Remove Old Water Storage Tanks to Make Some Space

Remove old water storage tanks to make some space in Edinburgh flats – OK, maybe not this much.

Removing a water storage tank in your property can free up valuable storage space.

Even the removal of the pipe work associated with the storage tank can make spaces more usable.

In Edinburgh tenement properties it is not unusual to find that redundant water storage tanks have been left in situ when a new heating and hot water system has been installed.

With storage space at a premium in Edinburgh flats removing an unused water tank can alleviate the crush.

Call HomeForce on 0131 315 0000 for advice and a free quote from an accredited Edinburgh Plumber.

What is a water storage tank?

We are referring to a cold water storage tank. Sometimes it is referred to as “a header tank”, “holding tank” or “cistern”.

It is filled from the mains water pipe coming into a property. It holds cold water until it is needed; either when a cold tap is turned on or when hot water is drawn through the heating system or to the hot water cylinder. As water is drawn from the tank a ballcock mechanism – like the one in a toilet cistern – allows mains water to feed into the storage tank to refill it.

We do not mean, in this instance, a hot water cylinder; sometimes called an “immersion tank” or “Hot Water Boiler”. These to can also be removed by HomeForce’s accredited plumbers but that topic is not covered here.

Where would a water storage tank usually be located?

In many older Edinburgh properties the cold water storage tank is housed directly over your head as you enter the bathroom.

If it’s not in this location it might be in (usually at the top of) another cupboard. In top floor flats or flats with accessible loft space the water tank may be found in there.

How do I know if a water tank can be removed?

If you have a combination boiler or an “unvented” heating and hot water system the chances are that your cold water storage tank will be redundant and can be removed.  In an “unvented” system mains water is piped directly into a hot water cylinder and with a “combi” boiler the mains water goes into the boiler and is heated when hot taps or showers are turned on. Cold water would usually therefore be taken directly from the mains giving you balanced pressure for hot and cold.

People, do on occasion, choose to keep using the storage tank in-case the mains water supply is disrupted.

It can be the case that to remove the storage tank you may need to change your heating and hot water system. A HomeForce accredited plumber would be able to advise.

Why else might you change or remove a water storage tank?

  1. If there is low water pressure from a cold water tank, changing to a system that keeps water at “mains pressure” could be an option. This could be an unvented or a gas boiler system for the hot and direct mains water for the cold.
  2. Sometimes water tanks may be made from materials that have been proven to be hazardous such as lead or very occasionally a cement containing asbestos.
  3. With galvanised steel tanks there is also a chance of the tank rusting through and causing water to leak or be discoloured from the tap.

What can be done with the space?

Once the tank is removed you may find that the space is actually quite dirty with years of accumulated dust. You could just clean it out (a very dirty job) but we’d recommend framing the space and lining it with plasterboard or chipboard to make it useful.

If the space is not particularly accessible you may need to increase the size of the opening. Putting double doors on the space above the door to a bathroom for example. An accredited, HomeForce Edinburgh Joiner could advise.

You might also want to think about putting a light in the space so you can find items when you need them. We’d recommend a bulkhead light so it’s protected from knocks and bumps as you take things in and out of your new storage space. An accredited, HomeForce Edinburgh Electrician could advise.

What does it cost?

Every situation is different but for the removal of a tank and tidying up pipe work budget for around £200 to £350 Labour Charge. Materials, debris disposal and parking would be in addition.

To frame and line the space created allow from £200 to £600 plus materials and parking.

To install a bulkhead light allow two hours of an electrician’s time  – c.£90 – plus the cost of materials and parking.

NB: – These are guidance figures only. Free quotes are available for any works.

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