Expert Advice From the Trade!
We wanted to put together some genuinely useful information about rainwater tanks, so where better to find this than by talking to an expert in the field?
Tony Di Salvio of Adelaide's Tank Store was kind enough to answer some questions for us, which I'm sure will be helpful to any of you researching with a view to buying a rainwater tank.
Tony, what advantages are there in installing a rainwater tank?
The main advantages are the cost savings of ever increasing water prices over a period of time. There is the flexibility of being able to water your garden at any time regardless of water restrictions which I believe will be reintroduced in the not too distant future. There are even bigger savings if you have a tank over 10KL plumbed to your whole house, as the water volume is used several times over a winter period as opposed to once or twice if used only during the summer period. Water quality is fantastic compared to the mineral laden water that is supplied via our taps.
Installing a Rainwater Tank Part 1- Rainwater systems
Could you give advice on what rainwater tank set-up (tank size, shapes, pumps etc?) would be ideal for:
|A family living on a reasonable sized, easy access block who wants to use the water for garden, toilet, laundry etc?
|10Kl min up to 22Kl. Round tanks are the most economical form of tank compared to slimlines or underground tanks. We would design a filter system dependant on usage, location, water quality etc.
|A couple living in a flat with very little room outside, who just want a little rainwater to use on their pot plants?
|2 to 3Kl slimline tank would be ideal. A small pump at approx $300 would be handy or gravity fed would do the job.
|A family who wants lots of rainwater but doesn't have much outdoor space for a tank, or access is very awkward?
|Underground tanks are becoming more and more popular as houses get bigger and blocks smaller. We install tanks from 3Kl up to 500 Kl. The most common size in residential applications is the 22000 litre tank as it is more economical for larger tanks. Under deck tanks are not that popular here in Adelaide, as our city is predominately flat, but are a convenient option in some of the undulating Eastern cities.
|Someone wanting to create a small, basically self sufficient property with extensive veggie gardens, fruit trees, chickens, household water needs etc.
|The ideal size tank for a family of 4 who wanted to be self sufficient would be 80 Kl. This is generally only practical in rural areas due to room required for the tanks and roof space required to fill the tanks. A 22Kl tank in suburbia is a great size tank to keep an average family going through winter and half way through summer. We find people generally are more water conscious when on a finite supply.
Is rainwater generally safe to drink as is? Any rainwater tank filtration advice?
Rainwater is generally excellent for drinking. We would advise against it if on a busy main road or industrial area. Most tank installations are designed on each customer’s requirements and tank type /size with the appropriate filtration is recommended to them.
What about pumps... when might these be needed and any recommendations or advice?
Pumps are required on almost all situations where water is required in the house or connected to irrigation. The price of pumps has reduced significantly in the last few years making it a much cheaper option than building stands for tanks as was done in the past. There are a number of pump sizes and options available to suit all applications.
Can rainwater be plumbed to standard hot water heaters?
Yes. We would strongly recommend the appropriate filtration.
What about plumbing to solar water heaters?
Even better, as rainwater doesn’t have the same corrosive minerals and metals that tap water does.
What rainwater tank rebates are currently available?
There is only a $200 SA Water once-off rebate for a tank over 1Kl.
Any advice for care of rainwater tanks and keeping your water in good condition?
Have your tanks cleaned every 5 years. This is dependent on your area ie overhanging gum trees, dusty areas may require more frequent cleaning.
What questions would you advise people ask when they contact or visit rainwater tank retailers?
- Do they have a builders licence?
- Do they have their own plumbers/installation crews?
- Are their plumbers licensed?
- Ask for photos or addresses of jobs they have done.
- What experience do they have in plumbing to houses and what options do they offer with pumps and filtration?
Beware if they are one dimensional with their options ie only poly tanks, only one type of pump and filter. Most installations are unique and hence require unique solutions.
What details should they have ready to help the retailer suggest the right tank etc for them?
These days most tank suppliers/installers will offer an on-site measure and quote service to identify any issues.
Installing a Rainwater Tank Part 3 - Storage
Tell us a bit about your business- when and how it started, by whom, your vision for the future etc.
It was started by myself 6 years ago. I previously worked for Bluescope Steel selling steel products and more importantly iron to steel tank makers. I had always wanted to start my own business but was struggling with an idea or sector I wanted to get involved in. There was legislation being passed at the time that all new homes would require a rainwater tank plumbed to the house, along with an industry that would help the environment- these were the two catalysts.
I initially started reselling other tank makers products and after a year or so my brother bought in to the business, bringing with him 20 years of experience in the water pump industry. At that time we moved to a bigger premises and started to manufacture our own steel tanks and employed plumbers to install to new and existing homes.
6 years later, there is no doubt the tank industry has declined rapidly as demand has been met since the introduction of water restrictions and government rebates have been withdrawn, but the reputable businesses will find their niche and continue. We will continue to supply complete rainwater tank solutions and expert advice which will carry us through until the industry finds its equilibrium .
What made you decide to start a rainwater tank company? Was it in part to do with an interest in environmental concerns and saving a precious resource?
There was always the concern for the environment as I have seen waterways and areas of Adelaide I played in as a kid get swallowed up and destroyed. I also grew up with a rainwater tank in the yard and having a dedicated rainwater container in our kitchen for drinking only, which I suppose ingrained in me a respect for rainwater.
Installing a Rainwater Tank Part 4 - Supply
Give us a basic idea of what tanks and other accessories you stock.
We custom manufacture steel round and slimline rainwater tanks. We also stock and resell poly tanks, concrete and poly underground tanks, filtration, pumps and a complete installation department.
What about delivery? How much does it cost and what areas do you service?
Delivery charges range from $60 to $150 dependent on proximity and size of tank.
We generally deliver from Gawler to Mount Barker to Aldinga. We have installed specialised tanks and pumps as far as Whyalla, Mannum, Murray Bridge, Victor harbour , Naracoorte and Mt Gambier just to name a few.
Do you offer an installation service for the tank itself? For pumps and plumbing to the house?
Yes. Our service can be as simple as connecting one downpipe, up to multi dwelling apartment blocks and School toilet blocks.
What aspects of installation might a purchaser need to consider? (like base type, crane, excavation for underground tanks etc)
We have a free measure and quote service to evaluate these considerations, if we are supplying and installing the tank.
What kind of Warranty do you offer your clients?
We offer a 12 month on-site warranty for workmanship and 20 years on Aquaplate steel material warranty. Pumps generally have a 2 year warranty.
For those who live in SA, how can they contact you, get a quote and where are you located? Opening hours?
|We are located at 475 Grand Junction Rd, Wingfield
(entry via Plymouth Rd)
Ph 8244 6333 or check our website at www.tankstore.com.au
Hours are Mon – Fri 8am – 5pm.
Anything else you would like to say to our readers who might be considering installing a rainwater tank?
Beware of cheap Chinese pumps and contractors that don’t know what they’re doing. We often get called out to re-install tanks and pumps that have been installed by plumbers. Generally, most plumbers don’t have much idea regarding tanks and pumps despite what they would tell you.