A rainwater tank is like any other appliance or machine around your home, it needs to be maintained properly, or serviced regularly. As with anything around the home, if it isn’t looked after correctly from the start, it can lead to issues or problems down the track. You have put a lot of time and effort into having your rainwater tank installed and you want to keep its contents in the best possible condition. Maintaining your tank is relatively easy and cheap (if it’s too much for you, you can always call in professionals!) If you service or maintain your tank properly it keeps filters working properly which helps to keep your water fresher for longer.
Unfortunately, many water tank owners simply have their tank installed, wait for it to fill up and then basically forget it. It’s not until any sludge that has built up on the bottom gets stirred up by rain or filters start blocking and the water tastes awful that servicing or maintenance becomes an issue.
If you do some relatively simple and small tasks every year and ensure that your downpipes are properly set up, then you know you have done what you can to minimise sludge from building up. The quickest and best way is to regularly check your tank – have a look inside!
Pay attention to –
✓ The level of the water – you don’t want to run out of water at short notice.
✓ Make sure the leaf basket, roof, liner and hatches are all in good working order. If anything looks like it needs to be repaired fix it, or have it fixed.
✓ Look for any bugs or insects that may be flying or swimming around inside
✓ While it’s not good to find animals inside your tank, if they are alive – remove them, if you find any dead ones that can be very dangerous for your health.
✓ Check the clarity of your water, in a well-maintained tank, you should be able to see the bottom of the tank easily.
Once this has been done it’s time to do a little maintenance – in summer you should try and do this every 4 to 8 weeks.
✓ Start at the top – check the roof of your tank for any debris, if you have any overhanging trees or branches, cut them away.
✓ Always clean your gutters regularly (all home owners should do this regardless of whether they have a water tank or not!). Clean gutters are important for both fire prevention and for collecting rain water. You can always have a form of gutter mesh installed to stop a build up of leaves, especially if all or a part of your house is under a lot of trees.
✓ Check your downpipes and any drainage to your tank, make sure they are clean and unblocked, if need be, flush them out once a year. It can be helpful to have drain points and a first flush diverter installed to help with the runoff quality of the water when it does rain.
✓ And finally – check and clean out the entry box. Your downpipes will dump into a leaf basket which will need to be checked and cleaned out regularly. This can become a contamination point as all the water in the tank will pass through here.
With the maintenance out of the way, it is possible to clean the tank. Generally, the best time to do this is towards the end of summer when the water levels inside the tank are getting lower. Any built up sediment is getting drawn closer to your outlets, this can cause not only discoloration, but it can also block your filters.
Along with regular maintenance or servicing, you should desludge your rainwater tank every 2-3 years. No matter how hard you try, your tank will still get a build-up of dust, contaminants, bird droppings and other organic materials, give it a couple of years and it has become a black sludge that lives on the bottom of your tank.
The best way to deal with this build-up is to empty the tank, hose it out and sweep the bottom of the tank, and then wait for it to fill up the next time it rains. The best thing about this is you are cleaning off the floor and walls – on the downside – you lose ALL the water from your tank, and you’ll need to wait for it to rain again. Also climbing into a rainwater tank is very dangerous you need to be properly trained to work in such a confined space, this is a job best left to the professionals.