How do I know how much water is in my cistern?

People commonly use cisterns in areas without municipal water supply systems. Some cisterns sit on top of houses, while many are underground. However, they all face the same problem: How do you determine the water level in them?

How to find out how much water is in your cistern:

There are several ways to determine the water level in your underground cistern. Here are a few methods:

1. Visual Inspection:

If your cistern has a transparent or translucent material, you may be able to visually inspect the water level. If it doesn’t, you can still often open the lid and look in to get an idea of the remaining water level.

2. Dipstick:

Using a long rod or stick, commonly referred to as a dipstick, insert it into the cistern until it reaches the bottom. When you pull it out, the wet portion indicates the water level.

You can take this a step further and calculate the volume of your cistern too! For rectangular prism cisterns, just measure the length (L) by the width (W) by the height (h), where height equals the full depth of water. Measurements in cm divided by 1000 gives volume in litres. Measurements in feetx6.2 gives volume in imperial gallons.

3. Float Valve or Float Switch:

Some cisterns are equipped with float valves or float switches that automatically control the water level. The position of the float can give you an indication of the water level.

4. Ultrasonic Sensors:

Ultrasonic sensors can measure the distance between the sensor and the water surface, providing an accurate measurement of the water level.

5. Pressure Sensors:

Pressure sensors can be installed at different heights in the cistern to measure the pressure exerted by the water. This information can be used to estimate the water level.

6. Smart Monitoring Systems:

Modern technology allows for the installation of smart monitoring systems that can provide real-time information about the water level in your cistern. The PTLevel smart water monitoring system comes with level history, water level notifications, the ability to share your account with your water delivery company, and many more features. All this along with a 2 year warranty, 30 day returns, and the confidence of a robust, weather-resistant product made in Canada.

Choosing a method to determine cistern levels:

Choose a method that is practical and feasible for your specific cistern setup. If you’re unsure if the PTLevel will work for your solution, reach out to our technicians here.

PTLevel Wired WiFi
PTLevel in ice storm
Long Range Wireless PTLevel designed to be weather resistant

Navigating Water Delivery Business Obstacles; Speedy’s Potable Water

An Information Article on Being a Water Delivery Driver

From the arid landscapes of the Mojave Desert to the agriculturally productive landscapes of Central Valley, running a water delivery business in California is a complex profession. Among the pioneers in overcoming the challenges posed by the water management obstacles in California is Speedy’s Potable Water. This case study delves into how Speedy’s has utilized cutting-edge technology and strategic planning to navigate water delivery management.

Speedy’s Approach

Reliability even in the face of their customer’s changing water needs

Speedy’s Potable Water has distinguished itself not only for the quality of its services but also for its exceptional efficiency and professionalism. With a commitment to exceeding customer expectations, Speedy’s employs a multifaceted approach to water delivery. They ensure reliability even in the face of their customer’s changing water needs.

The Power of PTLevel Delivery Management Portal:

One of the key factors allowing Speedy’s to stay ahead of their competitors is the implementation of the PTLevel Delivery Management Portal. This advanced application allows water delivery businesses to meticulously plan deliveries which prevents wasteful trips and ensures a focused effort on averting water outages for their customers. By leveraging data analytics and real-time monitoring, Speedy’s can optimize routes, plan staffing effectively, and respond promptly to changing demands. Sorting columns by “Current Level” or “Address” (etc) makes delivery planning a breeze, especially for splitting deliveries between 2 or more customers.

PTDevices Delivery Management Portal

Water Delivery Management and Efficiency:

Recognizing that the key to overcoming water outages and staying competitive in a demanding business lies in efficiency, Speedy’s Potable Water has made significant investments. With a focus on the right water delivery trucks and a team of reliable delivery drivers, their investments are making a positive financial impact This strategic move minimizes downtime, enhances overall service quality, and builds trust with both customers and stakeholders.

