# Well? Pump? Pressure tanks?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by MikeJoel, Mar 3, 2005.

1. ### MikeJoelGuest

We have a deep well (140 feet) that is producing about 4.5 Gal/min.
I am trying to find a few websites that will help me figure out what kind of pump, pressure tank and/or holding tank I would need.

MY PLAN (mhhwaaaahhhh)
We will have approximately 25 people using this system (a lot of people all part of a wide family (2 sisters and brother-in-laws with their kids, and my family).
My original plan was to try a large water tank elevated to provide pressure (that was until I calculated that the tank would have to be about 85 feet up in the air to get 40lb pressure).....

Now I am trying to figure out how to work out a system with a pressure tank.
I would like to build a well house with all the tanks and pressure tanks in it that feed pipes out. I am not sure if that is as practice as just putting a pressure tank in each trailer.
The other question would of course be (not knowing a lot about pressure tanks) if the pump pressurizes the tank then how do multiple pressure tanks work with one pump?

Currently the plan would be something like this (I guess).
A deep well pump pumping about 0.5gpm less than the fill rate of the well (4.5gmp). This would fill a holding tank of about 1,500 to 1,800 gallons. A jet pump would then pressurise a pressure tank (100gal to 150gal). The 1,500gal tank I found for about \$750. I can only find the pressure tanks at about \$350 (86 gal). With this plan I need two pumps which of course will also be using more electricity.

Is there a better way? Cheaper way?

I know it is better to run a pump longer than it is to have it going on and off all the time so would it be possible to get some type of holding tank in the system? I was planning to use a 1,500 gal tank originally.

Any websites or help would be great.
I will be putting up a blog later so people can see how it is going

Thanks
Mike

2. ### agmantooagmantooSupporter

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I provide 4 single wides and 1 double wide on one well with less water than your well. I have a fair number of wells at other locations and some experience and possibly can assist you. I need to know if you have a submersible pump or an above ground pump. You well casing diameter info would be a plus. How far apart are these homes?

3. ### MikeJoelWell-Known Member

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Casing is 6". We plan to go with a submersable pump (I don't know of any above ground pump that will pump from 140 feet).

In total there will be about 4 trailers/families. Since the trailers are temporary until we build a home they are all within 50 feet of each other. Kind of like a big U shape (but space around them).

The location is Maine so winter temps can get to -40 sometimes though that is extreme.

Mike

4. ### agmantooagmantooSupporter

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The 6 inch casing is great. Plan on placing the pump only a few feet off the bottom of the well. The deeper the pump, the better storage the casing itself will provide. Also, any idea as to the water level in the well as it would be nice to calculate the storage above the pump. Jacuzzi and Gould are two good brands of pumps. Attempt to locate a plumbing supply house that sells pumps . They will have charts for matching the pump to the well. Do not oversize the pump to the application. IMO, ideally you want a pump that will deliver slightly less water from the depth you set the pump than the well itself can deliver. In so designing, the pump will not run dry even if a line ruptures in one of the home or if the kids leave a couple of garden hoses on during the summer. Once you get the pump in, a couple of large bladder tanks (ones with lots of drawdown, (30 gallons plus each) will meet everyones household needs. Your plan of putting the tanks in one common well house would be the better choice as the water would have stored heat in it during the winter and you could also better equip the setup to prevent freezing, If you have need for water that does not have to be pressurized such a stored water for livestock or a garden you can collect that water during non peak use periods in barrels. If the expense of 2 bladder tanks are more than you want to incurr I have a suggestion of something you can try. Let me know.

5. ### MikeJoelWell-Known Member

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The water level rises to about 11 feet from the top of the well casing.
I know because we have used a temporary shallow well pump with two 10' pvc coupled together and the water level sits just below the coupling.

(this is from memory)
The casing is sunk 10' into bedrock (bedrock is 20' down). The well is about 145' with water rising to within 11 feet of the top of the pipe. So that should be about 197 gallons (not counting that the pipe sits about 1 or 2 feet higher than the ground).

I would love to hear all ideas.

Thanks
Mike

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7. ### ramblerWell-Known MemberSupporter

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I think in your first message you are overcomplicating something.

You will have a deep pump to ring the water up to the 1500 gallon tank.

Then you will have a little pump to charge up your pressurized system.

