While many people know what rainwater harvesting is and how it works, there are many myths out there about rainwater and its various collection methods. However, some of these myths have absolutely no credit to them, others are half true, but few are fact.
Myth 1: Barrels are most common
This is one of those myths that are based on a grain of truth. When harvesting of water began, this was true because there were no integrated plumbing systems like we have today. Long tanks and ponds were also incredibly common for storing rainwater when this began.
Today, barrels are only common if you’re storing the water for times of drought or when water tables and commercial water supplies are low. Aerators and other techniques keep the water stored in good condition for a long time. However, gutters that run into a collection system that stores the water to be used for toilets, laundry, and other non-drinking uses are the most common method of harvest for today’s harvesters.
Myth 2: You Cannot Harvest in a Dry Climate
This is completely untrue. Even dry climates have rain at times. The amount of water you can harvest via rainwater harvesting can surprise you. Up to 600 gallons can be gathered from a 1000 square foot collection area. This is pretty close to or a little more than the average roof, correct?
Not only will harvesting in a dry climate help you ensure you have enough water for drinking (fun fact: you can boil storm water to make cooking or drinking water from it) or other uses. This is especially good if you have a large family and do a lot of laundry.
Myth 3: You Have to Use the Water Quickly
No, you don’t. You do not have to use what water you have harvested within a set amount of time. While some systems certainly store the water better than others, if you have an aerator or recirculation system, insect issues can be avoided and you can keep that water for a long time. These systems also prevent stagnation, which can invite insects to use that water. After all, mosquitoes nest in stagnant water.
Myth 4: You Can’t Use the Water for Anything but Gardening
If you think this, you may be confusing the words. In some areas, this is certainly true as commercial water companies try to limit the free water you get from harvesting the water during rainy days. Austin, TX, for example, has rules that limit the use of harvested water to toilet flushing.
However, where no such rules exist, this is certainly a myth. Rain makes wonderful garden water because it is soft. There are no minerals in the water that could make the plants salty. This is also the same reason that rain makes a wonderful substitute for the water you receive from commercial companies.
Myth 5: It’s Not Worth It
Anyone who thinks it is not worth harvesting water has not seen the effects it can have. Not only will you have more water available to you, but also your water bill goes down. The environment also gets a recharge if you’re using the water to garden because it balances out the treated water.
Myth 6: It’s the Same as Tap Water
Wrong! Tap water is called “hard water”, while rain is considered to be “soft water”. Hard water is the reason that washing machines and toilets can have lime build up from calcium in the water. When that calcium is taken out of the water or when you use water that never had any to begin with, you save money by elongating the life of your appliances. You won’t have to spend as much on detergent.
Myth 7: It’s too Expensive
This depends on what kind of system you’re using. In the long run, the money saved on the water bill will be more than what you spent to install the system. It may take a while, but rainwater harvesting will pay for itself and more. This is particularly true if a drought or water shortage comes your way.
Myth 8: You Can’t Drink It
This may be true of water that has been sitting for a while, but kids go out and catch raindrops on their tongues. If you do not feel safe drinking the water right out of the collection trough, you can take some water inside and boil it. Then you let it cool – unless you want hot chocolate. Voila, clean drinking water within a matter of hours.
Myth 9: Too Much Upkeep
Again, this depends on the system you install. If you have gutters, you can pay to have your gutters cleaned or you can clean them. However, many of the systems out there today allow you to install them and then clean them once in a while. There is not that much need for a lot of upkeep, especially in your washing machine or appliances inside that you use water with due to it being soft water.
Myth 10: It’s Old Fashioned
While a lot of people believe it is old fashioned, the new systems often have a tank that is underground or above ground that is hooked directly into the internal plumbing. If the harvested water runs out, the tanks can switch off and switch the supply to the commercial water that is used in the area. It’s not old fashioned.
Accurate Leak and Line can provides a variety of solutions when it comes to your rainwater harvesting in Austin, DFW and San Antonio. It is important to understand the benefits of harvesting water for your home. With our team we can help get you started. Contact us today to learn more and get started.