A specialist rainwater harvesting system installer since 2021, Tom Dening, founder at Dening and Co shares his thoughts on the demand for rainwater harvesting systems.
How Long Have You Been Installing Rainwater Harvesting Tanks?
We began installing rainwater harvesting systems not long after we first started the business, although initially the jobs were fewer and on a much smaller scale using IBC tanks, with most of our customers being allotment or smallholding owners. This provided the essential foundation for us to become specialists in rainwater harvesting.
In early 2021, having the opportunity to stock the Enduramaxx range, it became quite clear that customers wanted a one stop shop for supply and installation. This is really when we began to install bigger and more advanced systems for all different types of customers, from homeowners to farmers and commercial companies.
Currently we deal with roughly an equal split of business and residential customers, with roughly 60% business customers and 40% residential. We enjoy the different variations in jobs we get and welcome everyone, however big or small their project is. It's great to engage people in discussing their requirements and see how we can help.
What Does Being An Installer Involve?
The work we carry out can include everything from groundworks to plumbing the pipework into a filter, though on occasion the help of a water engineer may be required for more challenging jobs or when certain compliance is required.
Installation is a great way to get out and engage and understand each individual customer and our passion has only grown over the years. Geographically our focus of the “supply and fit” is in the Southwest but we can advise and supply tanks and equipment to customers anywhere in mainland England/Wales.
Typically, How Long Does It Take From Initial Enquiry To Installed Rainwater Harvesting System?
It really depends on the scope of the job as well as the time of year. Winter is a great time to install a rainwater harvesting system and will also ensure a good supply when the warmer months arrive, yet our busiest time of year is in the summer as this is typically when customers start considering harvesting rainwater. Hence for smaller jobs and especially during the colder months, sometimes work can start in as little as a week or so, whilst in the summer months it can take a little longer.
Assuming an initial appraisal/quotation is accepted and all the tanks and necessary equipment are ordered and delivered within 7 – 10 days, we would aim to complete a job within 4 weeks from the initial enquiry.
Have You Seen An Increase In Interest In Rainwater Harvesting?
Water has previously been taken for granted but especially the past two summers where we have had prolonged periods of hot dry weather and droughts - we have seen mains water supplies tested to the point where supply does not equal demand. Notably, this year customers have been increasing “header” storage capacity for their private or mains supply because of last year’s summer’s shortages. Alongside agricultural rainwater grant type work there has been a building interest in rainwater harvesting for residential and commercial customers alike.
Net Zero is, and will continue to be, a key future driver of rainwater harvesting projects to take pressure off current infrastructure but also prevent flooding by acting as attenuation stores during intense storms. Not only this, but harvesting rainwater can significantly reduce water bills and running costs for business and residential customers, which in the current economic climate has never been more important.
When Is Your Busiest Time Of Year?
More recently there has certainly been a late autumn/early winter demand because of agricultural grant availability. However, ironically some of our busiest weeks/months are when the weather is hot - customers don’t think they need an additional water supply until it's dry and their supplies are reduced. This is really where a more educational approach is required so that customers can get the best out of their systems when they need it the most.
Any time of year is great to consider fitting a system but as we mentioned, to ultimately get the most out of a rainwater harvesting system in the first year, installation really needs to be in the wetter winter/spring months to get a sensible capacity of water stored in time for the drier periods.
What Size Is Your Most Popular Enduramaxx Tank?
In our experience and in our area, the South West, the 10,000L tanks are typically one of the most popular sizes. They provide good value for the capacity, are easy to transport and move on sites and are ideal to supply water for a variety of uses.
What Do Your Customers Use The Captured Rainwater For?
Agricultural customers use water for parlour/machinery washing, spraying, and feeding livestock. Commercial customers use the water for outdoor washing (vehicles etc), dust suppression, tank ballast and toilet flushing and residential customers most commonly use harvested rainwater for irrigation around the garden or for outdoor washing purposes, toilet flushing and washing machines.
What Do Dening and Co Offer?
