Pump Assembly Notes and Instructionss
Update 7 May 2012

I built this hand pump in 30 minutes for about US$30. It can be used in water wells that have no existing feed lines, wiring or submersible pumps in place or in water wells with them in place by the addition of a 1-1/2" interior diameter PVC pipe as a pump guide sleeve with a second foot valve. The second foot valve system makes the pump extremely more efficient acting as a dual stroke hydraulic ram the same as the commercial well pumps. The sleeve separates the hand pump from feed lines, wiring or submersible pumps so they do not rub during pumping. It also keeps the water clearer by keeping the hand pump off the bottom of the well. The guide sleeve can be bolted to the above ground well casing area with 1/2" zinc plated carriage bolts and nuts. It can also be hung with an S shaped strap over the casing top and secured with a big hose clamp. Be sure to seal the bolt holes with rubber washers or caulking. The guide sleeve and pump should extend down below the water table. As the foot valve of the pump is pushed down below the water table, the water flows up through the foot valve and into the pump shaft above it. The valve is open on the down stroke and closed on the up stroke. On the upstroke it creates a hydraulic suction inside the guide sleeve and opens the bottom sleeve foot valve filling the sleeve with water. Repeated pumping motion shoves the water up the pipe and out the hose by a hydraulic ram effect. The water flows out the hose on the down stroke only.

Pump length is based on well depth and the water table height in it. The pump should be made long enough to stay submerged in at least 3' - 5' of water so the pump remains in the water during the pumping motion cycle. Remember that water tables may change with seasonal conditions. If you know of wells that you may need to use in the future, you should get proper water samples from them and have them tested. Stagnant or unused wells should be cleaned out with a power pump and disinfected. Local health departments and well drillers maintain well records and can give you information on well depths, testing and on keeping wells sanitary. You can also measure a well and water table with a sanitized cord and plumb bob. When using untested well water, you should use water treatments (boiling, bleach, iodine, filters, etc.) to protect you from typhoid, dysentery, diarrhea, cholera, giardia and other diseases.

You must disinfect your hands before using the well. Keep all the pump parts off the ground and disinfect them before placing them in the well. Sick persons and animals must not have any contact with the well area, pump or water containers. Keep the area around the well sanitary and never drink from the hose or allow any waste water or animals near the well area.

You can reinforce the pipe section joints by melting the tips of stainless steel nails into the depth of the inside diameter and cutting the excess off. This acts as a “dowel” pin enhancing the strength of the joint. Take care to only insert the pin as far as the inside edge and make sure to cut off the excess on the outside. This prevents rubbing and binding during pumping strokes. A couple or three per joint should be plenty.

Leaving the pump in the well and keeping the well cap on when not in use will help keep the well sanitary. If no sleeve is used in your well, you can hang the pump inside the casing by a cord with a prussik knot (Scout handbook) around the pump shaft. Install a hook below the well cap area on the inside of the casing and hang the pump from it. If you use a pump sleeve, you should make the sleeve about 2" shorter than the well casing top. Make the pump long enough to stand above the sleeve but still be short enough for the well cap to be replaced over the well casing. You can also wire a hook to the top of the pump shaft and hang it over the sleeve edge.

The pump can be made from copper and brass. It will cost more, be heavier and freeze easier in cold climates, but will allow the pump to be used on fuels from underground storage tanks. Some makes and models of brass foot valves are:

Simmons model 1402, Merrill Series 810, Model FV75, Water Ace model RFV75 Brady model SFV75 (plastic)

A plunger action check valve can be used but you should put a 1/8" screen over the intake end and secure it with a ring clamp to help keep any well debris out of the valve. Foot and check valves have a closure spring which may need to be trimmed down or removed to get the best flow rate from pressures generated by hand pumping.

The weep hole is about 1/8" diameter. It should be drilled through one side of the pump shaft and the guide sleeve above the foot valve but a good distance below the frost line in your area. This allows the water in the pump shaft to slowly drain back down into the well when the pumping stops. This helps keep the well from freezing in cold weather.

NOTE: This pump works great at depths of 0 to 40 feet; good at 40 to 60 feet; it remains workable down to 80 feet for one person, but beyond that, it may be too heavy for only one person to operate due to the increased water and pipe weight. It will work deeper and is limited only by the person's downward thrust with more energy than it takes to suspend the existing water column in the pipe.

The pump model displayed in only one of an endless number of pump variations you can build. Parts are becoming harder to find in quantity due to low inventory stocking practices at stores. Other pipe types, sizes, adapters and fittings can be readily made into pumps that will work with varying degrees of efficiency levels. A functional pump only needs a foot valve, a weep hole (cold climates), a stiff hollow pipe shaft above the valve for the water to flow up in, and a hose or side pipe discharge to get the water away from the pump shaft and into a container.

The best way to survive a power outage or any emergency is to prepare before it occurs. You need shelter, heat for cooking and warmth, water, food medicines, medical supplies, hygiene items and other things. These will not be easy to get in a power outage or emergency. Build a pump now while you can still get the parts. After a power outage will be too late.

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