Notes and Instructions
Keith states he built this hand pump in 20 minutes
for about US $20. It can be used in water wells that have no existing feed lines, wiring
or submersible pumps in place, or in water wells with them in place by the addition of a
1-1/2" interior diameter PVC pipe as a pump guide sleeve. The 1-1/2" interior
diameter PVC guide sleeve should have a cap glued on the bottom end and 1/2" holes
drilled through the bottom pipe section above the end cap. The holes allow water to flow
freely into the 1-1/2" interior diameter sleeve when it is submerged into water. The
sleeve separates the hand pump from feed lines, wiring or submersible pumps so they do not
rub during pumping. It also keeps the water clearer by keeping the hand pump off the
bottom of the well. The guide sleeve can be bolted to the above ground well casing area
with 1/2" carriage bolts and nuts. Be sure to seal the bolt holes with rubber washers
or caulking. The guide sleeve and pump should extend down below the water table. As the
foot valve of the pump is pushed down below the water table, the water flows up through
the foot valve and into the pump shaft above it. The valve is open on the down stroke and
closed on the up stroke. Repeated pumping motion shoves the water up the pipe and out the
hose by a hydraulic ram effect. The water flows out the hose on the down stroke only.
Pump length is based on well depth and the water table height in it. The pump should be
long enough to stay submerged in at least 3' - 5' of water so the pump remains in the
water during the pumping motion cycle. Remember that water tables may change with seasonal
conditions. If you know of wells that you may need to use in the future, you should get
proper water samples from them and have them tested. Stagnant or unused wells should be
cleaned out with a power pump and disinfected. Local health departments and well drillers
maintain well records and can give you information on well depths, testing and on keeping
wells sanitary. You can also measure a well and water table with a sanitized cord and
plumb bob. When using untested well water, you should use water treatments (boiling,
bleach, iodine, filters, etc.) to protect you from typhoid, dysentery, diarrhea, cholera,
giardia and other diseases.
You must disinfect your hands before using the well. Keep all the pump parts off the
ground and disinfect them before placing them in the well. Sick persons must not have any
contact with the well area, pump or water containers. Keep the area around the well
sanitary and never drink from the hose or allow any waste water or animals near the well
Leaving the pump in the well and keeping the well cap on when not in use will help keep
the well sanitary. If no sleeve is used in your well, you can hang the pump inside the
casing by a cord with a prussik knot (Scout handbook) around the pump shaft. Install a
hook below the well cap area on the inside of the casing and hang the pump from it. If you
use a pump sleeve, you should make the sleeve about 2" shorter than the well casing
top. Make the pump long enough to stand above the sleeve but still be short enough for the
well cap to be replaced over the well casing. You can also wire a hook to the top of the
pump shaft and hang it over the sleeve edge.
The pump can be made from copper and brass. It will cost more, be heavier and freeze
easier in cold climates, but will allow the pump to be used on fuels from storage tanks.
Some makes and models of brass foot valves are:
Simmons model 1402
Merril Series 810, model FV75
Water Ace model RFV75
Brady model SFV75 (plastic)
A plunger action check valve can be used but you should put a 1/8" screen over the
intake end and secure it with a ring clamp to help keep any well debris out of the valve.
Foot and check valves have a closure spring which may need to be trimmed down or removed
to get the best flow rate from pressures generated by hand pumping.
The weep hole is about 1/8" diameter. It should be drilled through one side of the
pump shaft above the foot valve but a good distance below the frost line in your area.
This allows the water in the pump shaft to slowly drain back down into the well when the
pumping stops. This helps keep the well from freezing in cold weather.
NOTE: This pump works great at depths of 0 to 20 feet; good at 20 to 35 feet; OK at
50 feet. It remains workable down to 75 feet for one person, but beyond that, it is too
heavy for only one person to operate due to the increased water and pipe weight. It will
work deeper and is limited only by the person's downward thrust with more energy than it
takes to suspend the existing water column in the pipe.
The pump model displayed in only one
of an endless number of pump variations you can build. Parts are becoming harder to find
in quantity due to low inventory stocking practices at stores. Other pipe types, sizes,
adapters and fittings can be readily made into pumps that will work with varying degrees
of efficiency levels. A functional pump only needs a foot valve, a weep hole (cold
climates), a stiff hollow pipe shaft above the valve for the water to flow up in, and a
hose or side pipe discharge to get the water away from the pump shaft and into a
The best way to survive a
power outage or any emergency is to prepare before it occurs. You need shelter, heat for
cooking and warmth, water, food medicines, medical supplies, hygiene items and other
things. These will not be easy to get in a power outage or emergency. Build a pump now
while you can still get the parts. After a power outage will be too late.
Hand Pump Drawing