Water Delivery Management and Fuel Savings:

One of the noteworthy outcomes of Speedy’s adoption of using PTLevel’s and the portal is the substantial savings in gas money. Over the past two years, Speedy’s estimates that they have saved over 15-18% of their regular fuel budget! Simply by streamlining their delivery routes and optimizing their operations these fuel savings were easily achieved. This not only contributes to the company’s bottom line but also aligns with broader environmental goals by reducing the carbon footprint associated with delivery operations.

Comprehensive Services Offered by Speedy’s:

Speedy’s Potable Water goes beyond traditional water delivery services. The company’s diverse offerings include:

– Potable water delivery
– Emergency same-day service
– Holding tank filling and maintenance
– Tank monitoring systems
– Tank cleaning and refilling services
– Pool and pond filling and top-offs

These comprehensive services ensure that Speedy’s remains a versatile and reliable partner for various water-related needs in California.

Check out Speedy’s Website for additional details

Additional Information on the PTLevel Delivery Management Portal Features:

Client Notes:

With the Device Management account, water delivery companies have the ability to add private notes to each client account they have permission to work with. Their client’s won’t be able to see the notes but the water company can use them to organize and keep track of information related to each client.

Device Management Alerts:

With the free Device Management Account, water delivery businesses have the ability to setup their own Device Manager Alerts with their client’s devices. The client and the water delivery company can each have their own alerts on the same device! With the free account, there are 2 free alerts points per device; for example an SMS alert at 20% and an email alert at 90%. These alerts points send notifications when the level goes above and below the threshold. (Read about the Premium Account here for information on unlimited alerts).

Client List and Client Maps:

With the free Device Management Account, there are also Client List and Map Views of all the clients and their devices that have given permission to their “manager” to manage. Order the list by client name, address, phone number, status, etc! Or, log into the device manager account and view a map centered on the main area of the clients managed. The pins that show are the client locations based on what is entered into their account profiles. Select the pin to see the related devices. The pin colors also represent the status of the devices in those client accounts (full, low, and empty statuses).

Client Maps in the PTDevices Management Portal

Other Features for Water Delivery Businesses:

Explore other PTLevel Device Management Features such as White Labelling, creating customer accounts, and then calibrating customer devices. Also view permission levels (viewing access, editing access, adding devices access), becoming a wholesaler, and more! Re-selling and installing PTLevel’s are a great way to add another revenue stream for water delivery businesses.


Despite California’s challenging water management needs, Speedy’s Potable Water emerges as a beacon of innovation and efficiency. By leveraging the power of PTLevel, the Delivery Management Portal, investing in the right resources, and emphasizing environmental responsibility, Speedy’s not only ensures its own sustainability but also plays a crucial role in alleviating the impact of water scarcity on its customers.

Comparing Pressure Sensors and Ultrasonic Sensors for Liquid Level Management

PTLevel Pressure Chamber

A Comparative Analysis of Pressure and Ultrasonic Sensors for Liquid Measurement

In the realm of liquid measurement, selecting the appropriate sensor is crucial for accurate and reliable results. We’ve put together a comparative analysis of pressure sensors and ultrasonic sensors used for liquid level monitoring and measurement. We hope the details on advantages and considerations are helpful as you plan your liquid level management. Among the myriad options available for liquid level measurement, pressure sensors and ultrasonic sensors stand out as two prominent contenders. This article aims to provide a comprehensive comparative analysis of these sensors, aiding readers in making an informed decision based on their specific application requirements. (Spoiler alert – we think pressure sensors, especially the PTlevel, win!)

sample pressure sensor for liquids

Pressure Sensors

Benefits: Provides greater accuracy, cost-effective, can handle environmental extremes, low maintenance

sample ultrasonic sensor for liquids

Ultrasonic Sensors

Benefits: Non-contact with liquid, easy installation

Pressure Sensors (like the PTLevel):

Pressure sensors operate on the principle of detecting the force exerted by a liquid on the sensor element. These sensors excel at measuring liquid depth, finding widespread application in tasks such as monitoring tank levels, overseeing industrial processes, tracking cistern levels, monitoring septic and holding tanks, and managing rainwater harvesting systems. Here are some key advantages and considerations when opting for pressure sensors:


