A leaking sprinkler tank can be a huge worry. Taking swift action, however, will prevent the leak from getting worse and protect the short and long-term integrity of the water supply to your sprinklers. The important thing is to try and stay calm. Worrying about downtime, loss of water or the potential for a disaster won’t help.
At the first sign of a leak, you should ensure any equipment stored near a tank is removed and call in an expert. Good sprinkler tank specialists operate on a nationwide basis and will attend an emergency at the drop of a hat. In addition to thoroughly assessing the tank, an expert will be able to tell you the cause of the leak – and the best way to deal with it.
The leaking sprinkler tank scenario is much more common in tanks over a decade old. That is why it pays to keep on top of maintenance as a tank ages. The process of inspecting a tank is virtually the same, regardless of a leak. It will involve assessing the thickness of a tank’s walls, the extent of any corrosion and a range of other factors that can impact its condition.
What to do when you detect a leak
Make sure you keep a telephone number handy for a sprinkler tank expert. Give them a call and explain what has happened. In most cases, a company will carry out an urgent site visit – usually the same day or within 24 hours.
Common concerns about leaks is that they will be expensive to repair, cause more damage before they are fixed or lead to the shutdown of a sprinkler system. The best course of action you can take is let a trained professional deal with the problem.
A sprinkler tank specialist will have dealt with similar situations many times over. And, trust us, they will have seen worse. If the leak is manageable, they will be able to inspect the tank without draining it. While remedial action is likely to require the tank to be emptied, at least you will have time to consider the options recommended to you at the end of the inspection.
Not all leaks occur as a result of a faulty tank, though it may look like it. Sometimes, a problem with a valve or the overflow is to blame. However, if your tank has split, the cause will be more obvious.
Why do leaks occur in water tanks?
A leaking sprinkler tank is often the result of corrosion. This is a natural process that occurs over several years. It is not always something you can prevent when water is in constant contact with components. It is the result of a material’s reaction to its environment, like oxidisation. Rust inside a tank can blister, leading to other problems. Weaknesses in tank walls and seams can be charted with the use of ultrasound equipment before serious damage occurs. If that sounds technical, don’t worry. Experts use this type of diagnostic tool all the time.
Detecting early signs of changes to tank walls is important for current and future maintenance. If you know the condition of your water tank is deteriorating, you can seek expert advice on how to remedy the problem.
Not all leaks are serious. Depending on the results of an independent inspection, you will likely be offered one or more of the following solutions:
- Tank repair
- Tank refurbishment*
- Tank relining
- Removal of the existing tank and replacement
*Refurbishment can include relining.
Epoxy coatings are often applied to prevent rust from returning. Leaving a salvageable tank to deteriorate beyond a state of repair won’t just cost you more in the long run. It will be more of an upheaval and lead to a longer downtime.
Whatever option best suits your tank, the likelihood is that the tank will need to be drained for the work to be carried out. This can take time to complete. However, the total time for your tank will depend on its capacity and the amount of water in it when the process is started. It will not be refilled until all the repairs are completed and checked. This is something you will need to plan for in advance, but a sprinkler tank specialist will be able to offer you sound advice.
Dealing with a leaking sprinkler tank
The longer you leave a leaking sprinkler tank, the worse the leak will become. This wastes water and poses the risk of causing further damage to the tank and its environs. Never allow an untrained person to attempt to fix a leak. It is a highly skilled job that requires knowledge of specific safety protocols.
Call an expert and let them handle it. The benefits will not just fix your tank for the immediate future but ensure it is fit for purpose for many more years to come. Good contractors will guarantee their work.
If you have taken on a site with a sprinkler tank already in situ, find an accredited contractor to independently inspect it on a regular basis. A yearly inspection will ensure it is maintained in good working order. Please note: tanks are not drained for the purpose of an inspection. ROV equipment is used to carry out forensic checks below the waterline.
Leaving a tank unchecked until a problem occurs is asking for trouble. Planned refurbishment or repair work will help you better manage downtime and minimise disruption to your sprinkler system.
There is nothing worse than finding water leaking from perforations in a sprinkler tank. Thankfully, there is something you can do to reduce the chances of this happening. If you are not sure about something or have any concerns, talk to somebody who knows sprinkler tanks inside and out.
Remember, a leaking sprinkler tank is often not the end of the world. Deal with it quickly and calmly. Get the best advice you possibly can and choose the right recommended solution for your site. A water tank used to supply sprinklers is an essential part of fire safety in many buildings. Don’t let yours fail because of an oversight or negligence.