Water System Example #4 - Using a Gasoline Powered or DC Water Pump


This situation is identical to Example #3 except the water source does not have at least 5 feet of fall. However there are two different solutions for this example.

Solution 1:

Unfortunately, there is no energy-free method of working with this situation. But there are ways to deal with it that do not make you dependent, or at least as dependent, on utilities. Once again, we will place a cistern at least 40 feet in elevation above the building site (2nd story if plumbing is there). And, once again, we have the problem of getting the water to the cistern (since it can’t gravity flow into it). This time, we will pump the water up to the cistern using a gasoline powered water pump. If there is not enough water flow from the source, it might be necessary to bury a cistern below the water source that collects water so that your pump doesn’t run dry. The water is then pumped to the cistern above your building site, then the water flows down to your house with suitable pressure. While this system is usable, it does leave you dependent on gasoline in order to have water. But if one uses proper gasoline storage techniques, enough fuel could be stored to supply you with water for quite a while.

Solution 2

With this solution, the only difference is that we use 12, 24, or 48 volt submersible water pump instead of a gasoline powered water pump. If the water source is more than a couple hundred feet away from the house, a 120 volt soft start submersible water pump might be preferable (due to the expensive and very large electrical wire a DC pump would require for long runs). Once again, if there is not enough water flow from the source to keep up with the pump, it might be necessary to bury a cistern below the water source to catch and hold the water so the pump doesn’t run dry. Using a float switch at the water source cistern (lower cistern) and a master float switch at the cistern above the building site will enable the electric pump to cycle automatically. Because the pump is electric, it will be necessary to have an alternative energy system to run it and still be free from dependence on utilities. While it can be quite an expense to set up an alternative energy system, this really is a better solution than Solution #1 because many alternative energy systems require very little, if any, fuel. And if you were considering setting up your own little “power company” anyway, this could be another very good reason to do that.

Nick Meissner

Nick Meissner’s adventure with homesteading and off-grid living began in the late '90s with a less-than-bare-bones budget. Over the past 12 years, Nick has taught thousands of people about renewable energy, homesteading, water systems, and independence in general. He's deeply in love with his beautiful wife Lisa and thoroughly enjoys their two children.

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