Rainwater comes free, and it can be easily harvested and stored to reduce the amount of piped water your family uses. Many families have already taken to harvesting rainwater for use as a secondary water source. If you receive adequate rainfall and take steps to increase your storage capacity, you can actually use rainwater for almost all your household needs and turn to piped water as your secondary source.
Most homeowners are turning to slimline tanks because they occupy less space, which makes them ideal for storage on small lots, such as in urban areas. This article discusses two common aspects of having slimline tanks.
1. What if I have/want a slimline tank that's too tall?
Slimline tanks come in various sizes to fit different lot heights and widths. Therefore, when going to buy your tank, it's important to identify where you want to place it and take those measurements to guide your purchase decision.
Sometimes, however, you may want a larger tank to help you store more water, and so you're looking for a way to fit it under your gutters. This is where partial burying can help. It's important to note that not all tanks are made for partial burying, so be sure to tell your supplier ahead of time so they can recommend one with strong-enough walls. Otherwise, pressure outside the tank can cause it to collapse inwards.
Before digging on your lot, ensure you find out what the regulations are about partially burying a tank, especially if you'll be digging deeper than one metre. In some councils, you may have to seek approval from an engineer. In addition, the burial depth, tank location and soil type should be expertly evaluated and recommendations given to ensure you have a solid foundation for your tank. Remember that burying a tank not intended for burial can void your warranty.
2. How can I keep my stored water clean?
Harvested rainwater is not considered safe for drinking without boiling or treatment. This is because the rainwater comes into contact with your roof and gutter, which contain contaminants that make the water unsafe. However, there are steps you can take to make the water you collect more suitable for potable use. These include:
Mosquitoes – you can prevent mosquitoes from turning your tank into a breeding ground by preventing pools of water from collecting near the tank. You can also install a fly screen at your inlets and outlets to keep mosquitoes out.
Sludge buildup – it is not uncommon for sludge to build up in the tank over time. You can either choose to completely empty the tank and clean by pressure washing or to siphon out the dirt periodically.
Roofs/gutters – reduce how much dirt actually gets into the tank by regularly cleaning the roof and especially gutters. Cut down any overhanging branches and install a leaf eater for your gutters.
Algae – algal growth in the tank can be particularly problematic in warm areas, but you can prevent this by choosing tanks with opaque inner linings. As algae requires sunlight to photosynthesize, they are unlikely to flourish in the absence of light. Paint lighter colours on the outside to reflect light.
Filtration – finally, installing a good water filter is one of the best ways to make your rainwater safe for drinking and cooking. This filter can be installed in the house and connected to the piping system from the tank.