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Posted: 7/3/2010 11:40:39 AM EST
Here is my solution for a temporary household backup water supply that allows normal use of water inside my house.
The only limitation is how difficult it is to refill the drums, driving distance etc...

The major components are a 55 gal water drum and a RV 12v on-demand water pump.

If we lose water pressure I simply hook it up to an outside faucet and essentially "backfeed" my plumbing. Everything works as normal with slightly reduced flow.
One thing I had to do was rig up the outside faucet I will use with a removable anti-siphon valve that I can remove when I need to use this.

Since it's very simple, flexible and portable it could be used standalone or attached to someone else's house..

I'm planning on mounting the pump on a 2X6 to give it some stability.













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Link Posted: 7/3/2010 1:05:44 PM EST
Will the pump burn out if on with all your interior faucets turned off?
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Link Posted: 7/3/2010 4:37:36 PM EST
It shouldn't. Most Shurflo pumps are pressure regulated––-meaning they build up to 35-75 psi and then shut off and hold the pressure.

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Link Posted: 7/3/2010 4:49:02 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/3/2010 4:49:44 PM EST by Echo2]
nice.....how long will a batt run the pump?

what is your charging plan?
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Link Posted: 7/3/2010 6:03:58 PM EST
It will maintain 65psi. Its an on demand pump.
I have a dozen ways to provide 12v so that's not really a problem. Household 110 and charger, Honda generator, 10KW generator, car, truck, solar.. and so on..

It will run long enough to empty a 55 gal drum when used off and on...

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Link Posted: 7/3/2010 6:09:08 PM EST
I'm digging it. I hadn't thought of doing this in this manner.

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Link Posted: 7/3/2010 6:12:18 PM EST
Very ingenious!

I assume you shut off the city water supply at the meter or water heater, in order to avoid back-pressurizing all the other homes in the neighborhood...

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Link Posted: 7/3/2010 6:46:55 PM EST
source on pump?
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Link Posted: 7/3/2010 6:48:12 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/3/2010 6:51:46 PM EST by CoyoteGray]
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Very ingenious!

I assume you shut off the city water supply at the meter or water heater, in order to avoid back-pressurizing all the other homes in the neighborhood...


Yes, otherwise you would just empty your tank into the system, assuming there was no pressure.
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Link Posted: 7/3/2010 6:49:30 PM EST
Originally Posted By Echo2:
source on pump?


Any RV shop will have them..
I got this one at Camping World in Okc...

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Link Posted: 7/3/2010 6:51:27 PM EST
FYI, taking a good shower but not messing around will use about 7" of water out of the tank. A full load of dishes, about the same.

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Link Posted: 7/3/2010 7:01:00 PM EST
Originally Posted By CoyoteGray:
Originally Posted By Echo2:
source on pump?


Any RV shop will have them..
I got this one at Camping World in Okc...

Andy..


cool....we have one here....thanks
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Link Posted: 7/3/2010 7:14:08 PM EST
Just out of curiosity...

If you elevated the 55 gallon barrel to - oh, maybe 6 feet above the faucet - would it provide enough pressure under gravity feed alone to give you adequate water flow inside the house?

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Link Posted: 7/3/2010 7:22:03 PM EST
Why did I not think of this?
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Link Posted: 7/3/2010 7:34:07 PM EST
Outstanding.

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Link Posted: 7/3/2010 7:39:10 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/3/2010 7:41:54 PM EST by Foxtrot243]
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Just out of curiosity...

If you elevated the 55 gallon barrel to - oh, maybe 6 feet above the faucet - would it provide enough pressure under gravity feed alone to give you adequate water flow inside the house?


Then do you have to take the drum down and take to wherever you get the potable water and fill it up then back home and hoist it up again? Or are you talking about making it part of the system with water flowing in and out all the time and having it in there like an extra hot water heater if power goes ect.?


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Link Posted: 7/3/2010 7:48:28 PM EST
Andy, your ingenuity is inspiring. Well done.

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Link Posted: 7/3/2010 8:26:58 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/3/2010 8:34:54 PM EST by Skibane]
Originally Posted By Foxtrot243:
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Just out of curiosity...

