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Myths and Misconceptions About Rainwater Tanks

Rainwater tanks are one of the best ways of making your home more water efficient. In Australia and around the world people are increasingly focusing on water conservation because the threat of drought is increasing. Making use of rainwater to supplement water you get from your tap is a great way for each person to do their part in helping to keep Australia’s water supply sustainable. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions and half-truths out there about rainwater systems.

So, in order to make things easier, we are going to go over some common myths and misconceptions about rainwater systems.

Rainwater systems only work with large roofs

You may have heard some people dismiss rainwater collection systems because they only work on houses that have large roofs. While the objection is based on logic (after all, if you have a smaller roof, you will collect far less water) it is wrong. Sure, having a larger roof makes your rainwater system more effective, but even houses with smaller roofs can benefit from a rainwater collection system. Of course, the numbers are heavily dependent on the level of rainfall for a particular year.

Around 50% of Australia has an average rainfall of over 300mm per year. Assuming you live in one of these areas, you can get quite a bit of water, even if your roof is only 100 square meters. If you want a rough estimate of just how much rainwater you can expect to harvest, this guide, released by the Australian government to educate people about rainwater tanks, contains a chart that tells how much rainwater you can expect to harvest based on your roof size and the amount of rainfall per year (the chart is located on page 47). The guide also gives you an easy equation you can do to figure it out on your own.

It is not safe to drink

This is another common misconception that a lot of people have. People have this assumption that rainwater is somehow a lot more unsafe than regular old drinking water. The truth is that Australian rainwater is very safe to drink – it is low in toxins and other contaminants. This guide from the NSW Government Department of Health explains how to protect and treat your collected rainwater. The danger from rainwater consumption comes from the fact that the water can be contaminated if something gets into your tank.

Rainwater tanks are extremely vulnerable to animals and other contaminants which can get into the tank. But, if you are diligent and make sure that your tank is protected from outside contaminants and if you have some filtration in place, then rainwater is perfectly safe to drink. Of course, rainwater has so many other uses besides drinking, that you probably would not even want to use it as drinking water. Rainwater is best used for cleaning, showering, or for toilet flushing.

It’s too expensive to be viable

This is another common objection. A lot of people are turned off by rainwater systems because of the high costs, as they assume it must not be worth it. While it is true that rainwater systems do have high initial costs, they will pay for themselves in the long run. For your average household, 60% of their water usage is tied up in things like washing cars, watering the lawn, doing dishes, showering, and flushing toilets.

Rainwater can be used in all of those tasks. This means that by switching over to rainwater, you can knock out a huge portion of your monthly water bill. Of course, this depends on how much rainwater you can harvest. But, even a small amount will eventually pay for itself over time.

They are difficult to maintain

A lot of people assume that rainwater collection systems are just too high maintenance. Some people think that maintaining a rainwater collection system requires a lot of effort, others seem to think that they cost a lot of money to maintain. Neither of these assumptions is correct. We have written before on the topic of rainwater tank maintenance, so we will not go into too much detail here; we encourage you to read our earlier post on the matter. But, as you can see, rainwater maintenance is neither hard to do nor hard on your wallet.

Generally, rainwater tank maintenance comes down to keeping the area around the tank clear of bushes and plants (something you would probably do even if there was not a rainwater tank installed) and ensuring that nothing has gotten through the filters and contaminated the tank. Obviously, in certain scenarios, you may have to pay for repairs if the tank is damaged, but those are rare.

They don’t work in drought conditions

As some of you may be aware, certain parts of the country are prone to droughts. Many other parts of the country are prone to dry periods. This may convince some people to not get a rainwater tank because if there is less rain than usual, why get a rainwater tank? It is an understandable sentiment but it is also misplaced.

Rainwater tanks are useful, even when rain levels are low. In fact, rainwater tanks are considered one of the best ways of lessening the impact of a drought. So, even if you hear that rainwater levels are lower than usual, do not let that turn you off from getting a rainwater collection system installed, we guarantee that it will still be useful.

Getting a rainwater tank installed

If after reading this you are convinced that you want to get a rainwater tank installed, then we can help you. First off, start by reading our article on everything you need to know about rainwater. Inside you will plenty of helpful information, including the many benefits of using a rainwater tank as well as some potential issues that you need to look out for.

Once you have read that, you can give us a call and we will see about getting a rainwater tank installed in your home. Simply call us and arrange a quote, and our expert technicians can help you get a rainwater tank installed in no time!