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royaljosh 01-14-2013 11:23 AM

Cistern pump on, but not pumping into house
I inherited a house last year in the mountains that only has one water source, a buried concrete cistern. For almost a year now the cistern has been using a submersible pump that turns off and on depending on if water is getting used up in the house or not.

A few nights ago the temperature outside dropped down to 10 and the water worked for awhile the following morning and then the water shut off. I can hear the pump through the floor/wall and I can hear it when I open the cap outside on the cistern itself. None of the water in the cistern is frozen. Any thoughts on what the problem might be, and if there is a problem I should be able to notice, how do I get to the problem to fix it? The cistern probably has about 1800 gallons of water in it currently, and the cistern itself is completely buried with only the very top cap exposed above ground.

I am not a plumber, if this is a problem that a professional needs to look at, what kind of plumber do I need to get a hold of since the problem is a cistern and not a normal city-water system?

gregzoll 01-14-2013 11:54 AM

You stated the problem. Now to wait for the lines to thaw.

joecaption 01-14-2013 11:56 AM

Any plumber or well company can fix it.
First thing I think I would be looking at is the check or foot valve. If it's bad the pump looses prime.
A crack in the suction line from freezing can also cause it to lose prime.

DexterII 01-14-2013 12:07 PM

How deep is the line from the cistern to the house, and how long is the run?

royaljosh 01-14-2013 02:40 PM

I am not sure how to check any of these things, I can tell that the pump is at the bottom of the tank from the outside, which appears to be about 15 feet underground. Should i be ripping apart walls to find where the line comes in? If the problem is the pump or piping at the bottom of the tank is there a way to get to it to fix it? I am not even sure how I would drain it since I can't pump water out of it and into the house.

gregzoll 01-14-2013 02:57 PM

That is because the line is frozen. Walk a straight line from the cistern to the house, and that is probably where it enters.

DexterII 01-14-2013 02:57 PM

In the absence of knowing where the line even is, I'm with Joe in suggesting that you call a local plumber or well driller. They should be able to lcoate it and apprise you of your options.

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