Installing a rainwater tank helps reduce the amount of water drawn from the town water supply. The roof of an average-sized three-bedroom home can collect up to 180,000 litres of rainwater every year – that's a massive 18,000 buckets of water!
However, poorly maintained tanks won’t effectively catch water or maintain its quality.
Even worse, non-maintained tanks which supply water for toilet and laundry use are likely to be drawing most of their water from the town water supply instead of rainwater. This happens without your knowledge and means you will be paying higher water bills than you need to.
Installing a tank
Rainwater tanks are available in a large variety of shapes, materials and sizes. Think about the following when choosing a tank:
- Water use – will you use the water just for your garden, or will you plumb it into your house for use in toilets and laundries?
- Tank size and rainfall - A good rule of thumb is to purchase a tank that holds a minimum of four weeks’ supply. For instance, if you use 1,000L of tank water each week in the garden, toilet and laundry combined, you should consider purchasing a 4,000L tank.
- Tank location and material – Install a tank close to your house, near existing downpipes. Tanks can be made of steel, fibreglass, concrete or polyethylene.
- Building approval. You may need approval to install some tanks. Find out if you need approval.
Poorly maintained tanks will collect dirt and debris that will lead to valves and pumps failing and water becoming discoloured.
Some tanks also use a mains switching device to top up from the town water supply if the tank runs out of rainwater. Often, this device can fail due to an electrical storm or blackout and needs to be manually reset to prevent the tank automatically filling with town water rather than rainwater.
These simple steps will keep your tank in top condition and will ensure you are effectively collecting and using water.