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My normal service range is from Santa Monica to San Diego but I have installed copper gutters and rainwater harvesting systems in California, Nevada, Utah, Hawaii and Rwanda.
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Monday, April 23, 2012

Making Rain Tanks ( almost ) Maintenance Free

Maintenance of large rain water harvest systems is a big concern to homeowners. It doesn't need to be.
Three 1,100 gallon tanks in a " wet system " placed away from the house.


The first step in a maintenance free rain water harvest systems is a high quality seamless rain gutter, pitched carefully and fastened with solid hangers or nails and with high quality fasteners. A half round gutter is preferable because there is no flat surface on the bottom of the gutter and the water is constantly channeled to the middle of the gutter and to the spouts. Brackets from our American Half Round Gutter Collection are the strongest and most aesthetically pleasing method there is of attaching a half round gutter and stand the gutter off the fascia board just enough to allow painting without removal of the gutters.

The second step is to insist on a fine mesh screen on the rain gutter installed with the proper angle to shed debris. Gutterglove is the obvious best choice, after my almost three decades in the industry. Gutterglove actually makes the gutter stronger, as it is rigid enough to withstand the weight of a worker on a ladder. It has a heavy aluminum frame with a stainless steel mesh that can withstand more than 150 inches of rain per hour. If installed correctly on properly pitched gutters the gutters will never clog.

Gutterglove, installed correctly at the same angle as the roof will shed all debris and prevent anything from entering the gutters, even the granules from the Composition Shingles.

The third step is a FIRST FLUSH DEVICE.
This device captures the first few gallons of sediment and bacteria laden rain water. They are designed to drain automatically between rains. Rain Water Systems without Gutterglove may include a first flush device with a large debris strainer. The addition of Gutterglove on the rain gutters allow for cleaner looking systems such as this and is effective enough to be considered as FIRST STAGE FILTRATION for rain gutters.
" Wet system ", aka a top fill on the set of Bushman 205 gallon tanks with a small first flush device. PVC pipes may be painted with the proper application of the correct primer.

A gutter with the Gutterglove may have a larger debris separator that kicks out leafs and twigs from the first flush device, that has a ball float. The float rises when the first flush tube is full, and then the cleaner water is diverted into the tank;
620 gallon slimline tank with large debris separator and first flush device. Solana Beach, California

The last step is to have the tanks have a float switch, or auto-fill device that ties into the city water. With this device the rain tanks are used as the primary source of water for the irrigation system and water is always kept in the tanks. Keeping water in the tanks allows the tanks to have a much longer lifespan because it is the complete drain and complete fill that eventually causes stress cracks in the plastic. With the addition of the auto-fill device your homes emergency water storage program is almost complete. You can easily have several hundred gallon of water stored in your large rain barrels for emergencies such as Earthquakes. All you need on hand in a small water filter, like backpackers use.

The first flush device then becomes the thing in the systems that needs to be maintained, and it is designed so that it is easy enough to do so. The tanks themselves should not require hardly any service.

Feel free to post questions or comments and I will personally answer them---A.B.


  1. Yes it was possible maintainance free if your have rainwater tank system.

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