Water is a limited resource. Homeowners who prioritize sustainability are always looking for ways to conserve water. One of the most effective ways to do this is through rainwater harvesting.
The rainwater you collect can be used for a variety of useful purposes. However, you need to consider a lot of things before collecting rain. Some states have specific rules and regulations when it comes to collecting rainwater. In today’s article, Barry Best Seamless Gutters, the leading gutter contractor in Dewitt, NY, explains what you need to know about rainwater harvesting.
What Is Rainwater Harvesting?
Rainwater harvesting is an umbrella term to cover various techniques and strategies used for the collection and storage of rainwater. Rainwater can be collected from various surfaces and platforms, but most of the time it is collected from rooftops and other hard surfaces. People have been harvesting rainwater since ancient times, and it has become popular again in recent years. This is because rainwater harvesting is a reliable way to conserve water.
Benefits of Harvesting Rainwater
There are many advantages to harvesting rainwater. The water you harvest can be used for various non-drinking purposes and can have a big impact on your water bills. Rainwater is usually free from harmful chemicals so it is a good choice for watering your garden. Rainwater harvesting can also be a solution to stormwater runoff and can help you deal with water shortages. Lastly, rainwater harvesting systems are also typically easy to use and maintain.
Is Rainwater Harvesting Legal?
As an experienced home improvement company and the leading expert in gutter covers in Syracuse, we strongly recommend reviewing your state’s laws before setting up a rainwater harvesting system. Most states are supportive of rainwater harvesting, but some have specific rules and regulations when it comes to collecting rainwater. Let’s start with the good news.
There are no regulations for rainwater harvesting in the state of Maine. Many states encourage rainwater harvesting. The New York State Rainwater Harvesting Guide goes in-depth and can help you with efficiently collecting and storing rainwater.
Colorado has traditionally been restrictive with rainwater harvesting. However, two laws that were passed in 2009 have loosened restrictions on rainwater collection. Residents collecting rainwater must use the water for outdoor purposes only and there is a limit to the amount of water they can collect. Arkansas has some minor restrictions. Rainwater harvesting systems in Arkansas need to be professionally designed and they need to comply with the Arkansas plumbing code.
It is legal to harvest rainwater in Kansas, but you might need a permit issued by the Department of Agriculture. In Nevada, you can collect rainwater if you have a water right. In North Carolina, rainwater recycling systems need to be inspected, and all reservoirs used should be approved. In Utah, rainwater can only be collected on land owned or leased by the person responsible for collection. In addition, there are limits on how much water you can collect.
Things You Need to Consider Before Harvesting Rainwater
If you have reviewed the laws and determined that you can install a rainwater harvesting system in your home, then there are still a few more things you need to consider. You will need to think about how much rainwater you’ll need and how much rainwater you’ll actually get. Rainfall is hard to predict. In addition, you’ll also have to deal with the project’s initial cost. Your rainwater harvesting system might take some time to recoup this cost.
Before installing a rainwater harvesting system, you need to make sure that you are using your home’s water efficiently. Leaks will result in unnecessary costs and high water bills even if you collect rainwater. Increase your home’s water efficiency by replacing leaking pipes and faucets and watering your garden in the morning or at night to reduce evaporation.
You also need to be prepared for regular maintenance. Rainwater harvesting systems need to be maintained to prevent algae growth and pest infestation. You also need to think carefully about your water storage limits. What needs to be done if there’s a heavy downpour and your collection system can’t hold all the water? As the top expert in gutter protection in Hamilton, NY, we can help you figure out how your gutter system interacts with your rainwater harvesting system.
Ways to Harvest Rainwater
You can collect rainwater through various methods.
Rain Barrels – This is the simplest and most affordable way to harvest rainwater. You simply place barrels or water tanks below the downspouts of your gutter system. This tank can be connected to a pipe for drip irrigation.
Dry System – A dry system uses a larger storage container for the water. This water is a few meters away from the property. The gutter system needs to be redesigned so that the water is diverted to the large storage tank.
Wet System – In a wet system, many collection pipes are connected to the downspouts. These pipes divert the water into a storage tank that’s located underground. The collection pipes need to be secure and well maintained to prevent water leakage into the soil.
You’ll need to consider a few things regardless of the rainwater collection method you choose. Debris is likely to enter the conveyance system as you collect rainwater, so filtration is necessary. Consider installing a leaf screen over the top of the downspout. You should also use a first flush diverter and sediment filter. When storing rainwater, you need to take steps to retain the quality of the water. Your storage tank should not allow for light penetration and it should be completely sealed.
Maintaining Your Rainwater Harvesting System
Our region experiences a wide range of temperatures throughout the year. You need to protect your rainwater harvesting system during freezing conditions. Empty the tanks unless it is installed in a way to stop freezing from occurring. You should also make sure that there is no sitting water in your gutters. If you use a pump or distribution system, you’ll need to winterize the equipment so it’s protected from the cold.
Maintaining your rainwater harvesting system is relatively simple. You’ll need to regularly remove any debris build-up in your gutters and downspouts. You’ll need to clean out all the filters periodically and flush out the storage tank to get rid of sediment build-up. Lastly, you need to check for leaks throughout the system and promptly repair any issues you identify.
The rainwater you collect can be used for a lot of non-drinking functions, which can help reduce your water bills. However, we recommend that you review your state’s laws and your local regulations before building and installing a rainwater system for your home. If you do use a rainwater harvesting system for your home then make sure that you keep it well-maintained.