Around a quarter of the Australian population relies on a rainwater tank as their main supply of household water, and that figure is steadily increasing, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Renowned as a clean, efficient, and environmentally friendly way of harvesting available water, rainwater tanks also allow householder to cut their expenditure when it comes to domestic water consumption.
But they do take maintenance to ensure the available water remains clean and free of contaminants, and clean gutters play a major role as the first line of defence.
If you’re on tank water, here’s why clean gutters count.
How tank water works
Rainwater tanks have long been a feature of the Australian landscape, with rainwater harvested from roofs and gutters and then held in storage in steel, concrete or large fibreglass and plastic tanks.
Each year this collection method accounts for an estimated 177 billion litres, or nine per cent of residential water in Australia worth $540 million. Outside of urban areas rainwater provides 63 per cent of residential water or 109 billion litres.
But tank and catchment maintenance are critical to ensure the water remains pure, and clean gutters are an essential element of this process.
Tank water contaminants
With proper installation and regular roof, gutter and tank maintenance, there is very little risk of water contaminants in your rainwater tank.
However, if inadequately maintained, rainwater tanks have the potential to become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and some waterborne illnesses.
In many ways this comes down to common sense. Just imagine you have rotting leaves, animal excrement and debris in your gutters, or worse a dying animal like a frog or rat in your tank. All this is either filtering into or in the water you are regularly using for domestic purposes.
The good news is proper maintenance is easier than many believe.
Maintaining water quality
As NSW Health explains: “Well maintained rainwater tanks can provide a renewable supply of soft, clear and odourless water that can be used for a range of purposes” but “the provision of good quality water depends on correct design and installation followed by sensible maintenance of the rainwater tank and catchment area”.
They note, the following maintenance is required to ensure tanks are clean:
• Tanks should be covered to prevent
• Every access point should be sealed when not in use to stop animals and insects entering
• Screens should be installed at the inlet and overflow to stop mosquitoes entering
• All screens should be cleaned thoroughly each year
• Tanks should be examined for sludge every 2-3 years and cleaned out if required
Meanwhile, the catchment area (aka the roof and gutters) should also be regularly inspected.
The catchment area – gutters and roof
If you’re on tank water, it’s imperative your roof and gutters are clear of debris to prevent contaminants like animal faecal matter flushing into the tank.
NSW Health recommends this maintenance should be undertaken as regularly as every two to three months.
• First, it’s a matter of checking the roof and trimming back any overhanging trees.
• Then the gutters should be checked and cleaned
• Guards like the Gutter Guard can be fitted to minimise the debris that collects in gutters.
• Downpipes should be checked to ensure they are clear of blockages
How we can help
The Gutter-Vac team has been cleaning gutters for over 20 years, using a proprietary vacuum system to remove leaf litter and debris. That means no mess and no fuss when it comes to cleaning your gutters.
In addition, we offer prevention services like the Gutter Guard, to minimise the accumulation of leaves and debris in your gutters.
We also provide tank cleaning services to take the dirty work out of regular tank maintenance and can establish a regular gutter and tank maintenance schedule to ensure your tank water is always pristine.
Gutter-Vac is a national company proudly offering the highest quality technicians in the gutter cleaning industry. Each of our technicians is equipped with specialised training in Gutter-Vac’s vacuum technology and provides quality customer service with an emphasis on safety.
Domestic water harvesting
In 2010, the ABS found 26 per cent of all Australians used a rainwater tank as a source domestic water, up from 19 per cent just three years prior.
They also noted that figure continued to rise as Australians looked to save water and minimise the impacts of water restrictions.
Call 1300 654 253 to learn more!