Living off-grid comes with its own unique set of advantages and challenges. For those seeking a new adventure or looking to reduce their carbon footprint, off-grid rainwater collection represents a unique opportunity.
In this article, we'll talk about off-grid rainwater collection systems and provide some examples of their use. Whether you are setting up your homestead or building a tiny house, collecting rainwater off the grid is a vital component to sustainable living. Discover what you need to know for effective off-grid rainwater collection.
What Is Off-Grid Rainwater Collection?
At its broadest definition, "off-grid" simply means that it is not associated with or sourced from a public or private service provider. For example, individuals who use solar energy do not rely on utility companies to provide power from the electrical grid. Instead, they source their own electricity by converting solar energy into usable electricity.
Similarly, off-grid rainwater collection means taking control of your own water supply. It reduces or outright eliminates your reliance on municipal water services and can provide access to water where it might otherwise be limited or unavailable. Utilizing an off-grid rainwater collection system also reduces your carbon footprint by lowering or eliminating costs incurred by large-scale water treatment and transportation.
Who Uses Off-Grid Rainwater Collection Systems?
While most people might think that off-grid rainwater collection systems are limited to a small group of people, the truth is that they are commonplace in both cities and rural communities. The tiny house movement ushered in a new demographic of people who are exploring an alternative way of living that is less reliant on municipal services and allows for a more ecologically friendly lifestyle.
Off-grid rainwater systems are used in many different ways. Farms and farming cooperatives use off-the-grid rainwater collection to supplement their daily activities and reduce costs associated with crop production. Residential rainwater filters in cities and rural areas are used for greenhouses and everyday purposes. Commercial customers can harness large-scale rainwater harvesting for everything from thermal regulation of industrial equipment to wastewater plumbing.
Off-the-grid rainwater collection can be utilized by anyone that needs water on a daily basis, which covers just about everyone on the planet.
What You Need for Off-Grid Rainwater Collection
Homesteading can be a rich, fulfilling life for many people. Water systems for tiny houses make that dream a reality. If you are thinking about setting up a rainwater harvesting system, you need to be aware of these six basic stages of off-grid rainwater collection.
Rainwater harvesting often utilizes a catchment that is integrated into your existing roof. Water is channeled into downspouts and funneled toward your storage tanks.
Before it gets to storage, though, it goes through a prefiltration process. A downspout filter removes particulate matter from the rainwater while aerating it to reduce bacteria buildup.
As the water enters the storage tank of your off-grid rainwater system, it is channeled through a smoothing inlet that greatly reduces turbidity and leaves the healthy "bio-film" at the bottom of the tank undisturbed.
4. Filtration and Delivery
A floating filter inside the tank draws water into the pump from below the surface level where small particulate matter settles. Reducing the amount of particles sent to the pump promotes pump longevity and lessens the strain on post-tank treatment of your off-grid rainwater collection system.
Additionally, an overflow device siphons the floating surface particulate matter and prevents back-flow from the storm drains.
Integrated into most pumps, water is purified and made safe for human consumption. The three primary purification options include sediment, carbon and ultraviolet rainwater filtration to improve water quality, reduce odor, enhance clarity and disinfect any bacteria without the introduction of chemicals.
Not so much a stage as it is a preference, water pressure is a consideration for many individuals. Adequate water pressure makes daily tasks like dish cleaning and showering more efficient and can lead to less water consumption overall.