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Posted by R. Walters on May 09, 2018
Is My Home a Good Candidate for a Cistern?
You may be thinking about the next step up from rain barrels at your home. Or you may want a way to supplement well water with an alternative water supply. Or maybe you’re worried about water shortages and want a way to hydrate your gardens without using city water. These are all great reasons for considering a residential cistern.
But how do you know if a cistern will fit into your life?
This article will walk you through some things to consider before installing a cistern at your home.
Rainwater Harvesting in a Residential Neighborhood?
The first thing to think about is where you live and whether it will impact the installation of a water cistern. For example, most neighborhood associations would frown upon a 500-gallon cistern installed outside your backdoor. While generally there are no restrictions on cistern installation in rural areas, if the cistern is to be installed underground it’s possible that permits may need to be pulled. The point is to think about the impact of cistern installation on the neighbors – if you have any nearby – and restrictions that may govern rainwater harvesting.
Cisterns are generally good options for homes with large rooftops and a way to divert several downspouts into one tank. If you’re thinking about a water cistern, walk around during the next rainstorm to see the amount of rainwater there is to harvest. Small roofed homes (less than 1,000 square feet) generally do fine with rain barrels.
Something else to think about is that the cistern should be in a spot that’s close to the rainwater harvesting source, i.e., the roof and the downspouts. But it should also be close to wherever you want to use the water. For example, your vegetable garden. There are guidelines tied to where it should be placed in relation to sewer lines, power cables, and trees, too. Finding good level ground is also important, even if the tank is buried.
In general, your cistern installation should do the minimum amount of damage possible to the existing landscape. Rain Brothers tries our best not to damage trees in the process of excavating for underground tanks, for example. All of these considerations are also tied, of course, to the size of the tank. We can help you calculate the size of the tank you’ll need based on average annual rainfall, the square footage of your roof, and the number of downspouts we connect to the water cistern.
Finally, we should discuss how to handle cistern runoff if the tank gets too full. For underground tanks, we can install backup sump pumps that kick in if the water table gets too high. Or, we can set up an overflow outlet to discharge into a rain garden or some other runoff collector. While this may be the final step toward water cistern installation – it’s a very important one.
Cistern Installation – Call Rain Brothers
If you’re thinking about installing a water cistern in your home, consider a free consultation from Rain Brothers. We’ve been installing in-ground and above-ground cisterns all around the Midwest for years. Contact us to kick around your ideas and put our experience to work for your family.