You will have a pressure tank which is basically 1/2 air & 1/2 water.

Now:

Why would you need more than one 'little pump' to pressurize the system? You may need more than one pressure tank if you need a large supply of water, but one 'little pump' would be enough. The air in the tank is what actually supplies 'pressure'; the little pump is what supplies amount of water. The pressure switch will determine max pressure. you do not need a different pump with each pressure tank.

Myself, I would go with a good deep well pump, and just allow that pump up into a pressure tank(s). On my farm I have a 260 foot deep well.

There is a deep well pump. Pipe comes up, goes to an 80 - 100 gallon pressure tank. From there the water is piped to the house & to the barns. I water 40 - 50 head, so my water use has to be quite a bit. Also supply water to my sprayer in summer, that is 1000 gal a day.

I see no need for the 1500 gallon tank in your system? Allow the one deep pump to do it all.

Then you will have the deep pump, a pressure tank, and piping to the different houses. Very simple. Works fine. Unless you have some issue. The only bad part is no backup water if the deep well goes bad - is that an issue?

I would try to run 1.25" pipe and tap off with 3/4" pipe to each house, then you will see less pressure fluctuations. But run that past a person with more experience on keeping pressure good at all endpoints, just a kernal of an idea.

--->Paul

8. ### farminghandymanWell-Known MemberSupporter

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this is my opinion,

with a 4.5 gallon well, your only going to be able to use one or two taps at once, (most new taps are restricted to 2 gallons a min,) and that is with some pressure drop, if you have unrestricted taps then you will only be able to use one at a time,

I have windmills that pump at the most (both together) about 4 to 5 gallons a min. so I pump into a 15,000 gallon tank, and then pump out of that with a jet pump and pressure tank, (we have cattle and a garden and at times water a "lawn"), in the hot weather we will use about 5 to 6000 gallons a day, cold weather about 800, (also have an electric back up pump under one of the mills that works off a float switch)

now in a 24 hr period you will be able to pump 6400 gallons, (4.5x60x24=6400),

now if I read things correctly you want to have a number of family's using the same water source,

if all flush the toilet at the same time it will take 5 to 7 mins to regain pressure,

remember pressure and gallons a min are not the same,
you could have the pressure set at 100lb, and still not have water, if your using more than your pumping, your pressure will be very low, (my sister in law live on farm with his parents, and they fought the water issue all the time, they went and re set the pressure up to 70 to 80 lb, and still could not figure out why they had little water, it was because they did not have the gallons of water needed).

IMO, use a 5 gallon sub pump (or less if you can find it) to pump into a large storage tank, (I have mine on end 20' tall and have 8lb of pressure if lose power when full and also have a tap on the bottom that the fire department can hook in to, just in case, 12 miles from any other water source,)
use a float switch to turn it on and off, I have mine set at about 1/2 a tank to turn on my electric pump,

then I have a jet pump and pressure tank to provide normal pressure to the buildings on the farm and the stock tanks, I think I have about 100 gallons of captive air presure tanks, (note: you can add a number of tanks on one presure system, and it is a good idea in my oppion so if one fails you don't short cycle your pump).

now I would in your case also have another safety switch that will shut off the jet pump if the tank gets below 1/4, that way you still have some reserve water, if a hose or some thing get left on or a water line breaks,

you may for convince set up two units for more gallons a min and split the trailers up to each one, the the normal jet pump will probably pump about 10 gallons a min,

but with the safety switch, if the reservoir get low it will shut off the jet pumps (pressure booster), and all will know that some thing is in need of attention, and if the storage tank is even st up 5' you will still be able to get water out of the taps even with the power off and the booster jet pumps off,

in my case the electric back up will pump more than my booster pump if necessary.

that is my opinion, I like the reserve, and if it was me I would want to have preferable have 7 days of min storage, (in cold weather I do, in warm I don't),

I looked in the yellow pages and looked up tank dealers and was able to find a dealer that had a used steel tank (suitable for potable water) that was 8' x20' and that cost me \$1000, and another \$1000 to have potable water lining coat put on, (like in the water towers of most city tanks),

you ask for a web site, to see items and possible ideas,

http://www.aermotorwindmills.com/index.htm
I have bought thousands of dollars of pump and well items from them.

9. ### MikeJoelWell-Known Member

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2 taps at once? I lived in a house a few years ago with a well and one pressure tank (looked like it might have been a 25 ro 30 gallon tank). The well pumped directly to it. We had 8 people in the house (not counting when family came for visists) and used hoses and washing machines a lot. We never had water pressure problems. The only problem we ever had was if the pump emptied the well (that usually happened only if someone was using the hose, the washing machine was filling and someone was filling a sink for dishes). That well wasn't 145' and I am pretty sure it wasn't 4.5gpm either.

I see your point and I may be wrong (usually am) but wouldn't that discount the fact that a 100 gallon pressure tank won't lose pressure until you get down to about 7 gallons in it? Also the well holding 197 gallons would allow the pump to refill the pressure tank quickly. It would then take about 50 minutes to refill the well to it's 197 gallons capacity. Am I wrong thinking this way?

I have been thinking over all the ideas posted.
I would like to have a holding tank of some kind to have a reserve if not actually inline with the main system. I will at least plan for a 500gallon tank for use on livestock and gardens. That way the pressure tanks aren't being asked to do more than needed.

Is there any way I could put a holding tank inline (either after the pressure tank, or before) and not have to use a second pump? I figure I couldn't because if it goes after the holding tank it will simply burst the tank since it isn't meant to hold pressure. Before the tank is the same problem.

I plan to use the well house so I wouldn't want to elevate more than 8'.

Wasn't it very costly to build a 20' tower for the tank?

Mike

10. ### agmantooagmantooSupporter

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The storage tank really is not needed. You could have such a device that is filled during the night when there is almost no use of water. A timer and a solenoid valve plus a float cutoff wil meet those needs. The storage tank would not be pressurized and you could gravity flow or just dip the water out for the livestock and the garden.

11. ### farminghandymanWell-Known MemberSupporter

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your right I miss stated it, in if the pressure tank has water and the well pump not the only source of water being supplied,
you would have good water until the pressure tank is empty-ed to the point of turning on the well pump, you would have surge capacity, beyond the well pump gallonage,

but when one is filling a washing machine, or showering, or if one is watering with a hose or sprinkler, and additional taps are opended, I think you will have pressure loss as soon as the pressure tank is empty, and depeding on the pump for pressure,

(as said before you can have a bank of pressure tanks to get a volume of storage).

Sorry for any confusion,

the tank is jsut sat on end no tower, but when full it is 20', (when full it is about 8lb of pressure)
but it will gravity feed the whole farm and even supply water over 1/2 mile away when there is no power, there is not good presure but shure beats no water at all when power is out, (when full it will even refill the upstairs toilet).

12. ### farminghandymanWell-Known MemberSupporter

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set it up at first with a (submersible ?) pump in the well feeding directly to the or the bank of pressure tanks, and try it,

and if the results of the water system are to your liking then do no more,

If not add a large static storage tank and a larger capacity GPM pump from the storage tank, to feed the pressure tanks, That way you can test and see, and spend the minimum amount necessary to get the system up and going, and if necessary do it in stages,

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(I Don't think you will be happy with the results, now if the 25 people were in one house and one bathroom you would probably get by, but when you have multiple households {my guessing} on the system, this is where I think you will find problems as the water usage is not rationed as in a single house)

I think the picture will be something like this , Aunt Nelly will be washing her hair, when teen cousin barb decides to take that 45 min shower, and uncle Joe flushes his toilet, and mother in law Shirley starts that load of wash all at the same time, Aunt Nelly and cousin Barb and MIL Shirley will be at each other, and uncle Joe will probably just go flush it again to watch the fur fly.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

13. ### MikeJoelWell-Known Member

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LOL.....
When did you meet the family??? (joking)

Actually I have repeatedly warned everyone that showers must be fast and water will have to be scheduled for certain things.

I like how, as you mention, I can start with the tanks and pump and insert a holding tank.

So far here is what I am planning from the discussion (let me know if I am off on any of this).

A deep well pump to a shutoff valve then a ball valve going a 3 outlet joint.

Outlet "A" goes through a shutoff valve then a check valve to two 86 gallon pressure tanks (7.4gl max draw down). The tanks connect to plumbing for dwellings through a larger feed pipe then the dwelling pipes.