If you elevated the 55 gallon barrel to - oh, maybe 6 feet above the faucet - would it provide enough pressure under gravity feed alone to give you adequate water flow inside the house?


Then do you have to take the drum down and take to wherever you get the potable water and fill it up then back home and hoist it up again? Or are you talking about making it part of the system with water flowing in and out all the time and having it in there like an extra hot water heater if power goes ect.?


I'm thinking that the drum could be left elevated all the time, previously filled from the city water supply. Basically, it would be a small water tower that would gravity-feed to your house through an outside faucet - no pressurization required.

When the drum needed refilling, a 12 volt pump (or a bucket) could be used to lift water from another portable tank/drum into it.

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Link Posted: 7/3/2010 9:42:38 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/3/2010 9:43:12 PM EST by CoyoteGray]
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Just out of curiosity...

If you elevated the 55 gallon barrel to - oh, maybe 6 feet above the faucet - would it provide enough pressure under gravity feed alone to give you adequate water flow inside the house?


The problem is the height you would need to elevate it to for 60-70 PSI..

I found this via google......

The basic fact you need to know is that water pressure will increase at the rate of 14.7 PSI for every 33 feet of elevation.

Once you know this it is easy to calculate for other elevations or even depths of the ocean. For an elevation of 30 feet I get the answer of 13.36 PSI.

Static Pressure Supplied by Water
The volume of water is irrelevant to pressure. It is only the elevation that causes an increase in pressure. The static pressure supplied by the water at an elevated height is equal to [density of water (1000 kg/m3)] x [gravitational acceleration (9.812 m/s2)] x [height of water (9.144 meters)] in Pascals (newtons per square meter).

So, the pressure is 89,720.9 Pascal or 13.01 pounds per square inch.


So, according to this, to get 60 PSI you would need to have your tank elevated to 136 feet or so...


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Link Posted: 7/4/2010 2:01:11 AM EST
I used one of the Shureflow 12v pumps full-time in my house a few years ago when I had a solar array, batteries, 55-gal holding tank, pressure pump for normal household pressure. The Sureflow pump down the well held up well for 6 years, the Sureflow booster pump did not.

I ended up getting a fancier unit (Dankoff Booster pump), available here for example: Arizona Wind and Sun and it held up to the use much better.

But if you only intend to use the Sureflow pump for intermittent/light duty use, it's okay I guess.

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Link Posted: 7/4/2010 2:46:42 AM EST
Originally Posted By CoyoteGray:
So, according to this, to get 60 PSI you would need to have your tank elevated to 136 feet or so...


Why would you need 60 PSI?

If you've ever had the water supply turned off, opened a faucet in one part of the house and then opened another faucet someplace else, the small difference in elevation between the two faucets is enough to get some flow.The question is, would you get adequate flow with just 5-10 feet of barrel elevation.

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Link Posted: 7/4/2010 5:16:36 AM EST
This is all 'good to know' stuff. Nice work CoyoteGray!

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Link Posted: 7/4/2010 5:18:03 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/4/2010 5:18:35 AM EST by showpare]
Great, double tap


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Link Posted: 7/4/2010 7:11:15 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/4/2010 7:13:19 AM EST by IAMLEGEND]
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Originally Posted By CoyoteGray:
So, according to this, to get 60 PSI you would need to have your tank elevated to 136 feet or so...


Why would you need 60 PSI?

If you've ever had the water supply turned off, opened a faucet in one part of the house and then opened another faucet someplace else, the small difference in elevation between the two faucets is enough to get some flow.The question is, would you get adequate flow with just 5-10 feet of barrel elevation.


When I did the plumbing in my kitchen remodel last week I shut off the main supply and then opened the tap in the laundry room to drain the line so there'd be less mess when I unhooked stuff up in the kitchen. I'm in a tri-level and the laundry room isn't even a full story below the kitchen. There's also a certain volume of water in the pipes upstairs, which is a full story above the laundry room. It's not blasting out at high pressure but you definitely get flow (until you run the pipes dry which is what you want so you can do your plumbing without making a mess). Open another tap above where you want to use the user for a vent effect to increase flow.

