Harvesting rainwater is a great way to conserve water and contribute to environmental sustainability. Rainwater harvesting systems provide a valuable resource for flushing toilets, washing cars, and irrigating gardens.

However, like any system, rainwater harvesting systems can encounter issues that require regular maintenance and troubleshooting. In this blog, we’ll explore the top 10 common issues with rainwater harvesting system drains and offer rainwater drainage tips to keep your system running smoothly.

Top 10 Tips for Rainwater System Troubleshooting

1.    Bad Smelling Water

The most common problem that occurs with these types of water harvesting systems is foul-smelling water. Such an occurrence can be caused by several factors, including:

●       Algal Growth

Algae, a freshwater organism, can fester in tanks that are exposed to sunlight and make the water smell. These micro-creatures tend to like the increased water temperature as it is a growth stimulus for their species. To make sure this does not occur, all you need to do is keep your tank sealed by using rain heads, tank screens, or even gutter mesh. If you already have algal growth, a few dashes of chlorinate should deal with this issue quite effectively.

●       Tank Base Sediment

Since tanks have water stored in standstill conditions and are not flowing, it also means that the tank may accumulate sediments at its base. This accumulation may result in water starting to smell bad. You can also protect your tank from sediments by filtering out the dust and organic matter using the same mesh and screens used to keep the algal spores out.

●       Animals in the Tank

When you use rainwater harvesting tanks, you are also always at risk of having to deal with decomposed small animals that may have found their way in. These animals can be anything from a mouse to birds or even frogs. If you do not wish to deal with all of this, install a rodent guard and remember to check for breeches regularly.

2.    Not Collecting Enough Water

Another common issue is that your tank may not be collecting enough water as you expected. This could be due to a blockage or leak caused by the accumulation of debris, leaves, or even a few rocks. You may need to regularly inspect the water collection area to make sure that the flow of water is not obstructed.

If the issue is persistent despite all your efforts, it may be time to call in a professional from Rapid Service Plumbing for the best drainage solutions in all of Australia.

3.    Unclear Water

You may also find that the rainwater in the tank is dirty or cloudy. This can be due to your filters not being cleaned properly or the build-up of debris in the tank. In case this issue is not resolved, you may need to consider installing a downpipe filter as it will clean the water as soon as it enters the tank.

4.    Frost Damage

These tanks are usually installed under the open air and above ground; therefore, they can easily freeze over during the winter. Repeated frost damage can significantly damage these tanks over time. The best solution for this is proper insulation or buying a pre-insulated rainwater harvesting tank.

5.    Water Overspill

When you experience heavy rains, your tank can fill up quite quickly and may even overflow. In such conditions, an overflow pipe is essential to drain all the extra water to the nearest drain. Check the overflow pipe regularly to make sure it is in proper working condition.

6.    Blocked Gutters and Downpipes

Another issue you may encounter is having to deal with blocked gutter or downpipes in your rainwater harvesting system. This blockage may prevent water from reaching your tank, so you may need to clean out your gutters and downpipes regularly. You can also install filters like gutter guards to stop the build-up of debris.

7.    Damaged or Leaking Tanks

As time passes, these tanks can wear out due to constant use, leading to leaked or damaged tanks. To remedy this before your tanks end up being damaged beyond repair, you may need to invest in some professional rainwater harvesting system maintenance from Rapid Service Plumbing on an annual basis.

8.    Pump Failures

A significantly essential part of any rainwater harvesting system is the pump. It is responsible for transporting the harvested water to where it can be used. When your pump stops working, the entire point of your harvesting system becomes moot. You may need to make sure your pump has ample power, is not worn out, or hasn’t any blockages. The pump may also need regular servicing or maintenance from an expert plumber for an extended lifespan.

9.    Clogged Filters

Filters are critical for keeping your harvested water clean, but they can become clogged with debris over time. Regularly clean or replace filters to maintain water quality and system efficiency. Establish a schedule for maintenance with your plumber to check and service filters as needed.

10.    Incorrect Installation

The last on this list and perhaps the most devastating issue that can fester into numerous problems is incorrect system installation. When your system is incorrectly installed, it leads to poor water collection, system failure, overflowing, and leaks. The most tried and tested way to prevent this from ever happening is to get the aid of an expert plumber who specialises in rainwater harvesting system maintenance, like our team at Rapid Service Plumbing.

To Wrap Up

While rainwater harvesting systems offer numerous benefits, they require regular maintenance and troubleshooting to address common issues. When you stay proactive and address these issues promptly, your rainwater harvesting system continues to provide an eco-friendly water source for your various needs.


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Remember, if you encounter persistent problems with your rainwater harvesting system, seeking assistance from professional plumbers such as Rapid Service Plumbing can provide you with the expertise and solutions needed to keep your system running smoothly. Happy harvesting!