Off grid water?

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by ffp911, Jan 8, 2015.

  1. ffp911

    ffp911 Monkey

    Hello, Newbie here!

    I am looking at building a cabin for some short week long and weekend stints. We would normally winterize water system. Researching my options and that brings up a few questions...

    We have the ability to go with a well, but costly. Possibly down to 250'. $10,000. We won't have grid electricity. If we go with a solar well pump to fill a holding tank, is it better to place that holding tank above or below ground? (In Iowa, it was -20 below yesterday) We'll use a 12v pump to pressure the rest of the cabin. Do you have to periodically clean out and disinfect the cistern/tank? If not, how do you filter it to remove bacterial and other contaminates? I know you could use RO for drinking, but wouldn't want to do that for the whole cabin use.

    We could collect rainwater off the roof. Using a similar system as above. I would expect even more contaminates into a cistern. Do you prefilter the rainwater? Other concerns?

    We could truck it in. Not ideal. Are there other possibilities we're not thinking of? I'm sure i'll have other questions as the thread goes...Trying to keep it short. Thanks to all.

    Motomom34 likes this.
  2. KAS

    KAS Monkey++

    Jim ...
    Welcome !!!
    1st thing first if it was -20 at my house first thing i would do is MOVE.....LOL joke just kidding ...
    Is there a lake or stream near bye? i hear alot about these ram pumps {but never fooled with one }

    I have a few more suggestions for you ...
    Send a message to BTpost on here he stores a whole shabang of water and uses the run off system...
    There is a guy on youtube engineer775 he has a whole bunch of knowledge on water and were to get it and what to do with it ...
    And if you are handy with this comptuer thing you can do a search on here about water storage and purifacation and im sure someting usefull will come up... or maybe one of our more handle monkeys will post a link for ya ...
    Tunns of info on here and if it aint here someone will surely point you in the right direction...
    Hope this helps and keep us posted on what you come up with and we are going to need pictures!!!!
    Tully Mars, tacmotusn and Motomom34 like this.
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Jim, a lot of variables in your question. For the sake of brevity, I'll assume winterizing is in plan, meaning draining and all that means. If so, I would go with a slightly elevated tank that could be completely drained just before hauling out for the winter. If you intend to go to the cabin in winter, you have a whole different consideration, and buried tank might make some sense. If so, you need to know what the depth of frost is to get the tank completely below the frost line, and you are faced with the problem of being sure that no water remains in the pipe above that level.
    @BTPost will have a lot of ideas and things to consider with the scheme. He lives it and has neighbors that head off for the winter.
    Tully Mars, Motomom34 and KAS like this.
  4. Troy brownrigg

    Troy brownrigg How my next home will be constructed!

    I have an off grid well/ pump set up. I have 3200 watts of solar panels charging the battery bank approx 2400 amp hours worth. Which powers the Aims 8k/ 16k power inverter. I use a 120 vac submersible pump and two pressure tanks. With duble pressure switches. It's been in operation for a couple of years now. no problems what so ever.

    I built this solar generator / well pump house. With the intent to take it with me when I sell this place. It will power up too 90 amps of 120 vac uses. DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS! It will supply water 24/7 in Arizona 350 days + a year.

    Storm Damage 047.

    Storm Damage 021.

    Storm Damage 042.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2015
  5. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    +1 on Engineer775, I have used Ram pumps and they do work if you have a flowing stream nearby, if not it's a well or rain water.

    If it's a well there is no need for disinfection of the storage water, if it is rain water you will need to treat it the same as if you were drinking out of a stream.

    No need for R/O water just chlorine (the pool shock stuff).

    For wells and pumps and stuff, avoid the Terry Love site, go to pumpandtanks

    Or just ask me, I have a well, and I collect rain water and pump water out of my stream, I think I know everything, just ask me....
    Tully Mars, Motomom34 and KAS like this.
  6. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    I would have you READ, my Alaska Wilderness Building Blog, Alaska Wilderness Building | Survival Monkey Forums specifically in the Domestic Water Systems area. Also there are Threads, by me, here on the Monkey, in the Off Grid Living Forum that show my Domestic Water System, that we use here, each Winter, 24/7 about 250 Days a year. Pictures and descriptions. If plumbing your system is an issue, @ColtCarbine is our Resident Plumbing Expert. He has a number of Domestic Water threads, in the Off Grid Living Forum, that are very comprehensive, on this subject. After you check those things out, you can PM Me, with anything else that might come up, should there be any further Questions.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2015
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  7. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Bud has a well and an extensive collection system for everything but drinking water. You could easily transport potable water in and use a cistern/tanks for all other needs. An old fashioned outside toilet eliminates the need for flushing water--which is a big need. If you use the inside facilities then double use the shower water. Drains in several areas of your plumbing will keep it from bursting. Have gone to PEC as it resists bursting better than PVC/PVCC/Copper/or galvanized. Is easily installed with just a set of clamper "pliers".
    Tully Mars, Motomom34 and KAS like this.
  8. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

