Last November I posted about a new water collection system I had setup to collect water from my garage roof and then use it for my Aquaponics (You can see the original article here: My new rainwater collection system/).
I had planned on storing about 150 gallons of water in our basement to make it through the winter with, however because of time and money constraints I ended up only being setup to keep about 50 gallons worth. However in November I had figured it out and it seemed like I would be fine with 50 gallons in the basement. Back in November I was only losing about 2 gallons a week, I didn’t realize what would happen as soon as our furnace kicked on.
Many people have issues with the air being to dry in their house over the winter if they have forced air heating (which we have), however, this year my aquaponic system has been moderating the moisture level for our house automatically. What was unexpected about this though was that I am now losing 10-15 gallons of water a week that is evaporating into the air, that is a very large difference between the 2 gallons a week I was expecting.
The other assumption I had made when setting up my new rainwater collection system was that I would probably be able to refill my stored water downstairs at least a couple times over the winter when we have the thaws that we get from time to time in the winter here. I quickly realized that, yes, we did get thaws, but that my water collection system was frozen so solid there wasn’t any chance of using it until spring time.
Towards the end of December I was already almost out of water, and I wasn’t really sure what to do, 10-15 gallons of water a week through the britta water filter was not going to work, and I really don’t want to go back to using city water. I was contemplating this issue as I pulled the last few gallons out of my storage in the basement when I realized I had been an idiot. The whole reason I was running out of water was because it was too cold outside, what happens in northeast Ohio when it gets cold? It snows, I had unlimited amounts of water sitting in my back yard in the form of tiny little ice crystals.
That day I moved a snowdrift from my backyard and filled up my 50 gallon barrel in the basement, it took 3 days for the snow to melt and come up to room temperature. Once the snow/water was up to room temperature, I ran all my water tests on it, and I couldn’t find any fault in the water. If you think about it, snow is one of the cleaner forms of water, it is basically evaporated water turned to ice, most contaminates don’t make it through evaporation, I would venture a guess that the snow is a cleaner water than what I was getting from my rainwater collection system.
Since I had that discovery (that I could use snow for my aquaponics), every couple weeks you will find me out in the back yard moving a snow drift one bucket full at a time down to the basement. What is funny about that is I imagine my neighbors are watching trying to figure out why I am taking snow drifts out of the back yard and into the house when I don’t ever even shovel my driveway!
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