More and more, homeowners are trying to save on their utility costs while lessening the environmental impact on their homes. To that end, rain barrels have become popular home accessories. But while rain barrels have become an environmental buzzword, many homeowners aren’t familiar with rain barrels, their uses or their benefits.

What is a rain barrel?

As the name implies, a rain barrel is a vessel for collecting rainwater from your rooftop. It’s a large barrel — generally holding between 55 and 80 gallons of water —constructed from food-grade plastic. Different rain barrels come with different features, but they are usually topped with a screen or lid to keep out animals, bugs, and debris. Many have spigots to allow for the easy filling of watering cans or other containers.

How do rain barrels work?

Rain barrels are connected to a gutter downspout. The rainwater that rolls off of your rooftop and into your gutters travels through the gutter system and is deposited into the rain barrel.

How much rain do rain barrels really collect?

It doesn’t take much rain to see a benefit from your rain barrel. One inch of rain on 1,000 square feet of roof generates 600 gallons of rainwater. That means that it can take as little as 1/10 of an inch of rainwater to fill your rain barrel!

How much money can a rain barrel save?

Up to 40 percent of a home’s water usage during the summer months goes toward landscaping needs, according to the U.S. EPA. Using water collected in a rain barrel to water your lawn and garden during the summer months can save you from using up to 1,300 gallons of water. That saves you money on your water bill and lessens the burden on the overall water supply.

How do rain barrels help the environment?

During a normal rainfall, water rushes across rooftops, yards, and roadways, picking up pollutants before collecting in storm sewers and being deposited in rivers and streams. The pollution picked up leads to excessive algae growth and is bad for the aquatic wildlife. Rain barrels help to lessen the demand on storm sewers when rain hits. When you water your garden with the rainwater later, the water filters through the soil to remove some of the pollutants before it hits local waterways.

What can you use rain barrel water for?

The water collected in rain barrels is perfect for your lawn or your garden. In fact, the water collected in rain barrels is better for plants than tap water because it doesn’t contain chlorine or added minerals, such as fluoride. Water from your rain barrel shouldn’t be used for bathing or drinking unless you have a special filtration system designed to make the water safe for consumption.

How can you get a rain barrel installed?

If you’re ready to save money and lessen your home’s environmental impact, call The Gutterman of TN! We sell and install rain barrels, and we can help you find the right rain barrel for your home.