How Long Does a Cistern Last? Everything You Need to Know

How Long Does a Cistern Last? Everything You Need to Know

Cisterns are a great way to store water in your home or garden. But how long do they last? And what should you do if yours starts to leak?

The lifespan of a cistern depends on many factors, including the material it is made from, the climate it is exposed to, and the amount of maintenance it receives. In general, however, a well-maintained cistern can last up to 20 years or more.

In this blog post, we’ll answer your questions about cisterns and more! So keep reading to learn everything you need to know about cisterns.

What Is a Cistern, And How Does It Work?

A cistern is typically an underground tank that stores rainwater collected from a drainage area, such as a rooftop. The water is treated for non-potable applications, such as irrigation, toilet flushing, or laundry. Cisterns can be either above ground or below ground and are often made of concrete, fiberglass, or plastic.

Roof-mounted cisterns are usually gravity-fed, meaning they rely on gravity to deliver the water to the point of use. Below-ground cisterns may require a pump to circulate the water. Both types of cisterns can be equipped with filtration systems to remove sediment, debris, and other contaminants before the water is used.

In addition, cisterns may also be used to store potable water for emergency purposes. In this case, the cistern must be properly sanitized to prevent the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms.

How Long Does a Cistern Last?

Cisterns are a vital part of any household water system, but they don’t last forever. Over time, cisterns can develop cracks and leaks, and the lining can become worn out. As a result, it’s crucial to inspect your cistern regularly and have it inspected by a professional every few years. If you notice any leaks or cracks, it’s probably time to replace your cistern.

You should also consider replacing your cistern if it’s over 20 years old. Although properly maintained cisterns can last for decades, they eventually reach the end of their lifespan. When that happens, replacements become necessary to ensure that your household has a reliable water source.

What Factors Can Affect the Lifespan of a Cistern?

The lifespan of a cistern can be affected by several factors, including the material it is made of, the climate it is exposed to, and the level of maintenance it receives. Cisterns made of concrete and metal will last longer than those made of plastic.

Cisterns exposed to extreme temperatures or located in areas susceptible to flooding will also have a shorter lifespan.

However, the lifespan of a cistern can be extended by regularly maintaining it and repairing any leaks or cracks as soon as they are noticed. By taking these steps, you can help ensure that your cistern will provide years of trouble-free service.

Measures You Can Take to Prolong the Lifespan of a Cistern

As you can see, while cisterns last for a long time, they will not be around forever. However, with a few tips and tricks, you can keep your cistern in working condition for a lot longer than a few years. There are several measures you can take to prolong the lifespan of your cistern:

  • Regularly inspect and maintain your cistern, including checking for cracks or leaks and properly treating the water.
  • Keep debris and leaves out of your cistern to prevent clogging and damage to the lining.
  • Consider installing a protective cover or shade over your cistern to protect it from harsh weather conditions.
  • Use a cistern water level monitor to measure the level of water collected in the tank.
  • Make sure the cistern is installed by a professional and in a location that will not be susceptible to flooding or other damage.

By taking these measures, you can help ensure that your cistern will continue to provide a reliable water source for many years to come.

The Benefits of Installing Cisterns in Your Home

Cisterns are often installed in homes where water is scarce, or the quality of the local water supply is poor. There are many benefits to installing a cistern in your home. First, cisterns can help to conserve water. Cisterns can provide a vital source of water for household needs in areas where water is scarce.

Second, cisterns can improve the quality of the water supply. Rainwater is generally much cleaner than water from lakes or streams, making it a safer option for drinking and cooking. Third, cisterns can save money on your water bill. Collecting and storing rainwater can reduce your reliance on the municipal water supply.

Fourth, cisterns can be used to irrigate plants during dry periods. By using stored rainwater for irrigation, you can help to conserve water and reduce your impact on the environment.

Video: Benefits of Water Cistern


The Costs of Installing a New Cistern

The cost of installing a cistern will vary depending on the size and type of cistern and any additional features, such as filtration systems. Additionally, installation costs may vary based on location and any necessary excavation or construction work.

Generally, a small above-ground plastic cistern can cost around $500 to $1000, while a larger concrete or metal cistern can cost upwards of $5000.

However, the cost of installing a cistern can be offset by savings on your water bill and the potential for government incentives in areas facing water shortages. Overall, while installing a cistern is an initial cost, it can ultimately provide long-term savings and benefits.

If you want to replace your cistern,  it’s best to consider all the above factors and research your options before making a decision. By correctly maintaining your cistern and replacing it when necessary, you can ensure a reliable water source for your household.


Cisterns can provide a valuable source of water for households in areas facing water shortages or poor water quality.

Regularly maintaining and inspecting your cistern and replacing it when necessary can help prolong its lifespan and ensure a reliable water source for many years.

Chief Guru

Richard Boch is a chemical engineer responsible for designing water filtration systems for industrial and residential customers. He has more than 20 years of experience with ion exchange, activated carbon, and reverse osmosis. Richard's expertise has made him a go-to source for municipalities and businesses looking to improve their water quality. When he's not working, Richard enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children. You can also follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

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