Choosing a Rain Water Collection System

Many of our customers harvest rain water to store it for later use, and then use our PTLevel devices to monitor their Rain Water Collection Systems. The PTLevel and Rain Water Harvesting make a great pair! However, choosing the right rain water collection system can be tricky.

The Basics:

Rain Water Harvesting
Rain Water Collection
Rain Water Catchment
Roof Water Collection
and Rooftop Water Collection – they all mean the same thing. It’s the idea of collecting rain water run-off from a structure and then storing it for later use.

Recently, rain water harvesting has had some controversy in some areas of the world. In fact, in some cities it is downright illegal. In many other areas of the world there are strict rules about collection. Make sure to research the rules and regulations for your area before choosing a rain water collection system. But if Rain Water Collection is right for you, keep reading! And if you think the PTLevel is right for you and your water monitoring needs, find our more here.

Benefits of Rain Water Harvesting

-rain is free

-rain water is generally clean (purification is needed before drinking it)

-use your harvested rain water anytime (still follow your city rules on water restrictions, if any)

-rainwater is actually better for your plants and landscape because it does not have chlorine or other chemicals in it

-collecting rain water can help improve your water run-off and storm-water runoff problems

-rain water collection systems are easy to maintain

-typically rain water harvesting systems can be easily retrofitted to existing homes and structures with no significant investments needed

-stored rain water can be a back-up source of water for emergencies

-rain water harvesting can reduce the need for imported water from other communities

-you’ve probably heard of food-miles, well rain water collection reduces your water-miles. (reduced water trucking or even water piped to your residence)

-using rain water to replace your municipal water usage can reduce your water bill and save you money

-and more

Different Rain Water Collection Methods

Rain Barrels

By far the most common method, the general idea is that you install a rain barrel at a downspout to collect rain. This is an incredibly easy way to test to see if rain water harvesting is right for you. Rain barrels can be an up-cycled barrel you already have laying around or a readily-available barrel purchased from your local hardware store. Barrels are typically small and don’t take up a large footprint. However, rain barrel systems are small and usually max out at 50-100 gallons as well as can easily overflow causing runoff issues.

“Dry” System

Called a dry system because the downspout will “dry” between collections when the water empties into the larger tank, it is similar to a rain collection system, just bigger. This system is ideal if you need more than 50-100 gallons of water storage, or if you live in weather areas when rain is infrequent but comes in with large weather events that bring in a lot of water at once. This is again a low-cost and low-maintenance system. Locate the large water storage tank close to the structure where water is collected (such as your house).

“Wet” System

This is a more complex and costly system; however, if setup properly, can offer an increased water storage capacity as well as storage away from buildings. With this type of system you can also collect rain water from multiple gutters. To set up this system, start by choosing a location for your water storage tank away from your house, but ensuring it is located in an area that your gutters are higher than the tank inlet. Next you can plan, design, and then build your underground pipe system (all of your pipes and valves must be water-tight). Make sure to consult a professional to design this system efficiently and safely.


Our PTLevel Wireless or Wired can be used with any of these systems! The PTLevel can accurately monitor your Rain Water Collection Systems with how much water you have stored, as well as track water history for up to 2 years with the premium features. The PTLevel Wireless can easily be installed for tanks away from the house but within WIFI range. A more economical option is The PTLevel Wired which can be installed up to 328 feet from your router but requires running an ethernet cable.

We would be happy to answer any questions you have about installing a PTLevel and monitoring your Rain Water Collection Systems – contact us today

Elegir un sistema de recolección de agua de lluvia

Muchos de nuestros clientes cosechan agua de lluvia para almacenarla para su uso posterior, y luego utilizan nuestros dispositivos PTLevel para monitorear sus sistemas de recolección de agua de lluvia. ¡El PTLevel y la recolección de agua de lluvia hacen un gran par! Sin embargo, elegir el sistema de recolección de agua de lluvia adecuado puede ser complicado.

Lo básico:

Lluvia Agua CosechaR
ain Water Collection
Rain Water Catchmen
tRoof Water Collectio
nand Rooftop Water Collection – todos significan lo mismo. Es la idea de recoger la escorrenca de agua de lluvia de una estructura y luego almacenarla para su uso posterior.

