tapping into an existing well when the power goes out

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by dudefromtampa, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. dudefromtampa

    dudefromtampa New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    PA
    I recently moved from FL to PA and for the first time, I live on a property with its own well. I learned quickly that when the power goes out, accessing the water is quite difficult. I was wondering if anyone knows if there is a way to access the well when this happens? What I would like to do is add a hand-pump for such periods.

    Thanks very much for any input!

    V/r

    Joe
  2. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
  3. dudefromtampa

    dudefromtampa New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    PA
    Honestly, I feel like this is something I should know, but I don't. Unfortunately I don't know too much about wells. I've asked several people locally but there's not exactly a smorgasbord of well-wealth around here, surprisingly. I googled, looked on Amazon, you name it. This appears to be the best forum for these sorts of questions.

    Your last sentence ballvalve is dead-on! I consider myself a prepper albeit a late one! My intent is to be able to use our well here when TSHTF. I can survive the easy 1-4 day black out. It's the period just around the corner that worries me. I can't afford a high-speed generator nor do I want one as storing mass quantities of gas is a recipe for disaster in my book. Even if I could rig some sort of hand-pump, that would be cool. The problem is, the water is over 50 feet down.

    I'm checking into that genset now. Never heard of it before. Thanks for the advice!
  4. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,588
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    The hand pump is a good idea, but may also need parts. My plan when TSHTF is to pull the pump out, and to use a rope and bucket like my ancestors did. A piece of pipe with a cap on one end and a rope attached to the other requires very few replacement parts.
  5. JPat

    JPat New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Johnsburg, Il
    I have had a cust. with this same problem. The first thing you need to find out is if you can get piping past the "pitless adapter". If you can you can look at systems like this one...not my company btw. http://www.bisonpumps.com/ but this is probably exactly what you are interested in. There are other companies out there that offer this same idea, just different designs.
  6. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    The rope and bucket will kill you quick, but it works - and better with a flapper on the bottom, then you can use lightweight pipe or tube. But if one goes to the Bennet website, you will see how cheap windmill parts are, and you can buy a windmill cylinder of small diameter that even your kid can pump. Or build one with a few check valves and leftover pipe.

    http://deanbennett.com/cylinder.htm

    Then there are pump jacks which can be both your primary and secondary system:

    http://deanbennett.com/pumpjacks.htm

    Finally for you SMART preppers, one should have a copy of De Re Metallica, by Agricola. You can get the Dover translation for 30 bucks. I collect mining books and have the 2nd and 3rd editions from the late 1500's. Bought them cheap in Eastern Europe before anyone knew they go for 6 to 10++ grand in the US. The first edition is now about 25,000$.... anyway, its the worlds FIRST and best illustrated technical book - It has pumps in it that make us all look stupid today. Fun to read the translation with the original in Latin next to it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_re_metallica

    And for real pump enthusiasts, you have to read a book on "Cornish Pumps" the most amazing monstrous pumps ever built. Many were in Virgina city in the silver mines.

    http://www.exploringthenorth.com/cornish/pump.html
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  7. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,185
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    So far, Joe has told us very little about his well except that it's 50 feet down to the water. For all we know he could have a 2" cased packer with a buried wellhead.

    If I were worried about a global collapse, I would be thinking about solar and/or wind power.
  8. Smooky

    Smooky Member

    Messages:
    654
    Location:
    NC
  9. masterpumpman

    masterpumpman New Member

    Messages:
    729
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    To many unknowns about the well. %0 foot to the water presents another problem. My recommendation is to purchase a generator set like a http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200419023_200419023. It may cost $500.00 plus dollars but when the power goes off or when TSHTF. You would still have water, lights and maybe keep the regrigerator running but not all at the same time. Pulling the pump and or using a bailer to 50 foot or replacing the electric pump with a hand pump would be a nightmare. In Pensylvania my choice would be a generator! If I was in Florida I may prefer a hand pump and a sand point!
  10. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Being from and living in rural central/NE PA for most of my 69 years, and working on wells there for 20+ years, you aren't going to get another line down the normal 6" well casing with a pitless adapter in the casing already. And all wells in PA will have a pitless unless the well is a buried pit type with a jet pump, in the pit.

    When TSHTF, having a generator is a big plus but comes with problems like an ongoing fuel supply, noise and other 'telling' sights and sounds that you have one and other things someone might take a liking to.

    If it were me I would want to look into storing water from the well and treating it as I use it; mostly by boiling it after say a 5 micron filter.

