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Water storage tanks are a common necessity to store potable water (and even rainwater) required for daily use purposes.
With water scarcity issues rising every passing year, having a storage option is a must for all types of residential or even commercial buildings.
Additionally, as rainwater harvesting is being emphasized by the Department of Irrigation and Drainage in Malaysia, the need to have a water storage tank within one’s premises has grown. The recent water supply cut experience in Selangor is a testimony to it.
All said, it is important to note that not all water tanks are similar in creation and utility. Choosing the right water tank is, therefore, not easy as there are various factors that you need to consider.
The article will walk you through the differences between different types of water tanks and help you decide the one that suits your needs best.
Let’s look at 5 of the common types of water tanks used in Malaysia.
Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) Water Tanks
Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) Sectional Panel Water Tanks are also known as Glass Reinforced Plastics (GRP) Water Tanks.
These are made of resins that are mixed with glass fibres and hardeners. These water tanks usually come with a food-grade coating on the interior surface which makes the material completely safe to store drinking water. The non-cytotoxic layer makes them one of the best choices for drinking water storage.
Overall, FRP water tanks are economical, easy to customise, flexible and strong with long life-span. This makes them ideal for industrial, commercial and residential use.
FRP Water Tank Size
Since these tanks are essentially an assembly of different sectional panels, they can be created in a size that is suitable for your needs. The tanks can be created in capacities ranging from 1,000 litres to 500,000 litres.
Additionally, they can even be customised to different shapes, such as square, L-shape, rectangular, Z-shape, T-Shape, U-Shape or even unique irregular shapes to fit into the available space.
FRP Water Tank Maintenance
Fibreglass water panels are rust and corrosion-resistant. Hence, there is no additional requirement for painting. This makes them a low-maintenance and cost-efficient option for long term use.
Additionally, you may have to spend less on the overall transportation and installation costs owing to the lightweight nature of the material.
FRP Water Tank Advantages
- Fibreglass tanks walls are comparatively thin since the material in itself is fairly stiff and rigid and can hold large quantities of water.
- FRP tanks offer safe water storage due to food-grade coating.
- The strong and corrosion-resistant material makes them resistant to heat, stress, and extreme weather conditions. This means FRP water tanks can provide you with leak-free storage for many years.
- FRP water tanks are very flexible and modular as they are an assembly of sectional panels. This means that the tank can be assembled and fitted based on your requirements.
- Low on maintenance.
- The tanks are lightweight and are therefore easy to transport and install.
FRP Water Tank Disadvantages
- The tanks are translucent and allow partial sunlight to pass through. The presence of sunlight can cause algal growth. However, most FRP tanks these days are built with pigments added to the glass to prevent sunlight.
- The rigid glass-based material may sometimes become brittle and crack.
Hot Dipped Galvanized Pressed Steel Tank
HDG water tank is a type of pressed steel (Q235 Pressed Steel) tank with a thick protective zinc alloy coating on its surface. Zinc coating is added to prevent rust and corrosion on the inner surface of the tank. This makes the tanks highly durable to last for a minimum of 10 years.
Multiple panel sizes are available depending on the thickness of the coating required. The price of the tanks varies depending on the size and the thickness of the coating. A thicker layer of coating will translate into a more expensive price.
An HDG water tank often comes with an inner food-grade polyethene lining to give it additional protection against rust and corrosion caused by the water stored within. The inner lining also stops zinc from leaching into the water which may cause your drinking water from having a metallic taste.
HDG Pressed Steel Water Tank Size
These types of galvanized steel water tanks are considered heavy-duty types and usually manufactured in larger sizes. They can be built with a capacity from 30,000 litres to millions of litres.
The steel panels are bolted together with bolts and nuts. The thickness of the panels depends on the height of the tank to ensure the panels are able to support the weight of the tank. Panel sizes usually range between 1220 x 1220 mm, 1000 x 1000 mm,1000 x 500 mm, 500 x 500 mm.
Internal and external reinforcements can be added for additional support.
The joints between the panels are then sealed with a rubber or PVC sealant to ensure that no water leaks through them.
HDG Pressed Steel Water Tank Maintenance
Because the main element of this tank is steel, it naturally reacts with water and oxygen to form iron oxide (a.k.a rust). The zinc-alloy coating on the pressed steelworks is the primary defense against rust. The inner polythene lining works as an additional barrier to prevent corrosion and to avoid metal leakage into water.
This makes them cost-effective for long term use. That said, the coating may sometimes degrade over time. To ensure that this does not happen, a cathodic protection system (positively charged electrodes that carry electrons from a device to stop oxidation) can be installed inside the tank to supplement the coating system.
HDG Water Tanks Advantages
- The strength of steel and the zinc coating protection makes it a suitable option for use as underground water tanks.
- Corrosion-resistant due to zinc coating.
- Come with an additional poly layer that prevents metal leakage into the water.
- Can last for 50-60 years.
- Are low on maintenance.
- Cost-effective in the long run.
- Multiple steel finishes are available to choose from.
HDG Water Tanks Disadvantages
- The zinc coating on the panels makes them a more costly option.
- The zinc coating is prone to chemical attacks. The tanks are therefore not suitable if the water quality is predicted to be acidic in nature.
- The inner poly lining can get damaged due to corrosion and needs additional installation of cathodes which may add to the expense as well as maintenance.
- Heavy and difficult to transport.
- Colour options are not available.
