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 one more by placing a water tank to capture some of that downpour: it will reduce your environmental footprint by reducing your demand on mains water and the amount of stormwater runoff into rivers and oceans, and can also trim your water bill in the longer term.
Rainwater tanks are no longer just huge, round and unsightly; they come in all shapes and sizes that can make efficient use of small or tricky urban spaces.
Water for outdoor or indoor usage?
Probably the most important issue to consider before you buy and install a rainwater tank is how you intend to use the water tank pump.
Utilizing the water outdoors– for watering the garden and washing the car, for example– is the most convenient way to start, as you probably just need the supplier to install the tank, rather than a licensed plumber. And it will promptly cut your consumption of mains water.
Save a lot more by sending the water to your toilet, washing machine or 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 volume you choose will depend on the size and shape of your household and garden. Round, squat tanks fit efficiently under a deck, while slimline tanks agree with 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 need to be considered. To help determine the size and shape that’s right for you, sellers often provide calculators on their websites, or your water authority may have the capacity to help.
What else do I need to identify before investing in a rain water tank?
Rainwater tanks typically are available in the following materials:
Metal tanks are crafted from corrugated or flat rolled metal, which might be galvanised or coated. They often feature a plastic inner lining (Aquaplate) that will enhance the life of the tank and give protection to the water quality.
Polyethylene (plastic) tanks are prominent as they are relatively cheap and durable. Because rust isn’t an issue, they are a very good option for people living near the ocean. Other synthetic materials, such as PVC and geotextile, are utilized 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 created to withstand extreme temperature levels. They’re not the cheapest option, and preferable for above-ground installation, while all other types can also be installed below ground.
Concrete tanks, more frequently used for agricultural and industrial applications, won’t rust, burn, melt or blow away. They can possibly be bought ready-made, or custom made onsite.
Ask your local council and water supplier which rules and regulations are applicable in your area. You may need to submit a development or building application, and there may be regulations around drinking rainwater or mosquito breeding prevention, as well as restrictions on the tank’s specific location, colour, height and labelling or noise regulations for a pump.
Are you renovating, building new or retrofitting?
If you are remodeling or building, as opposed to retrofitting, you may need to incorporate energy and water-efficient elements in your plans to obey new legislative requirements.
When getting quotes, inquire if there are any further costs for delivery and installation; extra materials (such as pipes, fittings and taps); optional extras (such as a first-flush or backflow-prevention device); a pump (unless you can make use of gravity for water pressure); and a stand (unless you intend to put it on the ground or below it, through which case you’ll need to think about the cost of special ground prep or excavation).
If you wish to connect the tank to your mains water supply, consider the cost of a licensed plumber, and costs for any supplementary work that needs to get done to your roof and/or guttering.
Can you obtain a water tank rebate?
Consult your local water or government authority to see if you’re entitled to a cash discount or bill reduction– the answer may depend upon the size of the tank and whether it’s connected to a toilet and/or washing machine.
Rainwater tanks can range from around $700 to $2000, starting from 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.