Plumbing Rainwater Tanks
Many homeowners are having rainwater tanks plumbed into the house to decrease their environmental impact, make water available for the garden in times of water restrictions and simply to enjoy the taste of sparkling clean rainwater! Additionally, in many states it is now mandatory to have rainwater tanks plumbed into newly built houses. For those of you that are facing the task of getting the water from ‘there’ to ‘here’, we have a complete guide to your necessary preparations and the work.
Decide where you’ll be plumbing it to
If you have an open rainwater tank, or live in a heavy industrial area, it is advisable to plumb the rainwater tank only to non-drinking sources inside your home. In these cases you should plumb your rainwater tank to the toilets, hot water service, taps used for the washing machine and irrigation.
Do you need a seamless automatic switching device?
If your rainwater tank was required to be installed by legislation (as in newly built homes), you’ll need to have a seamless automatic switching device between the tank and the ordinary reticulated supply. This ensures that your plumbing isn’t damaged (and you don’t have to run out and manually move an irrigation switch) if the rainwater tank runs dry.
You’ll need a licensed plumber
If your rainwater tank is required to be installed under the law, they’ll usually also be a proviso about using a licensed plumber – for safety’s sake. Even if you aren’t legally required to install a tank, your council may require that you use a licensed plumber for the installation. Besides, who wants the headache?
Special materials must be used
If you’re planning to supply your own installation materials to save a bit of cash, there are often regulations that they’ll need to meet. For example:
• Materials must be Watermark Certified
• Piping must have the words ‘Rain water’ printed on it at 500mm or lower intervals
• Water outlets must be labelled as rain water
• Hot water service inlet pipes must be labelled as rain water
All the labelling will need to be done with approved signs… unfortunately you can’t just get out the permanent marker!
Backflow prevention is a must
Due to the possibility of rainwater from a contaminated roof making it into the house, all rainwater plumbed to outlets shared with the reticulated supply must have backflow prevention devices attached. It’s an extra cost, but the requirement carries pretty hefty fines if you don’t meet it.
You may be able to install a non-testable backflow prevention device if you’ve taken other precautions
Testable devices for backflow prevention are required for buried and partly buried rainwater tanks; however if you have other protective measures installed, you may be able to use a non-testable device. Of course, there’s other advantages to installing these as well… better tasting water is just one of those! They include:
• Gutter guards
• First flush devices
• Dry inlets
• Mosquito and vermin guards
There’s little ‘real’ work that homeowners must, or even can, do when it comes to plumbing rain water tanks Melbourne, it is always best to leave such jobs to the experts – but there is a fair bit that you’ll need to know, regulations-wise.
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