Outlet "B" goes through a shutoff valve then a check valve to a 305gl holding tank (about 10 feet on a stand), this is for gardens and stock. Tank connects to plumbing for barn and spigot for garden.

Outlet "C" goes through a shutoff valve then a check valve to to a spigot connection inside pump house.

All connections (except "C" would have another check valve after the tank(s) to prevent back flow to them).

I figure this configuration would allow me to turn off any or all connections to the pump and manually fill the holding tank. Technically this would allow us to use the storage tank to run toilets and other low pressure needs if there was a loss of electricity. (we plan to have a emergency hand pump with the well)

I can later add a large holding tank for the dwellings if the system isn't working as needed.

A few questions,

1) I would love to use an above ground pump so maintenance would be quickly accessible. Is there a jet pump that will efficiently pump from 145'? Which uses less electricity a jet pump of submersible pump?

2) Does the pressure tank turn off the pump electrically or does the pump have a pressure sensor and shut off when pressure reaches a certain point.

3) If the pump turns off through and electric connection to the pressure tank how do you put two on a pump? It would seem that without some master switch either tank, upon reaching capacity, would turn the pump off.

Thanks all
Mike

14. ### HelenaWell-Known Member

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we have a 250' well with a jet pump. It is at least 40-50 years old and have never had a problem with it. We have put in 1 set of points in the last 25 years and the motor is a 3/4. Of course we aren't watering 25 people...but a normal homestead with family and animals etc. I think perhaps you should get a really good plumber to talk with you about it. Is there a reason why you wouldn't want to do that ?? Good Luck !!!

15. ### MikeJoelWell-Known Member

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Plumbers are usually against anything they didn't see in their books or that is unusual. As many know just because it is unusual doesn't mean it won't work.

Besides I had someone tell me they would put a system in for about \$1,200. It would consist of one small pressure tank in each dwelling and the pump.
I think \$1,200 for that is a bit much. Especially since two of the dwellings currently have pressure tanks.

I guess I am one of those people who feel that people figured out what to do before plumbers and such and I guess I can too

In my work (computer technician and web design) I have been told "that is the wrong way to do it.... do it this way" only to find out that the "right" way was really only the "right" way because that was the way they did it. I soon learned that many things do not have one particular "right" way.

Mike

16. ### ramblerWell-Known MemberSupporter

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It is hard for a pump to 'suck' water more than 25 feet, and almost impossible for them to suck water up a pipe more than 50 feet. You create a vaccumn and the water just won't come up. (Air pressure is 14", which provides 28 feet of water lift - after that a pump would rather create a vacumn & the water doesn't want to rise - there are some creative things to do but cost more than doing the submersable.) For a 'normal' house a surface pump might work on your well because the water comes so close to the surface; however you will not have much reserve water and for your massive use you need all the reserve... A pump is much more efficient/ reliable to push water than to suck it.

You will need one pressure switch which controls the pump. It will likely be put in the pressure tank nearest the pump. All tanks will charge up to that pressure, and then the spring-loaded contacts will snap & cut off the power to the pump. Once the pressure drops in your system, the springs in the switch will snap the other way, make contact, & power flows to your pump. You really should have a pressure tank there at the well house, and then create your 3-prong manifold _after_ the check valve, shutoff valve, & pressure tank; not before. You don't want to feed the storage tank or a hydrant directly from the pump - for several reasons. Treat a deep well pump nice & it will last you 20-30 years without a thought.

You are going to have issues with the lowest house on your main pipe getting all the water they want, & the highest elevated house suffering cronic shortage. This is an issue if you do not have all flat building site.

A way to try to make this work (better) with one deep well pump is to place a seperate pressure tank in each house with a check valve before the tank. Then each house will have 20 - 80 gallon tank with 10 - 40 gallons of water sitting there ready to go at pressure. The water can not flow out to any other house because of the check valve. This will allow your pump to charge up each system as it is used, but not let water be 'stolen' from other houses to charge the whole system. It will give each an amount of water to handle a toilet flush or one laundry cycle even if your pump is busy trying to supply water to a different house that used a bunch. Cost & results of one system vs another depends on the pipe elevations & distances & how serious your people are about living with pressure swings to some degree.....

