As homeowners look for different ways to reduce their carbon footprint and cut down on their water bills, many of them are turning to rainwater plumbing. Rainwater plumbing is exactly what it sounds like. It is the process of collecting rainwater and using that in your home’s plumbing. The simplest process involves a collection tank and a series of pipes to different fixtures. Since the rainwater is not treated, it’s not potable but it can be used in most other circumstances. You can also add a pump and a filtration system to use the rainwater barrel like a well.
The simplest rainwater setup typically involves a barrel that is connected to your home’s gutters. The gutters collect water and funnel it into the rain barrel. The barrel has an overflow pipe at the top. So, when it gets too full, it will siphon water safely away from your house as your gutters would normally. The pipe at the bottom will feed into your house. Typically, you have a pump there that pumps water to different fixtures.
Rainwater can be used in your washing machine, your toilets, mop sinks, and anywhere that the water is not ingested. You don’t want to use it for your shower. Even though that water isn’t specifically for drinking, it can be accidentally ingested. You want that to be only potable water.
If you want to use rainwater in all of your home’s fixtures, you’ll need a more complex setup. That more complex setup will still have the collection tank and the pump that feeds different fixtures. There will be an intermediate step, though. That’s the water filtration system. The water filtration system will filter out physical impurities with activated carbon. Most of them then kill bacteria and viruses with UV light. At that point, the water is safe to drink. Some of them use a tiny amount of salt to help purify the water.
These two options are only applicable in places where it is legal to collect rainwater. Certain municipalities don’t allow it. Also, you will likely still need a municipal water supply because rainwater amounts can vary so drastically. If this sounds like something that might be right for you, you should get in touch with a plumber who has worked with rainwater collection before. They’ll be able to set up your system in the most efficient way possible.