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How often should cold water tanks be cleaned?

While there is no definitive recommended time-frame by which cold water storage tanks should be cleaned, regular cleaning is essential to prevent costly damage and risks to health.

A neglected water tank can become a breeding ground for bacteria and algae. Conditions in any tank can lead to stagnant water in which microorganisms, including legionella, thrive. A build-up of debris in a water tank can also cause damage to pumps, filters and other fittings.

While cleaning water tanks is not a legal requirement, inspection is. An inspection will determine whether cleaning is required.

How often should drinking water tanks be inspected and cleaned?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends that tanks should be checked periodically as part of a risk assessment procedure if they supply drinking water. Typically, this will involve an annual inspection and cleaning. They should also be inspected on a six-monthly basis to monitor bacteria levels.

If there is a suspected problem, water tanks may need to be inspected more frequently. They should also be checked as per the frequency described in a risk assessment and if any of the following situations arises:

  • When the tank has not been used for long periods and has not been flushed.
  • When a new system has been installed or an existing system has been refurbished.
  • When water samples show evidence of contamination by microbes.
  • During and following an outbreak of legionnaires disease.

How often should rainwater tanks be cleaned?

As rainwater harvested in a tank is not intended for drinking, the requirements for cleaning are less stringent. They should still be cleaned every one to two years to prevent dirt and debris from building up and affecting their function. It’s also good practice to undertake water sampling every six months to prevent bacterial build-up.

At Brooktech, we are experts on plumbing and water treatment in Manchester and the North West. For more help and guidance on water tank cleaning and maintenance, you can contact our experienced team today.

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