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With all the focus on the environment, more homeowners are installing their own rain barrels for rainwater harvesting. With a few exceptions, it’s completely legal to collect rainwater on your property for personal use. Of course, if you haven’t yet called a gutter guard installer for an estimate, you may want to start there before beginning to use a rainwater collection system. 

No matter what you plan on using your rainwater for, you want it to be as free of debris as possible and the best rain gutter guards will help. Here are some do’s and don’ts about collecting rainwater.

1. Don’t Drink Untreated Rainwater

This should really go without saying. That also means don’t give untreated water to pets or other animals. Because most people collect rainwater from their roof, it picks up numerous unhealthy substances on its journey from the sky to your storage tank. In addition to the chemicals in your roofing material, there are other things you don’t want to consume – like dirt and bird droppings. Even the best rain gutter guards aren’t purifiers. 

2. Don’t Water Vegetable Gardens With Unfiltered Water

Since you will be eventually eating those veggies, using unfiltered rainwater to help them grow is just like drinking the unclean water directly. Even if you plan on washing them thoroughly before consuming them, it’s still not a good idea. Rain that naturally waters them doesn’t contain everything that’s on your roof.

3. Don’t Let Kids Swim or Play in Harvested Water

As the water sits, microorganisms will grow. You don’t want your child playing in water that may contain bacteria. Depending how long the water has been in your collection system, there may also be mosquitoes breeding. We all know that even when you tell kids not to drink water, they probably will and you don’t want them ingesting it (see don’t #1)

What Can You Do With Harvested Rainwater?

With all the don’ts, you may be wondering why you should consider a rain barrel at all. There are many great uses for harvested rainwater. Here are a few ideas:

  • Water flowers, trees & shrubs
  • Wash cars
  • Use it in a compost pile
  • Fill a water feature
  • Clean your deck, porch & house exterior
  • In the event of a power or water outage, fill toilet tanks 

The Do’s of Rainwater Harvesting

In order to get the most out of the rainwater you harvest, follow these do’s of rainwater harvesting:

1. Know Your Local Regulations

As mentioned, there are some rainwater collection restrictions by state. Your city or even your HOA may have something to say about you installing a rainwater collection system. Before you invest, know the regulations so you don’t waste your time or money. 

2. Secure Storage Tanks

Uncovered or unsecured tanks pose a drowning danger to children and pets. Make sure that the lid is secured so that a curious child can’t remove it and climb, fall or jump in. This goes for storage tanks of all sizes. 

3. Keep Tanks Clean

Even when you keep a lid on the tank, chances are you’re going to end up with some debris in it. Keeping a tank clean prevents mold, algae and pests from making their home inside. If you don’t have the best rain gutter guards on your home, call a gutter guard installer for an estimate to prevent large debris from making its way into your harvested rainwater.

If you’re looking for a gutter guard installer in your area, call Gutter Helmet at (800) 824-3772 to be connected with a local authorized installer. They can provide you with a free estimate for your home.