  1. Accuracy and Precision: Pressure sensors exhibit remarkable accuracy and precision, particularly in applications where precise pressure measurements are essential. The PTLevel uses a 0kpa-100kpa sensor with an accuracy of 0.096kpa per bit, which is about 9.78mm of resolution.
  2. Cost-Effectiveness: In many cases, pressure sensors are more cost-effective than their ultrasonic counterparts, making them a preferred choice for budget-conscious projects. And in every case we can find, the PTLevel beats the price of comparative systems with ultrasonic sensors!
  3. Reliability in Specific Environments: Pressure sensors perform well in environments with challenging environmental conditions, such as high temperatures, freezing temperatures, or corrosive substances. Condensation, frost, and high humidity are not a concern for pressure sensors. (Yes, the PTLevel is also chemical resistant, weather resistant -40°C to 100°C temperature range, and built by Canadians for tough North American winters, making it ready to handle your most challenging environment!)
  4. Low Maintenance: Pressure sensors require very little, or easy maintenance to operate accurately. For instance, pressure sensors sometimes have to have their “pressure” calibrated or reset. In the case of the PTLevel, we recommend seasonal maintenance to reset the air-pocket.
PTLevel Pressure Chamber


  1. Contact-Based Measurement: Pressure sensors require direct contact with the liquid. However, because the PTLevel is constructed with chemical-resistant materials and designed to withstand ice, snow, heat, and rain, you can confidently navigate any challenging liquid-level monitoring situation.
  2. Installation Challenges: Depending on the application, installing pressure sensors may prove more complex than ultrasonic sensors, especially in scenarios where establishing physical contact with the liquid poses challenges. However, the PTLevel has eased this challenge by being designed for easy installation. Just connect the air pressure tubing to the pressure chamber and lower the pressure chamber into your liquid.

Ultrasonic Sensors:

Ultrasonic sensors utilize sound waves to measure the distance to the liquid surface. They are most known for their non-contact nature and are commonly employed in applications like wastewater monitoring. Here are some key points to consider:


  1. Non-Contact Measurement: Ultrasonic sensors excel in scenarios where non-contact measurement is essential, preventing contamination of the liquid or potential damage to the sensor.
  2. Easy Installation: These sensors are generally easier to install compared to pressure sensors, as they don’t require direct contact with the liquid.


  1. Environmental Factors: Ultrasonic sensors may face difficulty in environments with high levels of dust, humidity, temperature fluctuations, or freezing temperatures. These factors can impact the accuracy of measurements. As soon as the sensor gets covered in dust, condensation, or frost, it can no longer provide accurate measurements.
  2. Cost: While ultrasonic sensors offer unique advantages, they can be more expensive than pressure sensors, which may influence the decision-making process.
  3. Maintenance: Dust, dirt, frost, and condensation or other debris can accumulate on the sensor, affecting the sensor’s performance. Regularly clean the sensor with a soft, lint-free cloth to ensure clear transmission and reception of ultrasonic signals.

Choosing the Right Sensor:

Ultimately, the choice between pressure and ultrasonic sensors depends on the specific requirements of the application. Factors such as accuracy, cost, installation complexity, and environmental conditions play a pivotal role in this decision-making process. Careful consideration of these factors will ensure that the selected sensor aligns perfectly with the goals of the liquid measurement system.

In conclusion, both pressure and ultrasonic sensors have their merits, and the optimal choice hinges on the unique demands of the application at hand. But we hope we’ve convinced you, the PTLevel is the perfect solution (with a 30-day money-back guarantee).

The PTLevel; Liquid Level Monitor with Pressure Sensor

PTLevel in ice storm

Weather Resistant

Every PTLevel device is meticulously crafted to thrive in outdoor environments. Designed for -40°C to 85°C temperature range and handle snow, ice, or rain. And with using innovative Lora technology, 1 km or more can be achieved depending on the environment.

