We Need Water

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by fortheloveofhoney, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. fortheloveofhoney

    fortheloveofhoney Neophyte Monkey

    We live about 150 feet from a year round creek. We are probably 10 or 15 feet higher than the creek. We don't get much sun so solar is not much of an option. The creek is very gradual grade so a ram pump is kind of out of the question. We need to fill a 55 gallon drum that will gravity feed a tankless propane water heater and a sink. How the hay do we pump water into this bugger?

    Any help or suggestions would be great.
  2. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey

    What kind of power do you have-if any?
    Cold or warm climate?
  3. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    How much wind do you get? Wind driven pumps are effective as are water wheel driven pumps. 150 feet is quite a lot, you may want to consider a larger water storage tank and running a gas generator or gas pump to lift the water above your place.
  4. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    A solar system pumping two gallons an hour might work with only a 15 foot lift needed there are some drip irrigation pumps of that type..
  5. fortheloveofhoney

    fortheloveofhoney Neophyte Monkey

    Thanks for the responses. We don't have much sun or wind. We are in a forest in Southern Oregon. A generator is an option. I imagine hand pumping water that far would take FOREVER. Does the gas pump run on propane? We have 0 power right now. We are considering getting some deep cycle batteries but don't have a way to recharge them. So we may need to invest in a generator at some point. Our landmates aren't that into the idea of a generator. So we're looking for something kind of quiet and efficient but still not extremely costly.
  6. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    The simplest solution would be to run 1.5" or 2" PVC pipe to a point where the inflow pipe at the creek is higher than "point of use" in the cabin and let gravity do the work for you. Want more pressure ? (lets say the length of the pipe is 500 ft: use 3" pipe with one end in the creek, then 150 feet down stream neck it down to 2" for another 150 ft and then drop the diameter down to 1" for the remainder of the run into the cabin.

    Length of run, vertical drop and pipe diameter mentioned are random for the sake of conversation. If you know the GPH flow of the creek and the vertical drop between inflow pipe and point of use you (or someone better at math than me [tongue] ) should be able to calculate the pressure at the house connection.

    This same set-up will work for a micro-hydro generator in other words; free electricity from water power.
  7. fortheloveofhoney

    fortheloveofhoney Neophyte Monkey

    Yeah, we were going to set up hydro electric but the creek is so flat that we probably wouldn't get any kind of reasonable pressure, or we would have to be miles of pipe haha
  8. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    Rig a 10 speed bicycle to drive a pump and peddle your water up the hill. You said the creek was 150 feet from you and you are 15 feet above creek level, right? Could be done pretty easily using an automotive serpentine accessory drive belt around the rear rim of the bicycle to drive the pump. Could also use the same arrangement to drive an automotive alternator for recharging those deep cycle batteries.
  9. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey

    Sound's like a solar or genset is the best bet. Use it to charge up batteries that you can use for other purposes besides water. You can get gensets that run on propane.
    Dunerunner likes this.
  10. fortheloveofhoney

    fortheloveofhoney Neophyte Monkey

    Dunerunner: I like the bicycle idea. I will look into it.
  11. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    Do you know the average GPH flow of the creek and the rise in elevation at 500 & 1,000 ft up stream ?
    If you do, most likely someone here can get this figured out for you today.
  12. kellory

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

    Ganado likes this.
  13. kellory

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

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2015
    Ganado likes this.
  14. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    I would do a few things....
    1. Look at Oregon Monkeys.... 4KW Onan Genset.... $60US...... | Survival Forums Post #17 or buy one of the small Honda Trash Pumps from Northern Tool, or your local Tractor Supply. The Genset and Electric Pump will be more Universally useful, and about the same Price.....
    2. Look at the Off-Grid Forum and search out posts from @ColtCarbine, and @BTPost on Off-Grid, Domestic Water Systems... Domestic Hot Water from a Woodstove | Survival Forums
    3. Look at collection of water from the Roof of your dwelling. Your average RainFall is about the same as ours, and we do quit well with Roof Water Collection.
    4. Look at building your Supply Water Tank, into the Rafters of your dwelling, INSIDE the Insulated Portion of the dwelling, with a Vertical Drain Line, directly to the Ground. This does two things. Since the Dwelling, when Occupied, will ALWAYS be kept above Freezing, (32F) you have No Issues with Frozen Pipes. If you leave the Cabin UnOccupied, and UnHeated for any length of time, all you need to do is open the Drain Line Valve, and open all the Faucets, and let the water drain out. takes about 10 minutes.
    Tully Mars likes this.
  15. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    Here are some bicycle plans that are designed for a threshing machine. Maybe you can adapt it some as it has the gear set up. This design lets them use the bicycle for transportation as well as threshing.
    Pedel Power Report

    Also one of the things that was tried in Africa for well pumping.... not sure it if it could be adapted for a creek is to install a merry go round so you and the kids can play and pump water at the same time. This was a failure in africa over the long term because no child will run round and round forever but it was still a unique idea.
  16. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    We need to first understand the fundamental requirements before leaping to solutions.

    You have only a 55 gallon storage tank. Sounds like the water is for washing so consumption is low, say 5 gal a day, that reasonable? Would spending 15-20 min once a week to refill the tank be acceptable to you? If those assumptions are in the ballpark, then you need a pump to flow 2-3 gallon per minute.

    Let's now estimate the pressure needed from that pump. The lift is 10-15 feet, let's use worst case and say 15, that equates to about 7 psi. Let's estimate pressure drop over 150 feet to get from stream to cabin. Consult the flow curves for say 1 inch ID pipe/tubing:


    So for 2.5 gal/min we have about .1 psi pressure drop and that would be about .15 for 150 feet, not much.

    So, just figure 8 psi for fittings, elbows, setting the tank a bit higher etc.

    Now we know we need a pump that can flow 2-3 gal/min at a pressure of 8 psi or better. If we can spread the filling over hours, we can use a much smaller pump. If we use more water than 5 gals per day, then we need to fill more often.

    A Shurflo RV 12 vdc pump is an option and costs like 70 bucks. Here is the spec sheet for it:

    As we can see from the flow curves, this pump can flow about 2.3 gal/min at 8 psi. We can also see from the chart that the pump would pull about 3 amps at 12 volts to do this.

    So we would run the pump roughly 1/3 hour (20 min) once a week and at 3 amps that is just 1 amp-hour of juice. A deep discharge marine battery in group size 31 is roughly 112 amp-hr of capacity. That would suggest you could supply your water needs for two years! Truthfully, there will be some electrical inefficiency, significant battery self discharge over that time and other losses that probably puts us more in the 6 month range but the point is, you don't need a lot of juice and could probably recharge the battery with your car every few months when you go to town etc. and take care of your needs. You could also use the pump to feed water to a nice shower.

    Alternatively you could also use a manual hand pump.
    Water Pumps, Hand Pumps, Manual Pumps
    They didn't present a pressure vs flow curve and I'd guess at 8 psi the gal/min this pump would be less than 2 and maybe even less than 1 gal/min. But that just means you might need to pump for 45 min once a week.

    This will hopefully provide some guidance as to just what is needed and you can redo the math for differing assumptions or situations. Have fun.

  17. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Put them in the bicycle seat and see how long that attitude lasts.
    3cyl, techsar, oldawg and 5 others like this.
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