cistern  diver


This tale is easily among the top contenders for most ABSURD.


So, here's the story: One fine day we noticed that the water pressure in the house was unusually low. The first thing found was that the disconnect fuse to the pump was blown. The fuse was replaced and it popped right away. The wires to the cistern were then ohmed out and it was discovered that one was shorted to ground. At that point a look at the other end of the wires was needed. Hence, the dive into the cistern.


Water is a precious commodity in these parts and while it might have seemed more sensible to simply drain the cistern before investigating the pump, we were hoping to save the water.


We dug out Paul’s old dry suit, now out of commission for several years, and were surprised to find it in pretty good shape. He suited up and went for a dip into the dark depths of the concrete cistern.


A puzzling situation arose where all the slack he had left in the wiring was now gone and the splice was pulled apart. The pump was then brought up for a closer look. Once the pump was removed from its sleeve, it became evident what had happened.


The extra wiring was now coiled tightly around the pump. The power line leaned over and fused to the ground wire. What a mess! The first design of the sleeved well pump clearly did not work out as planned. What happened was that with each start up of the pump the torque would cause a small turn in the pump. Over the course of many start ups, this caused several complete revolutions with the wiring trailing behind and eventually leading to enough stress on the wiring to pull apart the splice. A small redesign was in order.


Cistern, Pump & Pressure Tank details:


1500 gallon concrete cistern


Flotec Submersible Well Pump – 1/2 hp,  4″, single phase, 3 wire,230V


2 Flotec Pressure Tanks – 35 gallons each, pressure switch set at 40-60 psi


Pumptrol Water Pressure Switch


Long Tank Tee


4" Well Seal


Pressure Release Valve


Check Valve


Pressure Gauge


Sharkbite Fittings


1" PEX Tubing


Drain Valve


SENSIBLE: To the slot in the PVC sleeve (where the clamp holds the pump in the housing) rubber wedges were added under the clamp to hold the pump in place, preventing the pump from turning. We have been running problem-free ever since! Take a close look at the primitive drawing above to help explain the basic design with the modification.


BUMMER: Because of the foul odor and taste left behind by the short, we ended up having to drain the cistern anyway.




The devil passes through him during the pump excorcism


of what worked for us


This well pump has worked like a champ as a cistern pump:


Flotec 3212 - 1/2 hp, 4", single phase, 3-wire, 230V

Privacy Policy

We will use your information to respond to you, regarding the reason you contacted us. We will not share your information with any third party outside of our organization, other than as necessary to fulfill your request, e.g. to ship an order. is a participant in several affiliate programs. These programs are designed to provide a means to earn income by advertising

and linking to websites