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Water tank or manual pump?

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by Modeler, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. Modeler

    Modeler Molalla, Oregon Soccer Fan

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    Hi all,

    My wife and I are discussing a backup water supply. We live on 5 acres with 3 wells (one good, one dirty, one unknown) and 2 houses (ours and a rental). The main/good well is out back, around 250-300' from the houses. It's 113' deep with a static water level very near the surface.

    We're mainly concerned about a prolonged power outage resulting in an inability to use the main well pump. We're discussing either a manual backup pump in the main well or an above ground tank near the house. We also have a generator that will be wired to run the well (soon).

    The manual pump will be $1,500 or so, a 500 gallon tank will be $500~ with plumbing for gravity feed and an electric pump.

    If it were you, which would you spend the money on?
  2. Rez

    Rez Vancouver, WA Member

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    I personally would go with the tank. Considering how much rain we get up here it is hard to go wrong. Plus you can have it right next to the house and regardless of what happens you can get water from it. The well certainly isn't bad but in your situation I would go with the tank.
  3. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    How much power does the main well draw? Generator?
  4. Modeler

    Modeler Molalla, Oregon Soccer Fan

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    Pump has a 30 amp/220 breaker, generator is 5,500 watt I think.
  5. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    My choice would be a propane generator that would run the main well pump.
    Install a dedicated self starting generator wired into a transfer switch panel.
    During a power loss, manually throw the panel switch and the self starting generator will cycle on & off using the pressure switch when needed.
    Saves fuel and keeps both houses supplied with clean well water.
    Above ground water tanks can get contaminated with algae and other issues.
    If you have a large enough propane tank, you can also use the fuel to run other necessities, such as lights, stoves, even refrigerators, or a camper trailer, they have everything ready to go built in.
    Gasoline generators, unless used on a regular basis can let you down when you need them, plus storing large amounts of gasoline is problematic.
    Nwcid and (deleted member) like this.
  6. Modeler

    Modeler Molalla, Oregon Soccer Fan

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    The gasoline generator will be getting a propane kit this month. No go on the auto-start for now, maybe some time in the future.
  7. knuckle Head

    knuckle Head southeast Well-Known Member

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    I like the tank idea, as stated once filled it will gravity feed. It is cheaper and will cost less initially,

    Also the $1k savings can be put towards other stores, fuel, guns ammo etc..

    if later you decide to do so and have extra $$$ you can always ad the extra pump.
    Rez and (deleted member) like this.
  8. HenryJ

    HenryJ Eastern Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Will the job of maintaining the water in the tank keeping the stock fresh enough to be potable be a hassle? It seems to me that the simplicity of a hand pumped well has some real advantages when it comes to simplicity and convenience. It could be my own prejudice as I have a second well with a hand pump.
    I think location and conditions may play a part here too. Areas with a very deep water source may find storage a better choice than supply?
  9. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    In some of the more rural areas of LA county (CA?) they require a 1000 gallon tank because they can not ensure fire protection when the Santa Annas come through.Then these go to sprinkler systems,yada yada yada.

    As stated,you can always extract water from the tank through some type of valve. Keeping the water "good" shouldn't require much more than running your house through the tank.Keeping fresh water circulating.
    Heck filters before and after the tank couldn't hurt.
    The tank manufacturer should have some type of system to aerate the water in the tank to keep the water fresh
  10. Tangent123123

    Tangent123123 Battle Ground Active Member

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    Three potential problems that arise from the above ground tank.

    1 - Having enough fuel to run the generator over an extended period of time. Propane can be stored pretty much forever, but it's a matter of having enough stocked up. What happens when it runs out?

    2 - The noise of being the only guy on the block with a generator running is pretty much an invitation for someone to come rob you.

    3 - Possible algae issues with above ground water storage.