Guide written by:
Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff
For ease of use, we drink more and more tapwater. The average consumption per person is estimated at 200 litres per day! Approximately 50% of this water is not linked to human thirst (toilets, wahsing machine, cleaning etc)
Watering a garden or irrigation of a vegetable garden also consume a lot of water, without mentioning swimming pools and washing cars.
So many litres of water are lost, which you pay for, and often at great expense
Other than economic factors, you should also consider that water is not for granted. The avergage level of phreatic tables are steadily decreasing over the last 30 or so years. The distrubtion of high quality drinking water has become a real challnge for public services and these companies are often corporate for both the networks and treatment. These are juts as much reasons to reduce your water consumption by installing a water butt!
It couldn't be more simple! The rain that falls onto your roof is channelled by the gutters towards the tank to be stocked. In general, whatever the purpose of your installation, a basic filter is installed before the entry point of the tank (mainly to keep leaves out).If you have opted for an exterior tank, the distribution of the water is carried out by gravity thanks to a simple tap at the bottom of the tank, or with a pump.If you have opted for an underground tank, the distribution can only be carried out using a pump. At the exit point, a valve (also called an overflow) is directly hooked up to the waste water system for rainwater to avoid any floods!
It is of course the first question you need to ask yourself! The type of but is driectly linked to your needs and as we have already seen, there are two different types.
For your basic outdoor usage, a minimum volume of 1500 L is recommended. If your property is relatively big (> 100 m²), you can calculate your needs based on 15 L/m².
For sanitary usage, you usually need 5000 L for a 5-person household. You can add 1000 L for every person.
For a mixed usage (outdoor + sanitary), simply add those volumes up.
Example: for a 5-person household with a property of 150 m², the minimum recommended volume is of: 5000 + (15 x 150) = 7250 L, hence a 7500L sized water butt (closest greater size).
You also need to set-up a specific distribution network around your home, for the water collected.
As with anything, you will need to install the rainwater harvest system in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. All installations should be in compliance with national building regulations and Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999. You can get more information on these from local suppliers, the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme21 (WRAS) or the UK Rainwater Harvesting Association (UKRHA22)Always remember, if you are planning any alterations to your home drainage network they will have to be applied to Building Regulation and you may need to apply for Planning Permission. The Building Regulations which specifically relate to water and drainage are Part G: Sanitation, hot water safety and water efficiency, and Part H: Drainage and waste disposal.As with all questions of waterworks, you will need to make sure your installation is WRAS compliant. Accordinf to the Information and Guidance Note 9-02-05:
Of you own a business, installing a water but may be advantagious as the UKRHA offers The Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme whereby businesses are able to claim 100% first year capital allowances on investments and technology for sustainable water consumption.
The best way to calculate your water consumption is with the following:
To benefit from your water butt on the long term, it is recommended, whatever the installation, to drain and fully clean the tank at least once a year.
If your usage of the water butt is mainly sanitary related, you should regularly clean all filters of your installation to avoid clogs, obstructions, and any other type of pumping issue.
If you’ve set-up a pump, whether underwater or not, it is highly recommended to regularly clean the suction strainers (at least once or twice a year).
And don’t forget to check your gutters every now and then, in order to clean them from any leaves or moss coming from your roof.
For our friends living in the colder regions of the UK, please don’t forget to drain and empty your tanks before the winter, to prevent the frost from damaging your water butt!
Guide written by:
Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff, 134 guides
Electrician by trade, I first worked in industrial estates where I installed, wired and fixed a large number of electrical installations. After this, I managed a team of electricians for this type of work. 10 years or so ago, I turned to building and construction. From the modest family home, to gyms and theatres; I have been able to coordinate, audit and organise all sorts of construction sites. for 4 years now, I am restaoring and bulding an extrension to a bungalow in the heart of the welsh countyside. My experience in manual work and my knowledge means I am proud to be of service. Terraces, interior design, roofing, plumbing, electricty, anything goes! We have, my wife, daughter and I, built almost everything we have from scratch! So to answer all of your questions, and to orientate and advise you on coosing your tools? Easy!