  9. tedrow42

    tedrow42 Monkey+

    I have looked into a cistern and there are valves you can install that divert run off from the roof. Let it rain a bit and flip the valve and it goes into your tank. Also your supposed to use a sand filter in the lines going to the tank which need's cleaned every 5 years and your cistern should be cleaned every 5 years. That's about all I know.
    KAS likes this.
  10. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    Yes they are called first flush diverters, I have not used them but they seem to make sense. Let us know how they work.
  11. tedrow42

    tedrow42 Monkey+

    Oh that will be a while, I am still renting if your wanting me to tell you how they are.
  12. csaws

    csaws Monkey+

  13. tedrow42

    tedrow42 Monkey+

    i bin thinking about this and imo a cystern would be your best bet. for 4 ppl you wouldnt need a masive tank and you could do most of the work yourself. look up a sand filter or gravel filter from what i can tell there easy. a box with a hole on each end one on top one on botom on the oposite side.have the tank installed and run the pipe yourself. gravity fed inlet and an outlet run by your pump. i would suggest a hand pump back up incase your electric goes. depending on equipment you have you could put in the tank yourself. i have seen pics online of old ones made ov river stone and morter. just my .02 let us know how it goes.

    this was my plan for a bol if you do it all right you should be aable to make the tank and filter acesable from the top for cleaning
  14. jimnkaran

    jimnkaran Monkey

    For our water I use a 12 volt pump, the same thing as the motorhomes and other rv's use. I have a running creek in front of my house and another that runs directly next to it, these are both spring fed year round running water so they don't freeze up in cold water. I have a slightly deeper hole where the 2 creeks come together and that is where I placed the intake line, then bury a box with the actual pump hooked to a pvc pipe underground from the water pump to the house and also bury the 12 volt power line with it. At the house we only have a switch to turn the pump on or off and since it has a built in pressure switch, we can leave it on all of the time and it will keep pressure on the line. We use the creek water for everything except drinking water, and for hot water it is just t'eed off of the incoming line to an instant on water heater so that we can have hot or cold anytime. The instant on heater only uses propane and no electric is needed for it. Hope this helps some.
  15. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    With the appropriate Filtering, your Creek Water can become Potable.... We use mostly water off the Cabin's Steel Roof, here, but if the rains are not sufficient, then we pump our water directly from North Creek. All our water then goes thru the Domestic Water System... 10 Micron PreFilter, to the 12Vdc Dankoff Vane Pump, thru a Check Valve, and into the MainLine 30USG Air Bladder Pressure Tank, and Pressure Switch. Then on to the Filter System. 5 Micron Cotton Filter, then thru a 10 Micron Activated Charcoal Filter, and finally thru the 12 Vdc UV Sterilizer Chamber that runs off the same power as the Vane Pump. This System will remove any bugs, spores, Organics, bacteria, viruses, and make Water from either of our sources 100% Potable. We change the Filters twice a year, and the UV Lamp once a Year. Never had a water issue in 30 years, and we send the output water, in for testing four times a year. Reports are always 100 % Potable....
    There are pictures of this System, here, in the Off-Grid forum... a search should bring them up....
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015
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  16. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    Haven't been on here for awhile. Been busy most of the summer putting in a water system at the remote property. In AZ mountainous area the well ended up being 660 feet, with a Grundfos solar pump set to 580 feet. I also pulled a travel trailer on to the place, bought and set up a new more powerful (just under 1 kW monocrystalline) solar array to run all the associated gadgetry. Travel trailer is way more comfortable (and more agreeable with the wife) than the 10x13 steel shed that I slept and ate in for the last 8 years or so when I've gone there.

    THe old solar array is only about 500 W. According to the chart supplied with the Grundfos pump, that would run it but not at full speed. Rewired 9 of the 10 panels in series to run the well pump, using the tenth one to maintain a charge on a 12 v battery which runs an RV type booster pump.

    Full sunlight with the nine solar panels in series measures 170 VDC no load. Briefly shorted the two leads and GAZAAPPPP! Holy COW! Could have welded with it.

    Then got brave and connected the pump with the output pipe stuck into a 55 gallon plastic drum - nothing. I checked this and that then FOOSH! THat quick the drum was full and blowing water all over the place. It had been filling while I was fiddling.

    Guess it works. Had a neighbor with a backhoe dig a trench for a buried water line a couple hundred feet over to the travel trailer - no more hauling drums of water 275 miles- Yippee!

    Water meets EPA guidelines for primary drinking water. Yep, had it tested.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
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  17. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    You need a bigger reservoir.
  18. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    I like the dual pressure tanks. May do a setup like that and get rid of my RV booster pump. My present setup for water pumping uses no batteries except a single 12 V for the booster. I can get rid of both with pressure tanks of adequate size such as yours.
  19. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    Yeah I do. Right now I can add a second 55 gallon drum pretty easily, and the well casing holds over 200 gallons if allowed to recover twice a day. 110 gallons will work for a travel trailer for a couple days, but I'd eventually like a bit more. THe Plastic tanks on sale over the internet are reasonably priced. Or I could go with the dual pressure tank setup.

    In the event of no solar for extended periods, (rare in AZ) the well pump can be powered with a small portable generator.
  20. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Is this level ground, or hills?
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