Best Ways to Use Rain Water in the Home
By: Sarah Bernheim
How often do you think about rain water? Energy is
plentiful, water is scarce and many families nevertheless
forget the importance of conserving water. Economical
appliances and careful monitoring of usage may shave off
a significant percentage of your water consumption. They
cannot, however, compete with the humble rain barrel.
Although harvesting rain water is still looked upon with
suspicion by many Americans, there is no better way to
conserve water without sacrificing the many household chores that require it. In fact, it can be used to
cover almost 90% of your water needs. Drinking unfiltered harvested water is not advisable, but it is
clean enough for use in any other application. These are the best ways to use rain water in the home.
Watering the Garden
Lawns and gardens make up the majority of the average American household's water usage. Grass and
other plants need plenty of water to remain green and survive, but they're not picky. Why use up water
from a well or the city when rain water works just as well? Simply attach a hose to the spigot at the
bottom of nearly every rain barrel, and gravity will do the work for you. It is possible to completely
water a lawn through dry periods with collected rain.
Flushing the Toilet
The basic toilet wastes anywhere from three to five gallons of water with every flush. Even the most
advanced low-flow toilet uses about one gallon. By hooking a house's toilets up to a rain barrel, you can
save as much as twenty gallons a day.
This may sound daunting, but it is relatively simple. So long as the rain barrel is elevated above the
toilet, the water will flow as needed, just like a regular plumbing system. Some cities and counties may
ban the flushing of rain water, so call ahead of time to ascertain the legality of this project.
Washing Your Car
Rather than pull over 100 gallons of water from the ground to wash your car, use rain water instead.
When you have a limit on the water you can use, you're more likely to shut it off while scrubbing and
rinse less often, while still ending up with a shining, clean car.
Cleaning the Floors
Hardwood, tile or laminate floors need regular mopping to prevent the buildup of dust and other debris.
Use rain water to fill up your bucket and keep your floors ready for any occasion. This is one of the
easiest uses for rain water, as it doesn't require hooking up pipes or even a hose, and it still makes a
valuable contribution to the environment.