Good customer service is a key part of our business and delivering what we have promised on time and at a fair price is also very important to us. We believe this makes us an attractive option to prospective clients and has worked very well for us.
Each rainwater harvesting project is individual in terms of the scale, dynamics and the intended future use of the water. Many companies will readily quote the supply and installation of equipment but often will not carry out a site visit. For us, we have found it enormously helpful, especially for bigger jobs, to visit the site or at the very least, do an initial video call before providing a quote. This way we can consider any key infrastructure points, tailor the project to optimise the rainwater harvest and quote an accurate price, considering anything that will make it a smoother job or cause challenges during the installation.
For example, for our rainwater harvesting installation services, we provide each customer with an appraisal of their maximum rainwater harvest potential, based on their roof area and the average annual rainfall in their area, taking into account the driest months. We also suggest the appropriate level of storage, tank type and size required to ensure the customer is getting the most from their system. Understanding the roof type and size (in terms of area) and appropriate siting of tanks can prove very helpful in most cases to future-proof a project and maximise its potential.
Do You Have Customers Who Feed Livestock With Harvested Rainwater?
There is a growing trend in using harvested rainwater to supply water to animal sheds for winter or for animals in grazing paddocks. Feeding livestock with harvested rainwater is generally done to reduce the reliance on a mains water supply or bolster a borehole supply.
We have certainly seen many situations in the past two summers where mains (private) water supplies have struggled to cope with demand and feeding livestock with harvested rainwater can certainly ease these supply problems whilst significantly reducing running costs.
Harvested rainwater is often treated for livestock drinking by installing a UV and filter cartridge system, or with a disinfectant prior to reaching the troughs. Commonly, a float switch is installed and used to allow for a backup mains or borehole supply if capacity of rainwater runs low.
Some customers multi-use harvested water and recently had a farm using the water in the summer to fill their crop sprayer and in the winter used the water to feed dairy youngstock in the sheds the water was harvested from.
Is There A Demand For Underground Tank Installations?
There is a growing interest in using underground tanks not just in commercial or agricultural settings but to supply water into houses for the purposes of toilet flushing and washing machines, alongside outside use such as for watering plants.
In fact, I have recently installed an underground system at my own house. It has been a convenient way to get a real feel of what works and what doesn't and further our knowledge in the systems, increasing awareness of and ironing out any potential pitfalls to ensure we advise customers correctly.
Whilst the supply and installation of underground water storage tanks is more expensive and requires the help of both a water engineer and plumber, there are many benefits such as greater capacity and better concealed tanks.
What Is Your Most Frequently Asked Question?
Understanding the difference between potable and non-potable water tanks. There is a wide range of uses where a potable tank is not necessary, such as rainwater harvesting.
What Is Your Most Unusual Request?
Water tanks for post-exercise ice plunge baths is probably the most unusual request we have had!
Tell Us A Little More About Yourself And Dening And Co.
My work background as well as my university degree in Agriculture provided the foundation for starting the business, which began in October 2018 and initially focused on refurbishing Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC’s) to be resold or hired to customers for various uses in many different industries.
I have always had a passion for sustainability and minimising waste. It quickly became clear that rainwater harvesting was one of the most common uses of the IBC tanks we were selling and as a result, installing rainwater harvesting systems became one of the main focuses of our business.
Fast forward to 2023 and we now supply and install systems throughout the South West and we also have an online store supplying a large range of water tanks and accessories to customers in England and Wales. We are proud stockists of Enduramaxx and are continuously growing our range of products and services.
And Finally, What Do You Like To Do When You’re Not Working?
We are extremely fortunate to live 30 minutes from the Jurassic coastline and amongst stunning countryside, so I really enjoy running, walking and cycling and spending as much time with my partner and children. As a family we all enjoy a relaxing day at home, gardening or exploring the great outdoors. In really busy months I get the children involved in preparation for the week ahead, whether that's getting a checklist of tools ready or helping to get tanks ready for delivery.
If you have an enquiry, please visit Tom’s website at Dening and Co for more information.