(206) 949-5683, Top Rated Plumber, Seattle
Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: No Water From Cistern

  1. #1

    Question No Water From Cistern

    Hi all,

    I'm still at a loss even after reading almost every post on this site. We moved into an old house (built about 1900) about 1 month ago. Our water source is a windmill which pumps to a cistern and is then pulled to the house by a Jet pump into a holding tank(both brand new). When we moved in we noticed that there was some sputtering occurring when we ran the water. when we runt the windmill we can hear the water pumping into the cistern so we know the well is good

    Now that we replaced the pump and holding tank in the basement we don't have any water. We have been told that there is a hole in the pipe between the cistern and the house. I don't see how air can be pulled from tight packed clay soil surrounding this pipe. Every once in awhile we can get some water to pump(with a lot of sputtering and spitting) if we turn on the pump and shut off the valves to the house. It will build up pressure, the pump turns off as it should and all is okay until we open the valve again. After multiple attempts we can get some water to run for about one day. After that it's hit or miss.

    I don't know what else to say except i would love to be able to do my dishes and we dont want to have to dig up the entire line just to find out it's something else. PLEASE HELP!!! thank you for any ideas!

  2. #2
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Lubbock, Texas


    It does sound like you have an air leak in the suction line and yes air can be drawn through clay soil. Air molecules are so small that they can be drawn through things that will not pass water, clay, or other substances. If you can move the pump to the cistern or install a submersible pump in the cistern, then this line will be a pressure line instead of suction line. If not then you will need to fix the leak in the underground line. You could lay a new line on top of the ground and see if the problem is fixed. If that fixes it, then you can bury the new line. Usually easier to bury a new line than to dig up the old line. Another idea would be to remove any check valve at the booster pump and install a check valve at the cistern. When the pump shuts off, this line becomes a pressurized line and either the leak will appear or the pressure in the tank will drop while no other water is being used. This might help you find the leak but, it will still need to be repaired.

  3. #3
    Previous member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Riverview, Fl.


    I find that a lot of homeowners when installing a new pump will have suction leaks at the fittings in the suction line. I would look there first. If you have a check valve at the pump, remove it like Valveman said. If you don't have a valve at the cistern put one there instead of at the pump. If you see drips in the suction line after doing this, you have found your suction leak.


  4. #4


    THANK YOU both so much, it's helped alot and now i at least have something to say back to the guy that is trying to rip me off right now. I'll let you know what it was when it's figured out. THANKS AGAIN!!!!

  5. #5


    If your "guy" wants to find a leak you could ask him to isolate the pipe from tank to house with valves that are likely there already, pump it to 75psi or so with an air compressor as if doing a standard leak test and watch the pressure gauge. You can then listen for leaks at all exposed piping and determine if its underground. Run a new line if you cant find it.


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts