We’ve all experienced the power going out. Watching your favorite show and the lights go out or maybe coming home from work to find the house dark and stuffy. It’s a serious inconvenience but sometimes it allows us to slow down and evaluate what’s really important in our lives. One of those really important things, as in you can’t live without it is water.
If you live in an urban area then you probably do not have an issue. Even if the power goes out your municipal water supply will continue to flow. Back up generators and water towers ensure there will be a steady flow of water. That is, unless it’s a prolonged outage. But that’s a separate article.
If like me your water is supplied by a well on your property then the power going out means the water does as well. Sure there is enough in the pressure tank to flush the toilets once or twice. But unless you immediately institute the if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down, one or two flushes and you’re out of water.
We all store water, or at least we should. Whether it’s in two liter bottles of fifty-five gallon drums an ample supply of water should be a priority. Personally I use fifteen gallon drums. These are manageable for one person to move. They have a handle on top and I can grab it and pick them up and move them. With the aid of a hand truck, they’re really easy. Fifty-five gallon drums are great if you have a place to store them where you know you wont have to move them from. One person trying to move these is a mechanical injury in the making.
I’ve been thinking of ways to fix the water issue. I actually came up with this idea years ago and finally got around to trying it out. I bought a small twelve volt on-demand pump. I connected the pump on the intake side to a short piece of hose and dropped it into one of the fifteen gallon drums. The discharge side was connected to a hose bib on the house. By simply opening the valve on the bib and turning the pump on I was putting water back into the house and it worked! With these small pumps they start pushing water as soon as pressure drops. The one I used was set at 45 PSI and put out five gallons a minute. The one I linked to is even better.
I pulled my truck up close to the hose bib and connected the pump to the battery. If your water is stored in your garage you simply open the hood on the car and hook up. Run the hose in and attach it to the pump and you’re in business! In a upcoming article I’ll show a stand-alone power supply to power the pump that you can simply set and forget.
Now when doing this you need to valve out the well pump. Most well pumps have a check valve to prevent back-flow but why take the chance of pumping your stored water into the ground? Simply isolate the well pump and you’re sure your precious stored water is there when you need it. These pumps are more than enough to keep the toilets going, wash you hands and even take a shower. And the best part is when the power comes back on it’s quick and easy to put things back into normal operation.
One of the best things about this is it’s easily scalable. If you just as easily use a 250 gallon tank as you could a fifteen. It could even be plumbed in with the addition of a couple of solenoid valves you could have a true automatic backup water system.
Here’s a short video demonstrating the system.
In upcoming articles I’ll show other uses for this little pump and alternative ways to power.
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