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Earth Friendly Rain Gutters

written by: CDuffy•edited by: Lindsay Evans•updated: 9/16/2010

Save water and money when installing earth friendly rain gutter systems. The set-up is as simple as installing a traditional system. Find everything you need at home improvement centers.

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    Earth friendly rain gutters help to catch and direct rainfall into rainbarrels. By collecting rainwater, homeowners have an eco friendly way to water their gardens and lawns. Earth friendly rain gutters are installed on rooflines in much the same way as traditional rain gutters. You can also find green rain gutters in the same stores as traditional rain gutters. Earth friendly rain gutter systems, however, have a few different features than traditional rain gutter systems.

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    Rain Gutter Systems

    Traditional rain gutter systems are attached to rooflines and contain the following elements: gutter sections, gutter spikes, facia brackets, ferrules, connectors, end sections, hangers, end caps, elbows, downspouts, downspout clinchers and a shoe. The brackets and spikes connect the gutter sections to the roofline. Connectors join the gutter sections. End caps are placed at the edges of the gutter sections as a way to direct rainwater into the elbow. Rainwater flows through a gutter section, through an elbow to a downspout and drains into the shoe which then drains onto the ground, lawn or driveway.

    Earth friendly rain gutter sections can be made from recycled plastic or aluminum. The sections can be found at home improvement stores like Lowe's or Home Depot. At Lowe's or Home Depot earth friendly rain gutters are found alongside traditional raingutters and there really isn't much difference between them. You will need to purchase the necessary spikes, brackets and connectors regardless of eco friendly design.

    Rain gutters made from copper and stainless steel are available at retail stores as well as online. Be aware that aluminum and recycled plastic gutters are just as effective and earth friendly as the more expensive copper gutter systems.

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    Downspout or Rain Chain?

    Earth friendly rain gutter systems contain practically all of the elements listed above. But, in an earth friendly gutter system, rainwater follows the following path: rainwater flows through a gutter section to a rainchain where water droplets collect until gravity pulls the rainwater down the chain and into a rainbarrel, planter or a garden.

    Leaf and debris build-up is one of the major reasons why traditional rain gutter systems fail. During the winter months backed up downspouts split when trapped water accumulates and turns to ice. An earth friendly alternative to traditional downspouts are rainchains. Rainchains are affixed to earth friendly gutters in place of the elbows found in traditional gutters. Rainchains can be purchased online but are also found at home improvement outlets like Home Depot and Lowe's.

    Rainchains come in a variety of styles, from clasped chains to decorative designs featuring miniature rainbuckets or bells. The chains extend from the roofline to the ground and can be directed to allow rainwater to flow wherever extra moisture or irrigation is desired.

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    Rain Barrels

    Rainbarrels can be made from practically anything. Homeowners have used recycled wine barrels, old garbage cans and other large storage containers. Be sure to fit a screen on top of the barrel to prevent leaf and debris accumulation. Also, use opaque barrels. Sunlight breeds algae and bacteria, making transparent barrels undesirable. You can also purchase rain barrels from home improvement stores like Lowe's and Home Depot. These barrels come complete with hose attachments as well as screens.

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    Earth friendly rain gutters allow you to save money and water by dispersing collected rainwater throughout your garden. Water dispersal also prevents soil erosion around the edges of your home. Additionally, earth friendly downspouts and rainchains allow water to flow freely, saving you costly repairs to existing gutter systems. Consider installing earth friendly gutter systems the next time your old systems need replacement.