How silver nets keep water tanks clean in the long term

Silver nets (also known as silver mat or silver fleece) are used for longer-term water conservation in larger tanks and containers. In our guide you can find out exactly how the principle behind conservation works, what the risks of using it are and how to use silver netting properly.

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Preserve water with silver: How silver nets work

Silver has a germ-inhibiting (bacteriostatic) and simultaneously germ-reducing (bactericidal) effect. Water conservation with silver nets or silver mats takes advantage of this principle. Upon contact with water or moisture, silver ions (chemical element symbol: Ag+) automatically dissolve out of the silver mesh. 

But how does the silver ion effect really work? The released silver ions have the following effect: They attack potential pathogens in the water, damaging the cell membrane, inhibiting cell enzymes and thus preventing new bacteria from multiplying. This process is self-regulating and starts at the first contact with water – until the silver ions contained in the silver net are completely used up. This depends on the size of the water tank. The silver net should be replaced after one year at the latest.

Note: Silver ions preserve clean drinking water for extended periods of up to approximately one year. However, this cannot be used to purify river water or tap water without a drinking water guarantee and make it drinkable!

What is Silvertex®?

Silvertex® is an innovative 3D knitted fabric (technical textile), which was developed in cooperation with German universities and scientific institutes especially for the preservation of drinking and industrial water. The material is made of polyester, polyamide and silver. It provides stored water with protection against microbial contamination by reducing bacteria, fungi and viruses, for example, and counteracting the formation of biofilms.

Why does Silvertex® work so well and reliably?

The special 3D construction of the fabric ensures that with a small amount of silver, a large silver surface is available for contact with water. Since the silver ions can only be released to the water from a free silver surface, the light and flexible filament system with metallic silver surfaces is very suitable. The water can easily flow through the knitted fabric and thus comes into unrestricted contact with the silver surfaces to absorb the silver ions.

How quickly do Silvertex® silver nets work in the water tank?

The release of silver ions already starts from the first contact with water or moisture. However, the process that preserves the water takes place slowly and continuously. As soon as silver ions are in the water, their effect becomes active – but distribution throughout the tank or container takes some time. Of course, this depends on how much filling volume the corresponding tank has. Depending on the size and movement of the water, the distribution takes at least 3 minutes to be able to detect silver ions. In larger tanks with a volume of approx. 30l or more, the process takes a little longer.

Are silver ions even allowed in drinking water for preservation purposes?

Often there is a lot of discussion among campers or in forums on the Internet as to whether silver is even allowed to conserve drinking water in motorhomes or the like. The starting point is the 2017 amendment to the Drinking Water Ordinance. In it, silver was removed as a processing material. Here, however, it is important to distinguish by whom and how the water is used. In principle, the use of silver for water treatment for one’s own private use is still permitted as long as it is an approved biocidal product.

Once water has been preserved with silver ions, it must not be given to third parties. However, for private personal use, silver can still be used to preserve water. As soon as you take water from the tap, it becomes a foodstuff. A foodstuff may be enriched with certain additives for preservation during processing. In this respect, silver products are approved as biocide products under the Biocide Ordinance for the disinfection of drinking water for humans and animals.

Important: Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the product and read the label and product information.

What are the risks of silver in drinking water?

As with all substances, it depends on the quantity. The World Health Organization (WHO), for example, specifies a guide value of up to 0.08 mg/l dissolved silver, which can be consumed without hesitation per day. The GooWaCo silver products, on the other hand, only release silver ions in an average concentration range of 0.005-0.02 mg/l, depending on the composition of the water.

There is no risk of overdosing with silver in Silvertex products. The concentration of silver ions dissolved from Silvertex® products in drinking water cannot exceed the permissible limits in any way. Each substance dissolves only up to a certain concentration – the point of chemical equilibrium. That means that all substances involved, such as metallic silver (the silver mat or the silver net) and ionic (dissolved) silver are present in a defined proportion and can only be dissolved up to this maximum quantity.

How to use silver nets correctly?

The implementation of silver mats in water tanks is very easy and is done in a few steps:

  • Step 1: Fill fresh water into a clean water tank or container of your choice. Make sure that it really is drinking water from a trustworthy pipeline.
  • Step 2: Place the silver net over a service opening as centrally as possible in the tank. The silver mat should not lie directly on the bottom of the container, but it should also be completely submerged.
  • Step 3: Simple use of preserved water for up to approx. one year.

The material is not suitable for containers made of aluminum or steel, as there is a risk of corrosion! If you do not need the silver mat it is best to store it in a dry condition in a place protected from light.. Between longer breaks, however, the silver net can also remain in the filled water tank for up to approx. one year, as it continues to preserve the tank and the pipe network and prevents the formation of a biofilm. Overwintering in a motorhome tank is not recommended.

Don’t forget: silver nets or silver mats are only suitable for the preservation of drinking water. It is not possible to treat water from the river or other sources. In other words, Water that is not clear as to whether it is of drinking water quality cannot be disinfected and freed from bacteria. For this you need an additional disinfectant.

Silver nets for water conservation in motorhomes

The importance of clean drinking water is particularly important for camping and outdoor enthusiasts. If you are “on the road” for a longer period of time, you do not always have the possibility to get clean water, and you depend on a well-preserved water supply. Therefore, a silver net is the ideal companion when camping, and a way you can preserve water in the motorhome for long periods of time.

The silver mat automatically ensures the conservation of the fresh water already when filling the water tank. The pure silver ions effectively protect not only the water, but even the entire fresh water system from contamination. In addition to the tank, this also includes the pump, pipes and fittings.

Conservation of fresh water on boats

Conservation of drinking water is just as important on boats as it is in a caravan. A silver mat is also used here. The pure silver ions also effectively protect the entire fresh water system from contamination. Some boaters store their drinking water in canisters. For this purpose, smaller silver nets are ideal for preserving the stored drinking water for a longer period of time. To additionally protect the water from bacteria and biofilm formation, store the canisters in a dark place. The use of Silvertex® Good Water is also ideal for boat types with inspection hatches for the fresh water tank. During the annual inspection and cleaning of the tank, open the hatch and place the flexible textile in the clean tank and refill with fresh water. Between longer breaks, the silver net can remain in the filled water tank for a maximum of 1 year, as it continues to preserve the tank and the pipe network and prevents the formation of a biofilm. Overwintering in a boat tank is not recommended. A safe and easy application for long-term fresh water conservation in boats.

How long do silver nets last?

Silver nets should not be used for more than one year or season in a row. After that time, a complete effect is no longer guaranteed. In addition, the size of the silver net and tank should not be forgotten. Silver nets are available for different tank sizes for a reason. Depending on their size, they can conserve different amounts of water.

Conclusion

Silver nets or silver mats are a practical tool for conserving water over the long term. Due to the independent release of silver ions, you do not need to do anything else after insertion. Moreover, the silver ions of the silver nets or silver mats in the drinking water are not harmful to the body, because the dose of silver is much too low. Convince yourself of the easy application and practical effect of the silver nets.