2

votes

What are you thoughts on a rain barrel?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created April 16, 2012 at 5:02 PM

Every week I go to Whole Foods I see these rain barrels being sold for $99 and I wonder if this is a good investment or just another "hippy" gimmick. I get the majority of my water from the filtration system connected to my refrigerator, which only costs me $30 every 6 months for as new filter. However, I wonder if I would get more benefit if I got it straight from the source.....rain? Do any of you use these barrels and/or do you think the juice is worth the squeeze?

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on May 31, 2012
at 06:24 PM

Don't drink rainwater without filtering it. It's full of atmospheric pollutants.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on May 31, 2012
at 06:08 PM

There are a LOT of pollutants on roofs. It definitely is possible to harvest rainwater safe for drinking from roofs, but takes a more involved set up for removal of contaminants and safe storage.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on May 31, 2012
at 06:05 PM

More info - http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/hot_topics/lawn_and_garden/harvest_rain_water.html

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on May 31, 2012
at 06:00 PM

As below, rain barrels of the type you describe aren't for drinking water. Potable water quality cisterns that are fed by rainfall are available. Set up more expensive but well worth it in very dry areas.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on May 31, 2012
at 05:55 PM

That's a high price for rain barrels. If you want pre=made and assembled, get them from a farm or gardening supply store. Cheaper is to get 55 gallon food barrels from soft drink, pickle or other food suppliers and re-packagers. Those barrels are often free, and rarely more than $15. You can then assemble them yourself from kit fittings. Some towns sell kits, barrels or hold barrel building workshops. Call yours. If you're in an area that supports having a Whole Foods, they probably are water conscious too.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on May 31, 2012
at 05:45 PM

ray, your veggie garden is going to wind up getting that from the rain anyway. Also, mosquitoes may lay eggs in the barrel water which could give people tapeworms if they ingested them.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on April 17, 2012
at 10:26 AM

@AG, if you use it to water your veggies, aren't you going to get whatever chemicals (BPA and other plasticizers) are in the barrel in your veggies?

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on April 16, 2012
at 10:15 PM

+1 Alex..........

F524eaa9d58e5cd2d2368ff7bfffda9c

(480)

on April 16, 2012
at 09:02 PM

Its a wise use of water for your own food garden, but not for drinking.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 16, 2012
at 05:54 PM

Yeah, there a bit of pollution in there (depends what you're downwind from), and particulates from whatever nucleates the raindrops.

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on April 16, 2012
at 05:49 PM

Rain water will also contain pollutants from the atmosphere. Our household water is rainwater off the roof, but I run our drinking water through reverse osmosis because of all the mercury in the air from burning coal. The RO water is then passed through a remineralization cartridge.

22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on April 16, 2012
at 05:37 PM

ah....I see. Glad I didnt get one then...lol.

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8 Answers

8
4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on April 16, 2012
at 05:15 PM

My impression is that rain barrel water is only used for watering lawns. I wouldn't want to drink it without filtering and regular barrel cleanings. I think it's a great idea for lawns.

22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on April 16, 2012
at 05:37 PM

ah....I see. Glad I didnt get one then...lol.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on April 17, 2012
at 10:26 AM

@AG, if you use it to water your veggies, aren't you going to get whatever chemicals (BPA and other plasticizers) are in the barrel in your veggies?

F524eaa9d58e5cd2d2368ff7bfffda9c

(480)

on April 16, 2012
at 09:02 PM

Its a wise use of water for your own food garden, but not for drinking.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on May 31, 2012
at 05:45 PM

ray, your veggie garden is going to wind up getting that from the rain anyway. Also, mosquitoes may lay eggs in the barrel water which could give people tapeworms if they ingested them.

3
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 16, 2012
at 05:40 PM

Rainwater is mineral-free, essentially distilled, you wouldn't want to drink it, or at least not exclusively.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 16, 2012
at 05:54 PM

Yeah, there a bit of pollution in there (depends what you're downwind from), and particulates from whatever nucleates the raindrops.

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on April 16, 2012
at 05:49 PM

Rain water will also contain pollutants from the atmosphere. Our household water is rainwater off the roof, but I run our drinking water through reverse osmosis because of all the mercury in the air from burning coal. The RO water is then passed through a remineralization cartridge.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on April 16, 2012
at 10:15 PM

+1 Alex..........

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on May 31, 2012
at 06:08 PM

There are a LOT of pollutants on roofs. It definitely is possible to harvest rainwater safe for drinking from roofs, but takes a more involved set up for removal of contaminants and safe storage.

3
0fb8b3d6dcfb279b0f7e050d2d22510f

(4645)

on April 16, 2012
at 05:34 PM

I made one last year at a class and use the water for my garden, it saves money and is the right thing to do with water.

2
5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on April 17, 2012
at 01:22 AM

Gee it's funny how times change. When I was a lad every house had a rainwater tank and even today in the bush a tank is often the only drinking water available. I grew up drinking it and even now I have friends who exclusively drink rain water without any ill effects. It's amazing when an old tank is cleaned out to see the amount of sludge, dead critters etc that collect over the years. However I wouldn't drink the water collected from a modern polluted city roof.

1
D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on April 16, 2012
at 10:40 PM

Rain Barrels are not for drinking. Consider the water "gray water" at best. Not only does it come down with whatever was in the air of your city, it comes off your roof. Imagine the dust, bird poop, squirrel "deposits", etc. much less the chemicals making up the shingles that the rain water flows over before collecting in the barrel.

Rain barrels are best used for watering small gardens. It is debatable whether the money saved from the collected water makes up for the cost of water from the tap.

If you live in areas where there is a shortage of water, like the majority of the Western US, rain barrels can allow enough extra "free" water to grow a small veggie garden.

In other parts of the US with lots of rain, a rain barrel can help keep storm water runoff from spilling into the storm sewers (with the pollution off the roof) into the watershed, whatever value you find in keeping your portion of chemicals out of the environment aquatic organisms live in.

1
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on April 16, 2012
at 10:14 PM

I collect my own rain but would pay that much for an empty barrel. IF it was filled with coconut oil and delivered to my door for that price, I'd probably take a couple and reuse the containers.

0
Fa668e965d17d9495020d7ee8b46d589

on May 31, 2012
at 05:39 PM

Hi,

I have been captureing rain water for years, as my mother did when I was young. I own 1 55-gal rain barrel with a screen at the top to filter and the sprout is at the bottom. It to me is green, saves money on the water bills inbetween rains.

I catch it any way I can, barrels can be expensive, I use plastic tubs, coolers, along the roofs edge there are no gutters on the home I rent but the deck has an overhang roof at the back door that I'm going to invest putting a gutter on an run it down to the ground for my garden.

Anyway you look at it captureing water is good for the eco system we're recycling.

Good Luck

0
3408e1d1c7d6b49fca2edb96b433ff9b

on April 17, 2012
at 04:44 AM

Rainwater itself is very good for your plants. Much better than tap. I believe it is actually because it has nitrogen. You will notice you can use the hose to water your lawn, and just keep it going. As soon as it rains it takes off much more dramatically, basically overnight! In some populated areas rainwater has been found to contain radiation and other unconsumables because it is falling through and exposed to pollution. Where I live this is not a concern. I would drink rainwater if it were collected in a clean container and not run off from anything else. Imagine the contaminants and chemicals it could collect from your shingles! But my plants do love what I can save up after a rain shower. :)

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