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Catch a falling drop: How to attach caravan water tanks

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When rain is pounding on the roof of your caravan, do you wish you could harvest some of that clean, fresh water? It’s especially salient when you’ve found a quiet spot away from the rest of the world and you really don’t want to move, but you need to replenish the supplies in your caravan water tanks.

There are a few different ways you can capture rainwater, depending on whether you want to make structural changes to your caravan.

The first thing you need to decide is whether you want to refill the existing caravan water tanks or carry extra tanks. Then, think about what you will use the water for. Do you want to be able to drink it? If so, the hosing and containers must be food-grade to avoid contamination.

What you will need

  • Bucket/funnel: Wherever you collect the rainwater, you will need a funnel or bucket to which you can attach the hose. There are kits available in specialty stores or online for those daunted by the idea of cutting, fitting and sealing a suitable receptacle.
  • Gauze/fine mesh: Always have a clean filter of gauze or fine mesh between the collection spouts and the water going into the caravan water tanks.
  • Hose: You will need enough hosing to run the water from the collection point to your caravan water tanks.

Collecting rainwater from the awning

  1. Observe the direction that the rain runs off the awning and set up the collection point there, or roll up the awning valance and secure with clips to form a gutter.
  2. Hang your bucket onto one end of the awning below the line of the guttering and attach a hose to the connector.
  3. Run the hose to the collection tanks or divert it away from the caravan.
  4. For travelling, unhook the clips and store the kit in the bucket.

Collecting rainwater from the roof

Few caravans have guttering, so if you want a more permanent way to collect rainwater as it falls from the roof, you will probably need to have guttering purpose-built.

Some firms specialise in attaching spouting that is relatively invisible along the caravan, but if you choose to add your own, take care to avoid compromising the structure.

A simple way to harvest rainwater from the roof is by setting up a funnel or bucket to which a hose can be attached. Whenever you’re parked, there is often one corner that is lower and has a stream of water pouring off it in the rain.

Whether you’re collecting water from the roof or awning, always allow several minutes of rainfall before connecting the hose. This will ensure that any accumulated leaves, dirt or dust will have been washed away.

Talk to your local caravan dealer or service operator for advice and quotes on installing a rainwater tank and seek a professional opinion before retrofitting a tank or guttering to your van with mounting brackets.

Has your caravan roof sprung a leak? Have a look at our step-by step guide to repairing it.

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