Welcome to the world of rainwater harvesting and reuse. Of course it starts with a Raintap, but it doesn't end there. Connecting it, using the rainwater you've harvesting, there's probably plenty of questions you've asked yourself.
We've tried to answer a few of them below. In case you cannot find the answer you're looking for, please do get in touch and send us your questions. We'll happily answer straight away!
Why is there a hole on the top side of the Raintap
We've put the hole in for several reasons. First of all it helps you install the tap that you will fix to the barrel using a pair of nuts and bolts. Next, the hole also allows you to inspect the water level and to clean the Raintap on the inside if needed. Last but not least, sometimes people opt for connecting their Raintap to the downspout by means of the hole, i.e. direclty positioning the downspout over the hole.
By the way, every Raintap comes with a small lid that allows you to close the hole.
What about the bottom third of the water, can I use that?
Depending on the type of rain barrel the tap to fill a watering can has been placed all the way at the bottom (requiring you to put the barrel on a pedestal of some sort) or somewhat higher up. The Raintap has a tap on the side that's about one-third up from the bottom. So, with this tap you can access about two-thirds of the water in the Raintap. The remainder can be accessed by using the foot pump and the the top tap. A ten liter watering can perfectly fits in the wash basin.
And what about the last 15cm of water?
The inlet for the footpump has been placed slightly above the lowest point in the Raintap. This is to prevent any dirt from entering the pump and clogging it. If you clean your Raintap out regularly (we advise to that before the Winter period so that you enter the Spring season with the clean barrel) this ensure the pump will continu to function properly.
Rainwater and its Qualities
Can you drink rainwater?
Sure, let's get this tough one out of the way first, shall we? While you would think rainwater is free from any pollutants. Water coming into your rain barrel has travelled a long way, including your roof and the downspout. Bird poo and other contaminants might have gathered there that the water will flush down into the barrel. So no, rainwater is not safe to drink. Of course that's there's an option to add a fresh water tap to your Raintap so that drinking is also always available.
But it must be safe if I drink it straight from the sky?
Well, even then, it might still have pollutants. Any air pollution that is around might still slightly contaminate the water so if there is a serious air pollution alarm... But to be honest, when it starts raining, I frequently open my mouth and enjoy what the clouds have to offer, it really can't get much better than that :-).
But what CAN I use the water for then?
Well, now you get me started. Rainwater is really good for cleaning your bike, your car or the windows of your house. It's free from calcium and magnesium and other minerals and as such will dry up without leaving any traces. I frequently use rainwater to wash off any dirt from the veggies I get form my garden. We wash of dirt from our boots, clothes and hands. We water our plants, ... Well, let your imagination run wild I would say.
What about washing my hands with rainwater?
We could write at lengths about the subject of hand washing, especially with the use of rainwater. In short, no, we do not recommend washing your hands with rainwater, especially not before having anything to eat right after.
The long answer is a bit more subtle. I frequently wash dirt off my hands after having done some gardening. But I always keep in mind that the water has traveled a long way before it entered the Raintap and on top of that, there's whole issue of biofilms. So while I do use it to clean things, I make sure I never eat straight after and always wash may hands when I get back in the house.
What about mosquitoes?
Ah, now you get me started. Of course, water that doesn't move attracts mosquitoes... to lay eggs in that... become more mosquitoes. Fortunately the Raintap helps you prevent that. Because every push on the footpump causes a slight bit of movement in the water and this will help prevent mosquitoes from laying their eggs. Make sure you put a Raintap right where it belongs: for you to use it every single day.
If you want to completely eliminate the risk of the Raintap becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes though, we suggest to cut a fine mesh screen the size of the large opening in the top of the Raintap (preferably of any non-corrosive material) and put that in before you add the plastic disc. This completely blocks access for any mosquitoes.
What is a biofilm, and is it any good?
Now we're getting technical, I like that. Biofilms develop on the inside of rain water management systems, like, the Raintap. Simply put, biofilms are a just a layer of bacteria. Now there are good things to be said about biofilms, but that's unfortunately not where it ends. We'd really like to give you a proper answer here, so stay tuned while our public health expert does her research.
Raintap Care & Winter
Do I have to empty my Raintap in Winter?
Note that while most components are made of plastic and as such are not susceptible to damage with just a few degrees below zero, we do recommend you empty your Raintap before the Winter season. This gives you the opportunity to give the Raintap a good clean and it prevents frost damage to the tap or footpump. To empty the Raintap open the faucet on the side and undo the footpump so that the remaining water also drains.
If you're using a Rapido Rain collector (or similar) turn the knob over at the downspout so that no rainwater can enter the Raintap during Winter. If you're connector cannot be closed you might also want to disconnect the Raintap from the downspout entirely. Of course if you undo the footpump, any water coming into the Raintap will also continue to drain.
Connections and Overflow
How do I connect my Raintap?
A Raintap needs to be connected to a source of rainwater, such as a downspout. Try to find a spot that gets a lot of traffic, such as near your front or back door. This way, you'll see it every day and will likely use it more often.
The simplest way to connect your Raintap to the downspout is with the Rapido Rain connector that you can find in our shop. It comes with a drill bit that you can use to drill a hole the exact size needed to insert the connector into the downspout. It also comes with a flexible hose that you will insert into the Raintap.
What happens if my Raintap is full?
If it rains a lot your Raintap might fill up entirely. Happy days! But, what happens next? Will it overflow? If you're using the Rapido Rain connector, no more water will come into your Raintap and no overflow will happen. The connector is designed such that any excess rainwater will bypass the Rapido Rain connector and will not overflow the barrel.
If you're using a different connector or if you let water flow into the Raintap through the hole next to the tap you might want to take care of any excess water differently. Hints on the back of the Raintap will help you choose where to drill a hole.
What happens with the water from the tap?
When you activate the foot pump and use water from the tap, the water will drain through the back of the Raintap (and not back into the barrel). You can just let it flow away there or connect a simple hose to lead it away from the Raintap to a nearby plant or garden bed for example. We've installed a 32mm PVC pipe for your convenience.
Can I connect anything to the side tap
Yes, the side tap features a standard 'Gardena' connection so you can easily connect a garden hose to it, for example to irrigate your garden using a soaker hose.