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Rainwater use with cistern: information and tips
Rainwater use with cistern: information and tips

Video: Rainwater use with cistern: information and tips

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Video: Full rainwater tank maintenance video (all clips) 2023, January
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Rainwater is an environmentally friendly and sensible alternative for many areas where you would otherwise use drinking water. No matter whether toilet or garden irrigation - a cistern can help save money and at the same time conserve water as a resource. We explain how to collect your rainwater and how to best use it.

Table of contents Table of contents Cistern for rainwater use: Installation tips and costs

  • Drinking water as a resource
  • Rainwater fee
  • What is a cistern?
  • function
  • household
  • garden
  • costs
  • Installation
  • pump
  • cleaning
  • Conclusion

Table of contents Table of contents Cistern for rainwater use: Installation tips and costs

  • Drinking water as a resource
  • Rainwater fee
  • What is a cistern?
  • function
  • household
  • garden
  • costs
  • Installation
  • pump
  • cleaning
  • Conclusion

Drinking water as a resource

Drinking water is a precious resource - reason enough that the United Nations has already included the right to clean water in the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”. People all over the world draw attention to the shortage of drinking water by celebrating World Water Day once a year. To ensure that clean water remains accessible to everyone, it is important that we conserve the resource and try to find alternatives. For example, rainwater instead of clean, valuable drinking water is sufficient for flushing the toilet or watering the garden.

Don't just pay for rainwater, use it too

Have you ever heard of the so-called rainwater fee? Everyone pays this in their ancillary costs for rainwater, which is collected in the gutter on the roof and flows directly into the sewage system. In other words, each of us pays for rainwater that we do not use. On the other hand, if you have a cistern, you not only save money on drinking water, but also get the most out of your rain water expenses.

What is a cistern?

How can you catch the rainwater, clean it and then bring it to the toilet or watering can? All of this works with a so-called cistern. This underground tank in the garden collects and cleans rainwater so you don't have to use clean, expensive drinking water for the garden or the toilet.

Formerly, in ancient times, for example, entire villages had to rely on such cisterns due to irregular rainfall, we now only know the storage facilities for small private use. But they can also be very useful there. Because a cistern not only saves drinking water, but also money!

How does a cistern work?

Einbau eines Wassertanks
Einbau eines Wassertanks

If you want to be on the safe side, leave the installation of the water tank to a professional.

Photo: epr / downpour

When it rains, the precipitation falls into the cistern via so-called downpipes and supply pipes. Before it arrives in the storage tank of the cistern, the water runs through a fine filter that cleans the rainwater from coarse dirt, leaves or stones. The water then collects in the storage tank and calms down there. Means: the remaining suspended matter sinks to the bottom, one speaks of sedimentation. The water can then be stored in the tank until use.

If there is a period with a lot of heavy rainfall, it quickly happens, depending on the size of the cistern, that the reservoir is full. The excess water can then flow into the sewage system via an overflow spy, similar to that in a bathtub.

However, if it stays dry for a very long time, the cistern must be supplied with drinking water. Otherwise it runs the risk of falling dry.

Use of rainwater in the house

Every German consumes an average of at least 122 liters of water a day. And only half of it has to be of drinking water quality, for example the water that we use for cooking or personal hygiene. For showering, washing clothes, flushing the toilet or cleaning, filtered rainwater from the cistern is also sufficient. It is precisely in these areas that there is little or no risk of infection, and washing the laundry with rainwater in particular makes great ecological sense. Your wallet and the environment will thank you.

Use of rainwater in the garden

Rainwater can be used very well not only in the household, but also in the garden. For the irrigation of plants, trees, fruit or the vegetable patch, you don't need expensive drinking water. If you switch to using rainwater from the cistern, you can save a lot: With a garden of around 600 square meters and an average amount of water of 20 liters per square meter, 240, 000 liters quickly accumulate in the summer months. With a liter price of around 0.2 cents, the end result is around 480 euros a year. This is quite a lot of money and can largely be saved by using cistern water.

Schöne Regentonne
Schöne Regentonne

In addition to the cistern, it is recommended to install other water collection options. Because once the cistern is full, rainwater that flows in is fed directly into the sewage system.

Photo: iStock / schulzie

How much does a cistern cost?

Depending on the material, size and capacity, the costs for cisterns naturally vary greatly. A rather small rainwater storage tank with a plastic tank and a capacity of 1, 500 liters is priced around 700 euros. You can get the large version with a capacity of 13, 000 liters from around 3, 800 euros. This price does not include the pump, the filter system and the pipes as well as the connections. The pit must also be dug. If you don't trust yourself, you have to hire a craftsman. This creates additional costs for the specialist or fees from the building authority. But: The cost of the cistern is a good thing and usually paid for itself after just a few years.

Install the cistern correctly

The capacity and size of the cistern must of course be based on how much space is available in your own garden. Depending on the size, the material must also be selected: Here you can choose between concrete and plastic, whereby the installation of a plastic cistern for hobby craftsmen and gardeners is the simpler, since easier, variant. When choosing the material, you should also make sure that the tank is of sufficient material thickness. Because nothing is more annoying than a leak in the tank, because the effort to lift the tank out of the ground is very high. You can save yourself the effort and the money if you directly use a higher material thickness.

Use of rainwater in the home: the installation of a pump

If you only use the cistern water for watering the garden, a simple plastic sieve is sufficient to filter out the coarsest dirt, stones or leaves. The installation of a simple hand pump is then sufficient.

However, if you also want to use the rainwater in the home and use it for showering, for example, we recommend installing a filter system in the form of a cartridge filter and a pump. This filters even better and has to be checked and cleaned less frequently. In order to bring the cistern water into the building over several floors, if necessary, and then to distribute it, a powerful, electricity-operated pump is definitely required. It is best to go to a specialist with your request and describe to him exactly the area of ​​application and the purpose that the pump should fulfill.

Do you want to have a cistern installed in your garden? Then it is best to consult the craftsman or hardware store about the options in your garden and get the necessary tips and information on the subject of rainwater use from the experts.

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How do you clean a cistern?

Thanks to the filter system and the automatic overflow when there is too much rain, the cistern basically cleans itself. But: You should still check, clean and replace the filters at regular intervals. Because over the years, a sediment layer can be sucked onto the filter, which clogs it and therefore no longer guarantees water purification. It is best to discuss with a specialist when the sediment layer should be suctioned off. Basically, the following applies: once the layer has reached a thickness of approximately 5 centimeters, it should be vacuumed off.

If you also use the rainwater from the cistern in the home, it is advisable to install technical monitoring systems so that the water quality does not drop or you may notice it directly.

It should also be noted that rainwater harvesting systems, to which the cistern belongs, must be regularly serviced by a specialist according to the regulations.

Conclusion: save thanks to the cistern

The cistern costs money, but it is still worth it: A household with four people saves 75, 000 liters of drinking water per year: 33 liters a day for flushing the toilet, 15 liters for washing clothes, 10 liters for garden irrigation or house cleaning. This is not only good for the environment and drinking water supply, it also saves money! Because: rainwater is free. Although the cistern has to be bought, installed and serviced, it is still much cheaper than tap water. In this way, we can all contribute to ensuring that clean drinking water for the entire world population is maintained for a long time.

Maren Schwarz Foto
Maren Schwarz Foto

Maren Schwarz

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