Rainwater diverters are essential parts of the rainwater harvesting system. Their function is to direct water from the roof gutters into the water tank, thereby conservatively managing the water resource. However, like any other piece of equipment, they may malfunction or fail to operate as expected due to several reasons. This article seeks to explore the potential causes behind a malfunctioning rainwater diverter and provide a guide on troubleshooting it.
- Blockages: The primary cause of failure in rainwater diverters is blockage. Leaves, twigs, dirt, and debris can accumulate in your diverter over time, blocking the water’s flow. When the diverter is obstructed, the rainwater may overflow, run down the side of your house, or end up in unwanted areas rather than being directed into the storage tank. A blockage can be resolved by regularly cleaning and maintaining your diverter and gutters to ensure they are free of debris.
- Incorrect Installation: Another common cause of failure is incorrect installation. If the diverter is installed too high or too low on the downspout, it may fail to capture and divert the water effectively. To solve this issue, you may need to reposition the diverter at an optimal height or seek professional assistance if necessary.
- Design Flaws: The design of your rainwater diverter plays a crucial role in its functionality. Some diverters are more prone to blockages or leaks due to their design. If you’re continually facing issues with your diverter despite regular cleaning and maintenance, it might be worth looking into a different model with a better, more efficient design.
- Wear and Tear: Just like any other outdoor appliance, rainwater diverters are subject to wear and tear. This deterioration can lead to leaks, which means that less water is being stored and more water is being wasted. Depending on the extent of the wear, it might be necessary to repair or replace the diverter.
- Incorrect Sizing: Rainwater diverters come in different sizes, and using the wrong size can result in the diverter not functioning as expected. If the diverter is too small, it might not be able to handle the volume of water coming down the downspout, leading to overflows. Conversely, if it’s too big, it may not fit properly and could result in leaks.
- Inadequate Flow Rate: Some rainwater diverters are designed to divert only a certain rate of water flow. If the rain intensity is too high, it may exceed the maximum flow rate of the diverter, causing it to overflow. You need to ensure your rainwater diverter is capable of handling the maximum expected rain intensity in your area.
- Freezing Weather: In areas that experience freezing temperatures, the water in the diverter can freeze, preventing it from functioning correctly. Regular maintenance before and during the winter months, including draining the system, can help prevent this issue.
To summarise, the causes of a malfunctioning rainwater diverter are varied, ranging from blockages and design flaws to incorrect installation and weather conditions. The key to preventing many of these issues lies in regular inspection, maintenance, and cleaning. If you continue to face problems despite these efforts, it may be worth consulting a professional to diagnose and fix the problem, or considering a replacement with a more efficient model or design. The goal is to have a fully functional diverter that effectively harvests rainwater, conserves water, and reduces your reliance on the municipal water supply.