What Can a Simple Pump Do?
"How deep can Simple Pump pump from?"
The hand-operated pump can work from as deep as 325 feet static water level, the motorized pump from 225 feet -- when pumping to ground level and to ambient pressure. These limits are then affected if you are also pumping into a pressurized plumbing system or uphill. Pumping to 45psi in a pressure tank is equivalent to 100' of water, so the limits are then 225' for the hand pump and 125' for our motors.
"How much water does it pump?"
Pumping rates from the Simple Pump vary directly with the frequency and length of strokes of the lever arm. In normal operation at a reasonable pumping rate, Simple Pump delivers up to 5 gallons per minute.
"How hard is it to pump water?"
With the Simple Pump, pumping water from normal depths is easy. The lever handle that is standard equipment with our pump system works on common leverage principles and provides a leverage ratio of 3.3:1. The actual force required is dependent on the total length of drop pipe assembly. For a standard installation of 100 feet, it takes approximately 12 pounds of downward force. A child can easily do this. At 200 feet, you would be using our 3 foot handle. The effort is halved - and is still only 12 lbs. At sets deeper than 225 feet, we would be swapping to the 100CA-SS pump cylinder. This decreases the effort per stroke further, to only 17 lbs at 325 feet static water level. This is DRAMATICALLY less effort and much further down than any other hand pump.
"Can the pump really develop enough pressure to fill my pressure tank?"
Yes. Simple Pump has been manufactured to very stringent tolerances, which lets the pump develop sufficient pressure to fill a residential pressure or bladder tank to a pressure of 45 psi... and with only moderate effort.
Simple Pumps are used throughout North America. And most are outside - with no pump house. One client wrote of pumping at minus 45°F. There are many operating in Alaska, the coldest states in the lower 48, 9000’ feet up in the Colorado Rockies, and Northern Canada. The picture halfway down on this website page shows an amazed neighbor operating the pump: http://www.simplepump.com/OUR-PUMPS/Hand-Operated.html. (The awkward position is simply because he's still standing on about 18" of snow!)
There are two ways to freeze-proof the Simple Pump:
1. Weep Hole
The 1/16" weep hole, drilled in the top drop pipe, allows the water in the pump head to drain below the frost line. For the weep hole to function, air must be let into the pump head. The CV-1 (check valve with gauge) can be removed or loosened to allow make-up air into the pump head. Or a regular hose Y adaptor can be used with the check valve on one branch and the other branch letting air in after pumping.
2. Pitless Adaptor
You can bypass the issue altogether by installing with our pitless adaptor and joining the existing underground line. That, however, involves digging down beside the well casing to below your current pitless. Professional installation is required for the pitless installation, adding cost. Most people go the above-ground route for their backup pump.
In either case, you should let the handle point up to the sky after use so the stainless steel pump rod is protected inside the pump head.
In some rare circumstances, the pump may need a little lubrication.
There is a .002" gap between the 3/4" SS pump rod OD and the 3/4" ID of the PVC XL rod gland. The rod gland is about 8" long. In a quick, hard freeze the water in this capillary gap can freeze. We have found that a dab of corn oil, applied to the 3/4" SS pump rod while pumping, can prevent freezing. Other oils should not be used as they do not behave like corn oil when frozen.
"Do we need a check valve if not for the home, but irrigation?"
If your irrigation system uses a pressure tank, then yes. A check valve is necessary when pumping into any pressurized system. Pressure is required to propel the water, even in drip irrigation. If there is enough pressure to push water out, there is enough pressure to push back when you release the pump lever. This is what the check valve prevents. If you are using a gravity fed irrigation system, a check valve would be needed if you are pumping to a tank more than 20 feet above the well.