Water Tower - in devlopment.

Discussion in 'Survival & Sustenance Living Forum' started by Shade, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. Shade

    Shade New Member

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    First a little background on me:

    Where I live now is very rural IL. I plan on making a stand here. We have
    a local mutual support group. I have no where else to go and we have
    enough land: 1/2 acre veg garden, a mini orchard, grape arbor, livestock,
    barns, pasture, hay field, etc.

    I have well and septic and my only services running on to my property are
    electric and telephone, and many days I wish I did not have the phone. So
    going "off grid" for me is not that much of a stretch. I already have a
    significant generator, I can run my house off of it less A/C or the electric
    heater I primarily heat with wood anyway so that is not a big issue for
    winter. So for short term (days) I can run the genny and have full services.

    However, for prepping, it is obvious that the generator will have to be used
    very little for conservation of (diesel) fuel. As many of us are planning not
    to have power for years at the worst.

    So, I have been thinking of building a water tower. I can use either my
    generator/well pump or my hand pump to fill it. Yes the hand pump can be
    used that way it will generate enough pressure. Albeit, it will wear your ***
    out. I got the idea from a Church camp I went to as a kid, they were very
    off grid, they had a water tower filled from the hand pump that was one of
    the week end chores before you left to fill the tank for the next group.

    Water Tower height
    P=0.43*h
    P= Pressure in PSI, h = height in feet.

    I am a welder and part time machinist with a decent shop (will be posting
    picture later as part of the reloading bench pictures) so fabrication of the
    tower is only time and material. I was planning on using a ag tank (new)
    for the tank, and building a 3 legged tower (with cross bracing) with a flat
    platform to hold the tank. One leg will have ladder pegs on it and the fill
    and discharge piping will be run on that leg for any needed maintenance.

    My thoughts are that a 50 foot tower will get my ~20 psi not great but at
    least you can get the toilets to flush and have some running water in the
    house for dishes and the like. I will not plan on running the hot water
    heater if the shtf.

    What are your thoughts, what have I missed?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. rocshaman

    rocshaman New Member

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  3. Shade

    Shade New Member

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    Oh one thing more, I live in Central IL. So on my farm there is no more
    than 1-2 foot elevation change. So using a hill is not an option. For those
    of you with hills, putting the tank up there will have an advantage.
     
  4. trip286

    trip286 New Member

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    Your pressure could vary with the diameter of the pipe. Also, if you reduce the size in transit, you build pressure. The ancient Romans did this, and it's engineering still used today.

    I work in water treatment and distribution. The pipes in my plant feed the city. At 24 inches, we get 47ish psi. At an outdoor spigot on someone's house on the other side of town, their house being fed by a 1.5 or 1.75 (depending on the era that they were hooked to the city supply), this translates into approx 60psi. This is several miles away. On a much more local system, like supplying one house from one tank, you'll see a greater increase. I couldn't say how much. Downsouth is in the same field I believe, and has been doing it much longer, he may know more.

    Bigger -> smaller = increase in pressure.

    I'm going by my water tower today, and I'll take some notes and throw some more info at you.
     
  5. Shade

    Shade New Member

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    They are nice. And worth mentioning as it might be great for some people
    and their situations.

    It is an option and the pump I am getting can be retrofitted with one. But it
    is down the list on getting one due to cost and...

    What happens if it gets shot (I am expecting violence if shtf), damaged (we
    have had multiple lighten strike in the 17 years I have lived here), breaks,
    etc. my well is not in a protected location. If the SHTF, you cannot order
    parts or a repair man. I can weld and machine, electronics not so much.
    Basic wiring I can do, past that not much.

    A manual pump I can fix. The KISS Principle.
     
  6. Shade

    Shade New Member

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    You do not build pressure by reducing diameter, you can increase velocity
    but not pressure.

    Also your fricitonal losses are significantly greater the smaller your diameter
    of your lines. Pressure loss is a function of the inverse of the square of the
    radius of your line.

    Learned that all in Engineering in the Navy and again as a civilian firefighter.

    My guess is they are lower than the base of your tower. Rolling down hill
    will build pressure.

    Once you get to 12" and up water mains frictional losses are insignificant,
    ever seen a hydrant get sucked out of the ground by collapsing 4 inch water
    main? A fire truck can do it, I did it once :eek:, and never heard the end of
    that one it... Only saving grace is that it was 100 year old mains that were
    scheduled to be replaced the following year. I just helped it along.

    I will be running 1, 1.25 or 1.5 inch PVC up and down to minimize frictional
    losses, just have to run the math on cost and benefit.

    My plan is to build the tower and store it out back and then erect it when
    needed. My thoughts are to pour concrete piers next spring where they are
    just below grade and clear the sod away to mount the tower on top of come
    time, I will have some sort of fastening system. Likely hinged on two legs
    and raise it using the tractor and pin the third leg.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
  7. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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    don't you have to be concerned about it freezing in your location?
     
