Hints & FAQ's
WATER TANK HINTS
The following is a distillation of my knowledge after 30 years of rainwater harvesting learnt the hard way and with an emphasis on simplicity and economy.
1. Minimise or eliminate overhanging branches from above or near your roof. This will reduce a lot of organic matter from entering your tank. Leaves and such are the biggest cause of dirty water. It will also prevent most animals from access to your roof. Don’t rush and be careful up the ladder. Ladders are dangerous.
2. Keep the spouting clean, within reason. Say once per year if possible. If you have a high roof and few trees you’ll be able to do it less often. Check the downpipes, bends and joiners to make sure they aren’t damaged or have fallen apart. Leaks can go unnoticed if they are out of the way. Check when it’s raining…they will be obvious then.
3. Install a WaterBoy. It's the single best thing you can do to improve your water quality. It is also effective for water storage tanks replenished by springs or streams and for bore water too.
4. Install a first flush diverter/s. It will capture the first 20 litres or so of rainfall, which contains (arguably) the worst contaminants. It is really the only pre-straining device I can recommend. Most others become clogged with debris too quickly. They will need cleaning constantly and if neglected will make the water dirtier.
5. If your tank has a loaded delivery system ie the rainfall runs lower than the tank level and then up to the top (as in the drawing) make sure it has an inspection plug at the lowest accessible point and drain it annually. This is important. You will be unpleasantly surprised at the gunk and smelly water that comes out. If you don't have an inspection plug I really recommend installing one.
6. Install a tank level indicator. This isn't relevant to water quality but its good to know the approximate level of your water and its much easier than climbing up to open the lid. I like the simple floating type that sticks out the top of the tank but there are many choices. If your tank level starts to get low you can point it out to wasteful visitors or children so it’s an educational device.
7. Install a simple activated carbon drinking water filter under your kitchen sink. I believe it is the single best water tank filter. I is mostly to combat any slight flavours that can occur. Your WaterBoy will ensure the filters last a very long time. Use this for all your drinking water including replacing your store bought bottled water. This is great for you, your wallet, and the planet... bottled water has a huge carbon footprint!
8. Install a bottom overflow pipe (do this at the same time you fit your WaterBoy.) This will mean when your water tank overflows the stale and often ‘earthy’ water will drain from the bottom of the tank. This works by siphon and is explained in the free plan provided.
The above hints may sound like a lot of work and a bit expensive but are well worth the effort. I have condensed them as much as possible and they will save you a lot of time and money, not to mention doing the right thing for our planet. Remember, all the rainwater you collect is free and it can be better than city, reticulated water. It will also ensure you a super reliable water supply. The worst scenario with water tanks is when you turn on a tap and nothing comes out. It’s a First World nightmare!
For those requiring rainwater tanks I would advise get as many big (25,000 litre +) tanks as possible, within reason, say 2-4 and install them at the same level if possible. Remember that roof area is what determines how much rain is harvested and use that in your calculations.
Water is a valuable resource and getting more so daily. Have a look at city water prices it will make you feel better about the cost of the extra tank/s and it is real luxury not to have to worry about running out of water not to mention the feel good factor of doing the right thing for the Earth.
With a really good set-up as described above your maintenance chores should be less than half a day per year which isn't too bad for the privilege of great quality, free rainwater and as I mentioned earlier, simplicity and a little forward planning will ensure complete domestic harmony! Well as far as water is concerned that is!
Q. I've had tank water for years and never had problems so why do I need a WaterBoy?
- Statistically the chances of fatal diseases from tank water are low, however there is a high chance of 'minor' illnesses. These are caused mainly by E-coli and campylobacter bacteria which are present in virtually every water tank. They are concentrated at the bottom of the tank and if you ingest too many you get an upset tummy and/or diarrhoea. People often attribute their symptoms to bad food and accept the inconvenience but it shouldn't be so. Good water is the very basis of health and our immune systems have enough work to do already and of course the most vulnerable people are the most negatively affected. This type of illness spreads easily so it tends to affect the whole family.
Q. I've got good strainers and leaf filters so my tank is clean?
A. Sorry but it can never be really clean. You cannot practically filter water to your tank. Imagine what happens to bird droppings when it rains. They are dissolved and the water travels to the tank. The bacteria are already single-celled organisms in suspension. The good thing about this inescapable scenario is that the bacteria do sink to be the bottom zone.
