How Professional Roof Inspectors Can Save You Thousands

By Angelina Zhuravleva  •  July 02  •  5 min
How Professional Roof Inspectors Can Save You Thousands

Have you ever looked at the rain pouring down outside and thought about how much of that water you could capture and use? Harvesting rainwater from your roof is easier than you might think and provides a sustainable water source for your garden, lawn, and even household uses. With basic equipment like gutters, downspouts, and storage tanks, you can collect hundreds of gallons of water with every rainfall.

The Benefits of Rainwater Harvesting

Collecting rainwater from your roof is a great way to save money and help the environment. Here are some of the main benefits of installing a rainwater harvesting system:

  • Save money. Rainwater is free, so you can cut your water bill by using it to water your lawn, garden, and trees.
  • Drought-proof your yard. With ample rainwater storage in tanks, you won't have to worry about water restrictions during dry spells.
  • Reduce flooding. By capturing rainwater, you prevent it from running off your roof and flooding local waterways.
  • Improve water quality. Rainwater is naturally soft and chemical-free. Using it can improve water quality for household uses like washing clothes or flushing toilets.

While the initial cost may seem high, a well-designed rainwater harvesting system can provide decades of service and savings. And by reducing your environmental footprint, you'll do your part to create a more sustainable future for us all. Every drop counts!

How Rainwater Collection Systems Work

So you want to start harvesting the free rainwater that falls on your roof? Great idea! Rainwater collection systems are simple to set up and provide water for your garden, lawn, and flushing toilets.

The basic components you'll need are gutters, downspouts, a storage tank, and a pump. Gutters and downspouts direct the rainwater from your roof to the storage tank. The tank holds the water until you're ready to use it. And the pump moves the water from the tank to wherever you need it.

For most homes, aluminum gutters and downspouts work well and are affordable. You'll want to position your storage tank on a level surface in a spot convenient to your downspouts. Tanks come in sizes from 50 to over 5,000 gallons, so choose one big enough for your needs. You'll also need an overflow outlet, filter, and spigot at the bottom of the tank.

When it rains, water flows from your gutters into the downspouts and your storage tank. From there, you can pump it out as needed to water plants, wash your car, or whatever. Any excess will simply overflow out of the outlet in the tank.

With some basic equipment and a little effort, you'll be harvesting free rainwater in no time. And by reusing water that would otherwise go down the storm drain, you're doing your part for water conservation and sustainability. It's a win-win!

Choosing the Right Type of Roof Material

The material you choose for your roof is vital in how much rainwater you can collect. Some roof types are better suited for harvesting rain from roofs than others.

Metal Roofs

Metal roofs, like aluminum, copper, or galvanized steel, are excellent for rainwater harvesting. Metal roofs don't leach chemicals into the water and are non-porous, so they don't absorb water. This means more of the rain that lands on your roof will run off into your gutters and collection system. Metal roofs also tend to last longer than asphalt or wood shingles. If you need a new roof, a metal one is a great investment for rainwater harvesting.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles, commonly used on homes, will work for rainwater harvesting, but better options exist. Asphalt contains petroleum products that can leach into the rainwater, affecting its taste and safety. Asphalt shingles also absorb more water, so less will run off into your collection system. However, asphalt shingles are affordable and, if installed correctly, can last 10-20 years. If asphalt shingles are your only option, filter and test the water before drinking.

Wood Shakes or Shingles

Wood roofs, like cedar shakes or shingles, should be avoided for rainwater harvesting. Wood naturally contains tannins and resins that will leach into the rainwater, affecting its color, taste, and pH level. Wood roofs also tend to require more maintenance and replacement, needing to be re-stained or sealed every few years. While wood roofs can last 30 years or more, the additional chemicals released into the rainwater make them a poor choice if you want to collect it.

The material you choose for your roof is one of the most essential factors in determining the quality and quantity of rainwater you can harvest. Opt for an inert, non-porous material like metal for the best results and cleanest water whenever possible. If other options must be used, be prepared to filter and test the water to ensure it's safe before drinking.

