Looking for advice

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by pgrass101, Feb 11, 2008.

  1. pgrass101

    pgrass101 Monkey+++

    We are a long ways from this yet, but I am thinking about a trickle pump to fill a cistern.
    The idea is that you have your cistern (1500 gallons) for your daily water supply. You have a low volume solar or wind power pump to fill the cistern. The pump only has to barely out match daily usage, the only question I have is developing pressure for the system. If I can put the cistern 50 feet up from the house I could use gravity to provide the pressure. Since we haven’t got any property yet (still 5 years out) I’m exploring options.
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    <FONT face="Times New Roman"><FONT size=3>News from the home front; this weekend I put up a fence (well fence posts) to enclose our small raised beds for vegetables. I have 1 rabbit hutch built but have not got any rabbits yet, still waiting until I have more time. I installed gutters with catch barrels for water. I still have no working fireplace or alternative fuel source to gas or electricity other than my smoker in the back yard. I looked at converting out gas fireplace back into a wood burning one, but think I will be better served by putting in an efficient gas insert. The goal is to still sell this house once I am finished restoring it (house built in the 1880’s) and buying land.

    <FONT face="Times New Roman"><FONT size=3>We have about 3 months of canned goods stockpiled and now are concentrating on dry goods (beans, rice, flour, etc…) I think we are doing ok , unless there is a complete social collapse.

    <FONT face="Times New Roman"><FONT size=3>So my questions are 1) the cistern pump idea and a cheap (power wise) way to pressurize a home water system? And 2 a way to cook and heat the home if there is a prolonged collapse or shortage of fuel (we have backpacking stoves). Cooking is more important than heating.
  2. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Well, I guess my main questions for the water would be, how much pressure do you need and are there restrictive codes in your area? If you dont really need pressure and just need access to the water you could use a shallow well hand pump. No energy needed other than to pump the handle and not much to break down or go wrong. If there are no restrictive codes for use of your property and you just need running water but pressure isnt a problem then you might build a 'free standing tree house' type of thing where its just a small 2 story shed and could be masked to look like a kids play house thing, with the tank in the upper level then gravity feed to the ground floor of the house. It wont provide strong showers and such but will be adequate to bath and such. Other than that you can just get a presure tank where air and or a blader gives to greate pressure so you force the water in through a check vaulve then it comes out under pressure like most systems on wells are, but then you have limited water under pressure and have to cycle on a pump to represurize/refill the tank as its used.

    Is there a Chimney for the fireplace? If so you could get a wood burning stove to store back in case of need along with the pipe and fittings to just run the stove pipe up the chimney if needed. If not then the same thing can work, you just remove the glass from the upper pane if a window, have a piece of plywood with a hole cut for a colar that the pipe goes through and insulates the pipe from combustibles. Have the stove pipe and stove on hand (pipe comes in sections that you can stack inside each other untill the seams are hooked for easy storage) alongwith the needed elbows (probably 2, maybe 3) and a means to hold it near but not againt the eaves and enouph pipe to go above the height of the peak of the roof. All of that should be able to be stored in an area 4'x4' or smaller and if its warm can go outside to be cooked on and if cold can come in and heat the house a lot better than a fire place as well as a place to cook.
  3. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    gravity?Perhaps a tank on a stand or on the roof with a lift pump ? There is something called a water ram which uses the inertia of water in a pipe running at an incline to pump. Think I saw it in mother earth news, see if Ican't find a link for you ..:) http://www.theramcompany.com/index.html
  4. pgrass101

    pgrass101 Monkey+++

    Thanks guys,

    Monkeyman I never thought about having a small stive stored to be brought out during an emergency. Yes there is a chimney (was a wood buring fire place converted to gas in the 50's judging by fittings) but I like the idea of just running the pipe out of the window, it requires less flue and I can move the stove out during the Alabama summers.

    As for the water, I would like to be compeltely off grid but still have about 30-50 psi of household water pressure. I am just trying to come up with ideas. I thought of a hand pump for a backup incase the tricke pump went out. I could use another tricke pump to pump up to the treehouse idea. The tree house tank does not need to be as large as the main cistern.

    Please keep the ideas coming
  5. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    What are you wanting the pressure for? Are you thinking just of being able to get plenty of water in a short time and take showers and such or are you thinking like for a hose to spray and such? I dont know of any way you are likely to end up with that much pressure without power and or some serious height for the water tower. If you are just wanting to have a heavey flow though then stepping up to 3/4" or so pipe all the way from the tank to the fixture would give you lots of water in a hurry with say 10' of drop and with that sent into the right shower head can give you enouph pressure to take a shower and get clean with no problem but it wont be the high pressure water massage. We set one up with a shower head from a camp shower bag hooked up to a barrel and had about 5' of drop out by the pool, it would shoot around 3-4' horizontal with that and you could wash up.

    If you wanted the pressure for limited things like say fire controle then you might be able to get a manual pump that could be used for stuff like that kind of like the ones used for firefighting in the days of the horse drawn fire wagons.
  6. pgrass101

    pgrass101 Monkey+++


    I was thinking about using it for genearl household pressure, I could get by with 20PSI with low flow fixtures.

    I really don't need it for SHTF, can use just a hand pump and buckets. (In town we have catch barrels and buckets) I was just trying to think of a cheap way to presurize water. I know that Gravity and a constricting pipe is suppose to generate pressure, but it is all book knowledge not hands on knowledge.

    One thing I have learned is that Book knowledge doesn't always work like the book says it will in the real world.
  7. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Gravity creating head pressure and the venturi effect (reducing pipe sizes) are principles that work in the real world. We have discussed this subject, if I had time to re-write my replies I would.

    Here's the thread: Let's talk water storage here

    Welcome to the Monkey [beer]
  8. misty

    misty Monkey+++

    You can download this book for free and it has some really good ideas for emergency situations. http://www.oism.org/nwss/ It's Nuclear War Survival Skills by Kearny. It's a big book but worth the read. I purchased a copy of it since this printer eats ink so badly!
  9. pgrass101

    pgrass101 Monkey+++

    Thanks for the replies

    I'll keep every one updated.
  10. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    If your wanting it for general use while you will have electric then its not to hard. You can get a shallow well jet pump that is an all in one unit with the pressure tank and all. You just run gravity fed water to it or from the cistern you put a check/foot vaulve at the end of the pipe in the water, run it to another check vaulve right before the pump then plumb as normal from the pump on to the rest of the house. The pumps vary some but ours can run on 120v or 240v and the pump only runs when the water runs long enouph that it has to kep the pressure up in the tank. The whole thing can fit under a counter and IIRC ours ran about $250 like 7 years ago and I hooked it all up myself. It might be a bit power hungry for a solar pannel but not as bad as a fridge or anything.

    I was thinking you were talking in terms of something for PSHTF or whatever and trying to have the higher pressure with very little to no power. If you had something like that with a hand pump back up for when the lights are out OR have it gravity feed to the pump then have a bypass plumbed in so you could still have running water with slightly reduced pressure with the turn of a vaulve if the lights were out and the higher pressure while had the power.
  11. groovy mike

    groovy mike Immortal

    of course this all changes if your property has a decent spring uphill (my parents have gravity feed stright from the spring) or moving water with a decent current (all kinds of water wheel applications could apply).

    Planning ahead is good, just don't rule out options.
  12. resist

    resist Monkey++

    You will want the higher psi to reduce your water usage. The Dankoff 2910-12v Flowlight Booster Pump will provide 30 to 60 psi on 12volts.

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