Installing a rainwater tank is a fantastic way to secure additional water for your home, at no extra cost. Plus, an efficient rainwater system is a simple way to both save money and help the environment. However, the installation process isn’t as always quick and easy. That’s when expert advice can make a huge difference.
Jim’s Plumbing has the tips you need for making sense of the rainwater tank installation process. Below, we explain the benefits, the steps you should take when choosing a new tank, and what you can do to look after it.
Selecting the Best Rainwater Tank
Rainwater tanks capture excess water which would otherwise run into the stormwater drains and be lost to your direct benefit. The collected rainwater can then be used in a range of ways around the home, including gardening, washing or drinking.
However, as stated by the Australian Government, rainwater quality has to be suitable for consumption. There can be no toxins, heavy metals or high amounts of dissolved solids.
That’s why rainwater tank selection must be taken seriously. And never be afraid to ask questions. These are some of the most common.
What Size Tank Do I Need?
Household rainwater tanks range from 660 litres to 20,000 litres. Smaller tanks are perfect for small homes and basic toilet flushing or gardening.
But if you’re looking to use rainwater for washing, think at least 2,000 litres, and closer to the 3,000-5,000 litre range for bigger homes. And if you want to supply an entire home with potable water and consistent usage, 5,000 litres is a minimum.
Also, check with your local council for specific regulations which outline minimum tank capacities or guidelines.
Will a Slimline Water Tank Be Best?
Once you jump past 5,000 litres, slimline tanks stop being an option. You have to go round. However, slimline rainwater tanks are perfect for homes with limited space. This is where some compromise might be needed if you want mass storage.
Where is the Tank Located?
Not only is placement important, but so is geographic location. Areas with seasonal rain will benefit from large volumed units to maintain a better year round water supply. This provides security and reliability.
Stormwater Plumbing and Preparation
There’s more to it than just plonking a tank on the ground and stick a gutter on top. That’s why a professional installation service and a licensed plumber are crucial. They’ll ensure every part required is installed correctly and will assist with all desired accessories.
Key accessories include:
- Rainwater tank pump: A pump is required to provide the correct water pressure for your home and certain appliances like washing machines. A power outlet will also be essential to supply electricity to the pump.
- Backflow prevention valve: Australian regulations dictate that backflow devices have to be installed on rainwater tanks so rainwater will not mix with the mains water supply.
- First flush diverter: Your plumber can install a first flush diverter so the first 20 litres of rainfall is prevented from entering a tank. This is an additional safety measure to stop debris or harmful materials and pollutants from washing into the tank.
- Gutter protectors and filters: Messy gutters are a nightmare for rainwater and stormwater systems. Gutter protectors and filters are the perfect sidekick to regular maintenance which ensures leaves and debris does not enter the tank.
Other associated materials include sumps, which will prevent any overflow from blocked or slow running gutters, plus necessary pipework and fittings. There are also tank stands that provide extra pressure for rainwater tanks with no pump installed.
Maintenance, Repairs and Cleaning
Once a tank is installed, you want to make sure it is well maintained. The unsightly horrors of a rusted metal tank are something we all want to forget.
Water pipe maintenance and gutter cleaning are just some of the services Jim’s Plumbing offers. Our team can also assist with all facets of stormwater systems, including clearing any blocked stormwater pipes. Rainwater pumps and diversion systems can also go wrong, and we have the nous to keep your water flow in perfect order.
Additionally, recurring maintenance is an important step in sustaining healthy, potable rainwater. As the water is collected from your roof and gutters, it’s susceptible to contamination by animals and other natural nasties.
This means that the water in rainwater tanks is often not fit to drink or brush your teeth with. If you would like to supply an entire home with safe drinking water, it’s necessary to have all appropriate filters in working order for life.
Benefits of Rainwater Tanks
You Save Money
Although the initial installation cost can sit around the low thousands, you can start saving early on. By timing installation ahead of the rainy season the maximum amount of water can be captured straight away. And then it’s a simple process of enjoying the benefits of the non mains water.
You’re also saving large amounts of water as an independent supplier (for yourself). Plus, in times of drought or water restrictions, you have slightly more freedom thanks to the long term investment of your water tank.
Installing a rainwater tank is simply an environmentally friendly thing to do.
Before you install a rainwater tank, take a look at the local state government rebates on offer. Initially launched in 2009, the Federal Government provided rebates of up to $500 for households that either installed a rainwater system or greywater system.
However, that support has altered, although for the better in some states. For example, rebates of up to $1000 are available in Western Australia, while other states have varying rules for tanks that are plumbed in and installed by a licensed plumber.
Always check with your local council regarding the rainwater tank install, and they can best assist in pointing you towards relevant rebate information.
Rainwater can be used for much more than just watering the garden. Modern water tanks are far more durable than their predecessors, and with a variety of filters on offer, you are able to enjoy potable water from your system.
That means high quality water for drinking if all the appropriate filters are installed. Alternatively, stick to connecting your water to appliances!
Rainwater tanks can directly provide water for toilet flushing, plus the washing machine and shower. That’s right, the washing machine! Modern washing machines heat their own water for an additional level of hygiene, while the soft rainwater is perfect for keeping clothes and fabric comfortable.
At the very least, the toilet cistern will benefit the most. Plumbing a rainwater tank with a pump into the cistern is a good move, as you’re still making the most of water which might not be up to scratch for drinking. There’s no wastage, and you’re saving litres every single day. It’s a simple, cost effective measure.
Keeping a pristine garden has never been easier, too! The water tank’s pump is a helpful way to organise a consistent, reliable irrigation system full of natural goodness. The recycled water is salt free and it even has the added bonus of dissolved organic material.
Professional Rainwater Tank Installation
Rainwater tank installation is best done by a professional to ensure your home has the best water supply possible. From sturdy foundations to certified plumbing connections, everything has to be up to standard.
And that’s where Jim’s Plumbing can help. If you need a new rainwater plumbing connection, give us a call. We can look after all associated pipework, water pumps and the stormwater system as a whole. So if you also require gutter repairs or even stormwater pipe relining, contact Jim’s Plumbing today.