Avoid These 5 Mistakes When Harvesting Rainwater - Backyard Boss
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Avoid These 5 Mistakes When Harvesting Rainwater

You can do multiple things to both save money and live an eco-friendly life. One of the best methods to achieve these two goals is harvesting rainwater. This activity involves collecting water run-off from structures and surfaces. The easiest way to catch the rainwater is by collecting it in your gutters and channeling it through a downspout that directs it to a barrel. 

Even though this process isn’t complicated, without proper knowledge, you can easily make it ineffective. To help you set up your rainwater system without a hassle and harvest it with ease, we prepared this list of the five common mistakes you have to avoid! 

Why You Should Harvest Your Rainwater?

Rainwater in a rain barrel
Image credits: Astrid860 via Canva

If you are not sure whether you should harvest your rainwater or not, take a look at these lists of benefits and uses of rainwater first. 


  • It can help you save money since it doesn’t cost anything.
  • It gives you control over your water supply and a backup in case of emergencies. 
  • It allows you to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. 
  • It is not chlorinated, which makes it perfect for your plants.


  • It allows you to water your plants and lawn.
  • You can use it to fill your pool. 
  • It’s perfect for washing your pets, vehicles, decks, or anything else you want.
  • It’s great for water features, such as fountains or bird feeders. 

Now, when you are familiar with all the benefits and uses of collecting the rainwater, find out which mistakes you should avoid!

Most Common Mistakes When Harvesting Rainwater

Not Checking Local Regulations

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Even though collecting rainwater in the United States isn’t illegal, some states have regulations regarding this matter. If you don’t want to receive any fines or have legal problems, get familiar with your state’s laws and always follow them. 

To have a general idea of why these regulations exist in the first place, it is because the government wants to know you are not disturbing the hydrologic cycle of your area. To be sure what the current rules are where you live, go ahead and check the World Water Reserve for all information.

Choosing The Wrong Container

black rain barrel with gutter downspout and hose
Image credits: Justin Smith via Canva

The whole idea of harvesting the rainwater is to be more eco-friendly. However, what’s the point when half of the water you could collect is wasted due to the wrongly chosen container? First, make sure the container you pick is large enough to accommodate all the rainwater flowing from your roof. Otherwise, it will quickly get full and start pouring out. 

You should choose a dark-colored, opaque container that will be dark enough inside to prevent algae from growing in your water. It also needs to have proper coverage so leaves, insects, or any other contaminations don’t get inside your rainwater. On top of that, if you plan on purifying and drinking the rainwater, the container has to be made of food-safe material!

Not Installing A Removing System

Underground rainwater storage tanks
Image credits: hamikus via Canva

Having a container full of water will only make you happy until you realize that more water is coming and that you don’t have an efficient system to remove and store it! If you don’t want to find yourself in this situation, installing a proper removing system is a must. 

The rainwater collection system doesn’t have to be expensive. Find the one that will suit the amount of water you are receiving as well as your budget, or build it yourself! Just make sure it is well installed to avoid any leaks or overflows.

Leaving Dirty Gutters 

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Having clean gutters prevent water damage, averts pests, increases the curb appeal of your house, and, of course, saves you a lot of money! However, it is also crucial to have perfectly clean gutters if you want to collect rainwater. Most of the time, especially after the winter, they can be clogged with sticks, debris, or leaves that you have to remove if you don’t want to contaminate the water. 

However, if you don’t feel like performing this task on your own, do not be worried! You can always ask professionals to help you get this job done in no time!

Not Filtering The Rainwater Before Drinking It

palms are catching rainwater
Image credits: Moe ha via Canva

Among all mistakes you can make, this one can have the worst consequences! If you want to collect your rainwater to drink it, you must purify it first! Even though rainwater is already perfect for drinking, it is only true when it doesn’t get in contact with anything except your container. 

However, since the water has to go all the way from the roof to the barrel, the chances that it will not encounter anything on its path that could contaminate it are very low. For this reason, make sure you know you have the right equipment and that you know how to turn rainwater into drinking water

Let’s Harvest Some Rainwater!

Harvesting rainwater allows you to save money and have an eco-friendly yard. You can use it for various purposes, such as washing your pets, watering your plants, or even drinking it, as long as you purify it first. However, even though collecting rainwater is rather simple, make sure you avoid the five mistakes we listed to do it right! 

Let us know what you think about harvesting rainwater, and as always, please share!