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If you have a water storage tank at home that you are using as part or all of your water supply, then it is important that you ensure that it is clean. Without cleaning it properly every so often, you can find that dirt, algae, or bacteria can find their ways into your water. It is recommended that on average, you clean your water storage tank once a year. However, if you are prone to algae or it is in direct sunlight, you should consider cleaning it more often.
The good news is that cleaning your water storage tank is a simple process that you can normally do yourself – or, indeed, you can get a professional to do it for you.
Step 1. Empty the Tank
The first step in the cleaning process is to ensure that the tank is completely empty of any water. You cannot effectively clean it if it is not empty.
Depending on the tank, you may have a washout valve or tap at the bottom of the tank. This makes it easy to empty effectively and means that you don’t need to use the outlet valve. If you don’t have a washout valve, you should use the outlet valve.
It is important that you drain the water somewhere that is safe to do so and won’t lead to contamination, flooding, or corrosion.
Step 2. Disinfection
Once the water tank is empty, you then need to thoroughly disinfect it. The easiest way to do this is with a mixture of household bleach and water (use a ratio of 4:1 hot water to bleach). You can also use chlorine, but make sure that you closely follow the directions regarding its strength.
Once the tank is filled up to the correct level, you can leave the water for a time to help the disinfection process and allow the water to circulate, disinfecting the whole system. Don’t forget to disinfect the pipes and hoses as well as the actual tank.
Step 3. Wash & Flush the Tank
You can use brushes to scrub the sides of the tank and a mop with an adjustable handle to ensure that you have removed all of the dirt, grime, and bacteria. You can also use a toothbrush to get into the corners and any joins.
Power washers can also be an excellent option for ensuring that the inside of your tank gets a thorough wash.
Once the tank has been cleaned, you should drain the water (again, being conscious of where you are going to dispose of it) and flush the tank out. Using a high-pressure water jet or hose is the best way to do this. Flushing the tank is a very important part of the process as leaving any chlorine or bleach residue in the tank can make the water dangerous to drink or use.
Step 4. Disposing of liquid waste
It is essential that you dispose of your water sensibly. Be aware that it will be contaminated with chemicals, so it cannot be disposed of in rivers or ponds. The ideal place to dispose of your liquid waste is into the sewage system or a septic tank.
Step 5. Preparing for Use
Although the tank might look like it is ready for use, it is recommended that you next fill the tank with water, leave it for 30 minutes, then empty it and fill it again.
You can then check whether there is any cleaning product left in the tank by running water through the taps and testing it with test strips that can be bought in a hardware shop to ensure that there are no dangerous chemicals in the water.