# Moving water tanks up the hill for more pressure - Need advice on piping

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#### Blue Oak

##### Member
Hi folks-

I live on the side of a hill and currently have a 5000 gallon steel tank that has about a 30 foot rise from the base of my house to the base of the tank. It's probably 50 feet away walking up the pretty steep hill. I'm getting a couple of 3000 gallon poly tanks to replace the aging steel one.

My plan is to clear a pad much higher up the hill for the new tanks, which presumably would give me more pressure and allow me to eliminate the pressure pump and tank at the house(s). I tested the well pressure with a couple of garden hoses, and it'll fill the tanks at that height.

I'm pretty sure I'll gain about 50 additional feet in height, maybe 60 at the top of the tanks when full. They'll be at the same height as my neighbor's tanks, and our houses are at the same height.

The path I am considering for the run down to the house will be a little bit of a zig zag, where the neighbor's is probably more of a straight shot since his was designed and built that way. I'd like to tie into the supply lines (two houses on the property, 2nd is 20 feet below the primary) where the existing tank is. The new pipeline will be probably 120-150 linear feet of addition to the existing 50 or so feet that's in place.

My question is what type of piping material should I use for the new downhill run, and what diameter? I know bigger is better, but in my case would it help to have 3" vs 2" from the tank down to where I split off into two feeds for the two houses? The well pump up to the tanks will likely be 1" CPVC.

Any input would be appreciated.

#### Reach4

##### Well-Known Member
http://www.pressure-drop.com/Online-Calculator/ is a pretty good pressure drop calculator, but it is not super simple. I would compute with 10 gpm for 1 house, and maybe 15 gpm for 2 houses.

I would tend toward SIDR polyethylene pipe. Search Results for "sidr" at Menards® can give you a good idea of what is available, even if you are not in their service area. SIDR size is covered by the ASTM D2239. HomeDepot calls their SIDR pipe IPS. Seems strange to me. But they do cite the D2239 number.

https://www.astm.org/Standards/D2239.htm says the D2239 spec is "Standard Specification for Polyethylene (PE) Plastic Pipe (SIDR-PR) Based on Controlled Inside Diameter". http://www.carlonsales.com/techinfo/faqs/FAQ-HDPE.pdf says "SIDR stands for Standard Inside Diameter Ratio, which is the inside diameter divided by the wall thickness."

The SIDR pipe is considerably bigger than the same nominal size of CPVC or PEX.

When using longer lengths of plastic pipe, pay attention to thermal effects. With polyethelene, don't pull tight, but instead snake the pipe in the trench.

I am not a pro.

#### Valveman

##### Cary Austin
Staff member
90' of rise is only 38 PSI, less any restriction in the pipe. Most people prefer at least 50 PSI to have good pressure in the house. A booster pump would give you all the pressure you need and would be basically trouble free if controlled with a CSV1A as in the PK1A kit. The electric bill for a booster pump to a house should only be about 5 bucks a month to have all the pressure you want. With strong constant pressure from a CSV the storage tank doesn't need elevated at all.

#### Reach4

##### Well-Known Member
I think 38 psi would be plenty for most homes. 30 psi is enough to backwash a water softener. There are showerheads with flow regulators that do a fairly good job. Many houses with wells use a 30/50 pressure switch.

#### Blue Oak

##### Member
Thanks for the replies. Looks like Menards is too far away from me and won't ship to 36 states including CA. Maybe I can find something else like that locally. I live in the Santa Cruz Mtns so it's not like I'm some special use case.

I currently have a pressure pump with a pressure switch set to 30/50. I'd be fine with 30 at that point. The whole point of moving the tanks further up the hill is to eliminate the pressure pump and tank. I seem to have to replace the check valve every couple of years, and it makes a big thunk when the pump turns off. I thought it was a worn out pump so I put another one in and it makes the same noise.

I looked at my situation (again) and noticed that I could run two lines, one to the existing steel tank and tie in to the guest house supply, and another essentially straight down the hill with a 90* turn at the bottom, then a straight shot to where the existing pressure pump/tank is. I think if I use 2 or 3" pipe I'd get pretty close to that 38 PSI.

#### Reach4

##### Well-Known Member
Thanks for the replies. Looks like Menards is too far away from me and won't ship to 36 states including CA. Maybe I can find something else like that locally. I live in the Santa Cruz Mtns so it's not like I'm some special use case.
I would check with places that provide irrigation stuff for farms.
I looked up Morgan Hill, and found you are in Silicon Valley, far from many farms.

#### Blue Oak

##### Member
You'd be surprised how many farms are near me. Most are of a certain very valuable cash crop though! Gilroy is not far and there's tons of farms there as well. Farm supply places sound like a good place to start.

#### Blue Oak

##### Member
Below are some pictures that show the current state, as well as the proposed routes of the new water lines.

Legend:
Light Blue = Existing Tank to Houses piping
Dark Blue = Proposed Tank to Main House piping (2 inch polyethylene with a radius at the 90* bend.
Green = Proposed trench for Well to New Tanks, Float Switch Wire, New Tanks supply to Guest House piping.

#### VAWellDriller

##### Active Member
Maybe I'm missing something, but why would you waste time with the dark blue trench line? Why not just dig once up the hill to the new tank? You can put more than one line in a ditch....have a tank feed line up the hill to the new tank, and a larger (to help with friction loss) return line to come down the hill...split the return line and use the existing feeds to each house as is.

#### Blue Oak

##### Member
My concern is the supply line to the main house appears to be 1" or maybe 1.25" and I might have enough frictional losses to be below 30 PSI. I think I need 30 PSI for my water softener to operate properly, and that's really the threshold for success. It would be much simpler to do as you say though.

