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I am repurposing a 275 gallon IBC Tote as a water cistern. I want for it to fill automatically and stop when full like a toilet fill valve. Is there anything that I can adapt to the lid?

What should I look for?

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  • A float valve of some sort. What sort depends on how the water is supplied - electrical if it's via pump on/off, physical valve if it's just supplied under pressure via gravity or some sort of distribution system but you need a buffer for volume.
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 27 '20 at 0:26
  • Just regular water from piping connected to a faucet. I guess that would be via gravity. I've noticed most regular cistern fill valves are to be mounted vertically. What do you mean to buffer for volume?
    – Rick
    Oct 27 '20 at 1:05
  • If you have a tap from which water flows when you turn the valve, you either don't need water storage, or you need a lot of water all at once, which is why you fill up a large tank to serve as a buffer to meet the high demand. Or, possibly, you have an intermittent supply at the tap and you need a buffer for when there is no water from the tap.
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 27 '20 at 1:22
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You could probably use a common fill valve with a float. If you are anywhere near an agricultural area they will have these in hardware stores and feed stores, for automatically filling animal watering troughs:

enter image description here

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  • Would this work if mounted vertically?
    – Rick
    Oct 28 '20 at 1:36
  • Yes, as long as the model you choose has a float assembly that can be adjusted, as does the item pictured. Oct 28 '20 at 4:42
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Purchase a lid with threaded holes, or drill a hole in the lid you have, install piping in the form of a "J" and put a toilet fill valve (or other float valve) on the lower end of the J, being sure to choose one that fits though the opening into the tank. Remember that you will need to vent the tank as well, so you might want a lid with two holes, and a screened cover for the second hole. Your piping will require unions so that you can screw the lid onto and off of the tank, then connect the piping.

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  • I have found online lids with 2 - 2" NPT threaded holes. Can I insert the fill valve in one of the holes? I am concerned about the venting. Since the water in the cistern will mix flow into the house, I'm concerned about leaving open and stuff getting into it. Is there a 2 inch NPT vent or something I can use?
    – Rick
    Oct 28 '20 at 1:40
  • I strongly suspect you are going to get a self-taught lesson in hydraulics you won't forget, but you keep not providing enough detail to quite tell what you are trying to do, and how, and thus how it's likely to go awry. Where is the tote, vertically, with respect to the house? You get 0.43 PSI per foot of elevation, which tends to mean you need 20+ feet of elevation for rather low water pressure, and 46 or so for the lower end of what's considered "normal" service pressure (20 PSI.) To "mix flow" it would have to be at an elevation sufficient to equalize pressure with the supply.
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 28 '20 at 2:03
  • What other details do you require? The IBC tote is about ground level. I want to be able to automatically fill it. The outlet will go to a water pump and pressure tank that feeds into the house.
    – Rick
    Oct 28 '20 at 2:23

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