Something I would plot out for effect & cost:

Deep well. Pipe up. Check & shut off valve. Small pressure tank with a rather high pressure (if you need the head to run uphill to the farthest house) switch. Pipe from this to a 3 prong manifold - the extra storage tank, the hydrant in the pumphouse, and the main line to the buildings. You can valve & checkvalve here to your heart's content, as needed.

On the main line, branch to each house. In each house, put a check valve & cut off valve on the water supply, and then a pressure tank, larger if you can afford. Supply the house from this tank.

Where I live, drinking water is not supposed to come from cisterns (water storage tank) unless you jump through a lot of hoops, so I'm trying to discourage that.....

What this does for you is protect the pump with that first small pressure tank - they don't like to run wthout one. You can set your pump controls up on this tank. Everything will feed from this pressure tank. Each house will have it's own small supply of water from their individual pressure tanks (they do not need pressure switches, they will operate without any controls, being charged from the pumphouse pressure tank) and hopefully the pump can keep up with recharging each pressure tank without too many people losing pressure too often. Also if you run into houses in low spots with too much pressure & houses on hills with low pressure, you can do some adjusting with pressure regulators at each house's main tank. You can't create miricales, but there would be some options for minor corrections.

I wrote before, & I should mention I am a simple dirt & livestock farmer, I have no exprtise in plumbing design & anything I say should be taken with a _big_ grain of salt. Maybe a whole salt mine......

--->Paul

17. ### farminghandymanWell-Known MemberSupporter

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I would think the efficiency of the submersible pump would be better,
(now one thing I have wonder, but I am going off of the information you have given,
4.5 gallons a min, well depth 145 feet, and water table at 11Feet.

one thing you will want to know is "draw down" of the well.
That is how far the well empties because that is actual the depth you are pumping even if the well is deeper, and the suction section of the pump is deeper,

and if the draw down is not very much then my guess is you have more than 4.5 gallon capacity well.

the pumping depth is where the water in the well levels off at when being pumped at a specific gallons a min,

water on the out side of the pipe will balance out the depth of pump,

there are to types of jet pumps, one where the injector is on the pump it self and then one that has a external jet,

how a jet pump works is there is a spinning disk in the pump with vanes on it that by centrifugal force throws the water to the out side of the pump cavity, and creates pressure, that pressurized water then goes into a nozzle and it would be like a garden nozzle put in to a pipe, at the bottom of the pipe and the pipe in standing water, the force of the water being forced through the nozzle will drag along more water with it and through the pipe, and then some of the water is piped off and re ran through the pump and back to the nozzle,

the jet pump that is self contained can pull water up from a short distance (usually less than 20') and the drop pipe must have a good foot valve on it so it doesn't lose prime, as it can not suck air,

the second type uses two pipes and has the jet located at the bottom of the drop pipe, and it has a greater depth capacity,

the submersible pump is a motor and the turbine type pump (normally a couple of stages of turbines for more pressures), and that is it, the motor is on the bottom for cooling, by the water. and all the water it pumps is forced up the pipe, and not reused,

either pump is very reliable unless lighting hits the system,
most (unless pumping sand) will last 10 to 20 years with little care, (jet or sub pump) unless you have a water problem that eats things, and then you will probably be needing to replace the pipe that often any way, and even if you use a jet pump your depth would require the two pipe system with a injector at the bottom of the well and if the water is corrosive you possibly would need to pull the pipe any way to repair it.

don't forget to get a good foot valve, (special check valve at the bottom of a well) and don't place the pump or foot valve on the bottom of the well, keep it 10 to 20' off the bottom if you can, to keep sand and stuff out of the system,

PRESSURE SWITCHES,
are on the water line, they usually make a special Tee that will hook up the pressure tank and the water lines and a small 1/4" pipe tap for the switch,

some jet pumps have a tap on the pump for the pressure switch,

the problems with the arrangement you have talked about is
the controlling of the pump and not over load the pump if the water is turned off, and the pressure switch is by passed, for a on off control to the other two taps,(B and C)

I would add a float valve to the storage tank and if so wanted a valve that one can manually turn on or off so the float valve is controlled if the water is below full, and you don't want water running in to the storage tank,,
the float valve would be similar to a live stock float valve or a toilet tank valve, (I like a float valve called a BOB valve) but a cheap live stock float valve will work as well. if filling the tank is taking all the water off the main line put a restrict in line, (close the valve all most off so just a trickle will flow in to the storage tank, not the full flow).