Polyethylene (Plastic) Water Tanks
Polyethylene tanks are light-weight and yet strong water storage solutions for reserving drinking water for residential as well as industrial purposes.
These are commonly made using non-toxic, high-density linear polyethylene. Additionally, the plastic used for these tanks is food grade and UV treated. This makes them strong as well as resistant to chemical attacks, temperature changes, adverse weather conditions, or even UV rays.
Even though the tanks are made using polyethylene, they are not transparent. This means that they do not allow passage of sunlight and are hence a good option to minimise algal growth on the tank walls.
The material is easy to wash and can be cleaned using traditional detergents.
Polyethylene Water Tank Size
Plastic tanks are built using rotary moulding techniques. The tanks are made to suit varying capacities and can accommodate up to 50k litres capacity of water. The size and shape may also vary according to the manufacturer.
The flexibility associated with plastic allows for various shapes and styles.
Corrugated designs are most commonly used. The tanks are also available in a range of colour options.
Polyethylene Water Tank Maintenance
Plastic water tanks are low on maintenance since there are no corrosion or rusting issues involved. That said, cracks may appear within the walls which might call for some repair work.
Polyethylene Water Tank Advantages
- Lightweight, easy to handle and transport.
- Low on cost and more economical than alternative materials.
- Plastic tanks are built using food-grade plastic and are hence safe to store potable water.
- The plastic is UV treated and can therefore withstand the impact of the sun.
- The material is resistant to chemicals, temperature, and corrosion attacks.
- Easy to install.
- Possible to create customised shapes and sizes depending on the requirement.
- Multiple colour options are available.
- These tanks are impact-resistant, and you can literally roll them into place.
- Can hold up to 50k litres capacity.
- Easy to set up.
- Offer a 15-20 year of lifetime.
Polyethylene Water Tank Advantages
- They are not always the best options for underground installation.
- The colour may fade over time.
- While plastic tanks are lightweight, their transportation and installation is not necessarily easy. They are often transported as one piece rather than segregated panels.
Stainless Steel Water Tanks
As obvious, these tanks are made of stainless steel plates which offer high strength to the structure. The stainless steel material has stable physical and chemical properties, does not impact the water quality, and ensures clean and hygienic drinking water.
The water tank has high strength, lightweight, clean appearance, beautiful appearance, and elegance.
Needless to mention, the texture offered by steel is solid and shiny, easy to clean, and visually pleasing.
The material is completely corrosion-resistant, high-temperature resistant, and is therefore suitable for use at the factory, home, school, hospital, restaurant and dobby, large hotels, institutions, apartments, research and teaching buildings, and food processing, medical and health, and electronics industries.
Stainless Steel Water Tank Size
There is almost no limit to the size options when it comes to steel tanks. Since steel tanks can be manufactured using steel panels or corrugated steel, it allows manufacturers to create tanks ranging from 1000 liters to 2,000,000 liters.
Stainless Steel Water Tank Maintenance
The strength of steel makes the walls resistant to seepage issues, growth of moss and algae. Additionally, the tanks are easy to clean which makes them a very low maintenance option for your property.
Stainless Steel Water Tank Advantages
- High strength makes them durable.
- Excellent corrosion resistance and good sealing performance.
- Temperature and UV resistant.
- Offer a visually appealing shiny texture that is easy to clean and maintain.
- High impact resistance and strong seismic performance.
- Can last more than 15 years.
- Suitable for underground installations.
- Easy to transport since they are manufactured as separate pieces.
Stainless Steel Water Tank Disadvantages
- Steel water tanks may be more costly than alternative options like plastic. However, their long term durability makes them cost-efficient in the long run.
- No colour options available.
Concrete Water Tanks
Concrete tanks are a very popular choice for both above ground and underground installations. There are essentially two types of concrete tanks:
- Pre-made concrete tanks
- Built on-site concrete tanks
Most tanks are reinforced with steel to add additional strength to the structure.
Concrete Water Tank Size
Since the tanks are almost always made to order, there is no limit to the size, shape, and capacity of these tanks. While they are often built to hold large water quantities (like rainwater harvesting), they are equally suitable for small capacities as well.
Concrete Water Tank Maintenance
While concrete tanks may not require much maintenance in terms of cleaning, they have other maintenance issues that need to be considered. The lime in the concrete may leak over time, thereby raising the pH of the water.
It is therefore required to use additional water filters, specifically if the water is meant for human consumption (drinking, bathing, washing).
Further, concrete can crack over time due to environmental conditions. This would mean that constant repair and inspection is required.
Concrete Water Tank Advantages
- The high strength of concrete makes it highly durable.
- The tanks are highly suitable for underground commercial installation as well as residential purposes.
Concrete Water Tank Disadvantages
- The lime found in concrete may leak into the water making it unfit for human consumption. The excess lime (bitter taste) may raise the pH.
- The steel reinforcements may corrode and cause rusting or even cracks.
- Costly to install.
- Removal options if required may be as costly as installation.
- Old concrete tanks may ‘sweat’ (white powdery salt residue).
Water storage tanks offer multiple advantages and including them within your property premises is definitely a wise choice. That said, taking the time to research out your options could pay significant dividends in terms of cost-effectiveness and utility. Ensure that the water tank you choose is suitable to meet the unique challenges of your property.
If you are still unsure which type is the right one for you, seek a professional local water tank supplier to provide guidance and help you decide on one.