Water Conservation with Rain Barrels and Rain Chains

Rain chains and rain barrels are trendy and environmentally conscious ways to conserve water. So many times we are told to hold back on our water consumption, but what we don’t hear about is how we can collect and reuse water. This thought would be good for the environment and can save you a lot of money.

What is a Rain Chain?

Let’s start by explaining what a rain chain is. A rain chain is an alternative to the traditional downspout. The rainwater flows off the roof into the gutter system and through the hole where the downspout used to be onto the chain. Then it runs down the chain and into whatever you are using to collect or redirect the water. Rain chains range from a simple chain to a unique design. If the chain is used only for functional purposes it looks like a regular chain that hangs down from the roofline. If the chain is in a highly visible area, you will see more intricate designs.

How Do They Work?

Rain chains are connected to gutters, usually where a downspout is traditionally placed. As rainwater collects in the gutters and begins to drain, it follows the chain down to the ground or into a rain barrel. If the water is redirected to the ground the water is slowed down which helps to reduce soil loss and erosion. If redirected to a rain barrel then the water is conserved and can be used later to water the yard or to be used in a water feature.

Rain Barrels

Rain chains are very similar to a downspout. They both redirect water to a particular location. However, a lot of times rain chains are redirected to rain barrels. Rain barrels are a system that collects and stores rainwater from your roof that would otherwise be diverted to storm drains and streams. Usually, a rain barrel is composed of a fifty five gallon drum and can sit conveniently under any rain chain or downspout. Rain Barrels provide an ample supply of free water to homeowners.

Your lawn and garden make up nearly 40% of your total household water use during the summer. A rain barrel collects water and stores it for when you need it. This could be to water your yard, fill your pool, wash your car, or water your garden.

A rain barrel will save most homeowners in the Spokane area about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months. It’s an easy way for you to have a consistent supply of clean, fresh water for outdoor use, that helps conserve water. This saves not only saves the environment, but also helps your pocketbook.


-When preparing your rain barrel, make sure there is a screen to keep out debris.

-Ensure that your rain barrel has a cover and a tight connection where water enters the barrel to prevent mosquito breeding and algae buildup.

-Rain barrels should not be used if your roof contains asbestos.

-The water collected in rain barrels is not suitable for human consumption.


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