Time for Rainwater Tank Maintenance

We all know the value of rainwater and the golden practice of catching the raindrops when they fall. Rain harvesting is a practice that is invaluable in Australia, one of the driest continents on earth. A water tank is an investment for life.

Your water tank will serve you well for years to come if looked after in the right way. Just like we service our car, clean our house or spring clean our fridge, maintenance of a water tank is important. There is no right or wrong timing for when the water tank should be maintained, however regularity is the key for keeping the tank clean and the water stored in the rainwater tank free from contaminants. It is easy to keep track of when your tank was last maintained if you keep to a six-monthly check after autumn and winter and at the end of summer.

There are ways to protect the water in the rainwater tank. Step one is minimising the risk of subject matter getting into the tank in the first place. This is particularly pertinent during autumn when leaves may get stuck in the water strainer, hindering water from flowing freely into the tank. The use of leaf strainers is helpful for this, and UV filters are helpful in keeping the water in the tank clean. The water strainers should be regularly checked.

One time when it is essential to check, maintain and clean the water strainer, and the tank, is when there is a specific incidence occurring and an increased risk of more debris and dead animals getting caught in the strainer.  Examples of things that may contaminate the water if not swiftly removed include dead animals, debris, and windblown ash after a bushfire or fire retardants.

Usually, it is not necessary to test the water, as when a significant number of debris (including dead animals) have collected in the water strainer, the contamination is obvious.

Water Contamination

In the case of the water being polluted the following steps are recommended:

  • Drain the tank.
  • Clean the tank.
  • Refill the tank with fresh rainwater.

The tank filter and other water treatment equipment may have been affected by debris or other matters and they must also be cleaned. Contact your supplier for assistance and guidance or refer to the manual.

Note, to work inside a water tank is very dangerous, so you should consider hiring a professional tank cleaner if this service available in your area.

Maintenance tips – Consider this:

  • First line of defence for hindering debris and dead animals getting into the tank is the strainer. Check that the condition of the strainer regularly to ensure that is intact.
  • Remove ash and debris from the roof of the house which feeds your tank through run-off.
  • The screens and gutters should be cleared two or three times annually, or after a significant rainfall as downpours often result in that leaves and debris collect and clog them.
  • UV air and water filters manage and kill pathogens efficiently and used correctly they assist in maintaining a high-level water quality.
  • Clean the built-up sludge and organic material from the bottom of the tank at regular intervals.
  • The build of sludge is a natural process but can be mitigated by using First-Flush-Diverters. A First-Flush-Diverter is essentially a roof washer which works by diverting the first flow of water away from a rainwater catchment system.
  • Regularly check your roof for a build-up of debris, such as leaves, tree branches and animal matters, e.g., dead mice. The practice of checking and cleaning the roof is wise also for decreasing the risk of fire.

Maintenance tips – What you should NOT do:

  • Kerosene is a harsh chemical – do not use in or on your tank
  • Avoid oil-based products in or on your tank

For a full outline of how to get the most out of your tank and maintain it – read further on Tank Maintenance here.

Bushman’s have a range of accessories that can assist you in keeping your tank clean and your water fresh – see here .

Do not have a tank yet? View Bushman’s range of rainwater tanks here .

Author: H Lindholm