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Looking for advice re human powered well pump

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  • Sat, Jun 21, 2014 - 02:30pm

    #1
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    Looking for advice re human powered well pump

Hi folks,

I hope to get an opinion or two from you all regarding potentially installing a hand pump on my well.  

We live in a rural location in the high desert.  The population density is low and we’ve instituted many of the actions recommended by PP.  We’ve dramatically reduced our energy consumption, planted a 200sqft garden, invested in silver, etc.  But being as we are in the desert, my main concern is water.  We currently have a well with an electric pump.  If the grid fails I have a propane generator that is attached to my house and will run, among other things, my well pump.  Obviously that is only a solution for grid outages of less than a couple of weeks.  

I recently got a quote for a Simple Pump of $1600.  This would allow indefinite access to well water but comes at a steep price.  I hesitate primarily because most of our “preps” to this point will pay dividends in the long run regardless of if/when hard times come or whether those times are mildly tough or disastrous. But I don’t imagine I’ll ever touch the hand pump except in a TEOTWAWKI situation. Given our tight budget, that makes spending $1600 really tough.

i would really appreciate feedback and advice about this decision.  I’m guessing there are likely some perspectives that I have not considered.

 

T. 

  • Sat, Jun 21, 2014 - 10:45pm

    #2
    johnnyyuma

    johnnyyuma

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    Simple pump

I bought a simple pump 3 years ago and love the security it gives. However, you can look for a cheaper alternative. A good well man/plumber should be able to install a hand pump on your existing well. As long as it's depth is above your submersible you should be OK. May have to be diligent and get a few opinions but it can be done.

  • Mon, Jun 23, 2014 - 02:24am

    #3
    alfrede

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    water

water is of course a no. one priority in your situation. the simple solution  is some type of bailer. a pvc one works for pipe wells. google; pvc well bailer. they can have a rope to hand pull, or various spool type devices for raising the pvc bucket.

Lehman's has hand pumps that are a lot cheaper than your quote ; but you install.

Good luck.

  • Mon, Jun 23, 2014 - 04:36pm

    #4
    Thetallestmanonearth

    Thetallestmanonearth

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    Sand-point well with pitcher pump

Being in the desert your water table is probably too deep for this option, but for others reading the tread who live in more temperate areas a sand-point well with a pitcher pump may be a good option.  They only work at depths less than 32', but the whole set up costs less than $200 and can be installed in one afternoon of hard work with a post driver and a plumbers wrench.  I just purchased one but haven't gotten it installed yet.  Even just having it in the shed gives me peace of mind.

  • Mon, Jun 23, 2014 - 05:34pm

    #5

    Jim H

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    cheaper manual well pump option…

http://flojak.com/flojak-original-100-foot-pvc-pump-kit/

  • Mon, Jun 23, 2014 - 07:20pm

    #6
    Trun87114

    Trun87114

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    Pumps

Thanks for the replies and the ideas.  I had considered a well bucket.  Lehmans has a nice one for $69.  Obviously the price is right.  I guess it's just a matter of how bad I think things might get.  

If we suffer, most likely in my mind, an economic collapse that result occasional grid outages, then it's not a big deal, as my generator will take up those periods.  If we suffer hyperinflation that makes using energy to run my well pump super expensive, I'm covered by my grid-tied solar PV system.  

It's the TEOTWAWKI situation where we'd be in trouble.  (Wouldn't we all?)   I do think such a scenario is very unlikely but certainly possible.  A well bucket would allow us to drink enough to stay alive but would not be practical, hauling water up 80-90' by hand to use for watering our garden and animals.  

So I suppose it is a matter of just how much I'm willing to pay for "insurance."  Right now I'm leaning towards the well bucket.  I will look into the Flojak more, though, it seems to do what a Simple Pump will do, but at about half the price.

  • Tue, Jun 24, 2014 - 08:26pm

    #7
    Tapeguy

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    Hand Pump

T.

Water should be the first thing on the list. Having lived twice, hurricane & ice storm, for 2 weeks with no electricity, I know its importance. I assume like my situation you have a 6” drilled well, if the powers out, can’t really drop a bucket down a 6” shaft. I purchased and installed an ez water hand pump in tandem with my submergible deep well pump.

Well info:

205 feet deep

PVC 6” casting

Static water level 30 feet from surface level (30’ down to the water)

½ hp pump set at 160 feet down.

 

Ezwater hand pump hung side by side the submergible.

Installed 10-17-2012, tested yearly, how durable?

Depth 60’

 

http://www.ezwaterwellhandpumps.com/

 

As the pump is in the water it is much easier to “draw” or “push” the water up.  Vs sucking from ground level as the old farm pump did. It only takes a few strokes and water is shooting out the top.

 

Tapeguy

  • Wed, Jun 25, 2014 - 02:30am

    #8
    Trun87114

    Trun87114

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    EZ pump

Tapeguy, wow those are cheap, about  10% of the price of the Simple pump!  Thanks for providing another alternative. My fear, of course, is that the cheap price means a poor product.  It looks like you put one of these in nearly two years ago.  Would you mind sharing a little more of a review?

what prompted the purchase and convinced you it was worth it?  How difficult was the installation?  And how has it performed?

T.

 

 

  • Thu, Jun 26, 2014 - 12:03am

    #9

    Michael_Rudmin

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    Find out what they do in Central Europe

We lived in Lithuania, and every town was surrounded by Sodai (gardens).  The gardens typically had a hand-powered pump.  Prices back there were 1/4 of what they are in America, and wages were 1/8.  I expect that the pumps they sold were cheap and reliable.

I'd start by seeing what they did in the old Soviet Union,  If you have friends from there, ask them.  

The word in Lithuania would be siurblys (pump) vandens (of water), ranka (hand… but I'm sure I have the wrong form of the word).  

Or you could look on Ebay for a cast iron hand water pump:

http://www.ebay.com.au/sch/sis.html?_kw=DUAL+OUTLET+CAST+IRON+HAND+OPERATED+WATER+PUMP

Or you could buy an electric pump that you know works, and rig it to solar panels, so that it runs long enough to fill up a tank.  Worst comes to worst, you then have a tank full of gravity-fed water.   Put the solar panels on the roof of the tank, and it keeps the tank cooler, powers the pump, and maybe is even inconspicuous.  I'm pretty sure the wattage of the pump doesn't have to be all that great, so the wattage of the solar panels doesn't, either.

Or here's another one:  there have been developed condensation systems that still provide water in the desert, condensing it out of the air by cooling the air.  You could look into that.Again, it's electric, but it doesn't have to be obvious, and it doesn't have to be on-grid.

 

 

  • Thu, Jun 26, 2014 - 01:29am

    #10
    Mackay

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    Michael_Rudmin wrote:We

[quote=Michael_Rudmin]

We lived in Lithuania, and every town was surrounded by Sodai (gardens).  The gardens typically had a hand-powered pump.  Prices back there were 1/4 of what they are in America, and wages were 1/8.  I expect that the pumps they sold were cheap and reliable.

[/quote]

 

Excellent point, for me. I live in Romania but we just bought a homestead in Canada and will be moving back permanently by the end of the year. I'm deciding if it's worth it to buy a bunch of equipment here and have it shipped. So far, I have priced here:

Locally made sickle – $8

Locally made scythe blade – About $12

Wooden scythe handle – About $4

I priced a scythe at my local farm store in Ontario at $180. It was an all-metal construction and vastly superior in quality to the $12 jobbies I find here, but still … People here actually use scythes and sickles on a regular basis (as well as horses and other more basic tools).

I go frequently to the local local garden supply store here. And I am also looking to install some form of manual access to my well in Ontario. Perhaps it's worth it to look. Most of the stuff is imported – Fiskar's axes, etc – and the price is similar to North American prices. But local stuff is just dirt cheap.

In fact, I'd be happy to price specific tools, pieces, etc, here if anybody has any requests.

Cheers,

Mackay

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