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Rain Barrels – Are They Worth The Hassle?

With spring right around the corner, we can hopefully anticipate spring showers to bring our flower beds back into bloom and our trees back to life. One popular way of making the most of that rainwater is to channel it into a rain barrel to be used later.

While this seems like a great idea at first, there are a few issues with them that we would like you to consider before you go through the process of installing a 30-55 gallon rain barrel at the bottom of your downspouts and wind up with seepage or structural issues in your basement.

Are Rain Barrels a Good Fit for Your Home?

Something not many of us takes into consideration is how much water our roofs and gutters generate every rainfall. Where you live can tell you a lot as to whether or not a rain barrel would be truly useful. Homes that experience a great deal of rain are most likely going to need more than one rain barrel to avoid overflow, or the need to constantly drain the barrel. Multiple rain barrels can often clutter up a home’s yard and difficult to arrange so they drain properly when using them

Where does the water that goes from the rain barrels should they overflow? Don’t think it will happen? A typical storm, on an average size roof, can produce over 1,000 gallons of water for your gutters and downspouts to divert. Spread over four corners, a barrel can expect 200 gallons of water, and remember the typical barrel is 30-55 gallons. Unfortunately, the barrels are located right beside the foundation of your home at a downspout, therefore overflowing water will sit and stay there potentially causing basement seepage or foundation problems.

Rain barrels are not necessarily designed to add to your home’s curb appeal. It is important that they be dark in color or opaque as light or translucent barrels allow for more sunlight, therefore creating the perfect home for algae to form if not drained or moved on a regular basis. It is also important for the barrels to have proper lids at all times, as this is also a great place for mosquitoes to lay eggs. It is also important to check with your county rules and regulations as well as your homeowners’ association by-laws as to whether or not barrels are allowed in your area.

A helpful feature you will find on most barrels is the hose bib. While relatively easy to drain, you may find that the pressure to be low and difficult to work with since the pressure is much lower than the hose bib connected to your home’s water supply. The weight of the rain barrel, especially during a rainy season when it is full can make it very difficult to move.

While every home and need is different, it is always important to take a look at where your water is coming from and going. The best thing you can do for your foundation is to get stormwater as far away from the building as possible…this will give you the best chance of avoiding seepage issues or structural damage.

As spring rainstorms begin we encourage you to take a closer look at your downspouts and yard drainage. If you have any questions, Midwest Waterproofing would be glad to guide you in the right direction with a free no-obligation consultation. Call 815-245-6890 or Book Online today!