There are tons of benefits of rain barrels for you, your garden, and the environment. In this post, I’ll list all of the advantages of rain barrels, and talk about the different reasons why having one (or more) is so rewarding.
Despite being the most abundant natural resource on the planet, fresh water is often limited right when you need it the most.
One of the biggest advantages of rain barrels is capturing and saving this free resource for later use. But rainwater harvesting is becoming very popular these days for many other reasons as well.
Collecting rainwater is one of the easiest steps you can take to make a positive ecological and economical impact.
It is also a wonderful way to stretch this precious resource, and keep your carefully cultivated garden lush and beautiful during droughts.
Below, you will learn all the ways that rain barrels benefit not only our local environment, but your plants, and your budget too.
7 Awesome Rain Barrel Benefits
There are so many advantages of rain barrels. It is such a simple way to keep collecting a free resource for the benefit of yourself, and the environment.
So, without further ado, here is my list of seven benefits of rain barrels…
1. Reduces Rainwater Runoff
One important benefits of rain barrels is that they reduce the amount of runoff from our roofs.
Runoff is a huge problem in urban and suburban areas, polluting our waterways with fertilizers, pesticides, and other contaminants.
Running water also gathers leaves as it flows, causing storm drain blockages and floods. Reducing runoff helps keep streams clear, and the plants and animals that rely on them healthy.
Heavy rainwater runoff after a storm
2. Improves Local Water Quality
Keeping dirt, pesticides, fertilizers, and yard debris out of our local rivers and streams also improves the local water quality.
Polluted runoff from storm drains enters natural waterways, and causes a lot of downstream damage.
Preventing that improves the quality of the local waterways, keeping our streams and lakes healthy, along with the humans and animals that use them.
Sure, having only one isn’t going to make a huge impact on water quality. But just think of the difference we could make if everyone in the neighborhood had a rain barrel or two.
3. Prevents Soil Erosion
Slowing down the flow of gutter runoff also helps to reduce soil erosion. Erosion can damage your foundation, as well as remove the nutrient-rich topsoil from your garden.
Collecting runoff from the roof preserves that topsoil for your plants, and prevents further damage to your landscaping.
I have noticed a huge improvement in the erosion problem I had on one side of my yard just by adding one under the gutter on that side of the house.
4. Healthier For Your Plants
Not only do rain barrels benefit the environment, they’re great for your plants too. Rainwater is the best choice for potted plants, and it’s so much better than municipal water!
Municipal water contains chlorine and other chemicals that can build up in the soil, and harm sensitive potted plants.
Even well water contains iron and other heavy minerals that can also build up and damage sensitive plants.
With minimal contaminants and no chemicals, rainwater is the healthiest choice for your potted plants and gardens.
Filling jugs with water from my rain barrel
5. Provides Water During Droughts
With peak summer temperatures ever-climbing, having water on hand when you need it is always useful for your garden, especially during the driest part of the year.
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Collecting rainwater provides extra moisture for plants and gardens during dry periods and water scarcity.
This is especially helpful during periods of drought and water restrictions. You can keep your garden green and bountiful, without drawing on limited community resources, or facing higher usage fees.
6. Saves You Money
One of my favorite advantages of rain barrels (and a popular one!) is that they help to save money on your bills.
They provide you with a free supply of water, which gets replenished again and again, for no extra cost.
It’s perfect to save for when you need it the most, especially during high-usage times when your utility bill can become so expensive.
Related Post: Winterizing A Rain Barrel In 4 Easy Steps
Water flowing from my rain barrel
7. Helps To Conserve Water
Another huge benefit of rain barrels is that they help to conserve water, since you can use it for other things besides your garden.
While not potable, rainwater is useful for all kinds of tasks, like filling up buckets for washing the car, patio furniture, windows, the dog, or other household chores.
I also use it for watering my outdoor containers, gardens, and houseplants in summer, and for filling up my pond and outdoor water features when they get low.
Plus, if it sits in the sun for part of the day, you will have pleasantly warm water to clean with.
My rain barrel in the backyard
With so many fantastic benefits of rain barrels, every gardener should have at least one! Once you experience all of these advantages for yourself, you’ll want to have one on every gutter of your house.
More About Garden Irrigation
- How To Set Up A Rain Barrel Step-By-Step
- How Do Rain Barrels Work?
- How To Water A Vegetable Garden, The Right Way!
- How To Install A DIY Drip Irrigation System For Potted Plants
What would you add to this list of rain barrel benefits? Post it the comments below.
