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Water Drinking water, wells, ponds, saving, purifying, etc.

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Old 10-27-2015, 12:40 PM
KI2020 KI2020 is offline
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Default Gravity-fed rainwater system for basic outdoor sho

Hi, new member and first post!
I’ll try to keep this short but I want to get all the necessary details in. We are planning to buy a secondary piece of property in the coming year a few hours north. It will only be for camping purposes on weekends, maybe 10 times per year. In 20 years or so we’ll build a retirement home, but for now I want to keep the system as simple as possible for what I want. I would like to be completely off the grid and ideally not even need to use a micro-grid system like solar/battery/etc.

I am going to build a small storage building. Off the back of the building I would like to have a basic shower, industrial sink, and toilet of some sort (the plan will be to install a septic tank, but I haven’t ruled out compost). Water collection will be via rainwater off the roof of this building. I don’t need the water to be potable. My initial thinking is based around a fairly large cistern at ground level next to the building, with a hand/manual pump that can pump water at the beginning of our weekend (or daily if necessary) up to a smaller ~55-gallon “water tower”. That water would then be gravity fed to the shower, toilet, etc. I will drain the system at the end of each season to prevent freezing.

So, here’s my main question: Are there manual/hand pumps available that can pump water from ground level up to an elevated source (ie: ground cistern to elevated cistern) or can they only pump water up to the pump level itself, like a well-to-surface situation?

Secondarily, I’ve read plenty about all the variables/calculations for necessary psi (height of water tower, size of supply line, etc). Do I really need to have good psi though? -Or will the flow from the elevation alone be plenty for what I need (I’m thinking 15-20 foot is doable)? To be clear, I’m only looking to basically be able to rinse off with this shower…..like the ones at the beach. I’ll probably have a pull string on it. I’ve read I may need at least 8psi for a typical toilet though.

Thanks all! I’m excited!
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Old 10-27-2015, 02:31 PM
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randallhilton Male randallhilton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KI2020 View Post
It will only be for camping purposes on weekends, maybe 10 times per year. In 20 years or so we’ll build a retirement home, but for now I want to keep the system as simple as possible for what I want.
Welcome aboard!
  • Shower: Use something like this "bag" shower. If it's cold outside, put it in an insulated box with a window. Fill it up, hoist it up and let it warm during the day. We use about 2-4 gallons per shower so a 5 gallon bag should suffice. If you have more people, get more bags.

  • Toilet: As infrequently as you would be using it, consider composting. Some folks use composting all the time. If you really want a flush toilet, keep in mind that you can flush it with a couple or 3 gallons from a bucket (unless you're up North, in which case you would use a pail.). A simple, albeit non-compliant septic system can be built with a couple of 55 gallon poly barrels and 20 feet of perforated pipe. Like I said, this wouldn't be compliant but it does actually work.

  • Water pump: Your water tower is a good idea. Even if it's only 10 feet to the top of the tank you would get decent flow for filling, washing etc. A hand powered pump has limitations for lifting very high. Note the text in this advertisement. If you're going to haul water in for the time being, just leave the tank on your vehicle and use as needed.
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Old 10-28-2015, 10:35 PM
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Welcome to the forum.

It's flow rate you're really interested in, as opposed to pressure-- you get more water, faster from a six inch fire hose at 10 psi than from a squirt gun at 100psi. So you can compensate for low pressure by using bigger pipes.
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Old 10-29-2015, 12:41 PM
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As I remember for each 1 foot 3 inches, or 1 foot 4 inches of height will result in 1 pound of pressure... So about 4' of height will produce 3# of gauge pressure..

The "100# squirt gun" example is spot on..

Good luck....
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Old 10-29-2015, 04:40 PM
KI2020 KI2020 is offline
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thanks guys, very helpful.

will a bunch of 90 degree connectors slow down the flow from the elevated water source or is it irrelevant? Will using a larger sized pipe still help flow even when the shower head/faucet/etc outputs are still a standard/smaller size?
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Old 10-30-2015, 01:25 AM
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The number of 90* elbows does not make a difference.. The length of the run compared to a given pipe size will make some difference... A mile of 2" pipe is preferred over a mile of 1/2" pipe...

Regardless of the location, the smallest opening will dictate how the water flows... For instance, put a 1/2" connection in the middle of the mile of 2" pipe and the water will speed up through the small opening, but hinder the total flow of water in the entire system..

Hydronics 101
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