Homes predating the turn of the nineteenth century often have remnants of a cistern hanging around. However, if you buy a really old home with hopes of restoring it to its former glory, you may encounter a complete cistern still in situ. If the home has been abandoned for years and there is only a septic system, then you will have to start from scratch. This entails removing the cistern, the pump that brought water up into the house, installing a water heater and modern plumbing. Here is what you need to do, if you are paving the way for a plumber to install more pipes.

Measuring Your Cistern's Depth and Planning to Fill the Void

If you hope to remove the cistern entirely, measure how deep the cistern goes. Some just fill the space beneath the floor under your kitchen, while others were built to go deeper than the basement floor. Should you happen to have a cistern that goes deeper than your basement floor, you may have to enlist the help of a general contractor to fill the hole with dirt and then create a solid cement floor over that. If the cistern is only as deep as the foundation of your old house, then you can just pull it out and repair the cement flooring.

Removing Any Residual Cistern Plumbing

Most cisterns required a pump to lift water against gravity into the house. In really, really old farmhouses, this was the pump on the kitchen sink. Later, pumps were powered by electricity and activating them was almost as simple as turning on the faucet. Depending on the age of your house, you will need to remove these cistern residuals in order to install modern plumbing and connect that plumbing to your water heater and a septic system or city plumbing system.

Installing Your Modern Water Heater

Choose a nice flat floor surface to place the water heater. Use a bubble level on top of the floor and on top of the water heater itself when you put the water heater in position over the spot you chose. If everything is level according to the bubble level, then you can install the water heater. Try to place it as centrally as possible or as close to your water source as possible so the water does not have to travel quite so far to warm up and then head up into the house. If you need additional plumbing to connect other sinks, showers and/or tubs to the water heater, hire a plumbing expert to help.

To learn more about water heaters, visit Parkey's Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing