How to Install a Water Cistern Pump

What You'll Need
Plumber's Wrench
Electrical Wiring
Water Pump
Rock Screen
Teflon Tape

Cisterns and cistern pumps have been around for over 1,000 years. The water that goes into the cistern can be used as the main water source to your house or as a backup system if you live in a rural or dry area. Some cisterns are gravity fed, which means the pull of gravity pulls the water down into the plumbing of your home or irrigation, while others use pumps to get the water out of the cistern. Installing a water pump is not a difficult task. Doing this on your own not only saves you money on plumber, but will give you experience if in the future it needs replacing. A foot valve should be installed at the same time as the water pump so the water does not go back down the pipe every time it is used. This also helps with not having to prime the pump as often.

Step 1 – Preparation for Installation

Gather all the material you will need and set them out of the way in an area near where you will be working. All the electricity needs to be turned off from the main breaker.

Step 2 – Using the Teflon Tape

It is important to wrap all the pipe ends and fittings with Teflon tape. This is to make sure there is a good seal.

Step 3 - Placing the Pump Inlet

The first thing you need to do is put the pump inlet into the well. The inlet is located on the bottom of the pump. Cover it with the rock screen to prevent any type of debris or rocks getting into it and damaging your pump.

Step 4 – Install the Foot Valve

You can install this valve anywhere you would like on the line as long as it is at least 5 feet below the water level. The usual place is at the end of the pipe. You attach this to the pump inlet. The valve has its own connector, which you will use for the connection.

Step 5 – Pump Connection

The inlet gets connected to the outlet on the water pump. This is either a pipe or hose. Attach the pipe or hose from the water pump onto the inlet. This needs to be secured with an adapter. The adapter should of come with your water pump. Double check that the adapter is connected tightly.

Step 6 - Connect the Wires

The pump now needs to be wired. You do this by matching up the wires by color. Remember that white is negative and black is positive or the hot wire. On the pump there is a wire terminal, this is where you will screw in the wires.

Step 7 – Prime the Pump

With the valves open, fill the pump with water from the priming port onto the pump. Put the port plug back on and tighten with wrench.

Step 8 – Electricity

Once everything is installed and tightened, turn the electricity back on and start the pump.


Always make sure when working with electricity that you have it shut off. If you are not comfortable with doing the electrical part of installation, call a professional electrician.