Frequently asked questions
Can I install a rainwater harvesting tank into an existing property?
New builds are most suitable as systems can be designed-in from the outset. However, systems can easily be retrofitted depending upon accessibility of pipework.
Can my builder install the system or do I need a specialist installer?
Those familiar and competent with plumbing should have no problems installing the Nu-Heat rainwater harvesting system using the installation guide provided. However, using trained installers familiar with rainwater harvesting is recommended. The system will require testing and commissioning upon completion.
What risk is there that the tank will leak?
The Nu-Heat rainwater harvesting system features a rainwater storage tank blow-moulded in a single piece of high density polyethylene eliminating weak spots associated with welded, screwed or clamped joints. The seamless design ensures that the tank is 100% watertight.
What guarantees apply to the rainwater harvesting?
The rainwater storage tank includes a 10 year product replacement warranty and consequential damage resulting from material and manufacturing defects provided the tank has been installed and used as instructed. The control unit includes a 1 year guarantee whereby malfunctions caused by manufacture of the control unit are repaired free of charge provided the control unit has been installed and used as instructed. Unauthorised opening or other interference of the control unit will void the warranty.
Will I be able to hear the pump in the house?
Nu-Heat offers two packages for domestic rainwater use. Package 1 includes a control unit with integrated silent running multi-stage pump to be located in a plant room or similar location within the property. Package 2 features a pump located inside the underground rainwater storage tank, ensuring that when the user is inside the property the pump will not be heard.
How long will the water in the tank last in a drought?
It depends on many factors. The size of the tank, the volume of rainwater in the tank at the onset of a drought, the number of applications supplied by the rainwater and the number of occupants will all impact the speed of rainwater consumption during a drought. Nu-Heat designs systems as recommended by the British Standard BS8515:2009 whereby the storage tank specified will be sufficient to supply the rainwater requirements for approximately 18 days without rainfall (provided that the rainwater tank is full at the commencement of a drought). If the rainwater tank is empty the system will switch automatically to mains water supply allowing the continued usage of appliances supplied by the system.
What other components, other than supplied by Nu-Heat, do I need to make the system operate?
In all domestic packages Nu-Heat supplies the rainwater storage tank, a filter to clean the rainwater on collection, a clamed inlet, a floating suction module, a control unit to manage the system, a pump and pressure set to distribute the water to the determined appliances and a selection of flexible hoses for connection to the pump and control unit. Additional pipework to transfer the collected rainwater from the collection gutters to the tank and onto the property is required, and pipe to distribute the water from the control unit to the various appliances is also necessary.
Will the water get dirty over time and make clothes discoloured when washed?
Rainwater itself is very clean and clear in appearance, it will only become dirty when in contact with the ground. Variation in roof collection surfaces will impact the colour of rainwater collected. A pitched hard roof or flat roof without gravel is recommended. A green roof or similar will result in greater discolouration of the collected rainwater. The system uses a filter, calmed inlet and floating suction module to remove all debris and particles from the rainwater. It is important that filters and rainwater collection gutters are cleaned regularly to remove leaves and other debris resulting in the continued collection of clean, clear rainwater.
Will I still be able to water the garden during a hosepipe ban?
If using the garden package you can continue using harvested rainwater until the tank is empty. If using a domestic package with automatic mains water back up you can only water the garden whilst sufficient rainwater remains in the underground storage tank. Once the tank is empty the system will automatically switch to mains water use and compliance to the hosepipe ban is required.
What happens if rainfall exceeds that tanks capacity?
The rainwater storage tank includes an integrated overflow with rodent trap allowing collected rainwater to overflow to a suitable soakaway when the tank is full. Overflow is beneficial as it removes any floating sediment from the surface of the collected rainwater.
What happens if the tank runs dry?
The control unit manages the rainwater harvesting system. The Nu-Heat control unit includes an integrated mains water storage tank. In the event of an empty rainwater storage tank the control unit will automatically switch to mains water operation allowing the continued usage of all appliances served by the system. Once rainfall provides sufficient collection of rainwater in the storage tank, the control unit will automatically revert back to rainwater operation.
Are there any planning restrictions in locating a rainwater tank?
Customers are required to comply with local authorities and building regulations that can be interpreted differently throughout the UK. Please contact your local building control office for any queries. Installation of a rainwater harvesting system is not a building regulations requirement but may prove beneficial for planning permission.
What maintenance is required?
Minimal maintenance of the system is required. Visual inspection for leaks and faults should be conducted alongside cleaning and clearing of filters and rainwater collection gutters to ensure that the rainwater harvesting system continues to operate efficiently.
How much money will I typically save on my water bill?
Rainwater harvesting can provide financial savings for those with metered water. On average every home uses 150 litres of water per person per day. Approximately 50 litres is used for non-potable applications that could be supplied by harvested rainwater reducing you water bill by 30–50%. With the cost of mains water expected to rise during the coming years, the financial benefit offered by a rainwater harvesting system is likely to improve.
What can I use rainwater for?
Harvested rainwater is suitable for all non-potable domestic applications including WC flushing, laundry, washing vehicles and watering the garden. Rainwater is particularly beneficial to plants as it lacks the chemicals required to ensure mains water is suitable for human consumption.
Are there any grants available for the installation of a rainwater tank?
Currently there is no funding aimed directly at rainwater harvesting. It does however qualify for a 100% capital allowance relief on commercial premises, and can be used to achieve credits in the Code for Sustainable Homes scheme.
Do I need a crane or heavy lifting gear to move the tank?
The use of a crane or forked truck can ease installation. If a forked vehicle is unavailable the tank can be manually handled by a minimum of four people using the handles provided on the tank. When moving the tank care must be taken to ensure that it is not damaged in any way.
What size tank do I need?
Tank size is determined by the amount of rainfall at the property, the roof area and the number of occupants using the system. Nu-Heat will calculate the optimum system for your needs based on these factors.
Where is the best place to site a tank?
The rainwater storage tank should be located to ensure that the rainwater collected from the gutters travels into the tank under gravity. Installation of a control unit is required in a utility room or similar location. The tank should be located no further than 20m from the control unit to ensure the effective running of the pump and should be located a minimum of 1.2m from any fixed structure.
Can I drink the water?
No. Filtered rainwater can only be used for non-wholesome applications. It must not be used in applications that require wholesome water such as drinking, cooking, bathing and dishwashing.
What about contamination from bird droppings?
Bacteria from bird droppings may be present in the collected rainwater. However the collected rainwater is for non-wholesome applications only and cannot be used for applications that require wholesome water such as drinking, cooking, bathing and dishwashing. Additionally, the Nu-Heat system includes a three-stage filtration system, the use of a calmed inlet to prevent disturbance of any collected sediment, and a floating suction device that draws the cleanest water from the tank.
Can I collect rainwater from driveways or patios etc?
No. Water collected from driveways and patios will contain more contaminants than rainwater and require additional filtration and cleaning before it can be used otherwise discolouration of clothes and toilets may occur.
Is there any risk from Legionella?
No. The rainwater storage tank is buried underground ensuring the water remains in a dark, cool and well oxygenated environment, discouraging the cultivation of legionella.
How will it affect my domestic appliances?
Harvested rainwater is soft and can increase the lifespan and efficiency of domestic appliances (such as washing machines) for those living in hard water regions due to the reduction of limescale. Additionally, less detergent is required for those in hard water regions resulting in fewer pollutants from being released into the environment.