Buying A Water Tank: 2 Do’s And Don’ts

A water tank can save people a lot of grief in this day and age. With water woes becoming more apparent due to climate change, among other reasons, having an auxiliary water supply on hand during emergencies works wonders. Demand for water tanks has increased over the years, with the global market projected to reach USD$4.7 billion by 2027.

That said, like any big-ticket investment, choosing the most suitable water tank requires a closer look. Nobody wants their hard-earned money to go down the drain after realizing that the water tank isn’t designed to meet their needs. That said, keep the dos and don’ts enumerated below in mind when in the market for a water tank for home or office use.

DO: Remember Usage, Space, And Budget

Water tanks come in a wide array of designs, with a range of tank sizes available. Sometimes, the bulky uniform tanks sold in hardware stores can’t meet a property’s water needs, hence, the need for custom-made designs. The right tank boils down (but isn’t limited) to three crucial factors:

  • Usage: Calculate the property’s daily water consumption to determine the ideal capacity. Assuming the average person uses over 100 liters (26.4 U.S. gal), a typical household of four may need around 400 liters (105.7 U.S. gal) a day. 
  • Space: A tank too big to fit in a property is an ill-suited water storage solution. Above-ground types may be more affordable, but not ideal for cramped spaces. The more costly underground tanks can help work around such limitations.
  • Budget: The average price tag on water tanks is between USD$0.60 and USD$5.00 per gallon. However, it also pays to consider the installation cost, as most people will hire skilled hands to put the tank in place.

DON’T: Match Water Needs With Final Capacity

One mistake many people looking for a water tank make is purchasing a tank with more or less the same capacity as their daily requirements. With today’s climate growing more unpredictable each year, it never hurts to stock up on more water. 

Industry experts advise adding at least 20% to the total calculated water requirement. If a house needs 10,000 liters (2,641 U.S. gal) of water for the year, the tank’s capacity should ideally be above 12,000 liters (3,170 U.S. gal). After all, dry spells and other water outages don’t stick to an exact timetable.

DO: Choose The Color According To Needs

Most water tank installations feature matching the tank’s color to the overall theme of the house or building. Matching hues help the tank blend in with the immediate surroundings, preventing it from becoming too much of an eyesore.

However, some experts recommend choosing the color based on how the property will use this water supply. Darker hues are ideal for providing an alternative source of hot or warm water, as they absorb light and heat better. On the other hand, lighter colors are the way to go for having another source of cool drinking water (make sure to sterilize it first).

Regardless of color preference, experts warn that the risk of algae growth inside the water tank is real. Algae growth results from eutrophication, signifying the presence of microorganisms in the water. Dark-colored water tanks are at less risk of algae growth. But, if you insist on a light-hued tank, make the water uninhabitable by adding bleach—1/4 teaspoon for every gallon.

DON’T: Buy Tanks That Lack Quality Seals

While storing potable water in water tanks isn’t generally advisable (one cause being the algae problem), some properties are required to have such a supply at all times. In light of this, water tanks in the market can come with stickers or seals that vouch for their quality.

These quality assurance seals usually come from independent testing organizations. In the U.S., two such groups are the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Their stickers confirm that the water tank has adhered to existing standards. If a water tank lacks these stickers, you can look them up in the NSF’s and UL’s online databases.

For water tanks made in Australia and New Zealand, the AS/NZS 4766:2020 standard governs the design and manufacturing of above-ground and underground tanks. Manufacturers and tank installers should be able to provide documentation certifying the products. 


Long story short, avoid settling for the first water tank you come across. It’s crucial to perform due diligence first—understanding your property and its water requirements. If the information says you’re better off with a generic model, pick one up from the hardware store. Otherwise, contact a water tank specialist to draw up a custom design.