MacKenzie and I live in the county a short ways outside of town. We have two irrigation ditches running through our property, and there is a small river about a mile away. In a short-term emergency we could get water from the river, but that's a lot of effort every day that could be put to better use, and we can't rely on the irrigation ditches to always be flowing. To be truly self sufficient, we needed a better option.
The obvious answer was a hand well pump, so we started researching our options. Like any other item, the hand pump market has its gimmicks and some decent products. We settled on the Simple Pump for its long operating life, ease of pumping, and its unique ability to pressurize our home's plumbing system (using our existing taps, showers, etc. sounded a lot nicer than making due with buckets). This pump installs along side our existing submersible pump, so we can use the electric pump or our hand pump as needed.
I called the county to get a copy of the well driller's report. This report has all the details about the well needed when ordering the pump. We placed our order, and a few days later FedEx dropped off a box and a 9 foot tube.
Simple Pump advertises that install takes about 2 hours, but I doubted that, so I set aside the whole morning for the project. The instructions are clear and easy to follow and they even have a YouTube video of an install you can watch if needed.
Wellhead, tools, and Simple Pump components laid out to begin work. A few standard tools and Teflon tape are all that is required to complete the installation.
New wellhead cap with the first section of drop pipe and sucker rod inserted. Note the "C" shaped safety tool that prevents the drop pipe from accidentally falling down the well during installation.
The sucker rods are threaded together. Note the dimple on the top stainless steel connector. This dimple presses the threaded sleeve (top section) inward against the threaded male connector. Because of the significant friction this creates, 2 vice grip pliers are required; one to hold the bottom connector, and one to turn the top. This is done to eliminate any possibility of the sucker rods becoming unscrewed over time.
The sucker rod is very flexible which makes it easy to slide the drop pipe sections into place.
After 3-6 wraps of Teflon tape, just screw one drop pipe into another. I was able to do this by hand, but a pipe wrench can be used if needed.
The last section of drop pipe has a small weep hole 48" from the top. This keeps the top of the water column in the pipe far enough underground that even in extreme climates, the water won't freeze and the pump will function.
The pump completely installed in almost exactly 2 hours as advertised.
Testing the pump for the first time!. It was so easy to pump that MacKenzie could pump water with 2 fingers!!
When I heard this pump could fill and pressurize our pressure tank, I expected a lot of work and special fittings, but in our case, it was really simple. Just attach a potable water hose to the pump on one end and a spigot on the other and pump! It took me 3 minutes to go from no water or pressure in our home to 60 psi., so all the faucets, toilets, showers, etc. work like normal. Newer homes will have backflow preventers at each faucet. In those cases, a simple gate valve needs to be installed.
After just 2 hours of work, we now have reliable access to potable water year-round without electricity. Installing the Simple Pump
was an easy but significant step toward a more self sufficient and sustainable lifestyle.