What To Consider Before Buying Rain Barrels
Have you ever heard of rain barrels before? Sometimes called a rainwater tank, water barrels are just that—barrels—and they usually rest by the side of a building to collect rainwater. This water can then be used later for other things, such as gardening or washing cars. For those who like to be especially conscious of the resources they use, harvesting water with a rain barrel seems like a great option with no downsides.
Although rain barrels can certainly help you gather some of the precipitation we get in humid Maryland summers and even snowy winters, there are some important things to keep in mind before installing these. You might be trying to conserve water, but you could actually end up damaging your home.
Rain Barrels Have A Capacity
Obviously, rain barrels can only hold so much water, and once that maximum is reached, water will have nowhere to go but down. During a rainstorm that precipitates about one inch of water, over 600 gallons of water will flow off of your roof. Depending on the size of your barrel, it could easily fill up after only a few rainstorms, and this could happen quickly during a wet season. The water that ends up gushing off of your roof and directly to the ground will then head straight for your foundation.
Your Uses Of The Water
Maryland typically gets over 40 inches of rainfall alone each year. That is a lot of water on its own, and if you primarily want to use the water for your garden, you might already be set. A lot of people harvest the rain simply to use it on their own vegetation, but we do experience pretty hearty rainfalls already. If you don’t end up using all the rainfall—which can sometimes happen every five days in Maryland during the summers—then your barrels risk being at capacity and then spilling over near your home.
The Weight Of The Water
Depending on how many barrels you use, you could be inviting structural damage to your home. Rain barrels naturally need to rest near the edge of your home in order to collect the water, and once these barrels are filled, they can weigh quite a lot. Typical rain barrels hold about 50 gallons of water, and a single gallon of water weighs over 8 pounds. That means one barrel alone will weigh 400 pounds. Resting right next to your home and near your foundation, these barrels will put a lot of unexpected weight in a concentrated area close to a vital part of your house.
Rain barrels may be useful in times of drought, but for Maryland weather they really aren’t necessary. They also have the potential to damage your home rather than help you at all. For more home care tips and advice on keeping your basement dry, see AA Action Waterproofing’s blog.