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Alu-Rex > Eavestroughs and rain water management blog


There are many advantages to having rain barrels, but they also require maintenance. Regardless of how you use the water collected from your rain gutters, you must clean your barrel to keep it in good condition and to provide clean water.

Cleaning leaves and debris that get through the rain gutter downspout

Over time, leaves can get into the barrel and block the hoses. This debris can also rot and break down in the water making it cloudy and unsuitable for a number of uses, such as watering plants. Leaves should be removed at least once each year. Leaf guards will help reduce the amount of debris that gets into the barrel and the amount of cleaning needed as a result.

Rain barrel inside maintenance

It is also important to wash the inside of the barrel because algae can grow over time. More algae will grow if the barrel is translucent because non-opaque colors let light pass through. The sides and bottom of the barrel can be cleaned with a long-handled brush and a mixture of water and bleach. This step is especially important if the rain barrel was not completely emptied before the winter.

Pipes and connectors state verification

In the spring, all the connectors and pipes should be checked to ensure they are working properly and in good condition. If they were not emptied correctly in the fall, water could have frozen inside and damaged them.

Drinking water precautions and verifications

If you wish to drink the water, you must take a number of precautions to make sure it is safe. Note that drinking water collected from the roof and watering fruits or vegetables with such water is not recommended, especially if the roof has asphalt shingles. You will probably have to purify the water in the barrel because algae and debris can affect water quality. If you are set on drinking the water in your barrel, the Red Cross recommends boiling it for at least one minute before adding a small quantity of chlorine bleach. It is much easier to keep it for uses that require less pure water such as watering plants or lawns, washing vehicles and driveways, or filling pools.

Although rain barrels require some maintenance to remain in good working order and to hold useable water, they are still an easy and environmentally friendly solution!

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