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Water Cistern and pump questions


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#1 TAHOE ONLINE  

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Posted February 13, 2015 - 12:42 PM

We need a "home" section as much as we all work on our places.

 

 

Anyway, Moving intot he new house, the back porch is actually an old cistern. I can remember dad using it back in the 70's/80's for yard stuff and the drilled deep well would run out of water during dry seasons.

Once all of my sisters moved out and I went off to college in mid 80's the well was able to sustain mom /dad and the cistern quit being used. Dad even removed the Y pipe on the downspout that fed the cistern.

I have been thinking about inspecting and getting this thing back up so I can have an extra supply for yard stuff, barn animals if needed, etc so that leads me to a bunch of questions.

 

In the basement is still the old jet pump connected to a what looks to be 60 gal pressure tank, they are both easily 45-50 yrs old. I hit the switch for the pump and it does turn on, I know, doesn't mean it will pump. I read that the need primed somehow, the suction pipe goes from the floor, up towards the ceiling, out basement wall about 7 feet up then into cistern. I would imagine it elbows down and down to bottom of cistern. I have pulled lid on porch, looks to be about 1-2 feet of water in there.

 

Okay, so #1- any thoughts on how to prime/check out pump and what I should do with the pressure tank?

 

#2- I know I really need to pump out old water and clean inside there. I can get a submersible utility pump and get it all out, but.....then what? any thoughts on cleaning or sanitizing the walls/floor?

Maybe pool chlorine ( since I have 4 gallons) or Vinegar it before pumping ?

 

I know the cistern is the depth of the basement and it looks to be coated with an old rubber. I am wondering if once cleaned and dries out some if I should go back and recoat walls with a rubberized coating again? not really worried about outside walls, but the one cistern wall is also the basement wall, don't need a wet basement.

It is also pretty sealed from the outside. HD steel lid in porch and I will be making a new drain pipe off gutters using a first flush pipe.

 

I know I will have more questions, but this gets me started. I may have to buy a new pump and bladder tank, but just need to get my head around on what direction to take. I think I am grandfathered in with having the cistern and since it's not hooked into main supply right now, I'm good....and no one else knows about it anyway :D  

 


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#2 Leonard VanCamp ONLINE  

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Posted February 13, 2015 - 01:42 PM

If you have some way to hook a submersible pump outlet to the jet pump intake you could kill three birds with one stone, empty the cistern, prime the jet pump and check out the pressure tank.



#3 boyscout862 OFFLINE  

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Posted February 13, 2015 - 01:44 PM

There should be a plug or cap on the pump or inflow pipe that will let you pour water into it prime it. At that age I would be suspicious of all of it. Do not climb into that cistern without the proper confined space training and equipment. "Dead air" kills people every year, especially on older farms.

 

Its a great idea to have rain water storage. I do it too because it makes such good sense. Just be very carefull and take your time. If the pump doesn't work or the tank leaks it will be cheaper to just use a sump pump when you need water out of the cistern. Good Luck, Rick



#4 glgrumpy ONLINE  

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Posted February 13, 2015 - 01:49 PM

Hmmm! This is New to me, or should I say "Old"?   Always thought Cistern's were just a waste dump for water problems around the house and not for actual use? No pumps on them.  I once had a well with pump and tank. It had a "foot valve" at end of pick-up tube that needed to close and hold the water in the intake tube. You need a constant water connection with now air in lines for this type pump I believe.  SEems you will have to fill the pump and line by removing that plug right above pump head and pouring it in??? Fill the upper part of tank and the pipes after that going to ourside or ???  Guess I shouldn't really be stating anything here, as don't really know much about the systems. And as you know, I'm sure it wouldn't meet any modern standards for use anymore.



#5 TAHOE ONLINE  

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Posted February 13, 2015 - 02:04 PM

Thanks for replies.

 

I figure the old galvanised pipe will have to be replaced so I maybe able to removed the intake pip inside the cistern then attach the removal pump to that to fill the inner tank and prime pump.