If you could store the water somewhere on your top floor you'd probably have decent use of faucets and fixtures in the floors below. Basically your elevating idea but inside the house.

Don't most of us use a crude version of this when camping? Set up the water container with a spigot, hose, and valve?

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Link Posted: 7/4/2010 8:34:36 AM EST
"Why would you need 60 PSI? "

You wouldn't.

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Link Posted: 7/4/2010 9:56:31 AM EST
In some of the videos that have been posted in here over the past year or so there was one that was kind of churchy but it had someone who had built a cabin and had a water tank upstairs and they handpumped water into it each day and it gravity fed well enough for them to do what they wished to do.

I don't get wound up on water pressure, in many cases water volume makes up for it when car camping since I often put a 5 gallonw water jug on its side and use it as a sink spout and it has a couple feet when full of water pushing down on the bottom water and as it nears the end it still works reasonably well since that is how I have set up to use it.

Has anyone put an air gauge on a super soaker or pump up sprayer or other similar item? I don't know what sort of pressure they build but I am kind of figuring they don't even hit 30 psi in most cases and I use these items for all sorts of odds and ends when I want actual pressure more than volume.

Now feeding through your stock system might add some pressure drop, I personally just use those 5 gallon water coolers with a spigot at the bottom for when the water is out. I have done this for a while where I used to live when the well pump system died and my city water was a few hundred yards from where I lived. It was easy to haul water but took a while to hand dig a trench.

If you have a pickup the water drum is that high up and it is easy to build a stand at that height. Depending on your skills you can go higher and higher but I would prefer to pump from a full drum to an empty drum rather than wresting full drums around all the time.

Out of boredom I have started really conserving water even though I am on a well and if you do things right 55 gallons can run me a while but I would be worried about hooking it to my normal stuff and having someone else take a shower or do dishes or even wash their hands that way since they might just leave it running.

And something else some folks do for 5 gallon water jugs is add a schraeder valve so that can pressurize the container and push the water out. You don't need much pressure and it is easy to blow stuff up.
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Link Posted: 7/4/2010 10:23:10 AM EST
You might want to pick up potable water safe hose for from the pump to the house. I see you've go one from the barrel to the pump. One yard hose in the system will make your water taste and smell FUNKY.


Also, most newer houses will have an anti-siphon valve on each hose bib. I've got no idea what applying pressure from the opposite direction does to that.


What this does will make a water district person bust out the flip-out pills and loose their everlovin' mind. "contaminating" the public water system. Which has a small grain of truth to it. Keep whatever you use for a cistern clean. Don't "collect" rain water, use this system, and then re-connect to the citiy water without flushing the system with known good water (via your cistern system) and an f-ton of bleach.


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Link Posted: 7/4/2010 11:56:13 AM EST
I'm thinking that a 55 gallon drum of water wont last long.
*post contains personal opinion only and should not be considered information released in an official capacity*
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Link Posted: 7/4/2010 8:35:06 PM EST
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Just out of curiosity...

If you elevated the 55 gallon barrel to - oh, maybe 6 feet above the faucet - would it provide enough pressure under gravity feed alone to give you adequate water flow inside the house?


When I lived in South America, we lived in places with just such an arrangement.
The town's water supply did not have the capacity to provide consistent pressure, but during the night while everyone was asleep, it was able to push water up to the water tanks that everyone had on top of their homes. A float valve like you would find in a toilet tank would close when the tank was filled.

During the day, we relied on the gravity flow from the tank on our house for water pressure.
It was not a lot, but it was sufficient to shower, wash dishes, etc.

I see no reason why such a system could not work on an individual homestead basis by pumping from the well or creek up to the tank above your house.

