Cistern Maintenance

In order to keep your cistern operating properly, follow these simple steps throughout the year.

Print a PDF to have at home, available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

Watch a video to learn how to take these easy steps, available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Understand your cistern:

Cistern 1

Before the autumn rain starts:

Before the rainy autumn months, prepare your cistern to allow water to flow freely through your cistern to a rain garden or side sewer. Later, in spring, you can use your cistern to capture rainwater to use when watering your garden.

Clean your cistern

When your cistern is almost empty, check inside to see if you need to remove any sediment or algae.

  1. Open the bottom cleanout (d) to release water and dirt.
  2. Move the downspout (a) away from the cistern lid (b).
  3. Take off the lid (b) and the screen (c) so that you have access to the inside of the cistern.
  4. Spray water down inside the cistern to clean out the debris.
  5. Replace everything so that the cistern is ready for the rainy season.

 

 Clear any blockages

  1. Close the valve (f) to hold back any water.
  2. Unscrew the white plastic orifice housing (g).
  3. Remove the orifice (h)—washer between the plastic orifice housing.
  4. Clean the orifice and make sure you can see through the hole (this means water can flow out).
  5. Put the orifice back in place, reconnect the housing and open the valve to let the water flow again.

 

 Open the low-flow valve

Let rain flow slowly into your garden or side sewer by opening the valve (f) to the low-flow orifice.

Open it by turning the valve parallel to the pipe.

 

 Clean your gutters and check your cistern

Leaves that fall onto your roof will collect in your gutters and get stuck in your cistern screen. Be sure to check your gutters and cistern at least once a year.

  1. Move downspout (a) away from hole in the lid (b).
  2. Unscrew and remove cistern lid so that you can see the screen (c) underneath.
  3. Remove any leaves or other debris from the screen.
  4. Scrape or spray off any dirt, then put the screen back into the cistern.
  5. Put the lid, screws, and downspout back into place.

cistern 5

 

During Late Spring:

Clean your cistern

When your cistern is almost empty, check inside to see if you need to remove any sediment or algae.

  1. Open the bottom cleanout (d) to release water and dirt.
  2. Move the downspout (a) away from the cistern lid (b).
  3. Take off the lid (b) and the screen (c) so that you have access to the inside of the cistern.
  4. Spray water down inside the cistern to clean out the debris.
  5. Replace everything so that the cistern is ready for the rainy season.

Close the low-flow valve

Close the valve (f) to the low-flow orifice in May to save water for the dry season.

Close it by turning the valve perpendicular to the pipe.

Use the cistern water

Connect a hose to the spigot (e) to use the water you have saved in your cistern.

cistern 6

 

All Year Long:

Please keep your gutters clean year round.

Leaves, dirt, and so much more land on your roof all year long. If you have a composite roof, the grit on the shingles may slowly come off, making its way into your gutters. Eventually, all this debris collects in your gutters until rain washes it down your downspouts. Without knowing it, you may have a clogged cistern.

gutters