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  1. #1
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    Default I have a crazy idea to pump water

    I just had a well drilled with a disappointing 2gpm yield. The well was drilled near the top of a ridge about 100' above the homesite. The idea was to place a storage tank there. Pump water out of the well into the storage tank and gravity feed to the home site. This will give me about 45psi to the house.

    Interesting enough... the water level in the well only 20' deep. It can sustain a 2gpm draw without bringing the water level down. This gave me an idea....

    What if I place the top of the storage tank just below the water level down hill 25' or so below the well? Using gravity, I should be able to siphon water out of the well into the tank without using any energy. This is very important since I'm off-the-grid with no easy access to power. If I keep the siphon flow not to exceed 2gpm... I will get a continuous flow of 2gpm into the storage tank without energy consumption. If it flows 24 hours-a-day, 365 days a year at 2gpm, that's a lot of water! It wont take very long to fill my 3000gal tank. I can even dig a pond and let any excess flow fill the pond. Now, not only I will have plenty of water, I might get a year-round pond too. Will it work? Is this wishfull thinking??? Am I missing something? If this works, it really a gift from god... I appreciate any comments.

    Here's a sketch of the idea..
    Last edited by stumpfield; 04-16-2008 at 04:44 PM.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member woodchuckie's Avatar
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    Default Re: I have a crazy idea to pump water

    Sounds like it would work if the water level doesn't vary much during the year. If it does you would need to have the top of your tank low enough to account for the summer drought. I believe you could also put a float valve that would cut the flow off when the tank was full and would open to restart the flow if you didn't want the overflow.

  3. #3
    Super Member _RaT_'s Avatar
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    Default Re: I have a crazy idea to pump water

    I really think that you would be at the mercy of the water level in the well, once it drops down to or below the tank, your pumping again. Loosing your siphon at those depths could be a bit challenging as well. I think you would end up pumping to fill your tank or pumping from the tank to pressurize the house supply. Have you looked into solar pumping where you have cells to charge batteries that could then run a small HP low volume pump? Try to get a tank buried in the ground to, the above ground tanks get some hot water building up in them. Theres an idea, two tanks, one above ground that supplies preheated water another in ground for domestic drinking, cooking etc water. Good luck in your endeavor.

  4. #4
    Elite Member johnk's Avatar
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    Default Re: I have a crazy idea to pump water

    I have almost the same setup @ my cabin except I don't have a drilled well. I have a natural spring coming out of the ground and I built a cinder block box around it. I covered the top w/ plexiglass and ran 1 1/2 PVC into a 55 gallon plastic barrel I layed on the hill on its side. I glued a 1 1/2 fitting into the bottom of that barrel and came out the top of it with a fitting that attaches to well tubing. From there it runs d/hill 10 feet to a 210 gallon tank from TSC that feeds into the top. I then ran 500 feet of 1" well tubing down my hill with an approximate drop of 98 feet. I get 5.2 gallons flow at the bottom with a flowmeter. I think this would work for you also as long as you have a big enough holding tank. If you had a 500 gallon tank that was full you could let the surplus run out the top and you actually wouldn't be PULLING from the well just the tank. Even if you used 200 gallons you would have 300 left in the tank which would full the 500 gallon up to the top once again.

  5. #5
    Elite Member RonMar's Avatar
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    Default Re: I have a crazy idea to pump water

    It sounds possible, but remember you need enough head to create a difference in pressure great enough to overcome the drag/friction of the water flowing in the pipe. The longer the latteral distance down the hill to get the storage tank below the well water level, the greater the pipe losses, so you may need the storage tank farther down the hill than you think. Since you are only looking for 2GPM, this shouldn't be too difficult. Of course, the farther you go down the hill for the storage tank, the less static pressure you have for your home water supply. A larger pipe used for the siphon than is necessary for just 2GPM will help with the friction problem(it will just take more water to prime). How are you powering your house? You could siphon all the way to a storage tank at the house then pressurize the water there using the same power source the house will use. Since the pressurization is only as needed, the energy required would not be all that great. Since you have the well in already, you could easilly experiment with a hose or some larger PVC and see how far down the hill you need to be to get a reliable 2GPM flow. I guess that distance and the remaining available head to the home would determine if this will work for you. If you have enough height, the system could be done with only the one moveing part of the float valve that shuts off the siphon. You will also need to incorporate some type of hand pump to prime the siphon system. As long as there are no air leaks into the pipe and both ends are below the well and tank water level, it should maintain a siphon indefinitly. You will also need a very good air filtration system on the tank vent as the varying water levels will cause this tank to breath and you will want it to be able to draw in air quickly so it dosn't impede the flow down to the house

    One of the reasons I chose the property I live on now is the way the irrigation ditch traverses the upper end of the property. It enters onto my property at the highest point. I ran 2" pipe down the hill from a weir and use if for gravity fed irrigation all around my home. I have yet to find it's limit as it will simultaneously run 4 ratchet head sprinklers 24/7 on about a 60' head. I divert the water from the weir into a 35 gal barrel. In this barrel, heavy material settles to the bottom and floating material is taken off by a surface drain that keeps the tank at a constant level. I have a siphon to the bottom of the tank that constantly vacumes the sand and other heavy material that settles to the bottom. I draw the water that flows down the irrigation pipe from the middle of the barrel. The ditch runs seasonally. I start the siphon up once at the beginning and it runs all summer till the ditch is shut down.
    Ron

  6. #6
    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
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    Default Re: I have a crazy idea to pump water

    It sounds good, but there are a couple of variables that you don't know about yet and it's important for you to know them before you rely on this method.

