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Hand Pump for Cistern

Discussions about procuring and purifying water
helicopilot
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Hand Pump for Cistern

Postby helicopilot » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:15 am

Epiphany... most of my posts come that way. Today the "fine folks" from the water filtration company (keeping the name out on purpose), came to service my system and change a few filters. In the process, they somehow - unbeknownst to me - shut the intake valve off from the outside underground cistern.

Service was completed and my reverse osmosis holding tank was filing up nicely, they left and so did I for work. A few hours later, Mrs HP calls me saying there's been little water pressure and it's getting worse. An hour later, I get back home to investigate and find that the cistern pump has been running dry and is burning hot. Frustrated, I fixed the problem, but came to think of what I could have done had the pump died tonight. That would have meant no water until I could get replacement parts sometimes tomorrow. 3700 Gals of water but not a drop I can use!

So... I'm interested to see if any ingenious people here would have a suggestion on how I could get water from the cistern if it came down to it. We have a 3700 gals underground cistern that Mrs HP won't let me take down to below 1/4 full (that is still 925 gallons!!!) so that is a considerable source of fresh, quality water.

From the filler neck to the bottom of the cistern is about 13' and the neck is about 4" diameter (might be 5 or 6, too dang cold outside to go check...).

Is there something low tech and low cost I could get to put away as "just in case"? Could I get a syphon of sort to suck out that low?
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Re: Hand Pump for Cistern

Postby CanCricket » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:14 am

I have what might appear to be a stupid question, but I need to ask, as I know nothing about this type of system. Where does the water in your cistern come from? What do you do to stop it from getting below 1/4 full?
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Re: Hand Pump for Cistern

Postby helicopilot » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:31 am

Not a stupid question at all! The water is trucked in from a filling station (city water). Some folks own a tank they keep in their trucks or on a trailer and do it themselves. Since we moved this summer, we've had it filled 3-4 times by a water delivery service.

The cistern is buried in the front yard with only a plastic filler neck and vent sticking out (previous owner cleverly camouflaged those pipes with berry shrubs and flowers). The pump along with a small pressure tank (~10 gals) is in the basement, providing pressurized water through the house.

I'm looking for a backup to this pump if it ever was needed. I suppose I could keep a spare motor, but then it doesn't address the issue of electricity. So even a simple pump of sort could be used to at least get water into a bucket or something.

I suppose that in the event of a true, long term situation, I could keep this tank filled by re-routing the eaves troughs into the cistern so having a mean of manually extracting the water would also serve as a long term solution.
Last edited by helicopilot on Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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peppercorn
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Re: Hand Pump for Cistern

Postby peppercorn » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:27 am

Your asking different things here, a hand pump, a spare pump, other ways to get water out.....lets slow down and start at the beginning....maybe you don't need to buy anything, that's always my favorite way.
You have said there is a shut off valve from the cistern, and the line coming from the cistern enters your basement (underground) so that leads me to believe you must have positive pressure from your cistern to begin with or there is no need for a valve ...you can confirm this by removing the line to what I assume is your jet pump, pull it right off with the valve shut first! Set the hose over a bucket and just crack the valve open a little, does water flow out? if yes, you just need to buy a tee fitting for your line and a ball valve and add that to the incoming water line before the pump and then you have a valve and place inside the house to fill a pail whenever you want or need. I would start there first, I suspect the weight of the water in the cistern will push the water into your incoming basement line....

Nobody comes into my home to service or fix anything, or ever will again, if I cant do it, I replace it or build my self something I can service and fix, learned that the hard way after spending thousands on BS water treatment systems back in the early 90s. Thousands was a lot of money back then, I went without many things to pay those bills. Some lessons are learnt the hard way, I have in the past fantasized about catching that salesman/installer in a dark back alley while swinging a baseball bat, but as someone who (at this more mature time in my life ) doesn't advocate violence against anyone ever , of any type (though I grit my teeth) I must accept that I was fully responsible for believing BS. With that said ......and not to be a smart ass, but why are they changing your filters....I know your new to the country living , so consider that question and its implications for later..........only trying to provoke internal thought on the mater......If after checking what I suggest and you still wish direction on pumps, I can send you pics of what I use, and keep as spares. though I don't suspect you have as serious problem as my have presented itself at first.
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Re: Hand Pump for Cistern

Postby scrounger » Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:56 am

Great topic as I have been wondering the same thing. I have access to a large underground water storage tank. This would be for emergency purposes. What is the best way to pump it. 12 volt pump running off car power, or some form of hand pump. Chances are if I need water then power is out. Ideas.
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Re: Hand Pump for Cistern

Postby helicopilot » Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:54 am

Peppercorn,

Thanks for your suggestion about possibly not even needing a pump at all if using gravity. I'll have to try this though I'm not sure this would be completely possible. The "dip stick" for the tank is about 12' long making me think the bottom of the tank is probably about ~ 9' below ground. The pipe comes straight up from the basement floor before coming down into the pump/holding tank with the valve itself being about 3' off the basement floor. That would mean that the bottom of the tank is about 5-6' below the valve level. If the tank is full (it is roughly now) than maybe the weight of the water would suffice to freely flow inside the house. By the time it is half full, it may no longer work though. Nonetheless, I'll certainly experiment with that since this is such as simple solution!

As for bringing a service rep... I was hoping to gain enough knowledge of the somewhat complicated water system we have in the mech room. We have a well (with lousy water) and a cistern. A few pumps, a few holding tanks, 2 carbon filters, a water softener, a large carbon "purifier," a chlorinator and a reverse osmosis system. This was all installed before we purchased the property and we weren't left with any manuals or anything. I was frankly hoping the "experts" were going to give me an orientation during the service so I can do things on my own from now on. Reality is that service was mediocre but I learn just enough to keep things going. YouTube will help with the rest. And I'll most certainly not going to call that service agency again.

Now, I did some looking at syphons and transfer pumps online but can't seem to find anything that would work at around 10', at least not at a reasonable price. Old fashion well pumps would certainly work, but for the very casual use, are quite expensive. So someone suggested I look at "rope pumps" (YouTube it!) which may be a reasonable and certainly economical solution. I would prefer something smaller and easily storable, than a 10+' long PVC pipe, but that's certainly a viable option.

Anyway, let's keep the discussion going. If anyone has suggestions or ideas (or questions!!!) fire away.
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Re: Hand Pump for Cistern

Postby scrounger » Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:15 am

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peppercorn
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Re: Hand Pump for Cistern

Postby peppercorn » Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:56 am

ok, now that you have described the set up more, I am more certain you don't have to spend much. let the tank drain down, cut off the pipe 6 or so inches from the floor and add the tee connector with a ball valve output. This I bet would be good for getting 85-95 percent out of your cistern for a cost of maybe 25 dollars using a good stainless steel ball valve, but if you really want to be able to get it all then you need a pump.
Now if after you have put in the simple ball valve I suggested and you still need that last bit then this is the pump I suggest...you would use this pump by after , using all the water you can get from the ball valve then you remove the valve from your basement line and push the input hose of this pump (1/2 inch) a couple feet down the incoming line, no need to even go out side. From princess auto, often on sale for 1/2 price in the spring, but regular price around 120 or so, last time I bought them it was 49 each( on sale) so I bought 2, I think it was 2010 -2011. I have used them in the green house running direct off 12 volt solar panels for irrigation, still haven't burnt one up.
pump.png
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Now while I am recommending these, I do so mostly on price, I am a cheap old cranky bastard who likes spending as little coin as needed. If your looking to run your whole house trouble free for decades I have a entirely different suggestion ( roughly 500-600$)....but for occasional, seasonal, intermittent use, I just cant fault these motor pump combos at the sale price you can often find them at. Just looked on amazon and as cheap as 58.00 dollars to 89.00 though if you can wait for the Princess Auto sales I would buy there, and buy two at a time as I do ,( then you have spare parts) I suggest one in 12 volt DC (runs off your car battery or solar direct, or even a battery from a drill) and one in 120 volt AC, again when on sale then the total cost is 100-120 for both) one to use and one for parts.
I just happen to have taken this motor apart and have pictures of the internals because I was comparing it to a Sureflow brand sold by a RV dealer ( for 280 dollars+ 140 labour and installation charge) to a friend of mine. By the way I could find no difference in motor construction :roll: only price.
Anyway here is the pic
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Of things to note....first, real replacable bearings on each end( as opposed to bushings often on lower cost motors) and enclosed bearings at that. Good sized brushes but most importantly the brush holders are of brass construction, they wont melt! thats nice to see, they also help dissipate heat from the brush. Look at the push spring design for the brush, note that its not a simple coiled spring pushing from behind the brush where the heat can build up and weaken it changing the pressure it puts on the brush, rather the coil part is mounted away from the brush area where heat is generated, and just a single arm comes up to push the brush from behind...that's good design! seen in better units.
Brush pigtails soldered in place, that's good to see.
I would have liked to have seen balancing marks on the rotor, but they did try to walk it in with a few dabs of epoxy. Up at the com bars I would like to have seen a full wrap of epoxy locking the wires in place, but it is what it is, again its hard to find fault when we are talking 49 to 80 dollar price levels. I know it self primes down to 6-7 feet cause I have done it, though if you prime the line yourself you should be able to draw a good bit further..
All those tanks and conditioning units you have should not be needed at all as your having your water delivered. worse many of those things kick on at night to back flush there filter medium, thus wasting the very city water you paid$ for... something to think about....one of those jack ass water experts once told me (when I was complaining about his system) That I needed to back flush about 250 gallons every night....That was a crossing the Rubicon moment for me, I knew then I could kill..and enjoy it, enjoy it very much....
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Dakota
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Re: Hand Pump for Cistern

Postby Dakota » Sun Jan 22, 2017 6:38 pm

We've got a very deep well! And we're getting a 'simple' hand pump this year. Fairly costly but an item that would be a life saver! We do have a creek but it would be a very long walk with buckets to water the animals-several times a day(we've done it-when we've had too)
The pump fits along side of your regular well pump so when power is down you simply switch to manual.
I'm very excited about getting this piece of our Prepper purchases!!!
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