Some facts about water barrel systems include the fact that they vary greatly in complexity, come in a wide variety of sizes, can reduce water consumption and can be used for many different garden and household purposes. Homeowners should also know some of the pitfalls concerning rain barrel systems, including bacteria growth and chemical contamination.
Water barrel systems catch rainwater and store it for future use. This serves as an alternative to municipal water systems. These systems can vary greatly in complexity, ranging from simple barrels designed to provide some extra water for the garden to large systems designed to provide water for the entire home.
Simple barrel systems usually consist of one or more barrels connected to the bottom of a downspout. Barrels can be made out of plastic, fiberglass, wood, metal or stone and usually include covers to keep mosquitoes and debris out of the barrel. Rainwater runs down the downspout and collects in the barrel, and it can usually be sufficient for watering the yard.
Complex systems involve additional components such as special roofing, gutters and storage tanks. They also usually have pumps to feed the water into home plumbing systems. Because rainwater is often exposed to chemicals and tanks serve as breeding grounds for bacteria, complex filtration systems are also important components of these systems.
Water barrel systems can serve many different purposes. They are handy for watering garden plots and lawns, and large systems can supplement household needs such as cleaning and laundry.
Rain barrel systems do have a few pitfalls. An important thing to consider is the fact that rainwater can be exposed to air pollution or bacteria. Rainwater is not drinkable unless it is heavily filtered. In some places, filtration cannot remove pollution. Homeowners who plan to drink the water from their barrel systems should regularly test the water to ensure that it is safe to drink.
Collecting rainwater is restricted or regulated in some areas. It is important to check state and municipal regulations before installing water barrel systems.