— Update: 10-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article 7 Benefits of Installing Rain Barrels for Your Home from the website www.angi.com for the keyword benefits of rain barrels.
If you’ve ever sat by the window to watch the rain cascading down and then checked your rain gauge afterward, you’ll love just how exciting it can be to capture larger quantities of water and use it in your yard. Using a rain barrel to collect fresh, free rainwater can save money and energy and protect the environment. Here are seven benefits to using residential rain barrels.
1. Rain Barrels Conserve Water
Ditch the tap water and take advantage of the water savings you get when you install a rain barrel on your property. Rain barrels store gallons of water that can water your plants. WaterSense, a program run by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), estimates that a typical U.S. family uses around 320 gallons of water a day, and 30% of that water is used on the great outdoors, with over 50% of outdoor water use going to watering the yard.
Yard irrigation makes up around 9 billion gallons of water a day across the country, which is almost 1/3 of water used by residents. That’s a lot of water! By capturing rainwater to water your garden and lawn, you can save approximately 1,300 gallons of water in the summer.
2. Rain Barrels Save You Money
Speaking of lowering your use of tap water, tapping into rainfall is free. Rain barrels cost between $120 and $160 on average, and once the expenses are over, all you have to do is dispense the water from the barrel and water your garden.
Since you can save around 1,300 gallons in just the summer, and the average cost of tap water is $2 per 1,000 gallons, you can potentially save $5 to $10 per year, depending on rainfall and yard usage.
3. Rain Barrels Are Easy to Use
Rain barrels don’t require any major installations. Simply connect a hose to the spigot, and use it just like a regular hose while gravity provides pressure to empty the water. Barrels are suitable for most outdoor uses, including watering flowers or the lawn, washing the car, or even giving your pet a bath. The water can also top off a swimming pool, though it might be more acidic and may require you to check your pool more frequently.
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Note that you’ll want to avoid rainwater harvesting from wood shingles, cement, and terra cotta tiles for your pool, as these can leach pollutants like lead, copper, arsenic, and more into your pool. If you’re open to a downspout alternative, installing a rain chain is a great way to incorporate rain barrels into your yard.
4. Rain Barrels Reduce Water Runoff
Every gallon that goes into a rain barrel is a gallon that doesn’t go racing down the asphalt into storm sewers, streams, or rivers. This effectively decreases river flooding, property runoff, and sewer overflows, helping to prevent pollutants like fertilizer, animal waste, and other debris from entering waterways and harming the plants and animals that live there.
5. Rain Barrels Prevent Erosion
Reduced water runoff also means that less water is pelting the soil, eroding susceptible erosion zones. Coastal and freshwater shorelines play a major role in the ecosystem. When erosion occurs, it causes many shoreline erosion problems; plants get washed away, animals lose their habitat, and houses can even crumble. Preventing flooding through the use of rain barrels can help stave off flood damage to shorelines.
6. Rainwater Is Better for Plants
If you’ve noticed that your garden looks extra vibrant after rain, even when you adamantly water your garden with tap water, there’s a reason for that. The extra rainwater for gardens and lawns is useful during periods of restricted water usage, and it’s better for plants than chlorinated city water.
In fact, rainwater contains a nutrient called nitrate, which is an easy form of nitrogen for plants to absorb. Nitrogen is a key macro-nutrient for plants, and tap water has minimal quantities of nitrates.
7. Rain Barrels Are Easy to Get
Some communities offer rainwater barrels at reduced rates. Check with places that you might not think of, such as a car wash company, animal supply company, dairy farm, or food processing plant to see if they have any barrels they’re willing to give away or at a discount. You can also purchase a ready-made rain barrel or a do-it-yourself kit online or at a local home improvement store.
Since rainwater barrels are so versatile and easy to obtain, rainwater tanks come in all kinds of shapes and sizes to suit your needs. If you live in a location that has little space for rainwater collection, consider investing in a small, 50-gallon stormwater tank. If you have a lot of land, you might want a larger, 100-gallon rain harvesting tank.
— Update: 11-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article 5 Benefits of Rain Barrels (And 1 Drawback) from the website lawnlove.com for the keyword benefits of rain barrels.
Money doesn’t grow on trees, but it might as well fall from the sky. With a rain barrel, you can collect rainwater from your gutter downspout and use it around your home and garden, which means spending less on your water bills. Other benefits of rain barrels include conserving water and preventing runoff pollution.
5 benefits of rain barrels
Why should you harvest rainwater? There are selfish reasons, like saving money, and more altruistic reasons, like helping the environment. The following are the main benefits — for you and the planet — of harvesting rainwater with a rain barrel.
