Manual Well Pump Install : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Ok, I have decided that a manual powered well pump would be nice. I have some questions reguarding that. FIRST: My well, I believe, is not that deep, as the water table is especially high here. That said... I have used those long handled pumps at campgrounds, and thats what I would like. I have seen "pitcher pumps" for sale at tractor suppy- will that do the trick? Would a bigger one be on order? How to I plumb around the existing electric pump? Cement slab or what? Is it possible to put this manual pump like 40 feet away from the well, 'cause thats where my barn is? Any advice helpful, but I need advice, not leads or links. Thanks in advance.

-- Kevin in NC (, January 06, 2002


Lehmans has hand pumps. The catalog has lots of good info about hand pumps and how they work, sort of a mini primer (as in book) on pumps.

-- Mark in N.C. Fla. (, January 06, 2002.


Our homestead came with a hand pitcher pump and a 25 to 30 foot well. It fills a 5 gallon container in about a minute, no more than 2. I have been told that a pipe can be attached to the handle when more pump pressure is needed.

-- Rick (, January 06, 2002.

Hi; Not trying to rain on your parade,but you wanted input. I looked into a hand pump for myself before.The ones used in campgrounds are very expensive (because most of their wells are deep). The pitcher pumps are only good to about 25 feet.I have been told that by the way hand pumps work vs. electric pump there is a intense vacuum (spelling ?) created by the hand pump that could collapse the well point/screen. This may not apply to you but is information for you. regards Tradesman

-- tradesman (, January 06, 2002.

Kevin, when we bought our place 3 years ago the first thing my husband did was put a small hand pump in. Usually next to your regular casing that goes into the well there is a plate with small openings that have covers, (mini caps), he just bought enough pvc pipe for our water table and set the pipe in with a screen around the bottom of the pipe. He made a quick little wooden platform for the pump and there it was. (You should run bleach thru the pipe and spray the outside of the pipe before putting it in your well so you don't contaminate your water.)

The only problem that we ever have had is the $25.00 pump we bought had rubber fittings on it. We replaced these with the real leather ones that cost us another 20.00 for a set of 2. Have to have spares. If your water table is shallow like you said then I say its worth putting in one. It comes in handy any time there is a power outage, problem with your regular pump or just to let people have fun when they visit. People love to pump water for some reason. :)

-- shari (, January 06, 2002.

I use a pitcher pump specified for shallow well use (25 feet) with a modified line in my 52 foot well. I adapted it from 2 inch diameter pipe down to 3/4 inch pvc and built a one way ball pressure foot using a soda bottle and golf ball to keep the prime on the line and eliminate the need of a cheater extention on the pump handle.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, January 06, 2002.

Most hand pumps need to be right OVER the well to work. While you might get a good handpump to draw 50 ft or so your not going to do it with the Green and Red cheap chineese made pumps TSC sells.

-- Gary (, January 06, 2002.

The cheap pitcher pump at our homestead is about 15 feet from the well, 3 feet above ground, the well being about 25 feet deep.

This might be too much trouble, but couldn't you pump the water from the well, through 40 feet of PVC pipe- to holding tanks or troughs at the barn?

-- Rick (, January 06, 2002.

VANTRAVLRS not the above listed, sorry if you all are getting returns!

-- Kevin in NC (, January 06, 2002.

Kevin, We had to dig a well at our barn and we installed a long handeled pump. We bought it at an Amish Blacksmith shop, for much cheaper than in Lehmans. The Amish even spent time with my husband showing him how eveything went together and loaned us the tools we needed but didn't have. It was very easy to install and works great! Oh yeah - the well we use it with is 95 feet deep. We get good, cold water. Good Luck

-- Joanie (, January 07, 2002.

The short handle pitcher pumps have to be primed to work. This is actually a good thing at least in colder climates as the pump action(cylinder/piston) is contained in the housing with spout, handle, etc. If water didnt drain back, it could freeze and bust the housing/cylinder. TSC is selling one of these disguised as a long handle pump for decoration, but its still a short handle pitcher pump at heart.

Long handle pumps as you see at parks and on old farms are two separate pieces. The part you see is just handle and spout. It is connected to the cylinder/piston assembly down below water level in the well by steel pipe. Connecting the piston to the handle is what is called a sucker rod which travels inside the steel pipe. Since the piston/cylinder assembly is down in the well, it doesnt freeze. Also doesnt need to be primed since it is sitting in water. The cup leather will last lot longer than in a pitcher pump.

As to price, new approved versions of the long handle pump are pricey. However you might find an old one that is restorable. Remember you need the lower cylinder assembly, not just the top end. and it most likely will need new leathers. By way on either of these pumps, the lower check valve "flapper" leather can be homemade out of inner tube material. The upper "cup" leather needs to be boughten. I lived with a short handle pitcher pump in upper Michigan for ten years. You can get by. I bought a kind of busted up long handle pump for emergency use here. Gave $15 for it as it had been busted and patched few times so didnt look good for yard decoration which is what most of these end up as. Got nice brass cylinder with it though. Alternatively I think you could make your own out of pvc parts. We're talking a pretty simple mechanism here. Just have to be creative.

