Zen And The Art Of Rainwater Tank Maintenance

Green Lifestyle

Keeping on top of maintenance is important for longevity of your tank, and it's not as daunting as it sounds.


Rebates for rainwater systems are only ongoing in Victoria, but if you live in another state, don’t despair: a small, simple system can cost as little as $400 (www.tankworld.com.au), although extras such as pumps will set you back further.

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Government rebates for householders to install new rainwater tanks have ended around most of the country, but maintaining your tank is still important. Most of us don’t think twice about maintaining gas hot water systems, repainting the house, or other general home upkeep issues, but there’s often a collective groan at the thought of simple water-tank maintenance. But keeping your tank clean is important, especially if you’re drinking the rainwater you collect. Put these tasks in your calendar:

Every three months
Remove debris, such as dead leaves, from your gutters and rain head leaf guards to ensure that water continues to flow smoothly into your tank. You should also clean your first-flush devices (which divert dirty water away from your drinking supply) and inspect the strainers on the tank overflow outlets – clean them, or repair or replace them if they’re damaged.

Every six months
Examine your tank thoroughly for damage to weak points, including the roof, flashing (i.e, the joinings), screens and lids, and repair or replace any damaged components. Likewise, check the pump for any unusual noise, pressure and leaks. If it’s relevant to your system, check the water quality, and investigate any changes to this. Filters may also need to be replaced at this point.

Every year
Look for hazards to the outside of your tank, including overhanging branches that need pruning, or any damage to the tank’s support structure. You should also check the screens over any openings for signs of wear and tear, to ensure that insects and other vermin can’t get into your precious supply. To be sure, plug any hole greater than 1.6 mm.

Every three years
Check the bottom of the tank for sludge or sediment, which will reduce your water quality. If you’re not keen on cleaning it yourself, look for professionals in your area who can perform this service.

In between maintenance tasks, if you notice any issue with your rainwater, don’t just hope the problem will go away by itself – chances are, it will only get worse. Investigate and make repairs as needed. “Well-maintained modern tanks provide a very reliable water source, but if they aren’t plumbed into house water and are perhaps not used regularly, it’s a good idea to change the water as you would change the oil in your car, to ensure everything is operating smoothly,” says Craig Reading, Queensland sales and marketing manager for Tankworks Australia.