We asked our members what advice they would give to others who were thinking of installing a rainwater system; some of their comments are listed below.
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Be aware of how quickly water storage can be used up when calculating size of tank.
Get a plumber experienced with tanks - mine was hopeless.
Have a pump on each tank, each with its own hose so that two people can use them. Also make sure your generator can power a pump for firefighting purposes
Do not listen to marketing guys or plumbers and installers who give you a quote and tell you what works best. Get several quotes and a range of advice, they will tell you different stories and often nonsense.
Make sure that you get a drawing of the plumbing attached to the tanks.
Thoroughly research the market for all available products (e.g. tanks, pumps, rainbank, etc) which suit your particular site and requirements. Unashamedly pick the brains of everybody you know who has a system installed. Attend any trade shows. Seek out an experienced green plumber and select quality, reputable local brand products.
Take care with the foundation used to support the tank and ensure all connections are made tightly and sealed.
Over engineer the base platform, surprising how heavy water is.
Don’t overcomplicate the installation - KISS
Construct a good foundation and protect against degradation from water and rodents etc. Shade, ventilate, insect proof, use easily cleaned debris guards. Material not so important for rainwater, but galvanised steel not recommended for hard water unless galvanic protection used and maintained. Modern galvanising is not as good as old hot dipped galv.
Investigate the ph of your stored water if you are going to feed it via copper pipes because I know of friends that have installed steel tanks with plastic liners and have had problems with the acidity in the rain water leaching the copper and staining porcelain surfaces. I have not had a problem with this as my rainwater is in a concrete tank and this tends to neutralise the acid. I still think that even though the concrete tank has a higher embodied energy involved I would still consider installing another one. With the plastic tank you may just have to adjust ph if running through copper pipes.
Use first flush diverter, install leaf strainers, change gutter if you can, make sure gutter has 1/2% fall.
Put in a larger tank than you think you will need.
Our solution is somewhat unusual but our advice for someone with a similar situation is to strongly recommend making use of the pool rather than demolishing it.
Go for the largest capacity possible, plumb to as many fixtures as possible.
Do it now.