Many properties are reaping the benefits of having a free source of high-quality water via a rainwater tank at home. However, unless rainwater pump and tank maintenance are carried out regularly, problems can arise. What is frustrating is that many of these issues could be avoided if staying on top of maintenance is made a priority. Some issues include poor water pressure, low water quality, insect contamination, blockages (which can limit or stop water flow) and pump failure. Although homeowners might have a reduction in bills through lower reliance on mains water, the cost of the tank and pump repairs if these are neglected can add up and prove costly in the long run. That’s why it’s crucial that maintenance is a top consideration, so that having a rainwater tank doesn’t work out to be more expensive than it should be.
In contrast to mains water, which is controlled by a utility company, rainwater quality isn’t maintained by an external source. It will be a personal responsibility to keep the rainwater pump and tank clean as well as keeping an eye on it so that you can monitor whether it is working efficiently. Luckily, rainwater tank maintenance is relatively straightforward so long as your tank and roof are both easily accessible. This allows all homeowners to appreciate the benefits of having a rainwater tank.
What maintenance to carry out and how often
Although the initial installation of the rainwater tank will need to be carried out by a licensed plumbing professional, along with any repairs, most maintenance tasks can be managed and completed independently. In the event of there being an issue (such as leak detection), you lack time to attend to a task yourself, or you can’t access your rainwater tank, specialists are always on hand to assist. Be sure to have the contact details of insured and licensed plumbers who can come out to your home or property.
The following guidelines are recommended for maintenance throughout the year so that you can keep your pump, tank and system working effectively and efficiently.
Every three months
- Check your roof for debris like leaves and other plant material and trim back any overhanging branches.
- To check the pump, flush it to confirm it’s working properly and clean it if necessary.
- Check guttering, remove any debris and give it a clean if required. Keep the gutters as clean as you possibly can as this can help prevent contaminants like plant debris and dirt from entering the tank. It also allows gutters to drain more efficiently, thereby protecting your roof’s structural integrity. It’s also a good excuse to keep on top of your roof and gutter maintenance where gutter protectors are a good investment, rainwater tank or not.
- Check the leaf filters, tank inlets and insect-proofing, cleaning or repairing if required. It’s recommended that you check these monthly from October to March and every three months from April to September.
Every six months
- Check the structural integrity of the pipework and that all connections are securely fastened.
- Look inside the tank’s interior to assess whether there is any insect or animal access. Especially keep an eye out for mosquito larvae and secure any entrance points if necessary. This is a rather common source for rainwater tank contamination, where fines may apply for tanks that aren’t mosquito-proof.
Every two years
- Check for sediment at the bottom of the tank as this is another common source of drinking water contamination.
- If there is any sediment, particularly if it is covering the bottom of the tank, either completely empty out the tank or siphon all sediment out.
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