If you’re a homeowner and your well water depends on electricity to run the pump, you may be wondering what to do if there’s a power outage. Fortunately, there are several ways to pump well water without electricity.

Let’s look at some of the options available to you. So whether you’re dealing with a natural disaster or just a power outage, you’ll know how to get your well water flowing again.

Manual Pump

A manual pump is good for emergencies, but it will require a lot of work. Using your muscles, you move the pump up and down to get water moving.

However, some manual pumps are powered by hand cranks, which will make the task much easier. It’s best to use a manual pump on its own without combining it with another option for emergency situations.

A manual pump is good for emergencies, but it will require a lot of work. Using your muscles, you move the pump up and downto get water moving.

If you’re using a hand-crank type, the task is much easier and will require less physical effort on your part.

Windmill Pump

A windmill pump is powered by wind energy, so you don’t have to work hard or rely on electricity. You can buy kits online that will only take an afternoon to assemble – anyone who has basic assembly skills can set it up in no time at all.

This well water pumping option is especially useful if you live off the grid and want an alternative power source for your home and appliances (this system works similar to solar panels) but still need access to running water in case of emergencies like natural disasters.

Hand Pumps

A hand pump is a very simple mechanism that’s powered by pushing and pulling. You use the handle to pull the plunger up and down.

This type of well water pumping system is very easy to set up if you don’t want to rely on electricity or wind energy (not as versatile as other options) but it will provide you with an ample supply of running water for your needs: drinking, cooking, washing dishes, taking showers, flushing toilets etc.

Can be used as part of an alternative clean energy source for your home – direct connection from the pump to appliances is not required.

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Solar Powered Pump

You can also use solar power to pump water. Again, this kit is easy to assemble and install, so you can get a solar-powered pump up and running in a matter of hours or days depending on your level of expertise.

A solar-powered pump requires a bit more assembly than a windmill pump, but it has the advantage of being portable so you can take it with you if you move to a new home

You’ll need access to sunlight or you can purchase solar panels that will help store energy for use at night.

How deep can you hand pump a well?

Every well is unique, and the depth required will depend on a variety of factors, such as the quality of the groundwater and the local landscape. However, by understanding a little bit about hand pumping techniques and the factors that determine well depth, you can make an informed decision about how deep your well should be.

What affects well depth?

Well depth will change depending on the type of pump you use. If your pump is manual or wind-powered, well depth will vary based on the amount of force you’re able to use and how much water is available in the well. Solar pumps tend to be more consistent in well depth.

The bottom line is that both kinds of pumps can be used, but a hand-operated pump working all the way down to 325 feet static water level and a motorized pump working out to 225 feet — when pumping to ground level. These limits are altered if you’re also extracting water from a pressurized plumbing system or uphill.

Manual or hand pump

The more force you can apply to the handle of your manual well pump, the deeper it will be able to draw water.

The depth is also affected by three other factors:

The water level in the well: If there’s not enough water in the well, then you won’t be able to reach as far down into it. When using a manual pump, if the water is too low, you may have to submerge some of your machines and use leg power instead. This can lower how deep your well goes.

Wind speed and direction: Turbulence caused by windy conditions can affect how much pressure is applied downstream from where it enters the pipe system, which means that pumping could become less effective at a certain depth. Too high a wind speed can also cause the pump to lose suction and fail to work at all.

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Incline: Manual well pumps have a tendency to work better when they’re situated close to ground level, as opposed to being installed at the bottom of a deep well. Pumping from lower down is much easier due to gravity’s downward force, which keeps the flow strong as long as you have enough water in the tank

Solar well pump

When using solar power, it’s difficult to access depths greater than 250 feet because this is where most solar panels stop generating voltage efficiently.

If your well is deeper than that, you’ll need a different way of powering your pump or an alternative source of energy like an AC generator.

How to know how deep a well is?

It’s impossible to say exactly how deep your well is until it’s been drilled, so you should have this done by a professional. However, knowing the depth could help you choose between manual and solar power methods when deciding how to work your system.

Generally speaking, if your well is deeper than 100 feet there are good reasons to opt for an alternative energy source.

The complexities involved in well-drilling increase the further down you go, which means that a solar option might be much more expensive than an AC generator for this reason alone.

In any case, it’s best to have your well drilled by a professional because they will be able to recommend the easiest and most cost-effective method for keeping your water well running in a power outage.

Electric well pumps are great tools when it comes to getting clean, safe drinking water from underground sources, but they can’t work without electricity.

How do you pump well water without electricity?

There are a number of different options for hand pumping your well water during power outages and emergencies.

It all depends on your method, skills, and limitations.

If you’re just using an old-fashioned manual handle that turns when pumping without any gears or pistons, then chances are you’ll be able to use it with just your leg strength and no external energy source during an emergency.

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One of the simplest options for manual wells –

A bucket and rope system: If you don’t mind getting dirty and having to haul heavy buckets up and down a well, this is probably the easiest way to get the necessary water flowing again. Just make sure there’s enough roping available for the task

A simple water wheel: A system like this will provide manual pumping without any electricity. You can make one yourself if you have basic building skills, or hire a specialist to help with your project.

Plumbing, a well, and a water pump: This involves using the power of gravity to get your water into a stream that flows downwards. Although this is more efficient than most manual methods, it’s better suited to smaller wells because there’s no leg force involved.

AC generators: These can be included in larger systems to provide electricity at all times, although the installation process involves careful planning to protect your home from dangerous wiring.

Well pumps are designed for specific depths, so if yours is too deep you’ll have to find other ways of collecting water during emergencies.

People who live in rural areas may be used to dealing with manual methods, but homeowners in cities tend to think first about the practicality of the electricity before choosing their water system.

In any case, manual pumps can be a great option for small wells and during emergencies when power is out.

Final Thoughts

Fortunately, there are other ways of powering your pump if you ever lose power in a storm or other emergency. You can even manually pump water with simple techniques like those used hundreds of years ago as long as you’re not drawing from too great a depth.

With any luck, you’ll never have to do this in real life, but it’s good to know how in case something unexpected happens.

It’s also important to remember that if your well is deeper than about 100 feet there are better options for powering your pump during emergencies.

As with most things in life, the best method is the one that works for you – and your well.

About the author

I started working as a quality control manager with the Water Authority of Nassau County in 2005. After a few years, I moved into Water Waste Prevention, where I currently work as the production supervisor. I love my job and the people I work with, but most of all I love spending time with my family.