  8. rocshaman

    rocshaman New Member

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    The pump cylinder is usually down the well-bore, sometimes even below the water level. So freezings not a problem unless you have such low water flow it freezes at the outlet.

    As far as the tank maybe a heating system under it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
  9. Shade

    Shade New Member

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    Good point, I had thought about that. Usually during the winter, freezing is
    a problem, from December thru Feburary or March. This past March was in
    the 90's :eek: :rolleyes:

    My plan was to drain the tank and lines for winter and tough it out hauling
    water. The well is only 30 feet from the house.

    Per the hand pump mfr. the pump cylinder will sit at ~36' down and drain at
    48" below grade which is our frost line.
     
  10. purehavoc

    purehavoc New Member

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    How many gallon talk are you talking about storing ? I work in the farm chem industry right here in Central IL and we use large plastic and stainless tanks around here to store water in . We even keep a large SS 5500 gal tank of water on hand all the time even in the winter , will it freeze ? maybe but not solid . We have a large cone bottom plastic tank 3000 gal I think thats on a stand if you would like me to shoot u a pic of it for you I would be more than glad to do it . That may help in your design .
     
  11. rocshaman

    rocshaman New Member

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    They do make tank heaters but of course you have to have juice to run them. If your water is constantly flowing, the tank's not going to freeze up unless you get extended extreme cold. The water flow itself will keep it open. Do you have two wells? One for the manual pump and one for the mill?
     
  12. orangello

    orangello New Member

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    Maybe you could cover the tank in black paint for the winter warmth & cover it with a white sheet in the summer?

    Also, would it make more pressure to have more than one line coming down from the tank, maybe join one from each leg that doesn't have to be foldable together into a single line to the house?

    (not a plumber, but i like laying pipe)
     
  13. Shade

    Shade New Member

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    I was thinkin the tank would be relatively small 250-500 gallons to make
    the tower taller and lighter. I estimate I will use 250 gallons a day in the
    summer for watering the garden and livestock. House use will be relatively
    small. A cone bottom would be awesome I have never seen a cone bottom
    poly tank before. Do they make them 500 gallonish?

    Not so worried about the tank freezing as the line up to it and down from it.
    The water will not be moving most of the time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
  14. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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    The problem is not the tank freezing but the lines, the op knows that and has a plan. orangello- its all about gravity, extra lines won't really help with more pressure. If the op gets 20 psi he should be fine. in the situation he's talking about most people really will be the unwashed masses:D Most people never think about water until they have none.
     
  15. Shade

    Shade New Member

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    Not a bad idea but the lines are the problem up and down the tower. No
    heat.

    Height is what makes the pressure. I plan on running large enough diameter
    lines that even when flowing the pressure loss due to friction will be minimal.

    Don't we all.
     
  16. Shade

    Shade New Member

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    Wow, btw, did not expect this much traffic on this topic. Very happy with
    the activity.
     
  17. rocshaman

    rocshaman New Member

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    When I was growing up we lived on a farm that wasn't on rural water yet and had a cistern system. We had to haul water from town to fill the cistern, but the original owners of the place put in a pretty unique system for collecting water for the cistern. They had a windmill set up with a tank beside it. The water outlet was set up high to fill the tank and had pipe, with dual valves, that could fill the cistern or run water directly out of it for filling whatever. It also had one of those cistern pumps that used cups on a chain to bring the water up. I know this doesn't help with your question, but I thought you might find it interesting. A cistern might not be a bad idea though, especially for winter use. You could locate it right next to your house and put a hand pump on it there.
     
  18. purehavoc

    purehavoc New Member

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    Yes we have 3000 gal cone bottoms , I believe they make them from 500 gal on up to 5000 gal
    We use this to put rinse water from our wash out pits in .
    I would think with this type of setup you could even make it work in the winter if you had the ability of circing the water in the tank thru a wood burner or wood furnace , it would naturally recirculate its self by heating the water , with a 500-750 gal tank that will give you a easy source for warm water , keeps the water in the tank from freezing and it would keep your inlet and outlet water pipes from freezing , shouldnt need a pump at all but with the inlet and outlet like its positioned on that tank its a easy source to recirc the water :)
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
  19. Shade

    Shade New Member

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    On a normal year, our water table is only 3 feet below grade.
    Try to put in an inground pool or tank is difficult because they
    have a tendency to want to float in the hole. With has dry as
    this summer has been my static well height is still only 8 feet
    down.
     
  20. Ploofy

    Ploofy New Member

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    I came here to offer that Water Towers are made for water pressure, not necessarily storage, but damn. :eek: Somebody has done their math.