Maintaining Your Rainwater Tank Essential Tips for Long-Term Care

Rainwater tanks offer a sustainable and cost-effective solution for water conservation. These tanks serve as invaluable tools for water conservation, allowing individuals to make the best of nature’s gift to meet domestic needs efficiently.

In this blog, we will discuss rainwater tank maintenance and how to clean rainwater tanks.

Importance Of Cleaning Water Tanks

While collecting rainwater offers a simple and low-maintenance way to save money on bills, rainwater tanks and their connected systems still require regular attention to function optimally.

Regular cleaning of rainwater tanks is crucial for water hygiene and Legionella control. The accumulation of dirt, dust, debris, mould, and harmful bacteria, can compromise water safety over time. Conducting risk assessment-based cleaning is essential to eliminate these contaminants from the system, ensuring the water tank remains clean, safe, and compliant with health standards.

Proactive cleaning not only enhances water quality but also mitigates the risk of waterborne diseases, safeguarding the health of those relying on the water supply from domestic tanks.

Maintaining Rainwater Tanks

Regular inspections and cleaning contribute to the longevity and efficiency of the tank. By following these straightforward steps under each subheading, you can effectively maintain your rainwater tank.

1- Roof Inspection and Cleaning

Regularly inspect your roof for accumulated debris, leaves, and organic material. Clean out any buildup to prevent contamination of the stored rainwater. Prune overhanging branches to minimise additional debris entering the tank.

2- Gutter Maintenance

Clean and inspect gutters regularly, as they can accumulate leaves and debris that affect the quality of collected rainwater. Consider increasing the frequency of cleaning if large amounts of material are found.

3- Tank Entry Points and Filters

Clean and repair screens on tank inlets, insect-proofing, and leaf filters to prevent contaminants from entering the tank. Pay special attention to the tank overflow to avoid rainwater overflow during heavy downpours.

4- Structural Integrity of Tank

Check the structural integrity of the tank, including the roof and access cover. Be cautious of potential design flaws, especially with tanks that have internal poles that may pierce through the roof. Repair any holes or gaps to maintain effectiveness.

5- Internal Inspection

Internally inspect the tank for evidence of access by animals, birds, or insects. Seal any access points to prevent contamination. Check for algae growth, and if present, disinfect the tank water. Close all points of light entry to discourage algae development.

6- Pipework Integrity

Inspect the pipework for structural integrity. Ensure that sections of pipework that are not self-draining are drained. For buried pipework, particularly in ‘wet systems,’ fit drainage points to facilitate easier maintenance.

How To Clean A Water Tank?

Maintaining a clean water tank is essential for the quality and safety of stored water. Regular cleaning ensures that your water tank remains in optimal condition, providing you with a reliable source of water. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to clean your water tank effectively.

Step 1: Empty the Rainwater Tank

Begin by draining the rainwater tank completely. To avoid unnecessary wastage, consider attaching a garden hose to the tap or valve, allowing you to water plants and trees or collect water in buckets for other purposes, such as car washing.

Step 2: Clean the Tank

Prepare a mixture of detergent and hot water. Using a water hose or hot water washer, thoroughly clean the inside of the tank. Pay special attention to joints and corners, as these areas are prone to accumulating dirt over time. Let the cleaning mixture sit for a few hours to maximise its effectiveness. Rainwater tank pump cleaning is as important as a tank. Make sure to give it a thorough check.

Step 3: Rinse the Tank

Refill the tank with mains supply water and rinse it thoroughly. Repeat this step several times until the water coming out is clean. This process ensures that any detergent residue is removed. Take advantage of this step to check for and note any leaks that may need attention.

Step 4: Disinfect the Tank & Pipes

Disinfection is a crucial step, especially if the water tank serves as a source of drinking water. For domestic water tank cleaning, water tank chlorination is essential. Determine the current chlorine level and add Sodium Hypochlorite until it reaches the required level, typically 50PPM (parts-per-million) free residual chlorine. A technician may need to check the system to ensure everything is in order. For non-drinking water tanks, such as those for garden or greywater, apply an anti-bacterial spray liberally to disinfect the tank and pipes.

Step 5: Recommission the Tank

Depending on the chlorine levels, chlorinated water in domestic tanks may need neutralisation with Sodium Thiosulphate. If your tank is for garden or greywater use, simply fill it up with water, let it sit for around half an hour, and flush the system one final time.

How Often Should You Clean Rainwater Tanks?

The frequency of cleaning water tanks varies based on their usage for potable (drinking water) or non-potable purposes (toilet flushing, rainwater recovery).

Here are the key recommendations:

  1. Temperature Inspection: Check the tank’s temperature from the inlet and outlet annually.
  2. Internal Inspection: Conduct internal inspections every 6 months for drinking water tanks and every 12 months for potable/non-potable water tanks to detect possible contamination and debris.
  3. Microbiological Sampling: Take microbiological samples every 6 months for drinking water. For potable and potentially non-potable water, sample as required by a control scheme.
  4. Considerations: Even if a water tank holds non-potable water, the creation of aerosols during use means maintenance procedures should be assessed.

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