Everything you need to harness rain and greywater at home
house illustration
Right as rain. Lucy Engelman

Whoever said money doesn’t fall from the sky hadn’t mastered the art of harvesting precipitation. A carefully ­coordinated system can render drizzles and downpours safe to use in all your indoor-plumbing fixtures and water-hogging appliances—and ­augment your home’s reliance on the utility company too.

Leaf Eater Advanced


Meet the Leaf Eater Advanced.

Rain has a pesky habit of knocking loose all kinds of crud you don’t want flowing into your home. As a first line of defense, the Leaf Eater Advanced pre-filter attaches to your gutter’s downspout to keep large debris out of the water supply. Its 0.955 mm screen is fine enough to sift out everything from mosquitoes to leaves. $33.

From the downspout, runoff enters the 200-gallon Poly-Mart Rainwater Harvesting Tank, where a filter basket catches any left-behind floaters. If enough drops fall to fill the drum, a pipe up top sends overflow into your regular storm drains. At capacity, the barrel weighs more than a ton, so it needs to sit on concrete or another solid surface. $326.

Nestled inside the tank, the ­Grundfos SBA-3-45-AW Automatic Pump includes a floating extractor buoy that pushes cleaner, more-oxygenated surface water into the home first. An integrated controller unit automatically stops the pump when the tank is empty, switching your water supply back to the regular, public works. $660.

Before it flows to fixtures, enough H2O passes through the Viqua 12GPM Integrated Rainwater Purification System to feed about five simultaneous showers. A carbon filter removes some odors and flavors, while a UV disinfector stops disease-causing organisms from reproducing. The resulting liquid meets most indoor water-quality codes. $1,040.

Drain lines from showers, sinks, and washing machines (no toilets!) flow into the Aqua2Use GWDD Greywater Recycling System. A series of increasingly fine membrane filters cleanse water of soap, some oils, dead skin, and hair, readying it to run through your lawn- or garden-irrigation setup. Warning: It’s safe for plants to drink, but not you. $622.

This article was originally published in the March/April 2017 issue of Popular Science, under the title “Rain, Rain, Stow Away.”