The best possible scenario when designing your “off the grid water system” is to not need a pump at all!
This can be accomplished in many ways:
- a natural spring fed well that is up the hill from your home or cottage
- a dug well on a hill above your dwelling
- create a well with a driven point above your dwelling
- lugging water in buckets from a lake, river, stream or shallow (not something my wife would not do)
- a drilled artesian well (a well that is under natural pressure; rare but does happen)
- a roof (or other clean surface) water collection system
In order for water to flow through your plumbing system, it needs pressure or head.
NATURAL SPRING OR DUG WELL ABOVE YOUR DWELLING:
In the first two above examples, head pressure is created as the water source is above the area it is needed. For every 2.2 feet (0.67 meters) of drop, 1 psi (pounds per square inch) or 6.89 kilopascals of pressure is created.
2.2 FEET = 1 PSI (POUNDS PER SQUARE INCH)
0.67 METERS = 6.89 KPA (KILOPASCALS)
A toilet for example requires very little pressure. As long as there is enough pressure for water to enter the toilet tank, it will work. That usually amounts to 1 to 2 psi (6.89-13.78 kPa) as most toilet tanks are 2-4 feet (0.61-1.22 meters) tall. The lower the pressure, the longer it will take to be ready for its next flush but “What’s the rush?”.
A shower requires much more. While a shower could operate with as little as 3 or 4 psi (20-28 kPa), it will barely create a trickle and won’t satisfy most people. Many people enjoy showers that feel like they could peel the skin off.
A typical home operates somewhere between 30-50 psi or (206.-344 kPa) although this is entirely dependent on preference. That would mean your natural spring or dug well would have to be 66-110 feet (20.-34 meters) above the highest tap or shower nozzle in your home or cottage.
It is easy to see how difficult this would be. The pipe run (distance) would likely be very long, adding cost to the system.
However, gravity fed systems use no energy and require no maintenance once they are installed properly!
DRIVE A WELL POINT TO CREATE A WELL ABOVE YOUR HOME:
CARRYING BUCKETS OF WATER FROM A DUG WELL OR OTHER WATER SOURCE:
Lugging buckets of water from a river, stream or shallow well doesn’t really need much explanation…primitive but how the majority of the world gets their water.
ARTESIAN (OVERFLOWING OR “UNDER PRESSURE”) DUG OR DRILLED WELLS:
Artesian wells cannot be planned. They just happen or don’t. Don’t should be bolded as it is quite rare to drill or dig a well that is under pressure. A well can also be considered artesian if it overflows over the well casing (or whatever material is used to hold water) however just overflowing is not that useful unless your well is many vertical feet (meters) above your home or cottage AND there is adequate flow.
There must be both head pressure (vertical drop) and adequate flow (a few gallons per minute/10-15 liters per minute) for an artesian well to help you in your quest for electricity free household potable water.
ROOFTOP OR OTHER CLEAN SURFACE WATER COLLECTION: