Category Archives for Off Grid Water

Off Grid Water Pressure Tanks

We recently replaced the water pressure tank in our new to us (old) home.  The old tank had bitten the dust.

Just in case you don't know this, pressure tanks are also called bladder tanks or household diaphragm tanks.  And it probably needs to be replaced when your water pump is turning on more frequently than it used to.  That's what ours was doing.  The water pump would turn on after just 2 or 3 flushes of the toilet--now it only runs 2 or 3 times in the entire day!

Pressure Tank Theory For Beginners

Here's a little pressure tank theory for newbies.  If you are familiar with pressure tanks, just skip to the next section.

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How To Make Off Grid Hot Water in the Summer

We use a modern wood cook stove to heat our home, cook & bake our food, and heat our water (Learn how we heat our water: Hot Water for FREE).  Can't imagine how we lived without it.  But then summer arrives...What then?  One could always cook with a propane or solar oven, but what about hot water?  This is an issue we just faced this last summer.  In this article we will look at the different options that are available.  We finally found and tested an inexpensive solution. It requires very little additional work to install and functions well during the times we need it most.

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Water Cisterns

There are really three main questions to decide in regard to a water cistern:

  • Should it be above ground or underground?
  • Should it be concrete or plastic?
  • What capacity should it have?

Above or Below?

First, unless you live in an area that absolutely will not have any deep freezes, it only makes sense to have an underground cistern. Also, UV rays will deteriorate plastic tanks that are above ground. And that is not to mention the risk of a tree falling on it, a tractor running into it, etc.

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Water Pipes for Plumbing

Using the correct pipe for a particular job can be quite critical. It is important to ensure that it is large enough to not restrict the flow of water, but yet not any larger than it needs to be (due to cost). There are also the considerations of what type of pipe to use and what strength rating. Many times there are at least a couple of good options. Before we give some recommendations, let's go over a few rules:

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How to Measure Vertical Fall of Your Water Source

To measure the vertical fall of your water source, you will need some form of a level. The preferred instrument is an optical sight that has a level built into it. This device allows one to sight a level line while looking through the optical sight. One such level is made by CST/Berger and is called a "Locke Hand Level" (around $20).  If an optical level is unavailable, a short carpenter's level may be used. Let me show you how...

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Developing a Springhead

Springs are an excellent source for some of the finest water systems available. But they can also have their drawbacks. Many springs are seasonal, meaning they disappear during dry times of year. Some are normally year-round but may not be reliable during droughts. And although the water is captured before it leaves the ground, springs are shallow water sources and can therefore be more susceptible to surface contamination than a deep well (usually not a problem in rural areas, but still a consideration). Water rights issues should be looked into. So how do you develop a springhead?

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Deep Well Hand Pumps

This article is for those of you who get your water from a well, which brings the unique challenge of  pulling water up from a deep and skinny hole in the ground.  Doing that can become very interesting if you do not have electricity. We try to focus on good, long-term solutions.  This is particularly true when it comes to such an important necessity of life as water. And so most of our training focuses on exactly that--setting up a water system that will enable you to have a good supply of running water in your home without that system being dependent on the power grid or any other utilities.

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Ram Pumps

This truly revolutionary pump could be your ticket to a completely independent water system that is not reliant on electricity or fuel.  A ram pump uses the pressure of gravity on water to pump the water uphill. It generally needs a water source with at least 5 feet (+-) of head (fall) and a minimum of 3-5 gallons per minute of flow in order to function properly. The more head or flow that you have, the faster it pumps the water. Most of the water is wasted in the pumping process, so only a small percentage actually makes it up to the cistern.

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