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Link Posted: 7/5/2010 7:14:19 AM EST
I had no idea you could just hook a pump up to an outside valve and get water in the house. Our offgrid cabin uses 55 gal barrels and probably the very same shurflow water pump. We've got a sink in the bathroom, a flush toilet, a shower, and a sink in the kitchen. The kitchen is on the other side of the wall from the bathroom, so all the pluming is within 12 feet. We bought a second 12v pump so that we didn't have to switch out lines when we pull the pickup around with water. A neighbor lets up fill up our spare two 55 gal barrels from his well. We don't use the water for drinking, but its plenty clean enough for showers and whatnot. The barrels are basically just a temporary solution until we put on good gutters and do a rain water collection (or get our own well). Its been working so well, we have put been putting time and money toward other things instead. Quick showers and judicious use the toilet makes a 55 gal barrel last all weekend. Sooner or later we'll get that 2500 gallon tank (already have a concrete pad poured) which hopefully will make longer stays easier.

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Link Posted: 7/5/2010 8:26:08 AM EST
This is a great idea
Can you post the model # of the pump?



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Link Posted: 7/5/2010 10:39:27 AM EST
Any good sources for the drums? I know shipping is a killer.

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Link Posted: 7/8/2010 7:56:13 PM EST
Originally Posted By eddymunster:
Any good sources for the drums? I know shipping is a killer.


Try Emergency Essentials http://beprepared.com/Default.asp?bhcd2=1278650681 They have some, and they also sell the white, safe drinking water hoses, and a number of the drinking water accessories as well.


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Link Posted: 7/9/2010 5:07:58 AM EST
Originally Posted By eddymunster:
Any good sources for the drums? I know shipping is a killer.


Check locally. I was able to find a distributor close by..

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Link Posted: 7/9/2010 5:39:58 AM EST
I really like the idea too as I have six 15gal HDPE drums I keep with water for emergency use and having a way to feed water to keep toilets running, if not more then that, sounds like a good enough reason to me. If I ever have a reason to do any plumbing changes that I turn off the water in the house I think I may consider adding a faucet in the basement where I could do this as right now my only options would be a wash basin in the laundry room on the 1st floor or outside spigots.

Now, if you had an off-grid cabin I think this principle would really have huge applications as well.
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Link Posted: 7/9/2010 5:59:03 AM EST
Great job, killer ingenuity! If you had an unlimited supply of water this is a definate solution. My only concern in hooking it up to the household water supply would be that water would get used much more indiscriminately this way. But again, if you have unlimited water, not an issue.
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Link Posted: 7/9/2010 11:33:32 AM EST
Originally Posted By Mr_Psmith:
Will the pump burn out if on with all your interior faucets turned off?


They have a pressure switch built into them.

FWIW, I use them for my primary pump in my house and we get several years life out of them and they are easily rebuilt. MUCH cheaper than a 115 or 230v pump and don't require a larger inverter/generator.

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Link Posted: 7/9/2010 3:38:58 PM EST
Originally Posted By eddymunster:
Any good sources for the drums? I know shipping is a killer.


most plumbing supply places can get them....CMC in Va has them regularly
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Link Posted: 7/12/2010 2:03:18 PM EST
Tag.

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Link Posted: 7/12/2010 4:05:19 PM EST
Been giving this thread alot of thought. Instead of using 55 gal drums, Im thinking of using a 275 gallon food grade poly tote. I can put it in the basement, hard plumb it into my existing well system and plumbing system and set up the pump with a a battery bank, solar charger and controller. For the estimated cost of around $400 or so its a nicer alternative for a $900 deep well hand pump that would only get me small amounts of water and then have to bring it inside to use. The wells at a depth of 400 feet so brining up large quanitites of water would be a chore.


For a long term power outage or SHTF senerio, I could rationaly use the generator to start the well pump to refill the tote. If I added another tote it would double the water storage to over 500 gallons. I figure my daily consumption could be around 25-30 gallons or so a day.
If the system works as expected thats 10-20 days of water use without a wellpump.

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Link Posted: 7/12/2010 4:59:21 PM EST
Originally Posted By CTF250:
Been giving this thread alot of thought. Instead of using 55 gal drums, Im thinking of using a 275 gallon food grade poly tote. I can put it in the basement, hard plumb it into my existing well system and plumbing system and set up the pump with a a battery bank, solar charger and controller. For the estimated cost of around $400 or so its a nicer alternative for a $900 deep well hand pump that would only get me small amounts of water and then have to bring it inside to use. The wells at a depth of 400 feet so brining up large quanitites of water would be a chore.