    First, will the water lever stay at the same level? Lots of things can affect this, from the amount of rain you receive, to how much water you neighbors are using. My parents well water is now 50 feet lower than it was when the well was drilled ten years ago. It's from all the growth in there area. Allot more people useing the water have lowered the water table.

    Second. What's involved in getting the siphon to work? What size pipe will you use and how will you prime it when the end 20 to 30 feet down?

    From your picture, I'm wonderying if you could dig a trench 40 feet below your water line. Dig it towards your well. When you get as far as you can, drill a horizontal line the remaining distance to the well. This will allow you to put a pipe in horizontally that you can control with a valve.

    Problems with this method are the digging of the trench and the horizontal bore. If you can figure out these two obvious issues, you might have something.

    Of course, there's a dozen diferent aproaches to this and it'll be interesting to see what you decide to do. Keep us posted.

    Eddie

  7. #7
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    Default Re: I have a crazy idea to pump water

    Quote Originally Posted by stumpfield

    What if I place the top of the storage tank just below the water level down hill 25' or so below the well? Using gravity, I should be able to siphon water out of the well into the tank without using any energy.
    Great idea! Awesome. My guess is you will still need a pump to get it going.
    Once the water gets flowing (siphon) you will not need much of a pump, since the siphon will be doing most of the work.
    Bob

  8. #8
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    Default Re: I have a crazy idea to pump water

    The water pulled up 20' in a siphon pipe is at a high vacuum -- about 33' of water is a full vacuum and water cant be pulled any higher. Even at 20' I would worry that dissolved gases would bubble out of the water and deprime the siphon during periods of no or even low flow. It wouldnt take much of a bubble at the high point in the tube to stop the siphon and some, perhaps significant, flow would be necessary to keep them flushed downhill before they got that big. Eddies idea to pipe it out horizontally would be trouble free if you can set it up.
    Larry

  9. #9
    Super Member _RaT_'s Avatar
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    Default Re: I have a crazy idea to pump water

    Quote Originally Posted by SPYDERLK
    The water pulled up 20' in a siphon pipe is at a high vacuum -- about 33' of water is a full vacuum and water cant be pulled any higher. Even at 20' I would worry that dissolved gases would bubble out of the water and deprime the siphon during periods of no or even low flow. It wouldnt take much of a bubble at the high point in the tube to stop the siphon and some, perhaps significant, flow would be necessary to keep them flushed downhill before they got that big. Eddies idea to pipe it out horizontally would be trouble free if you can set it up.
    Larry
    Excellent points!

  10. #10
    Super Member _RaT_'s Avatar
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    Default Re: I have a crazy idea to pump water

    Quote Originally Posted by RonMar
    It sounds possible, but remember you need enough head to create a difference in pressure great enough to overcome the drag/friction of the water flowing in the pipe. The longer the latteral distance down the hill to get the storage tank below the well water level, the greater the pipe losses, so you may need the storage tank farther down the hill than you think. Since you are only looking for 2GPM, this shouldn't be too difficult. Of course, the farther you go down the hill for the storage tank, the less static pressure you have for your home water supply. A larger pipe used for the siphon than is necessary for just 2GPM will help with the friction problem(it will just take more water to prime). How are you powering your house? You could siphon all the way to a storage tank at the house then pressurize the water there using the same power source the house will use. Since the pressurization is only as needed, the energy required would not be all that great. Since you have the well in already, you could easilly experiment with a hose or some larger PVC and see how far down the hill you need to be to get a reliable 2GPM flow. I guess that distance and the remaining available head to the home would determine if this will work for you. If you have enough height, the system could be done with only the one moveing part of the float valve that shuts off the siphon. You will also need to incorporate some type of hand pump to prime the siphon system. As long as there are no air leaks into the pipe and both ends are below the well and tank water level, it should maintain a siphon indefinitly. You will also need a very good air filtration system on the tank vent as the varying water levels will cause this tank to breath and you will want it to be able to draw in air quickly so it dosn't impede the flow down to the house

    One of the reasons I chose the property I live on now is the way the irrigation ditch traverses the upper end of the property. It enters onto my property at the highest point. I ran 2" pipe down the hill from a weir and use if for gravity fed irrigation all around my home. I have yet to find it's limit as it will simultaneously run 4 ratchet head sprinklers 24/7 on about a 60' head. I divert the water from the weir into a 35 gal barrel. In this barrel, heavy material settles to the bottom and floating material is taken off by a surface drain that keeps the tank at a constant level. I have a siphon to the bottom of the tank that constantly vacumes the sand and other heavy material that settles to the bottom. I draw the water that flows down the irrigation pipe from the middle of the barrel. The ditch runs seasonally. I start the siphon up once at the beginning and it runs all summer till the ditch is shut down.
    Ron, your post interested me. I am currently working on our system for our asscociation. We receive 75 miners inches or a bit over 850 GPM. With two pumps we can keep the system going but have so many variable that come into play. We are now faced with our canal (raw water) being shut down on even days for the rest of the month. That depletes our 50,000 gallon tank pretty quick. We have a float that will shut the pump down but then our secondary pump can't make up the difference and quickly draws down our 5 acre lake which no longer is being supplemented by the canal water on the canal outages. We have other sources, but doing this stuff without a lot of human interaction is tough. I would love to automate it more. Mark

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