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Poly vs. Steel: Which Rainwater Tank Should You Get?

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Poly vs. steel: Which rainwater tank should you get?

Posted on: July 24, 2015

A rainwater tank can be a valuable asset for any home in Australia, and it pays to know about the different types available.

With the harsh outback one of Australia's most classic icons, it's no wonder so many in the country choose to invest in a rainwater tank.

Living in a country like Australia means any household should be sensible with their water management. At the end of June this year, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) announced that national water storage volumes dropped last year - leading to reduced water use in rural areas.

"The National Water Account shows that ongoing dry conditions across much of Australia contributed to a reduction in storage inflows during 2013-14, placing greater demand on available water resources," stressed the BOM's Assistant Director Water Information Services, Dr Ian Prosser.

Fortunately, modern tanks have evolved from those hideous, oversized tubs to become more sophisticated and attractive vessels for storing water. Choose the right shape, size and colour and a tank can effortlessly complement your property (and help you save water) instead of being an eyesore.

All you really have left to decide is what type of material you'll want for your tank. Polyethylene (poly) and steel are two of the most popular - here is a rundown of the advantages of each.

Plastic fantastic

'Plastic' doesn't always have the best of connotations, but in the realm of rainwater tanks, it's one of the most reliable materials you'll find.

Polyethylene is specifically used to manufacture plastic water tanks as it holds a number of superior properties. It is more lightweight than other tank materials, for instance, making transportation and installation a breeze.

Don't be fooled by their weight, though - poly water tanks are incredibly durable. As the colour is also intrinsic to the material instead of being painted on, they will also retain their natural aesthetic value for much longer.

The nature of polyethylene also means it is resistant to rust or corrosion, and hence has a comparatively long life compared to many other types of tank.

Poly water tanks are typically constructed using a method called 'rotational moulding', which basically means just one (considerably large) piece of plastic is used to make it. This ensures there are no joins or seams in the tank, which can act as weak points under the pressure of the water inside the tank.

Finally, all reputable poly water tank manufacturers ensure their products meet stringent food-grade standards so they don't tarnish the quality of the water contained within.

Steel appeal

Poly water tanks have only soared in popularity fairly recently, and before that, steel water tanks were by far the go-to choice - and they have managed to retain much of their popularity.

A rainwater tank made of good-quality metal can offer you decades of sturdy use. While there have traditionally been concerns surrounding the use of steel as a tank material, modern advances in manufacturing techniques have laid most of these worries to bed.

For instance, many metal rainwater tanks on the market are made of stainless steel, tackling the obvious issue of rust and corrosion. For those that are made of other types of steel, special linings and coatings can be applied to not only combat these chemical reactions, but also ensure the tank meets food safety requirements.

Compared to concrete water tanks, for example, steel tanks are also relatively lightweight while offering a high level of durability.

Ultimately, both poly and steel water tanks boast their unique advantages, and the decision really boils down to a matter of personal preference. If you'd like more advice and recommendations on which option to buy, head into your nearest Stratco today to check out the range of water tanks.