Autumn advise for rainwater harvesting owners

29 Nov 2018


Maintenance of a rainwater harvesting system is something many home owners forget about. Water is collected and stored, and your toilets flush. So there’s nothing wrong, right? Yes that is right, your system will be functioning and you shouldn’t be concerned.

However, at this time of year a lot of leaves fall. You tank will have a built-in leaf filter to remove the leaves and allow the clean water to pass into your rainwater harvesting tank. This is the time of year you should pop out into the garden and check your leaf filter to ensure no leaves have got stuck on it. It is a simple job and one which I feel many people forget about.

If leaves get stock on the filter they will degrade, and the remains will probably fall through the filter into the tank, over the years this will lead to an accumulation of debris in the bottom of the tank. Sure, you will have a filter on the pump, and maybe a particle filter after the pump. But preventing this accumulation of debris will help to ensure your water quality is maintained and generally good practice.

If you don’t know where your filter is, it could be in a chamber before your tank, or in the tank itself. If you are uncomfortable doing this, you can speak to a local gardener of handyman who will probable be more than happy to help, it should be no more than a 5 minute job.

If you are experiencing dirty water in your tank, you could also consider speaking to a local sewage treatment emptying company who could suck out the dirty water from the bottom of the tank just like they would with a septic tank. This is something to consider if you have had your system for a long time and haven’t ever looked at the filter. Keeping the water clean will help protect the pump and increase the lifespan.

Other jobs to consider:

  1. Test the pump and pipework for leaks. Turn off all appliances, don’t flush any toilets and listen inside the tank. The pump should not be running. If it turns on sporadically then you could have a leak in a toilet valve. Over time this will damage the pump and should be repaired.
  2. Test the mains water top up. At this time of year one would expect there to always be water in the tank, you probably wont be using your mains water. If you can see the sensor in the tank and van remove it, it is worth doing. When you remove it from the water, the mains water top up should kick in to top up the tank. Giving the sensor a clean isn’t a bad idea too. Unfortunately, some manufacturers fix these sensor inside the tank so it will depend on the system you have as to whether or not you can do this. Speak to the supplier who should be able to confirm.

Do not put yourself at risk by trying to get inside the tank, if you are uncomfortable with accessing the leaf filter or sensor, or if your system is installed very deep then you may been to employ someone to do these jobs.

If you are planning to install a rainwater system, feel free to call us to discuss how best to install the system to make maintenance easy. You may also find it helpful to read our article on the benefits of rainwater harvesting. 

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