Rainwater tank. It’s something most of us have heard of. But do you know what you need to do before installing one of these tanks at your home? This week we delve into some of the details most people miss before making their rainwater tanks. But first, let’s look at some facts regarding rainwater and a rainwater tank:
Can you drink rainwater from a tank?
While pure rainwater is almost always completely safe to drink, you need to think about how the rainwater is harvested. When you install a rainwater tank system, more often than not, the pipes are connected to your gutters. Therefore, the water being collected has to travel all the way down your roof, into the gutter and eventually into the inlet pipes of the tank.
The roof and gutters are exposed to weathering and other natural elements like birds sitting on the roof and other insects that find their way onto the roof and into the gutters. However, this does not pose an impassable threat to rainwater tank systems. This obstacle can be overcome by installing a simple filtration system.
Short Answer: Yes, you can drink rainwater from your water tank if it has been through a filtration system.
What does a rainwater tank do and how does it work?
While most of us have heard of rainwater tanks, some of us have not. Therefore, we will briefly explain what a rainwater tank is, and how it works.
A rainwater tank system is a system that was specifically built to collect rainwater into a storage container for use later.
How does a rainwater tank work?
Rainwater tanks are specifically designed for the purpose of collecting rainwater. Therefore, they have pipes that are connected to your roof’s gutters or any other area where water pools up and can be directed.
In addition to this, the tanks have outlet areas that can be installed in various ways to suit your household needs. Some of the pipes can be directed toward your toilet, others towards your garden irrigation system. Additionally, these outlet pipes can be connected to a water filtration system in which case the water can be used for drinking water by the household.
Furthermore, these tanks inlet pipes can also be connected to the main municipality water supply system. This means the tank can be used for rainwater harvesting and for backup water storage for the dry months when there is no rain.
Benefits of Rainwater Tanks:
There are a bunch of benefits to installing your rainwater tank. Some of the most notable ones are:
- Reduce reliance on municipality water by 70%
- Reduce the water bill at the end of the month
- Can be used for rainwater harvesting (FREE and healthy)
- Collecting rainwater reduces damage created by excessive water runoff during storms
- Can be used for backup water storage during dry months (Connected to municipality main water supply systems)
For a more in-depth review on Rainwater tanks, you can visit one of our previous posts: Rainwater Harvesting: Corrugated Zincalume Tank
6 Steps to follow BEFORE buying your rainwater harvesting tank:
We understand that some people make rash decisions at the moment due to frustration, excitement or a combination of emotions that comes with having constant water outages and/or a water bill that makes you want to cry at the end of every month.
However, making a rushed decision can lead to you wasting a lot of money. Therefore, you need to take the following steps to ensure that you are making the right decision in the long run!
1. Ensure you have enough space in the yard (Tank Placement)
This seems like a simple one. But there is more than just the amount of space that you need to take into account. You need to think about:
- What area in the yard will be the most convenient place to harvest the optimal amount of rainwater?
- What shape tank will you require (Rectangular or round) for the area where you want to install the tank?
- Will the tank be protected from weathering? (In the case of purchasing a plastic tank)
Steel water tanks have the benefit of being able to be placed anywhere. The Aquadam Steel tanks have been designed with the highest quality materials, which means weathering will not be a problem. The colour won’t fade and the corrugated steel design ensures that your water stays cool no matter where its placed or what colour it is.
**Note: Steel tanks can be placed underground on the condition that a hole is dug and a concrete enclosure built where the tank can fit in.
2. Work out what capacity tank you will require
In a previous post, we discussed the water usage per person in South Africa. We will give a brief overview of the usage rates per person per day, but you can read a more in-depth review on this topic at The Importance of Water.
The average person in South Africa uses approximately 194 liters of water per day. Therefore, you can calculate the amount of water you and your family use by multiplying 194 by the number of people in your household.
Thereafter, you have to decide how long you want the backup water to last in the event of a water cut, then take the amount of water your household uses per day and multiply it by the number of days.
As an example: For a family of 4: 194 x 4 = 776 liters of water per day, to last 3 days without water, you will need a backup supply of approximately 2328 liters. Therefore, the capacity tank that you should be looking at, it about 2500 liter.
3. Prepare the space
When installing a water tank it is important that you prepare the space properly. Whether you are installing a plastic water tank or a steel water tank, it is ALWAYS advised that you lay a concrete slab that is level and clean for your tank to stand on.
This will ensure that no contaminants get in and on your tank. Therefore, it is important that you keep the area around your tank free from contaminants and vegetation. Approximately half a meter around the tank will be sufficient.
While it is advised, it is not forced onto the client. If the client chooses not to lay a concrete slab, they need to ensure that they have a leveled surface for placement.
4. Discuss rainwater tank installation
Who will be installing your rainwater tank?
If you are doing it yourself you need to find out what DIY steps you need to follow to be able to install the water tank correctly. Each supplier and manufacturer of the water tank will be slightly different.
Therefore, it is best to contact your manufacturer to enquire regarding the installation.
5. Discuss when rainwater tank should be installed
It doesn’t REALLY matter when you install it. But we will say two things: It is always best to install your water tank:
- BEFORE you urgently need it
- BEFORE the rainy season
In South Africa, we know our rainy season is mostly in the summer. Therefore, installing your water tank just before summer would be ideal to ensure that none of that precious rainwater goes to waste.
6. Check those gutters!
Keep in mind that a rainwater harvesting system will use your roof and gutters as a collection point. Therefore, you want to ensure that you have clean gutters (no leaves, insects and other contaminants). Ensure that they are properly cleaned regularly to ensure that it does not clog or contaminate the water and rainwater harvesting system’s pipes.
At Aquadam we have designed our Rainwater Harvesting Tank with some precautionary measures which include:
- 50mm threaded lid with removable filter screen (conforming to international standards).
- 50mm overflow outlet with mosquito-proof stainless steel mesh
Want to know more about our product range? No problem, check out our Products Page.