There aren’t many consolations to a rainy day– cosy couch time, soothing sounds of drops on the roof, and maybe a rainbow or a puddle-splash afterwards. But you can add another by attaching a water tank to capture a bit of that downpour: it will diminish your environmental footprint by decreasing your demand on mains water and the quantity of stormwater runoff into rivers and oceans, and can also slash your water bill in the longer term.
Rainwater tanks are no more just huge, round and unsightly; they are available in all shapes and sizes that can make efficient use of minimal or tricky urban spaces.
Water for outdoor or indoor application?
Probably the most important issue to consider before you get and install a water tank is how you would like to use the water.
Applying the water outdoors– for watering the garden and washing the car, for instance– is the best way to start, as you probably just need the supplier to set up the tank, rather than a licensed plumber. And it will promptly cut your utilization of mains water.
Save a lot more by sending the rain water to your toilet, washing machine or hot water system, but you’ll require a licensed plumber to connect the water tank to your mains supply.
What size tank do I require?
The capacity you choose will depend on the size and shape of your household and garden. Round, squat tanks fit effectively under a deck, while slimline tanks are good for narrow spaces. An underfloor tank or bladder storage system is a good out-of-sight space saver, but is more expensive.
Your roof area and the annual rainfall in your location will also need to be considered. To help determine the size and shape that’s appropriate for you, sellers often provide calculators on their sites, or your water authority may have the opportunity to help.
What else do I need to understand before getting a water tank?
Rainwater tanks normally can be found in the following materials:
Metal tanks are created from corrugated or flat rolled metal, which might be galvanised or coated. They often include a plastic inner lining (Aquaplate) that will boost the life of the tank and safeguard the water quality.
Polyethylene (plastic) tanks are popular as they are relatively cheap and durable. Because rust isn’t an issue, they are a great option for people living near the sea. Other synthetic materials, such as PVC and geotextile, are used for bladder storage. Bladders are useful for water storage below a deck or floor; while their material is strong, it’s not intended for outdoor installation.
Fibreglass tanks are rust and chemical-resistant and manufactured to withstand extreme temps. They’re not the cheapest option, and more suitable for above-ground installation, while all other kinds can also be set up below ground.
Concrete tanks, more often used for agricultural and industrial purposes, won’t rust, burn, melt or blow away. They could be bought ready-made, or customized onsite.
Ask your local council and water supplier which rules and regulations are applicable in your area. You may need to provide a development or building application, and there may be policies around drinking rainwater or mosquito breeding prevention, as well as restrictions on the tank’s placement, colour, height and labelling or noise regulations for a pump.
Are you refurbishing, building new or retrofitting?
If you are restoring or building, rather than retrofitting, you may need to incorporate energy and caravan grey water tank-efficient elements in your plans to abide by new legislative requirements.
When acquiring quotes, ask if there are any supplementary costs for delivery and installation; extra products (such as pipes, fittings and taps); alternative extras (such as a first-flush or backflow-prevention device); a pump (unless you can employ gravity for water pressure); and a stand (unless you would like to put it on the ground or below it, through which case you’ll need to consider the cost of special ground prep or excavation).
If you wish to connect the tank to your mains water supply, look into the cost of a licensed plumber, and costs for any additional work that needs to be done to your roof and/or guttering.
Can you access a water tank rebate?
Consult your local water or government authority to see if you’re entitled to a cash grant or bill reduction– the answer may depend upon the size of the water tank and whether it’s connected to a toilet and/or washing machine.
Rainwater tanks can fluctuate from around $700 to $2000, beginning with a small, freestanding model without pump or extras, to large, custom-built models. Costs vary basing on the size, material, finish and strength of the tank.