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Country Discussion Topics
To add your comments to this topic, click on one of the 'Reply' links below.

Pumping Water
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AndyH    Posted 03-07-2002 at 13:56:22       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I have a little place in Wisconsin on the top of a ridge. I do not have electricity or water there as of yet. I am thinking of having a well dug. The well will be about 550 ft deep. My question is: Can I use a windmill to pump water from that depth to a holding tank? I will use gravity to feed it from there to my cabin and garden. Bringing electricity to the property to run a conventional pump is out of the question right now due to the HUGE cost of running the wire in. I do have a 6500 watt generator that I could use to fill the holding tank, but I'd rather use the wind because it's free (for now) and quieter then the generator.

Thanks for your input. AndyH


Hal/WA    Posted 03-08-2002 at 14:20:29       [Reply]  [No Email]
Drilling a 550 foot well will be a large expense, and I have seen more than a few deep holes that did not produce much if any water. I would ask around the area to see what other people are doing for water systems. I also would see if your state has a geology/hydrology office to guide you. Your problems may already have been figured out. Water sometimes takes strange paths underground, depending on the geology. I have heard of an Air Force radar facility on top of the tallest peak in my area that, for reasons I don't understand, is supposed to have a high flow artesian well that they had trouble capping when they drilled it! If you do decide to drill a well, I highly reccommend paying a well witcher to scout your property for the best location. I don't know how they work, but from personal observation, I believe that the little bit of money they cost is a good investment.

It would be hard to plan your system until you know how much water your well will produce and what the static water level will be in the well. I have seen lots of old windmills still in use after 70 or more years. They used to be almost free for the asking, but now are harder and harder to find in usable condition. The windmill on a deep well uses a pump down in the water with leather seals that need to be replaced occasionally, and a rod from the windmill head down to that pump. I do not know if the windmills I have seen could work 500+ feet deep, but I know that some of the wells are 200 feet. I suppose there are sources for new windmills, but I have not researched them. I suspect that such a system would be expensive new.

Hauling water works, but is a pain in the winter or muddy times. You don't say if you are going to live on your property year round. If it is just a vacation spot, I would consider hauling water to a tank buried higher up the hill for gravity flow.

If you do drill the well, I would suggest a submersible pump and also a tank buried up the hill using gravity flow. Then you could use your generator to fill the tank in a short run time every few days as needed, rather than every time the pressure tank is empty. There are submersibles that will work with solar powered systems, but I don't know how deep they can go. The deeper your water is, the more powerful your pump has to be. Solar is less expensive than it used to be, but I would only consider it for a relatively shallow, low flow well. Solar also works in some places better than others due to cloud cover and terrain. It would be nice to have a silent system though.

Good luck on your project. It is easier if you have the power grid avaiable, but is very possible to live comfortably in the boonies without the grid, if you plan it out right.


Ludwig    Posted 03-11-2002 at 15:05:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
Theres no reason you couldn't use solar in
every situation other than getting into costs
that aren't practical.
I wish I knew how much power we were really
talking about here so I could make a practical
guess.
I looked around a little bit, most pumps were
115 volts. I didn't see any submersable 12 or
24v pumps and I bet there aren't. Voltage drop
would be a big problem.
So, just as a wild guess lets say 10 amps at
115 volts. Thats 1150 watts, which is really
quite a bit of power...

You'd want, extra battery in case of extended
cloudy and at night. If this is a place you aren't
at all that much, sealed batteries are better,
but 2x more expensive.
4 of those will give you 1000+ah which is 10
full hours pumping with no sunlight. If you
used a big cistern you'd be pretty good. Really
we should plan for 8 batteries, but they a
shade over $400 apiece...

Now for the solar... We need to charge the
whole of the battery bank. Plan on an average
of 4 hours of usable sunlight. Probably there
will be more but.... This is a worst case
scenario.
We've got 12000 watt/hours of power so we
need 3000 watts of panels. A huge amount of
power, you can see I'm really overblowing this.
So thats 25 panels at $645 a piece or $1270
for two or $15,240. Remember they'll last the
rest of your children's life...
So, the panels and the batteries is $16,840
plus odds and ends, charge controller, wire,
battery box, vent, power inverter, etc lets say
an even $18,000.

