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Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association

Is a Smart Gutter Right for You?

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Water Tank Gutters, and Rainwater Harvesting

The idea of gutters on tanks has long been one of interest to many people, as it provides a way of catching more rainfall in your water tank than the roof of your home may allow by itself. These smart gutters come in several forms, including that of a regular roofing gutter around the outside of the tank, and that of plastic fittings with small slots, designed to filter the rain into the tank as it runs across the roof.

For some sizes of rainwater tank, these can harvest up to an additional 25% of your water tank capacity, allowing a significant increase in your rainwater harvesting efforts. However there are some important factors to look into before looking into installing any kind of tank roof harvesting system.

Do you have anywhere else you could be harvesting water from?

Most people harvest rainwater from the roof of their home, but if your property has any small or large sheds near your rainwater tank, these make an ideal water harvesting solution. Even a simple 9m x 6m shed would be able to harvest an additional 50kL of rainfall somewhere like Katherine.

It is important to remember though, that if you do start installing more inlet pipes to check with the manufacturer of your rainwater tank that your outlet is sufficient to handle the extra stress placed on it by more inlets.

Every inlet also needs to run through a leaf filter basket and lid, to ensure the rainwater inside your tank remains as clean and fresh as possible.

Is your tank currently filling or near capacity during the wet season?

If your tank is currently filling or nearing capacity during the rainier months, and your main issue is that you don’t seem to have enough rainfall to last through the summer or drier months, then the issue will likely not be solved by harvesting water from the tank roof.

The options here are either to look at finding ways to cut back on your overall water usage, or to increase your rainwater storage capacity with a larger or additional tank. If you are unable to cut back on water usage sufficiently, and the new rainwater tank isn’t filling up, then roof caps, a smart gutter or smart water savers may be the way to go.

Choosing a smart water harvesting tool

There are a few of these tank roof harvesting systems on the market and they offer varying levels of support for the cleanliness of your water tank.

The traditional tank guttering – think the type of gutters you have on the roof of your home, but around the perimeter of your rainwater tank – often offer no filtration for the leaves and debris that may land on your tank roof, and unlike the domed roof of a rainwater tank, they can gather dirt and sediment in them much more easily, thanks to their bucket-like shape.

Some of these have now been designed to run the gutter off to one point and filter it into the tank through a filter, which removes the issues regarding a lack of filtration, but still leaves you with a difficult to clean gutter around your rainwater tank which can build up with leaves and dirt

The more modern plastic caps, like Smart Water Savers or other roof caps are designed without a gutter on your tank, and have a low profile, allowing leaves and other debris to simply pass over them, while other the rain falling on the tank roof falls into your tank.

The Smart Water Savers are slightly more low profile and flatter to the tank roof, allowing practically everything but water to pass over, while the other roof caps are slightly bulkier, but still prevent most debris from entering the tank. The Smart Water Savers have a 1.2mm slot compared to the 2.6mm slot on the regular roof caps, meaning the Smart Water Saver is marginally more mosquito proof, however, with the average Australian Mosquito over 3mm long, it is more likely midges that would be sneaking through the 2.6mm gap.

So do I need a smart gutter system?

If you have assessed your current water storage and water harvesting situation and:

  • Your rainwater tank is not filling or overflowing in the average winter or wet season
  • You have no sheds, outhouses or other structures near the tank from which to harvest water
  • You are unable to significantly reduce your water usage around the home

Then a smart gutter system may be right for you.

Pioneer Water Tanks currently offers the Australian owned and invented Smart Water Saver, which can be fitted to any steel water tank with a corrugated roof. For a quote on how much it would cost to have your water tank fitted with smart water savers (or to fit them yourself) contact Pioneer Water Tanks on 1800 999 599.

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