I did read in my short research about priming the pump by removing some cap on top of pump. That still leaves me with 7' of line up the pump, over about 2 feet, then back down into cistern about another 7'. I will have to break those lines and put in some type of vacuum hose and a 1 way valve to suck the air out. I do that with my DIY aquarium overflow with an air line and small valve.

 

GL, this cistern was built for water USAGE, house was built in 1909, I doubt they had a deep well. I can remember when I was little '77-78 helping my dad shovel the 24" of snow on the ground into the cistern so we had water as the well went dry for a bit and due to blizzard, he couldn't get a water truck out to fill it.

 

BS, we get basic confined space training her at work, I am aware of the dangers, thanks for reminding me! I won't be going in when I'm by myself.


Edited by TAHOE, February 13, 2015 - 02:06 PM.

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#6 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted February 13, 2015 - 04:09 PM

A lot of cisterns way back were filled with spring water pumped at a very slow rate, but constant from a hydraulic ram pump, plus runoff from roofs.  On old tin roofs if might not have been a good idea with the paints used on the rusty roofs.  

  I can't help you much Marty with the cistern servicing, as I've never done it, but I would certainly think it would need to be sanitized.  They actually make chlorine injector pumps that will treat the water with the right amount of chlorine matched to the water being pumped in to keep the cistern water at a safe level to use/drink.


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#7 Coventry Plumber OFFLINE  

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Posted February 13, 2015 - 06:26 PM

Marty , around here we have to chlorinate new water services with a bleach and water mix. It would be the same for that also. Try to calculate how Many gallons it holds to figure out how much bleach , then let it sit 24 hours before draining and flushing it all out. So it will take a lot of water just to disinfect it. I doubt the pressure tank will be good still , I agree with Boyscout that a sump pump is the way to go. For what it cost to replace the components you have you could get the best sump pump money can buy. Good luck
Tom
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#8 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted February 13, 2015 - 06:38 PM

Like was said, be careful of the air in the cistern if entering.  Use a shop vac to exchange the air a good half hour or more before & during your time in there.  Hook your hose on the exhaust to push the good air in & bad air out.


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#9 UncleWillie ONLINE  

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Posted February 13, 2015 - 07:04 PM

 Hook your hose on the exhaust to push the good air in & bad air out.

OF THE VACUUM NOT THE CAR!!!!!!!


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#10 toomanytoys84 OFFLINE  

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Posted February 13, 2015 - 07:50 PM

http://m.calculators...uction/tank.php

that's a good Calculator for size
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#11 Sawdust OFFLINE  

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Posted February 13, 2015 - 08:23 PM

Drain, clean, seal, & like mentioned use a sump pump. With a little plumbing you'll be in business.
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#12 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted February 13, 2015 - 08:24 PM

Marty, Is this for Human use or animal use?

Animals seem to have a much better constitution when it comes to drinking water and what is in there...

 

If I were dealing with that situation, do what you can to get the cistern up to snuff, then use it just for the animals and yard... leaving the well water for the  house use.  If you HAVE to use the water, boil and then treat with those tablets for emergency use water.

 

my $0.02


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#13 toomanytoys84 OFFLINE  

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Posted February 13, 2015 - 08:31 PM

If I were dealing with that situation, do what you can to get the cistern up to snuff, then use it just for the animals and yard... leaving the well water for the house use.
my $0.02


This is what I do with mine. Water the garden wash cars ect with the cistern water. We have county water but why pay for water to spray on the ground?
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#14 propane1 ONLINE  

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Posted February 14, 2015 - 12:03 AM

I have never heard of a cistern. ? What is it and where in the house is it located, what was it used for?? My sons old house has a big tub in the attic, is this a cistern.? Just wondering, Noel.

#15 Bill 76 OFFLINE  

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Posted February 14, 2015 - 03:06 AM

I have never heard of a cistern. ? What is it and where in the house is it located, what was it used for?? My sons old house has a big tub in the attic, is this a cistern.? Just wondering, Noel.

Noel,the two of them I have seen were in the basements in 100 year old houses all they were was two walls added to corner of the basement to form a square or rectangle and about 5 feet tall and the downspout dumped the rain water in them.I think they used the water for washing.I don't know if they were a real cistern thats just what we called them,  Never heard of one in the attic.


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