There aren’t many consolations to a rainy day– cosy sofa time, soothing sounds of water on the roof, and maybe a rainbow or a puddle-splash afterwards. But you can add one more by placing a water tank to capture a bit of that downpour: it’ll reduce your environmental footprint by minimizing your demand on mains water and the amount of stormwater runoff into rivers and oceans, and can also reduce your water bill in the long term.
Rainwater tanks are no longer just huge, round and ugly; they come in all shapes and sizes that can make efficient use of modest or tricky urban spaces.
Water for outdoor or indoor usage?
The most important issue to consider before you buy and install a rainwater tank is how you wish to use the water.
Using the water outdoors– for watering the garden and washing the car, for instance– is the simplest way to start, as you probably just need the supplier to install the rainwater tank, instead of a licensed plumber. And it will immediately cut your utilization of mains water.
Save a lot more by sending the water to your toilet, washing machine or hot water system, but you’ll need a licensed plumber to connect the rainwater tank to your mains supply.
What size rainwater tank do I need to have?
The volume you choose will rely on the shapes and size 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, however is more expensive.
Your roof area and the annual rainfall in your region will also have to be considered. To help determine the size and shape that’s suitable for you, sellers often provide calculators on their sites, or your water authority may be able to help.
What else do I need to know before getting a water tank?
Rainwater tanks commonly can be found in the following materials:
Metal tanks are created from corrugated or flat rolled metal, which can be galvanised or coated. They often include a plastic inner lining (Aquaplate) that will boost the life of the tank and shield the water tank pump quality.
Polyethylene (plastic) tanks are popular as they are reasonably cheap and durable. Because rust isn’t a problem, they are a very good option for people living near the ocean. Other synthetic materials, like PVC and geotextile, are applied for bladder storage. Bladders work for water storage below a deck or floor; while their material is tough, it’s not intended for outdoor installation.
Fibreglass tanks are rust and chemical-resistant and created to withstand extreme temperatures. They’re not the cheapest choice, and preferable for above-ground installation, while all other styles can also be set up below ground.
Concrete tanks, often used for agricultural and industrial intentions, won’t rust, burn, melt or blow away. They may be bought ready-made, or customized onsite.
Ask your local council and water supplier which rules and regulations are applicable in your location. You may need to hand in a development or building application, and there may be rules around drinking rainwater or mosquito breeding prevention, together with restrictions on the tank’s placement, colour, height and labelling or noise regulations for a pump.
Are you remodeling, building new or retrofitting?
If you are refurbishing or building, rather than retrofitting, you may need to incorporate energy and water-efficient elements in your plans to abide by new legislative requirements.
When securing 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 work with gravity for water pressure); and a stand (unless you want to put it on the ground or below it, by which case you’ll need to consider the cost of special ground prep or excavation).
If you would like to connect the tank to your mains supply of water, look into the cost of a licensed plumber, and expenses for any additional work that needs to get done to your roof and/or guttering.
Can you acquire a water tank rebate?
Check with your local water or government authority to see if you’re entitled to a cash rebate or bill reduction– the answer may rely on the size of the rainwater tank and whether it’s connected to a toilet and/or washing machine.
Rainwater tanks can vary from around $700 to $2000, starting from a small, freestanding model without pump or extras, to large, custom-built models. Costs vary depending upon the size, material, finish and strength of the tank.