Now, that all assumes you're going to be
pulling 7amps almost all the time. Granted
that startup is going to be a BIG draw, but
heres how I'd really play it out.

Use the cheaper liquid batteries, they're a little
more work but we'll save $1100.
Build a BIG cistern, and only pump during the
day if you can help it.
We're down to 400ah (these are 6v batteries)
in the batteries thats 4800w or 5 hours
running your pump. Thats only 10 panels in
our 4 hour assumption, which really should
be 6, but lets take 5. That brings us down to a
manageable 8 panels.
So:
Batteries: $300
Panels: $10,160
Other assorted: $1,200
For a grand total of $11,660
That still assumes a 7a pump....
Remember, the panels are good for at least
30 years. The batteries will probably need
replacing in 5, the wiring is probably good for
as long as the panels, and its all silent, and
safe.


Kraig WY    Posted 03-08-2002 at 06:28:30       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Most of the people around here haul water. Several use gravity system. Looks like you could put a cistrum on top of the ridge, find a pump that would work off you generator to fill the cistrum. Wisconsin, like Wyoming gets chilly so you going to have to put the cistrum in a little insulated building, put a small gas heater with thermostat so you can keep your water from freezing. Lot of people here use that type system even though they have electricty. You don't have to use the gen. that much, depending on the size of the cistrum. Mine is a plastic tank holding about 1200 gal. The average family uses about 200 gal a day. Hope this gives you some ideals.


Hogman    Posted 03-07-2002 at 18:56:33       [Reply]  [No Email]
Andy it's not how deep tha well is, it's how deep it is to the standing water plus what ever tha drawdown is.
As example, You may have to go as You say some 550 feet but the water may stand at 250.Your pump should be below that some amount depending on the flow of the well in gallons per minute and Your pump capacity in GPM.
Proper thing here is to keep tha pump rate a little less'n tha well rate. That way You donot pull tha water level down.

The pumping depth is from the water level in the well so again with tha example if the well is 550 ft deep and water stands at 250 You could set tha pump in at 540 ft and You'd still be only pumpin from 250 ft. Make sense?

So,from experience My advise is to drill tha well first and go from there. Until You do You won't have even a wild guess as to what You will need.

In tha meantime, there are several sources for pumps showing how much they will pump from differant depths. A Sears catalog,one from lemans or Cumberland for windmill and Ludwig seems ta be up on tha solar.

All things being equal, Your better off with a pump small enough to run for fairly long periods rather than one of high capacity that woud only run for a brief period and shut off.
Startup takes a lot of power,causes extra mechanical stress on the pump and pumpline.

The ideal thing is if you need 1 gal per minute constant is a one gal pump to run 7/24. over tha long haul would be tha cheapest. Of course that would take a fair sized storage tank and is not realy practical for the average household,(1440 gallons) just a direction to work towards.

My house well is 300'deep flows 17 gal per minute,water stands at 100,a 10 gal per minute pump sets at 165 feet deep. This combination was used because of watering hogs from this well. Now with no stock water from it I would use mabe a 5 gal pump.

My stock well is 400' ,water stands about 150 and I used a 15 gal pump down 265'. The well flows 42 gal per minute. The reason here is enough pump to keep up with thirsty cows on a small tank.


Ludwig    Posted 03-07-2002 at 16:01:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
Yeah, you could probably do that, but for a bit
more control and added functionality you
could also use solar to power a pump.
How much juice would a pump strong enough
to move the water draw? If somebody can give
you that I could probably rough in the solar
power needed.
There are even some kits modeled after
generators that might fill your need real well.
They're rated by wattage, 300, 600 and 1500
watt models tht I've seen. They look to be
about $1 a watt. More expensive than a
generator to start, but no fuel costs, and quiet
too.


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