Recientemente, la recolección de agua de lluvia ha tenido cierta controversia en algunas zonas del mundo. De hecho, en algunas ciudades es francamente ilegal. En muchas otras áreas del mundo hay reglas estrictas sobre la recolección. Asegúrese de investigar las reglas y regulaciones para su área antes de elegir un sistema de recolección de agua de lluvia. Pero si Rain Water Collection es adecuado para ti, ¡sigue leyendo! Y si cree que el PTLevel es adecuado para usted y sus necesidades de monitoreo de agua, encuentre nuestro más aquí.

Beneficios de la recolección de agua de lluvia

-la lluvia es gratis

-el agua de lluvia está generalmente limpia (se necesita purificación antes de beberla)

-Utilice su agua de lluvia cosechada en cualquier momento (todavía siga las reglas de su ciudad sobre restricciones de agua, si las hay)

-el agua de lluvia es realmente mejor para sus plantas y paisaje porque no tiene cloro u otros productos químicos en él

-Recoger agua de lluvia puede ayudar a mejorar sus problemas de escorrente de agua y aguas pluviales

-Los sistemas de recolección de agua de lluvia son fáciles de mantener

-normalmente los sistemas de recolección de agua de lluvia se pueden adaptar fácilmente a las viviendas y estructuras existentes sin necesidad de inversiones significativas

-el agua de lluvia almacenada puede ser una fuente de agua de respaldo para emergencias

-la recolección de agua de lluvia puede reducir la necesidad de agua importada de otras comunidades

-probablemente has oído hablar de millas de comida, la recolección de agua de lluvia reduce tus millas de agua. (reducción de camiones de agua o incluso agua canalizada a su residencia)

-usar agua de lluvia para reemplazar su consumo de agua municipal puede reducir su factura de agua y ahorrarle dinero

-y más

Diferentes métodos de recolección de agua de lluvia

Barriles de lluvia

Con mucho, el método más común, la idea general es que instale un barril de lluvia en una gota baja para recoger la lluvia. Esta es una manera increíblemente fácil de probar para ver si la recolección de agua de lluvia es adecuada para usted. Los barriles de lluvia pueden ser un barril de ciclo ascendente que ya tiene alrededor o un barril fácilmente disponible comprado en su ferretería local. Los barriles suelen ser pequeños y no ocupa una huella grande. Sin embargo, los sistemas de barril de lluvia son pequeños y generalmente maximizan en 50-100 galones, así como pueden desbordarse fácilmente causando problemas de escorrenión.

Sistema "seco"

Llamado un sistema seco porque el downspout se "secará" entre las colecciones cuando el agua se vacía en el tanque más grande, es similar a un sistema de recolección de lluvia, sólo más grande. Este sistema es ideal si necesita más de 50-100 galones de almacenamiento de agua, o si vive en áreas climáticas cuando la lluvia es infrecuente, pero viene con grandes eventos meteorológicos que traen mucha agua a la vez. Este es de nuevo un sistema de bajo costo y bajo mantenimiento. Localice el gran tanque de almacenamiento de agua cerca de la estructura donde se recoge el agua (como su casa).

Sistema "húmedo"

Este es un sistema más complejo y costoso; sin embargo, si se configura correctamente, puede ofrecer una mayor capacidad de almacenamiento de agua, así como el almacenamiento lejos de los edificios. Con este tipo de sistema también puede recoger agua de lluvia de múltiples canalones. Para configurar este sistema, comience eligiendo una ubicación para su tanque de almacenamiento de agua lejos de su casa, pero asegurándose de que se encuentra en un área que sus canalones son más altos que la entrada del tanque. A continuación, puede planificar, diseñar y luego construir su sistema de tuberías subterráneas (todas sus tuberías y válvulas deben ser herméticas). Asegúrese de consultar a un profesional para diseñar este sistema de manera eficiente y segura.


