Having access to safe drinking water is a basic necessity in American homes. Yet, for an increasing number of homeowners, the rising costs of water are making this basic necessity seem more like a luxury that many people are struggling to afford.
In over 30 major cities across the country, water bills rose by over 40 percent between 2010 and 2015, and this upward trend shows no sign of abating. For this reason, a growing number of people are choosing to install rainwater collection systems to supplement or entirely replace their municipal water consumption.
These collection systems consist of a water storage tank and an electrical pump which delivers the rainwater to the faucets in your home. The rainwater is collected from the roof of your home and flows into the storage tank via the gutters.
Setting up a rainwater storage system is relatively easy and the expense involved will soon be mitigated by the savings you'll make on your water bills. However, if you want your water supply to be clean, safe and palatable, you may need to give your roof and gutters an overhaul.
This post discusses the three steps you should take to make sure that your home's roof and gutters are suitable for collecting rainwater.
Have Your Roof and Gutters Inspected
Although a home's roof and gutters play a considerable role in protecting it from the elements, they're often neglected until something goes wrong. This might be a leak, storm damage or other urgent situation that needs immediate attention. Unfortunately, this neglect often means that many roofs and gutters aren't suitable for safe rainwater harvesting.
Common issues include a buildup of mold, mildew or animal droppings, all of which can contaminate the water you plan to consume. Damaged materials can also cause harmful chemicals or particles to be washed into your rainwater storage tank along with the water.
A thorough inspection and evaluation of both the roof and the gutters by a professional and experienced roofing contractor is vital. The professionals can identify any repairs or replacements that are required to make sure that your water supply will be clean and healthy for you and your family.
Attend To Any Necessary Repairs and Replacements
Before you begin to store and consume rainwater, you'll need to attend to any necessary repairs or replacements that your roofing contractor has recommended. Failure to do so may result in the contamination of your tank, and these contaminants can be difficult to flush out once they're inside.
One of the main roofing issues people have to deal with is roofing and gutter materials that aren't safe for water collection purposes. If your roof or gutter materials contain lead, copper or asbestos, then you will need to replace them to prevent poisoning from your water supply. If you need to replace your roof, rubber or coated sheet metal roofing and guttering are the best choices.
If your roof and gutters are made from safe materials that are just a little worn-out, then your roofing contractor may be able to repair the materials instead of replacing them entirely. There are a number of coatings which can be applied to a variety of materials that will seal and protect your roof and gutters and create a hygienic and safe surface for water collection.
Whether you're repairing or replacing your gutters, this is a good time to have a gutter guard fitted. These guards can be made from mesh or metal and they're fitted over the top of your gutters.
The guards are designed to prevent large debris from entering the gutters, which could block the water flow or the debris could flow through and clog your tank's intake pipe, both of which are problems.
Organize a Regular Maintenance Schedule
Like any features of a home, your roof and gutters need to be regularly maintained so they stay in the best condition and can continue to provide optimal performance. When you're relying on these features for protection as well as water, this regular maintenance is even more important.
Neglect of maintenance tasks can mean that your water supply deteriorates in quality, which could pose a health risk.
Some of the maintenance tasks your roofing contractor will perform are checking for damage to the roof and gutters, any buildup of contaminants such as moss, mold or animal feces. They'll also clear out your gutters of debris buildup and make sure that nothing can or will pollute your water supply.
Ideally, these maintenance tasks should happen at least once a year or more frequently.
Before you install your home's new rainwater collection and storage system, you should contact the helpful and experienced team at D.S. Bahr Construction, Inc.
With over 30 years of experience with every aspect of roof and gutter repair, installation and maintenance, they'll be able to provide you with a roof and gutters that are ready to start harvesting a clean, healthy and free supply of rainwater for your home.