Tank Level History


Leveraging a state-of-the-art 0-100kPa pressure sensor and cutting-edge circuitry and software, the PTLevel ensures precise liquid level measurements. Enjoy peace of mind with its extended 2+ year battery life, receive timely alerts for low or high levels, and access a comprehensive liquid level history.

PTLevel Pressure Chamber

Cost Effective

Starting as low as $209.99 USD with no annual fees (for the Wired WiFi PTLevel) and $299.99 USD with no annual fees (for the Long Range Wireless PTLevel), it’s an affordable liquid measurement option! By avoiding equipment damage caused by water outages and staying informed to schedule water deliveries only when necessary, you’ll not only enhance efficiency but also realize substantial cost savings.

5 tips for getting the most accurate readings from a PTLevel

PTLevel Outside Winter

5 tips for getting the most accurate readings from a PTLevel

Long Range Wireless PTLevel monitors are an essential tool for monitoring water levels in wells, cisterns, tanks, and septics. They are incredibly useful for tracking water levels (and other liquid levels) remotely by saving time and preventing running out of water. Here are 5 tips to get the most out of your Long Range Wireless PTLevel:

First, it is essential to understand how the PTLevel works. PTLevel’s measure the pressure at the bottom of a tank via a pressure chamber which creates an air pocket and then a sensor measuring the pressure the air pocket creates compares the data to the atmospheric pressure. The pressure chamber is installed at the bottom of the tank, the transmitter then sends this data wirelessly to the receiver which displays it via your account and WebApp.

PTLevel Cistern Level Monitor WebApp history

Second, put in the right dimensions and calibrate. To ensure the most accurate readings from your PTLevel monitor, it is vital to enter the correct dimensions of your well or cistern into the monitor. This will ensure that the monitor can accurately calculate the depth of the liquid. Calibration is also essential to ensure that the monitor is measuring the pressure correctly. Calibration should be done after installation, and at least once a year, or more frequently if there is a significant change in temperature. It is best to calibrate your PTLevel when your tank is 100%. Your tank must be at least 25% full to calibrate. Having an accurate calibration is key to getting accurate data from your cistern or well.

Third, do quarterly maintenance. Maintenance for the PTLevel is incredibly simple; just lift the pressure chamber out of the liquid and let the pressure chamber drain. Then carefully lower the pressure chamber back in the liquid to create a new air pocket. Press the button on the transmitter and you’re all set. Quarterly maintenance is essential to keep your PTLevel monitor giving the most accurate readings from your cistern, well, or tank.

Fourth, prevent damage to the pressure tubing (commonly caused by kids, pets, lawn mowers). Damage to the pressure tubing can cause inaccurate readings from your cistern or tank. Even a small hole in the air tubing will cause low or zero pressure readings. If you have damaged your tubing or pressure chamber, reach out to our support team at

PTLevel Cistern Level Monitor for all weather

And finally, change your batteries every 2 years. PTLevel monitors rely on batteries to function, and these batteries do not need to be changed often, only about once every 2 years. Your account will indicate when your batteries are low, but it’s always good to have a new set of batteries on hand (4xAA).

Following the tips outlined above will ensure that you get the most accurate readings from your PTLevel monitor, which will help you make informed decisions about your water supply. And as always, we are ready to help if you run into problems. Please visit our support page at!

PTLevel Cistern Level Monitor Alerts

How to clean a cistern

Cement Cistern

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.

How often should I test the water in my cistern?

It is recommended that you test  the water in your cistern seasonally for routine monitoring. You should also test the water any time the water quality changes (for example if the water starts to look, smell, or taste different).

What tools do I need to clean my cistern?

You may want the following tools and equipment to make the process of cleaning your cistern easier. Ladder, rubber boots (or hip waders if you have them), pump, soft scrubbing brushes, pressure washer, wet/dry ShopVac, flat shovel, buckets, bleach or chlorine, and rubber gloves.

You may also want to consider having patches on-hand for this process (concrete patch/hydraulic cement for cement cisterns) . If you come across any cracks or leaks in your cistern, this will be a great time to repair those holes!

How do I calculate how much water is in my cistern?