I suppose I could just try it and if I don't get the pressure I want I could then trench a new line for a full 2" poly pipe to the house.

#### Blue Oak

##### Member
My overall concern is doing a bunch of work to move the tanks up the hill and end up still having to use the pressure pump.

#### Valveman

##### Cary Austin
Staff member
1" pipe won't cause much restriction until you try to use more than about 10 GPM. But that height is only going to give you 38 PSI no matter what.

#### Reach4

##### Well-Known Member
I suppose I could just try it and if I don't get the pressure I want I could then trench a new line for a full 2" poly pipe to the house.
You could temporarily run some garden hose up the hill and measure the pressure at the new proposed spot to measure the gravity head change vs below. That would be an alternative way to accurately measure the altitude change. GPS does not do as well on measuring altitude as it does the horizontal dimensions. Make sure the hose is charged with water before closing the hose with the pressure gauge. If there was significant air in the pipe, you would get a high pressure reading. I am not talking about just bubbles.

For your softener and more, you might even measure to the middle height of the tank. If your tank is recharged from a well, your tank will be over half full the great majority of the time, and if the well is not delivering properly for a time, you would want to postpone softener regenerations anyway.

#### Blue Oak

##### Member
1" pipe won't cause much restriction until you try to use more than about 10 GPM. But that height is only going to give you 38 PSI no matter what.

Understood that I won't ever get more than 38 PSI, the concern is losing more than I have to since let's face it, more pressure is better for showers, multiple water uses simultaneously, etc. The 1" pipe has at least 5 90* turns on it's way to the existing pressure pump and tank right next to the main house. There are a couple of short retaining walls that I haven't previously illustrated, that the existing supply goes down, under, up, and then hangs a right. I think I'll tie it in and just see what I get for now.

You could temporarily run some garden hose up the hill and measure the pressure at the new proposed spot to measure the gravity head change vs below. That would be an alternative way to accurately measure the altitude change. GPS does not do as well on measuring altitude as it does the horizontal dimensions. Make sure the hose is charged with water before closing the hose with the pressure gauge. If there was significant air in the pipe, you would get a high pressure reading. I am not talking about just bubbles.

For your softener and more, you might even measure to the middle height of the tank. If your tank is recharged from a well, your tank will be over half full the great majority of the time, and if the well is not delivering properly for a time, you would want to postpone softener regenerations anyway.

Not a bad way to measure the height. Thanks for the suggestion. As stated above I'm probably just going to press the easy button at first and tie into both houses' supply lines at the existing steel tank and see what I get. If I want marginally more pressure/flow then I can always run a dedicated 2" poly line down from the new poly tanks to the main house. From what I can see, the guest house has a straight shot with either 1.5 or 2 inch pipe with no bends, so with the additional elevation change that house should be fine. Also the existing tank is full or nearly full 99% of the time, and 100% of the time over the past couple of years. In 2016 we were at the tail end of a big drought and I was using more water than pumping from the well late in the season for the sprinklers, etc. Cutting back on the sprinklers solved the problem which was only temporary since in the winter of 2016/2017 we received 40" of rain in 40 days here.

#### Ballvalve

##### General Engineering Contractor
Get rid of the elbows. Ace hardware in California has oddly good prices on poly pipe in all sizes, just have to ask.

#### Blue Oak

##### Member
Get rid of the elbows. Ace hardware in California has oddly good prices on poly pipe in all sizes, just have to ask.

I most likely will end up removing them and putting in a section of poly pipe there. But, I'm going to see what I get with the initial tie in first.

#### s10010001

##### Member
38PSI max is was too low IMO, id gets a CSV and jet pump for sure. While you'r at it, plump in a water bypass for gravity feed in case the power ever goes out so your water can still flow. I'm all flat here so I have a generator bypass for my pumps.

#### Blue Oak

##### Member
38PSI max is was too low IMO, id gets a CSV and jet pump for sure. While you'r at it, plump in a water bypass for gravity feed in case the power ever goes out so your water can still flow. I'm all flat here so I have a generator bypass for my pumps.

I'm going to test the pressure before and after the removal of the pressure pump. If I have more than the lower switch threshold, I'm fine with it. I'll report back with the results.

My good friend is a maestro with his Bobcats, so he made a pad MUCH higher on the hill behind my house. The plan is to get away from the pressure pumps and tanks at the houses. I calculated about 38 PSI peak, with some pressure drop due to friction and load. My current pump uses 30 PSI as the lower threshold, so I'm hoping to exceed that under a load of a shower and maybe the sprinklers. I'm probably delusional haha.

Anyway, here's the pics. I think the tanks are about 80 feet above the floor of the house, and the tanks will have at least 5 feet of water in them. It's good to have capable friends with nice tools. Now to rent a trencher and get some pipes in the ground.

Tanks waaaaay up on the hill.

The very beginning of the road. He found some clay in the digging for the pad and used that to compact the road later. It's very well done.

Looking down the new road. Blue Oaks everywhere !!

Getting the pad level. He used a laser level and got it to within about 1" over the 10 x 20 pad.

Motoring the tanks up the road.

#### s10010001

##### Member
Those are indeed way up there. Post back how it works out!

#### Blue Oak

##### Member
Just a quick update. I had my friend Dan trench the road with his Bobcat. The trenching attachment was only \$160 for 24 hours, and it took about 2. I'll post back after I have some piping done.

Existing tank where the pipes will all connect. This old steel tank will be repurposed for fire reserve. It'll have either a 2.5" or 1.5" NH male thread and a ball valve.

Trench going down the hill.

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