Rain water tanks are a simple, environmentally-friendly way to minimise household water use. They also help protect the environment by limiting the harmful effects of storm water runoff. In order to function optimally, these tanks require regular maintenance and cleaning.
Hazards of neglected rain water tanks
If your rain water tank isn't regularly maintained, it could pose a health hazard. An uncovered tank can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes, while the buildup of algae and bacteria can be dangerous if water from the tank enters the local drinking water system. In order to avoid these hazards, you'll want to clean and maintain your tank regularly, with frequent routine inspections and less frequent cleanings.
Every month to three months, you should conduct minor routine maintenance of your rain water tank. Clean and check the gutters, filters, inlets and screens to make sure that water is flowing into and out of the tank without obstruction. Check all mosquito screens to make sure they are still in place; replace any damaged screens. You can either make these repairs yourself or call in your rain water tank services provider.
A more thorough inspection is necessary two to four times a year. During this inspection, clear the catchment area of debris, trim any overhanging tree branches, clean the pump filters and check the tank for evidence of animal access. You should also keep an eye on sludge buildup in the tank; it's normal for sediment to accumulate gradually, but when it gets too high it will need to be cleaned out. You can reduce sediment buildup by cleaning the inflows frequently, but eventually the tank itself will need to be cleaned.
You should typically give your tank a thorough vacuum cleaning every two to three years. This is just a guideline, though; if you notice sludge in the tank overflow, it needs to be cleaned, even if it hasn't been two years since the last cleaning. The tank needs to have the accumulated sediment removed, followed by a thorough cleaning. A rain water tank cleaning service can take care of this for you; it's a dirty job and best left to a qualified contractor.
A water tank is a great way both to save money on water and to help the environment, but it has to be regularly maintained. With regular upkeep and cleaning, a rain water tank can contribute to your household for years to come.