in all cases I would put shut off valves on to be able to isolate all the lines but would leave them on the pressure system, and let the pressure valve to be able to shut off the pump if the lines are blocked or shut off , you line C would just be a tap to be able to get full flow off the pump, or what ever,

I would add a valve and union before going in to each pressure tank, that way if one would fail and need to be removed from service the water system is affected little,
and can be exchanged with out shutting down the system,

also If any other lines run out valve them for maintenance work,

if each dwelling has it own line ran valve it, that way not the whole system has to be shut down if one faucet needs a new washer,

place a check valve in front of the pressure switch so that water can not leak back down the well, by the pressure in the pressure tank,

I would not place check valves after the pressure tanks
as at times the water needs expansion room, (when heated in a hot water heater)

pressure tanks
most are now captive air pressure tanks, and are basic a tank that has like an inter-tube in it, air pressure on the out side and water in the tube, as the pressure builds the tube fills and compress the air, and then the air forces the water out of the tube (bladder)
,
the big pluses of this are greater draw down on the tank, it can pressurize more water for its size, and water logging of the tank is all most a thing of the past, (some form of leak would be necessary for water logging, either air or water leak in the bladder, or air leak in the shell)

the old type is just a tank, and no bladder and it would water log, air would mix with the water and in time no air, very hard on pumps as they cycle no and off very rapidly
and would need to be recharged with air, evey few months, and the draw down is a lot less off the tank, (less capacity)
~~~~~~~~~~
muliptal tanks will reach capacity a the same time, if the air pressure is set correctly in the tanks, even if the tanks are of different sizes and makes,

(example: your dealing with Pressure not Capacacity, say you have a water storage tank that is 20' around and a pipe that is 8" around and they tap into the same water main and both tank and pipe are the same hight, they will fill to the same level as the pressure (the height) is the same on both, (water seeks it own level) the capacity is different but the pressure is the same, yes more water enters the tank than the pipe. but both will fill to the same height at the same time.

and your pressure tanks just use air pressure to create the allusion of height to the water)

some one suggested a plumber for advice, (unless he has well experience, don't) go to a well repair man, the guy who pulls the pipe and works on the well it self, he is usally the one in the know of the well systems in your area, the plumber is the guy who knows inside the house,

I hope I have answered your questions, I have tried to explain things easily, and clearly but my typing and writing skills are not the best,

18. ### farminghandymanWell-Known MemberSupporter

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ramble has a lot of good advice with the system he has described, that way each house would have its own surge supply, and the way he suggested to set up the first pressure tank and pump is very good, (that is what I was trying to say, he says it clearer in my opinion).

and putting check valves in the way described is good as there is a pressure tank to absorb any change, of water volume.

(the biggest difference was I was banking all the tanks at one location and he has placed them at point of use), but what ever you do set up the first tank the way he described, the special tee I talked about is the manifold he is referring to,

19. ### ramblerWell-Known MemberSupporter

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Well, thank you. I see we were writing at the same time. I enjoy what you have said on this as well, & hopefully together we get some good ideas out there for him to chew on. More than oe way to do this, with 'country' in our backgrounds we both probably aim at keeping it simple & easy but flexable.

I can understand him wanting the water storage tank for livestock/ watering use, heck I water all my cattle through the in-ground cistern here so I know what comfort that brings. Locally & I believe the whole state you can't hook up drinking ater to such a system, so I would be careful how I plumbed such a tank into the design (isolation), or be sure of local laws regulating such. When the govt stops by for an inspection & forces some plumbing changes, they are rarely cheap or simple.

I'm not sure I put my check valves in the right places, I think main cutoffs should come first, then the checks. You made a good point about allowing expansion, my 'tank per house' will help that a lot as well as water hammer...

--->Paul

20. ### MikeJoelWell-Known Member

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WOW!
It is great to hear from people who are so willing to take the time to share their knowledge with those starting to learn.

Thank you for the very clear and explained information. While I have been doing as much research as I can get in it is great to know there are places where people are so willing to help out with questions!

I am actually learning (I know some of these questions sound dumb).

I have been calculating cost of parts and such and I hope will make a first draft of the layout tonight after I get home from work. I'll post it to let everyone see.

Thank you again,
Mike