Q. I already have filters for my water tank. Will the WaterBoy interfere with them?
A. Not at all. Filters can be very good but the most efficient at removing the smallest organisms are expensive and can clog up quite quickly and you will need a minimum of 2 of different micron size. The cleaner water that the WaterBoy obtains means that your filters will last much longer before needing cleaning or replacement. In fact, filters can actually breed bacteria if they become clogged so they do require regular monitoring. * Read the Purifying Comparisons table.
Q. My tank is an unusual size/shape. Will the WaterBoy work?
A. Yes. It will work on tanks of all sizes and shapes and there are many. The most important information we need is the diameter of the tank’s outlet valve. Further information is included with the units fitting instructions
Q. Is it difficult to install?
A. No. But the water level inside the tank must be shallow enough to stand in and reach the outlet. The whole operation should only take 20 mins and is basically just screwing or pushing the end of the Waterboy unit into the outlet. We also offer a high quality RXP through tank fitting (at extra cost) that is suitable for many tanks. See the purchase page for full details.
Q. I've got a full tank so I've got to empty it to install the Waterboy?
A. Not completely. (See above) It is difficult for many people to ‘waste’ their tank water by draining some but if it is done before good rainfall is forecast then it’s full again in no time. The dramatic positive benefits of the WaterBoy easily outweigh the loss of some water. If you can't bear the thought of lowering the tank level you should purchase a unit now and install it when the water level is low due to drought or high usage.
Q. I'm not too handy or I'm too busy to install it myself. What shall I do?
A. Any handyman with a ladder can install a WaterBoy (It comes with full instructions of course). If not, a tank specialist or plumber can easily do it.
Q. What happens if I run out of water?
A. Exactly what happens if you run out now. ie. Water will not flow when you turn on a tap. This means the pump will be in danger of sustaining damage. The Waterboy unit cannot become blocked so the priority is to turn off the pump immediately. It will probably be noisier than usual. Next order some more water from a supplier. We recommend a tank level indicator because it is extremely inconvenient running out of water.
Q. We have a tank with an outlet pipe that runs up and over the top (a siphon system) because it has a tank liner or the pump is at a higher level. Can we still install a WaterBoy?
A. Yes. It will require a foot valve attachment where it connects to the bottom of the outlet pipe and that will be there already (to stop water
draining back into the tank) but as with the many other varieties of outlets there is an adapter for every possible scenario. If you provide the correct measurement at the time of ordering we will include the appropriate fitting, if not we will include a 32mm fitting which is fairly standard. If this is incompatible we can exchange it for one that is.
Q. On the order form I've got to provide a measurement which seems a bit tricky. How do I do it?
A. It's actually pretty easy. All you need to do is measure across the pipe that sticks out at the bottom of your tank. It will usually have a valve connected and then to the pump. The diameter of the outlet pipes vary but as long as you get it fairly accurate we can send the correct fitting. If you don't include a measurement we will send a fitting which is the most common for your tank construction material. We offer, at an extra price, a high quality 40mm full tank fitting that is suitable for most tanks however it does require a 40mm hole being drilled in the tank. This is a good option for many tanks with a narrow or damaged outlet pipe. The old one is sealed with a bung.A. The WaterBoy is guaranteed for 10 years. However, as its constructed from the finest materials available it will last for many more. We also offer a full money back guarantee (excluding postage and packing) if returned within 21 days, for any reason whatsoever!
- Q. I am in Australia / the USA / the Pacific Islands / Europe, can I purchase a WaterBoy?
- A. Of course. You can pay by credit card and the amount charged will be calculated by your credit card company based on the NZ dollar exchange rate at the time of purchase. However, as your order is for export from New Zealand, you only pay the GST exempt WaterBoy price of NZ$208.70. We recommend using the New Zealand currency calculator to obtain an estimate of the cost in your own currency.
Q. I have more than one tank do. I need more than one WaterBoy?
A. No. You only need one on the common outlet but lacking interconnected tanks and a common outlet, you may need more. With multiple water tanks on different levels it poses the problem of needing valves between them as the lowest tank will overflow otherwise. It is very advisable to have tanks interconnected and on the same level if at all possible.
Q. Will it mean I have less water pressure if I have a gravity fed system?
A. No it will be the same pressure and it should be good as the WaterBoy has a generous 38mm inside diameter. It’s one of several quality issues that our imitators fall short of!