    I live in a motor home, currently in AZ out in the desert, so I haven't put a lot of thought in to your type of prepping but I'm prepped as much as I can be with such limited space etc. but... a concrete septic tank buried in the yard to store water in would be something I'd look into.

    Installed so I could get water out of it without more than a rope and bucket, or a sub pump run off a little very quiet portable generator and maybe a solar panel running a low gpm pump through maybe 3/8" or 1/2" PE tubing.

    Honda portable generators, 1-3KW, with very high fuel efficiencies are not all that expensive and are very quiet and durable. Plus they are light weight. The RVing community use them A LOT. And an inexpensive Sureflo RV fresh water pump would be ideal for about 3 gpm delivery at 30 psi and they only require 3-5 amps.
  11. dudefromtampa

    dudefromtampa New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    PA
    that's actually a pretty good idea too.

  12. dudefromtampa

    dudefromtampa New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    PA
    That looks exactly like what I need. At least what I was thinking about anyway...

  13. dudefromtampa

    dudefromtampa New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    PA
    I actually looked into both. Solar is too expensive. Still contemplating going the wind power route. Just not sure we have the wind here to justify it.

  14. dudefromtampa

    dudefromtampa New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    PA
    There's a pipe that protrudes from the property with a steel cap on it. Now this is where I show my true well-ignorance but I have no idea what this pipe is called or is for. My wife told me she pours beach down it (from time to time) to disinfect the water. This is where I was thinking about rigging up some sort of faucet for when TSHTF. If I went the hand-to-bucket route, I'd need to dig a wider opening obviously.

  15. dudefromtampa

    dudefromtampa New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    PA
    More good ideas. Thanks Gary. Are you near Sedona?
  16. dudefromtampa

    dudefromtampa New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    PA
    Great links! Thanks a lot ballvalve. These links will keep me busy for a time to come! And thanks to you too Smooky.

  17. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I think Sedona is a bit north of us but not sure. We are presently in Blythe CA having our rubber roof redone. That's just across the line of western AZ on I-10. We leave here tomorrow to go pack up our stuff in the desert south of Quartzsite AZ on BML land and go east on our way to FL for next winter. Might only make it to friends in the Piney Woods of east TX on Caddo Lake though. A fair place to hunker down I think.

    That pipe she is pouring bleach down every so often, has to be your 6" well casing and she should stop doing that. She is rusting the steel casing and really bad if she isn't washing it down with fresh water out of a hose before the bleach gets down to the water entering the pump. Bleach/chlorine with certain organics in the water can create carcinogens... called Trihalomethanes.
  18. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    creek house.jpg
    Blythe? the armpit of America with no water? And Texas, in the drought? You prepping would need to be an AK47 to get the neighbors water after that months worth of tank water ran out. And if this system implodes, wherever you maybe driving is where you will stay, because all that gas will be gone, [maybe on highway 5 half way to Lost vegas?] and those gensets will shut down in a month. You cannot practically store gasoline. Perhaps some cyanide capsules would be a good backup.

    I watch that prepper show and I get sick. I built two huge underground structures, 12" thick concrete roof with 4' of dirt cover.
    But I did it for wine, and another smaller one for garden stuff and canned foods. All I see happening is earthquakes or weather or some nuclear plant popping, and having to survive without pulling someones hair at the Walmart. The guns go all the way back to granpa. My full time stream is the ultimate survival item, except it makes one a target for the thirsties that just drove in from Sedona.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  19. dudefromtampa

    dudefromtampa New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    PA
    From what I am told, and I have pretty good references, the key (in our near future, will be in Sedona. Not entirely sure what that means..but I have a few thoughts on it.

    In reference to the well-casing..thanks a ton for the knowledge. Will talk to my wife on what you've told me. She's taught me a lot on how to live out here in the country. It'll be cool to be able to teach her something.

    Best of luck on your travels. I just left Florida not too long ago. Not sure I'd want to be out there when the SHTF though.

  20. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,588
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    You just use a smaller bucket. Mine has 5†casing. So I plan on a length of 4†PVC pipe with a weighted trap door on the bottom. This would be very similar to steel bailers I have made many times before. A tall A frame above the well with a pulley will allow a fairly long 4†pipe to be lifted out. I am guessing every time I send the kids 60’ across the yard with the rope, it will bring up about 3 gallons. Not fancy, but I have seen a picture of my ancestors with just such a water supply.
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