For a long term power outage or SHTF senerio, I could rationaly use the generator to start the well pump to refill the tote. If I added another tote it would double the water storage to over 500 gallons. I figure my daily consumption could be around 25-30 gallons or so a day.
If the system works as expected thats 10-20 days of water use without a wellpump.

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sounds like a solid....what happens when you run out of gas?.....do you have an aux water that is accessable?
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Link Posted: 7/12/2010 5:35:54 PM EST
Originally Posted By TheOtherChris:
When I lived in South America, we lived in places with just such an arrangement.
The town's water supply did not have the capacity to provide consistent pressure, but during the night while everyone was asleep, it was able to push water up to the water tanks that everyone had on top of their homes. A float valve like you would find in a toilet tank would close when the tank was filled.

During the day, we relied on the gravity flow from the tank on our house for water pressure.
It was not a lot, but it was sufficient to shower, wash dishes, etc.

I see no reason why such a system could not work on an individual homestead basis by pumping from the well or creek up to the tank above your house.


My wife's family lives in Mexico City and has the same issue. They have a gravity water tank on the top of a 3 story tower that increase the pressure and provides water when the city water is turned off. They have a small pump that fills the tank whenever the city water is on. Of course it never gets below freezing in Mexico City.

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Link Posted: 7/12/2010 6:13:31 PM EST
Originally Posted By TheOtherChris:
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Just out of curiosity...

If you elevated the 55 gallon barrel to - oh, maybe 6 feet above the faucet - would it provide enough pressure under gravity feed alone to give you adequate water flow inside the house?


When I lived in South America, we lived in places with just such an arrangement.
The town's water supply did not have the capacity to provide consistent pressure, but during the night while everyone was asleep, it was able to push water up to the water tanks that everyone had on top of their homes. A float valve like you would find in a toilet tank would close when the tank was filled.

During the day, we relied on the gravity flow from the tank on our house for water pressure.
It was not a lot, but it was sufficient to shower, wash dishes, etc.

I see no reason why such a system could not work on an individual homestead basis by pumping from the well or creek up to the tank above your house.


This is the exact same concept how nearly every city in America gets their pressure. The city pumps could never supply enough pressure for peak times, so they just pump water into the towers during off times to help during the peak times.

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Link Posted: 7/13/2010 3:09:05 AM EST
Well Echo I have 150 gallons of gas and 500 gallons of diesel stored so even if I ration the gen (have both a gas and diesel unit) usage it should last a long long time. The house is heated with a conventional oil hot water boiler and by an outdoor wood furnace. If I can figure out the solar needs for the two circulator pumps on the furnace I would be in better shape.


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Link Posted: 7/13/2010 4:29:21 AM EST
Originally Posted By CTF250:
Well Echo I have 150 gallons of gas and 500 gallons of diesel stored so even if I ration the gen (have both a gas and diesel unit) usage it should last a long long time. The house is heated with a conventional oil hot water boiler and by an outdoor wood furnace. If I can figure out the solar needs for the two circulator pumps on the furnace I would be in better shape.



Got any info on the outdoor water heater? I have been working on ideas for an off-grid cabin and I have thought that a wood/coal fired water heater would make a good option but I have not really found many references. I have also wondered if you could use radiators to help use some of the energy to heat the cabin in the winter but again just ideas... Sorry to take us off topic, but it is still backup water right
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Link Posted: 7/27/2010 2:01:11 AM EST
Originally Posted By Quarterbore:
Originally Posted By CTF250:
Well Echo I have 150 gallons of gas and 500 gallons of diesel stored so even if I ration the gen (have both a gas and diesel unit) usage it should last a long long time. The house is heated with a conventional oil hot water boiler and by an outdoor wood furnace. If I can figure out the solar needs for the two circulator pumps on the furnace I would be in better shape.