¡Nuestro PTLevel Wireless o Wired se puede utilizar con cualquiera de estos sistemas! El PTLevel puede monitorear con precisión sus sistemas de recolección de agua de lluvia con la cantidad de agua que ha almacenado, así como realizar un seguimiento del historial del agua durante hasta 2 años con las características premium. El PTLevel Wireless se puede instalar fácilmente para tanques lejos de la casa, pero dentro del rango WIFI. Una opción más económica es el PTLevel Wired que se puede instalar hasta 328 pies de su router, pero requiere ejecutar un cable Ethernet. Estaremos encantad

os de responder a cualquier pregunta que tenga sobre la instalación de un PTLevel y el monitoreo de sus sistemas de recolección de agua de lluvia – contáctenos hoy

How to clean a cistern

Whether you have a plastic or cement cistern, rain water collection system, or other water tank; consistent and regular maintenance is important to maintain clean and safe water.  We highly recommend you consider hiring a professional to clean your tank. They often have experience and tools that are just unmatched by the DIY’er.  But if you’re up for the challenge, here are some frequently asked questions about how to clean a cistern to help you tackle the job yourself!

How to clean your cistern
Frequently asked questions on how to clean your cistern

Question: How often should a cistern be cleaned?

Answer: The quick answer is, you should be cleaning your cistern yearly. But there are a variety of factors that can affect the cleanliness of a cistern. Cisterns get “dirty” for several reasons such as hauled water vs rain water collection, different climates, and the material the cistern is made out of (cement vs plastic tank). Because of these reasons, cisterns will need to be cleaned more or less often.

Generally, if you only have water hauled to you and you are not collecting any water that isn’t already purified in some way, your cistern will need to be cleaned less often, likely every 2-3 years. This also depends on local contaminants and the material your cistern is made out of.

If you are collecting rain water, your cistern should be cleaned more often. Usually cleaning is recommended yearly but you may want to clean the cistern more frequently.

Different climates can also affect bacteria levels, sediments, and other water contaminants. Since there are too many climates to mention, it is best to do your own research on your climate to determine what contaminants may be affecting your water.

And finally, the material your cistern is made out of may also affect the frequency of a needed cistern cleaning. A cement cistern is porous, and will likely contribute to more sediment and sludge. A plastic tank will still need to be cleaned regularly and may be more prone to algae build up.

Always clean your cistern if the water starts to look, smell, or taste different.

Question: How do you clean a cistern?

Answer: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a written a great article on the subject. Please visit here for their maintenance advice on cisterns and other rain catchment systems.

Step 1. Remove all debris and water from the cistern as well as debris from water collection points (eg if you collect rain water, clean your eaves troughs). This step applies to all cisterns, wells, rain water collection systems, and other liquid tanks.

Step 2. For cement cisterns, scrub the inside of the cistern with a stiff brush and a solution of 1 cup of bleach mixed with 10 gallons of water. Since bleach isn’t recommended for plastic cisterns, contact the manufacturer of your plastic cistern, or read the instruction manual on what your manufacturer recommends. Be mindful of your air quality when you’re in a cistern! Breathing in fumes from chemicals can be dangerous, and sometimes even fatal. Always read and follow all instructions on the materials you are using.

Step 3. Rinse cistern with clean, safe water, and then drain. If you still smell bleach, rinse the tank once or twice more.

Step 4. Refill the cistern with clean, safe water.

When it doubt, reach out to a professional to have your cistern cleaned. Cistern cleaning professionals have the tools, experience, and knowledge to do a great job for you! They can often use a pressure washer, reducing the need for chemicals as well as use a wet vacuum to suck out all debris and sludge. The professionals will inspect your cistern for cracks and other defects. Go to Google Maps, and then type in “cistern cleaners near me” to find some local providers.

Question: Can I use bleach in my cistern?

Answer: If you have a cement cistern, bleach is often the recommended chemical to use for cleaning, and sometimes even maintaining clean water. You can do your own research on whether you feel like bleach is the right solution for you, but here are the recommended solutions:

For cleaning: 1 cup of bleach per 10 gallons of water
For maintenance: 1 tablespoon of 5%-8.25% liquid bleach for every 100 gallons of water

Bleach is not recommended for plastic cisterns or tanks.

Question: Do all cisterns need to be cleaned?

Answer: Yes. Cisterns are designed to hold standing water and whenever there is standing water there is opportunity for bacteria growth and dirt and debris to collect. Also, wildlife will often find a way to get into water systems which can create even more risk for bacteria growth and debris that you don’t want to drink or use.

We hope some of these questions and answers were helpful to you.  If you’re looking for a water level monitoring solution, please check out our products page here.

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