rain is collected, most commonly a roof. To help you estimate how much water your roof can collect, remember this rule of thumb: with one inch of rainfall, the average 1,000-square-foot roof sheds about 600 gallons of water. Therefore, if you have two downspouts, each will divert approximately 300 gallons of water to the collection system.
  • Transport system. Gutters and downspouts at the edge of the roofline serve as the transportation system for your harvester. If you want to begin harvesting rainwater, you need to ensure that your gutter system is in good repair, with no leaks, sagging or damage that could interfere with the flow of water. Also be sure to install leaf guards to keep leaves and other debris from clogging the gutters and downspouts. In areas where mosquitoes are a problem, cover the opening to the barrel with a fine mesh screen to prevent an infestation.
  • Storage. Rain barrels are readily available in most communities at hardware and home improvement stores and on various websites. Place the barrel under a downspout that’s near your lawn or garden. Each barrel should rest on a base of cinder blocks with gravel underneath (or follow the manufacturer’s instructions if they have other recommendations). Keep in mind that translucent plastic containers shouldn’t be used for rainwater storage, as sunlight will encourage the growth of algae inside the barrel. 

For more information about rainwater harvesting systems, visit the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service website.

The Best Gutter Protection System You Can Buy

To learn more about installing the best gutter guard around – Gutter Helmet® gutter covers – as part of your rainwater collection system, call (800) 824-3772 or contact us online to find the Gutter Helmet dealer nearest you. You can also go online to check out our excellent gutter cover reviews.