Water cistern intallation, pumping and frost proofing

Discussion in 'Alternative Energy' started by hippiehill, Jan 9, 2007.

  1. hippiehill

    hippiehill Active Member

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    I have an electric water pump with an extremely small tank. Being in the middle of nowhere, we have those pesky outages. I would like to put some sort of cistern outside by my well house and a handpump by the kitchen sink.

    The wellhouse is about six feet from my kitchen, the water would need to run for about 10 horizontal feet total. It freezes hard here!

    #1 How big of a tank would I need for two people plus a couple goats, couple geese, couple ducks and a small bunch of chickens for about 2 days of conserved water?

    #2 What could I use as a cistern that is very cost effective?

    #3 How can I prevent everything from freezing without using heat tape. I already have some problems with frozen plumbing every now and then.

    #4 Can I use a handpump in the kitchen to draw water from the well into the cistern. Would it draw water? Would I want to?

    By adding the handpump I am confusing myself I think. And I don't actually "need" the handpump, but, you know!

    The eventual plan is to have the well pump run by alternative means, with the cistern as a backup tied into both the handpump and the mainline plumbing. Also, the cistern will not lower my electric costs for running the pump, will it?

    Luckily, I will have help doing this, I'm just brainstorming right now to see if it's possible and how exactly I want to do it. I am full of ideas, but extremely limited on mechanical ability!
     
  2. mad_misky

    mad_misky Well-Known Member

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    I might be about to make a total idiot of myself, so please be forgiving. I'm new to all this and very young (20).

    Anyway, you wouldn't need a hand pump next to your sink if you had a pressure tank, would you? Could you not just have a hand pump into your pressure tank?
     

  3. littlebitfarm

    littlebitfarm Scotties rule! Supporter

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    I can't answer all your questions. I would think a food grade 55 gal drum would be plenty of water for 2 days. Also cheap and easy! Could you put it in the basement/crawlspace so it doesn't freeze? If you put it directly under the sink (in the basement/crawlspace) you could pipe the hand pump into it real easy. Wouldn't be hard to fill with a short hose while the power is on.

    Kathie
     
  4. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Only you can tell how much water you use in a day. Maybe for a couple of days, haul all of the water you use in buckets to see what the actual number of gallons used is.
    (In my opinion, a 55 gallon drum should be plenty of water for 2+ days)

    Burying a cistern or putting it in a basement are the usual ways to keep it from freezing.

    If I were doing a cistern system, I would either collect rainwater, or make it so that it could be easily adapted to collect rainwater in the future.
     
  5. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    When we lived in Scotland, we had a big tank up in the attic. Think of an oval shaped horse trough. It was un-covered and had a faucet with a flaot on it, to keep it filled. All internal plumbing was fed from that tank.
     
  6. hippiehill

    hippiehill Active Member

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    Unfortunately, no basement OR crawlspace! Burying may be a problem also - tree roots. What about an earth berm/partial bury solution. 55 gallon drum would probably work. My water freezes inside my house! lol! Freezing my butt off! At least till I put a cookstove in the kitchen! We heat with just wood now. Obviously a slight learning curve there! And never enough insulation!

    Looking at the eventual rainwater collection. I also heard that rainwater shouldn't be fed to animals? My "goathouse" is quite far from the house, but a simple gutter and another drum would work there if it is safe to drink. It would save me the hauling I do from the house now!

    I suppose I could also just use the cistern/handpump when the power goes out and have it completely separate from my main water supply system.
     
  7. littlebitfarm

    littlebitfarm Scotties rule! Supporter

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    Well, don't tell anyone! :) But my barn gutters go to a couple horse water tanks. Free water, no pumping required! All the livestock drink it and I haven't had any problems.

    Kathie