No you have to have these long handled pumps dirctly over the well. Remember the sucker rod. Some more modern long handle pumps do allow you to attach a hose to the spout. Forty feet is long distance, but if you have water within 10 foot of surface, you might be able to use a pitcher pump. Know my fathers parents had a cistern and a short handle pitcher pump inside right next to the sink. The cistern was next to house so not long run. They didnt use it by time I was around since they had deep well and electric, but pitcher pump was still hooked up and they demonstrated how it worked to me. Still had to prime it.

-- HermitJohn (, January 07, 2002.

Kevin, if your water table is shallow, why not just slam down a sand point well? Or is your soil too rocky? My brother and I pounded down a 2-inch sand point and installed this well pump in an afternoon. Total cost about $350...cheaper if you can find a used pump. As someone else pointed out, this pump will work all winter long (it gets way below zero in Minnesota and I can still pump my water) A pitcher pump will not work outside in the winter because the leathers (ie, gaskets) will freeze.

--Happy trails, Cabin Fever

-- Cabin Fever (, January 07, 2002.

Just one point. You cannot pump water from very deep with a pitcher pump, no matter how it is modified.

The pitcher pump "sucks" water, whereas what y'all are calling a long handle pump pushes water. you can push water clear to the top of a mountain, if you've got the right pump, but sucking water is a totally different situation.

What you are doing, in reality, when you pump water through suction, is taking advantage of the fact that our atmosphere is fairly heavy. It produces about 14.7 psi at sea level, and slightly less as you go up in elevation.

Since it requires one psi to raise water 2.31 feet in elevation, this atmospheric pressure could theoretically raise water 2.31x14.7=34 feet, in a vacuum, at sea level. In reality, it works out to about twenty to twenty-five feet, because 1)it's impossible ot create a complete vacuum, and 2) water vaporizes when it is eposed to low pressure, reducing vacuum pressure.

Them's the laws of physics; don't waste your time trying to pump more than about 25 feet with a pitcher pump. You can't even raise, through suction, water over about 25 feet with the world's strongest electric pump. It's the air pressure PUSHING the water up to the surface, not the pump SUCKING!!

-- joj (jump@off.c), January 07, 2002.

Cabin fever, that appears to be a deep well pump. Do you have a cylinder down the hole? Must be one small diameter cylinder!

Or are you using the casing as the cylinder wall, with a piston rubbing the leathers against the casing??

-- joj (jump@off.c), January 07, 2002.

My brother and I sunk a point and pipe using a fence post driver. Attached a $50 pitcher pump and I'm in business. At least for washing, watering animals and garden. Haven't had the water tested yet as it is not deep enough for me to bother with. We only went about 6 feet before we pooped out. Next spring I will use a pully in the tree above to lift the driver to drop onto the pipe cap and go deeper. This is so cheap I can't believe it. My grandparents used a pump in the yard all winter here in Michigan, so I know I can do it too. Mom says during the freezing winter just keep the handle up to let it drain and prime it next time you need to use it. I can't wait to hang a tin cup on the pump for quick drinks of ice cold clean water in the summer. I wish you luck and remember IT CAN BE DONE and cheaply too.

-- Susan in Northern Michigan (, January 07, 2002.

joj: I used a Midwest solid brass cylinder which has a 1-11/16 inch diameter and 10-inch stroke. This cylinder pump fit nicely inside of the 2-inch well casing. With this small diameter cyclinder, it takes about 10 strokes to get a gallon of water. Susan: My experience with an outdoor pitcher pump in winter is that the leather flapper valve and leather piston cup freeze solid. These "leathers" get soaking wet when you use the pump, consequently they freeze stiff in the winter. Perhaps the priming of the pump with relatively warm water thaws the leathers and allows your parents (or grandparents?) pump to draw water. --Happy trails, Cabin Fever

-- Cabin Fever (, January 08, 2002.

Thanks, Cabin Fever; that's a great piece of information. I'd never seen one that skinny before.

A person can also put a "pump jack" on a well pump like Cabin Fever has, and power it by any kind of motor: electric, solar, small gasoline, etc.

Any of you folks ever heard of "jetting" a well? If you're in fairly soft materials, it's a very practical method, I'm told. In parts of India, where there are no boulders to get in the way, they build a tower, as high as the depth of the well needs to be, then they pump water down what will become the well casing; it's all in one piece, and has a small "jet" fitting at the bottom. A weight at the top forces the pipe to drop down into the ground as the soil is washed out. I'm told that the whole process takes only a few minutes (other than building the tower!), and that once the casing starts dropping it's necessary to keep it moving until it's all the way down. You can't stop halfway, or you'll never get it going again.

-- joj (jump@off.c), January 08, 2002.

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