1. Save money on water bills
Even if you’re not one to worry about your environmental impact, you certainly care about the impact water use has on your wallet. When you collect rainwater, you can use it for household chores such as:
- Watering the lawn and garden
- Watering indoor plants
- Washing your car
- Cleaning driveways, patios, and other outdoor areas
- Mopping floors
Every gallon of harvested rainwater you use around the house is a gallon you don’t have to pay for. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that a rain barrel saves the average homeowner up to 1,300 gallons of water each year. That’s 1,300 gallons that won’t show up on your water bill!
Note: Rainwater collects bacteria and other contaminants on its way to your barrel, so it isn’t safe for all uses. Don’t use rain barrel water for drinking, cooking, bathing, or cleaning surfaces that come in contact with food.
2. Conserve water during drought
Sick of watching your grass and plants wither away every summer because of drought-related water restrictions? A rain barrel could be the perfect solution. You can use harvested rainwater to irrigate your lawn and garden as much as it needs with a guilt-free conscience because you aren’t wasting any water.
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And it doesn’t just benefit you. Conserving water in this way benefits your whole community by putting less strain on municipal water sources. It’s one step in preserving our planet’s limited natural resources — that’s right, water is a limited resource, and eventually, we’ll run out.
3. Reduce stormwater runoff
Rainwater harvesting also helps the community and the greater environment by catching stormwater runoff before it can cause problems.
Here’s why too much stormwater runoff is a bad thing:
- Water pollution: As stormwater runoff traverses lawns and roadways, it collects all kinds of contaminants: pesticides, chemical fertilizers, animal feces, etc. The runoff eventually carries all those contaminants into natural bodies of water, where they can harm aquatic ecosystems and diminish local water quality.
- Storm drain clogs: Runoff also collects debris like leaves, sticks, and mud, then carries them into storm sewers. The debris can cause clogs, which lead to flooding and stress on the sewer system.
When you catch a portion of that runoff in your rain barrel, there’s less of it to pollute water and clog drains. One barrel on its own might not make a huge impact, but imagine the impact if everyone in your neighborhood started harvesting rainwater.
4. Prevent flooding and soil erosion
Maybe you have the opposite problem of drought. Maybe your area gets too much rain, flooding your yard with puddles and eroding away your topsoil. A rain barrel can help you, too. All the water you catch from the downspout doesn’t end up in your yard.
When you minimize flooding, you prevent wet lawn-related issues such as damage to your home’s foundation, fungal lawn diseases, and pests. When you prevent soil erosion, you keep your soil nutrient-rich and perfect for growing strong, healthy plants.
5. Provide clean water for plants
Tap water from your sink or garden hose contains fluoride, salts, and other unnatural additives that can harm your plants. Since rainwater is all-natural and untreated, it’s better for your soil and your plants. Rainwater from your barrel is just as good as rain from the sky, which keeps all the plants in the wild happy and healthy.
The bad thing about rain barrels
Rain barrels have many significant advantages, but they can have a downside, too. It’s possible that keeping too much rainwater out of streams and rivers could disrupt natural ecosystems. Because of this risk, many states limit how much rainwater you can harvest.
However, you would have to divert a lot of rainwater to make a significant negative impact, so you shouldn’t concern yourself about the risk too much.
How rain barrels work
Rain barrels are simple. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how they work:
- Rainwater hits your roof and flows into the gutter, then down the downspout.
- The water transfers to the rain barrel, either directly from the downspout or through a diverter you install.
- The rain barrel fills up over time. Most rain barrels hold around 40-60 gallons.
- You drain water as you need it from the spigot at the bottom of the barrel. Use the water to fill a bucket or watering can, or attach a garden hose or drip irrigation system to the spigot.
- An overflow valve keeps the barrel from overflowing by directing excess water away from your yard and your home’s foundation. You can connect the overflow valve to a second rain barrel to collect even more water.
For more about all the parts of a rain barrel and how they work, see Lawn Love’s basic guide to rain barrels.
FAQ about rain barrels
Tips for using a rain barrel
Are these benefits enough to convince you to try rainwater harvesting? Check out How to Use a Rain Barrel for details on where to get started. You’ll find out how to build your own rain barrel, how to install it for maximum effect, how often to clean it, what to do with it in winter, and more.
Your new rain barrel will be a great helper in taking care of your lawn and landscape. For more help, call on Lawn Love’s local lawn care and gardening pros.
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