Gutter and Downspout Considerations

When harvesting rainwater from your roof, the gutters and downspouts are key components to consider. These channels collect the water flowing off your roof and direct it to your storage tank or cistern. For the best results, you'll want gutters and downspouts designed explicitly for rainwater collection.

Gutter Material

The most common gutter materials for rainwater harvesting are aluminum and galvanized steel. Both are durable and corrosion-resistant. Aluminum gutters are lightweight, easy to work with, and less expensive. Steel gutters last longer but tend to be more costly. For either material, look for gutters with a minimum thickness of .032 inches for residential use. Thicker, commercial-grade gutters will hold up even better.

Gutter Size

For the typical home, 5- or 6-inch gutters are suitable sizes. Wider gutters, like 7 or 8 inches, can handle more water for larger roof areas. Measure your roofline and downspouts to determine the right size for your needs. Undersized gutters will overflow, while oversized gutters cost more and may look disproportionate to your home.

Downspout Considerations

Downspouts carry water from the gutters down to your storage tank or drainage system. Look for downspouts with a minimum diameter of 3 inches for residential use. To prevent clogs, choose a downspout filter or guard to keep out leaves and debris. Place downspouts at each corner or end of your house and every 30 to 40 feet along longer roof edges for the best flow.

Additional Hardware

You'll also want to invest in quality brackets, straps, screws, and sealants to securely fasten your new gutter system. Brackets attach the gutters to your roofline, while straps join sections of gutters together. High-quality sealants and rust-proof screws will help ensure your system is leak-free for years.

With the proper gutters, downspouts, and hardware in place, you'll be ready to start collecting rainwater from your roof in no time.

FAQ: Common Questions About Roof Rainwater Harvesting

A big plastic barrel is connected to a hose that collects rainwater from the roof's gutter.

How much rainwater can I collect from my roof?

The amount of rainwater you can harvest depends on the size and material of your roof and the amount of rainfall in your area. As a general rule of thumb, for every inch of rain that falls on a square foot of roof area, you can collect about 0.6 gallons of rainwater. If you have a 2,000-square-foot roof and get 30 inches of rain annually, you could collect 36,000 gallons annually! Not too shabby.

What type of roof is best for rainwater harvesting?

Metal and slate roofs are ideal for rainwater collection since the water runs off them so efficiently. Asphalt and fiberglass shingle roofs will also work, but the roofing material may absorb some water. If you have an asphalt roof, the first few rains after installation or repair may contain small amounts of chemicals, so divert that water away from your collection system.

Do I need a permit to collect rainwater?

Regulations regarding rainwater harvesting vary in different areas. Some states allow it without a permit, while others have certain restrictions or require permits for large collection systems. Check with your local municipality to determine the rules in your city or county. Permits are typically only needed if you plan to collect a very large amount of rainwater or connect your system to your home's plumbing.

How do I keep my rainwater clean?

Keeping your roof and gutters clear of debris like leaves, twigs, and bird droppings is the key to clean rainwater. Install screens or filters over downspouts and inlet pipes to prevent larger debris from entering the storage tank. You should also consider using a first-flush diverter, which diverts the initial runoff from your roof that may contain the most contaminants. An additional filter or UV sterilizer can help remove bacteria and other microorganisms before the water enters your tank.

With some basic maintenance and the right equipment, harvesting rainwater from your roof can provide a sustainable water source for gardening, landscaping, and other outdoor uses. The benefits to your wallet and the environment make it worth considering.

So there you have a few simple steps to start harvesting rainwater from your roof. Once you get the basic system set up, you'll enjoy free, fresh water for your garden and home use in no time. And you'll feel good knowing you're doing your part to conserve this precious resource. The initial investment may seem steep, but the long-term financial and environmental savings make it well worth the effort. Give it a try—your plants, wallet, and planet will thank you. Every drop counts!

Directorii: The Best Roofing Contractors in Your Area

If you require a roofing contractor near you, who can install a water harvesting system while ensuring that the water is free of chemicals and safe to use in your home, use Directorii! We only list licensed and certified experts who have been thoroughly vetted. Start using Directorii today and receive a $20,000 guarantee for every job you register on our platform. Additionally, if you're interested in learning more about the cost of your roofing project, be sure to check out our informative article.