Got any info on the outdoor water heater? I have been working on ideas for an off-grid cabin and I have thought that a wood/coal fired water heater would make a good option but I have not really found many references. I have also wondered if you could use radiators to help use some of the energy to heat the cabin in the winter but again just ideas... Sorry to take us off topic, but it is still backup water right


Do a search for Central boiler, Theres alot of comment in here regarding outdoor boilers

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Link Posted: 7/27/2010 4:00:58 AM EST
Well Echo I have 150 gallons of gas and 500 gallons of diesel stored so even if I ration the gen (have both a gas and diesel unit) usage it should last a long long time. The house is heated with a conventional oil hot water boiler and by an outdoor wood furnace. If I can figure out the solar needs for the two circulator pumps on the furnace I would be in better shape.


Everyone that has a real water need will probably be using some catchment system if they are smart. Why burn fuel or work hard at hand pumping etc...when all it has to do is rain on a roof? It worked for almost two centuries in this country before the windmill was put in large scale use.
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Link Posted: 7/27/2010 5:16:40 AM EST
Originally Posted By CTF250:
Well Echo I have 150 gallons of gas and 500 gallons of diesel stored so even if I ration the gen (have both a gas and diesel unit) usage it should last a long long time. The house is heated with a conventional oil hot water boiler and by an outdoor wood furnace. If I can figure out the solar needs for the two circulator pumps on the furnace I would be in better shape.



Sweet.....Our BOL, thank goodness, has gravity fed spring water.....and a aquifer about 70yrds away.

How much wattage and amperage is needed for the circulating pumps?

If I can find it.....I saw where a guy was trying to build a flu pipe exhaust driven pump....he had it somewhat working but said he wasn't getting enough volume.
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Link Posted: 7/27/2010 5:53:10 AM EST
Originally Posted By TheOtherChris:
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Just out of curiosity...

If you elevated the 55 gallon barrel to - oh, maybe 6 feet above the faucet - would it provide enough pressure under gravity feed alone to give you adequate water flow inside the house?


When I lived in South America, we lived in places with just such an arrangement.
The town's water supply did not have the capacity to provide consistent pressure, but during the night while everyone was asleep, it was able to push water up to the water tanks that everyone had on top of their homes. A float valve like you would find in a toilet tank would close when the tank was filled.

During the day, we relied on the gravity flow from the tank on our house for water pressure.
It was not a lot, but it was sufficient to shower, wash dishes, etc.

I see no reason why such a system could not work on an individual homestead basis by pumping from the well or creek up to the tank above your house.


spent a few years in south america myself. many of the rooftop tanks were not sealed well - checked a few and found dead rodents - glad i didn't drink the water. the electric shower heads were nice when they didn't malfunction and shock the crap out of ya.

oh and tag for great info and project.

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Link Posted: 7/27/2010 7:25:06 AM EST
Originally Posted By Cacinok:
spent a few years in south america myself. many of the rooftop tanks were not sealed well - checked a few and found dead rodents - glad i didn't drink the water.


Great place to breed mosquitos, too...

Typically, they only use the rooftop tanks for bathing, washing clothes & dishes, flushing toilets, etc. The public water supply is usually unhealthy to drink anyway, so all drinking water comes from bottles.


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Link Posted: 7/27/2010 11:41:23 AM EST
Very Nice! A simple and very cost effective way to keep the water running when the power goes down.

Could even serve as a nice way to rotate water stocks. Keep several drums in the basement. Add valves and spigots as required to facilitate the transfer of water to and from cans. Then every six months or so run the water from the barrels into the house system and then refill directly from the "tap". No need to move heavy barrels around or even to go outside unless the water stops running for more days than the water stored on hand lasts.

I'm thinking a valve inside the house on the line that goes to the spigot outside. The spigot outside gets turned off as well as the incoming city line. A hose is connected to said valve, and the pump is started. The same valve could be used for filling the barrels after the power is back on, or after the water has been used as part of the routine rotation of water stocks. There is a lot of potential here......this idea is a big win, and I will shamelessly squirrel it away for future reference.

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