Well pump question

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I am trying to figure out how to best handle watering of our flowers, garden and soon to be animals. We have city water for the house, but I t is expensive to be dumping on the ground. I have 2 wells on the property that i would like to make use of. One is near the house, Its shallow, about 40ft and has a good recovery rate. The second is out by the barn. I can get a few hundred gallon out of it but it takes 1/2day to recover.

What I am looking at doing is plumbing the outside faucts and and line to the barn and stable to the well near the house. Add a shallow well pump to service these 4 faucets.

NOW the question. For watering purposes do I need to have a presure tank on the well pump? Would a straight pump with flow switch work? It seems to me that the big reason for a presure tank is to buffer the small water periods of water use. Since most of well use will be used for longer duration the presure tank would nto bee needed. Comments, suggestions?

-- Gary (gws@redbird.net), May 30, 2000


The pressure tank keeps things "normal"! I guess there is some way you could eliminate it, but why bother? Pretty cheap, and you won't have problems with it. Somebody else out there more of a tightwad than me with a pauper solution? GL!

-- Brad (homefixer@SacoRiver.net), May 30, 2000.

Gary, you're right; you can do without the pressure switch and tank. If you opt not to use them, though, I'd advise using as much water as the pump will produce, rather than only running a single faucet, or two, or any amount less than the maximum possible. The reason is that if you only run a small amount of water, the pump will actually be working harder than if you run more, and you'll be wasting electricy, plus causing premature wear on the pump.

By the way, a "shallow" well pump will only lift a bit over 20 feet at normal altitudes--less if you're high in the mountains. You may have to use a submersible or a jet pump. Jet pump's probably cheaper, and will handle dirty water better than a sub, if that's a concern, but is considerably less efficient than a sub, as a rule, and therefore costs more to run in terms of electricity.

I TOTALLY agree with you that it's expensive to use city water for uses which don't require potable water. I don't know why the cities in this country continue to purify all the water they deliver, at great expense, and with all the environmental ramifications, when the amount of potable water we use is typically a tiny fraction of the total water we use. Mostly we take this pure water and dump it down the toilet, wash our car, water the lawn, etc. What a waste!

I actually prefer the method in some areas of Latin America--they deliver tap water of only fairly good quality (safe enough to shower, etc, in), but deliver bottled water for drinking and cooking.


-- jumpoff joe (jumpoff@echoweb.net), May 30, 2000.

If all you are going to do is water the garden, why not find an old wind mill & re-hab it. If the garden is down hill from the well you don't even need a pump. I'll bet you can find one pretty easy & parts are avail. for even the oldest. Bet it would be cheaper than installing a complete well system & might look pretty nice on the home stead too. Also comes in handy in power failures

-- Okie-Dokie (www.tommycflinstone@aol.com), June 03, 2000.

My father-in-law lives here in Wisconsin also but in the city. When they connected the city water to his street he was told he had to fill in the old well and could not even use it for his garden. I thought the hand pumps you can get at Fleet Farm pulled water from 40 ft.

-- Pat (pmikul@pcpros.net), June 04, 2000.

A "shallow" well pump is one which lifts the water through "suction", that is, the piston, or impeller, or whatever, is above ground.

Fact is, nothing can actually "lift" water. The water is actually pushed up through differential pressure. If the suction pipe is totally evacuated, that is, has zero pressure, then there is more pressure from the atmosphere pushing down on the water in the well that there is pressure pushing down on the water in the suction pipe. Atmospheric pressure is about 14.7 psi, depending on your altitude, which translates to about 33 feet of lift. Problem is, when you approach zero pressure in the lift pipe, the water in the pipe "boils" due to the low pressuer, which adds pressure, or prevents a true vacuum. The result is that you can generally figure about twenty to twenty-five feet of lift, at sea level of lift, less at higher altitudes.

A deep well pump, on the other hand, "pushes" water up the pipe by having the piston, or impeller, or whatever, down under the water. No vaccum is involved, hence no problem with having a limit of 14.7 psi differential, theoretical.

Hope this helps.


-- jumpoff joe (jumpoff@echoweb.net), June 05, 2000.

If your garden is uphill from the well, just pump water into an open stock tank above the garden till its full, turn off pump, and release water as needed via siphon or outlet low on the side of the tank. If you need more head, set the tank on a berm or other means of elevating it. Works for me pumping from a pond lying about 20 ft lower and 300 ft distant. I used garden hose and an old discarded centrifugal that I cleaned the sand out of to make it work again.

-- Robert Corkill (bawb@knoxy.net), November 24, 2001.

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