Testing Out The New Hand Pump on Our Well

simple pump hand pump

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here yet, but a few months ago we were finally able to afford to get a hand pump installed on our well. We went with a Simple Pump, because as I’ve mentioned in the past, they’re the only pump that would work on our deep well and deliver pressurized water to our house. So far we’re very pleased with our investment.

We hired a plumber to install the pump, since we really didn’t know what we were doing. He’s a local guy who we’ve worked with before, and who is totally into our off-grid project, so it was fun working with him. He was excited to see how the pump worked- having never installed a Simple Pump before.

Although the hand pump has been on our well for a while now, we haven’t had much time to mess with it since the winter weather has come in. It sits alongside our submersible electric pump. This week the weather has been warm, so we’ve taken advantage of the opportunity to turn our electric pump off and see how the hand pump works.

close up well components

It took Jerry and I a while to figure out what all of the knobs and levers of our plumbing system do. But after trial and error we learned the right combination to getting the water to the pressure tank and from there to the house.

Our pressure tank is only big enough to supply us with 5 gallons of pressurized water to the house at a time. I plan on using rain water from our rain barrels for most of our washing water and toilet flushing, trying to save the hard-earned tap water for drinking mostly.

Jerry using hand pump on well

I hope to write about our hand pump setup in more detail soon. I need to make notes on how often we need to hand pump, how many strokes it takes to fill 5 gallons, how we conserve the water, etc.

Jerry is working on building a shelter over the pump today. We’ll also be building insulated housing to go around the tank and electrical components to keep them protected from the elements.

It feels good to have this important backup in place.

40 thoughts on “Testing Out The New Hand Pump on Our Well”

  1. Its way later, but in case you are still struggling with the 5 gallons at a time issue, you can install additional pressure tanks VERY easily (if you have any plumbing skills). You just tee in to the existing line and add another pressure tank! I’d probably add a valve and a union as well (then you can unscrew the union and change out the tank in the future if needed). Also, the water capacity of your tank is inversely related to the pressure to the house. If you can deal with less pressure you can let some of the pre-charge pressure out of the tank and then more of the tank volume can be filled with water. There are limits to this I’m sure, but a 40/60 psi system uses less of the tank volume than a 20/60.

  2. We have had our power go out for 1-3 consecutive days too many times to count in the last 10 years! (The power company said something about old power lines running underground, but that’s another story!) I am interested in what you have done with the hand pump. Our well is in the front yard. I am also interested in the insulated rock you used to conceal the pump. Where did you get this and do you have pictures? Thanks!

  3. After very, very carefully researching both Simple and Bison pumps regarding filling pressurized tanks …

    Note: “All Bison pumps are designed to fill pressurized tanks.” [also]

  4. I have very, very carefully researched the Simple pump and the Bison pump.

    Note: “All Bison pumps are designed to fill a pressurized tank.”

  5. That’s pretty awesome! I have a cabin in the woods and have been trying to find a reliable source of water. I think this could really work for me. It nice that you can get up to 5 gallons of pressurized water in the house at a time!

  6. I called the company that installed our well to ask about a manual pump.
    He said he installs Simple Pump systems, and charges $500.

    Is this a good price?

    I don’t know what my static water level is so I can’t get a specific quote for the system yet.

  7. Thank you for sharing your experience about the hand pump on your well. It is important that the system function properly. I have heard that low water pressure can be a sign of pump failure. In this case, it may be best to contact a professional.

  8. Hi Kendra,

    This is awesome, my friend was trying to convince me to buy one of these and seeing how this seems like the most logical option, I think I’ll take the plunge soon and grab one of these hand pumps.

    Thanks for the information and I would love to know more about how it works in detail if you get a chance.

    Great read by the way.


  9. Hi Kendra,

    Found you on google while looking for this topic. Thanks for all your research!

    Would you let me know the total cost? I have read your article twice and can’t seem to find it.


  10. I have been wanting to get a hand pump installed on our well also. It’s nice to see someone who has already bought one, and is sharing his experience with one. I would agree that it would be nice to have this important backup in place. Thanks for sharing this with me, as I hope to invest into one soon!

  11. I like the simple pump idea you guys are doing, it is really ingenious for your specific outdoor situation! In a past position, me and my co-workers had to hand pump for long periods of time because we lacked ingenuity like that. Would you by chance have any recommendations if I were ever to hire out for well repair or pump providers in the Northbrook Illinois area?

  12. Hi Kendra,

    Thank you for the information!

    One thing I am trying to find out about installing a manual pump alongside the already installed submersible pump on our deep well is whether the hand pump needs a separate hole drilled into the well or it can somehow be installed in line/connected to the the submersible pump. If a separate hole is needed it would cost over 10k to drill, so that would be prohibitive in my case.

    How did you connect yours?

    Thank you,

  13. I want to install a manual pump in addition to my existing submersible electric pump, to have water even if there is no electricity. Water table is at 50′. I have been told that I have a
    4″ well with 11/4″ drop pipe.
    Can you recommend a pump and someone to install it at a reasonable cost it in my area, Ocala Fl 34475?

    • Hey, im looking for a old fashion well pump that I can hang a bucket on where the water comes out. I have animals so when the power goes off from storms, hurricanes, etc. I need water. Rain barrels are set up as well. I like to also hang a cup on the tree for anyone who comes on the farm looking for cold water from an aquifer to drink or fill up jugs.

      I live in ocala, fl as well. Not many people know how to put in old fashioned pumps but it’s desperately needed if it goes off grid, and it’s just a matter of time the way this world is going. My farm is sustainable and my horses can pull a wagon or buggy as well as saddles. I taught a goat how to pull a cat with me in it if need be. So if anyone knows of someone who can put in this attachment to the original well 75 ft deep let me have their number please.

  14. My sister wants to install a hand pump in the basement where the pipes come in from the well about 15 feet from the house. The house is only 5 years old. Would this be possible?

      • When you say 300′ are you talking static head? (The distance from the surface down to the water level). Or are you just saying your well bottoms out at 300′ but your water may only be 75′ down. I’m asking because I want to install a hand pump and in our area our well is more likely to be 500′ deep than 300′ but the static head might only be 300-350′ deep.

        • Ray,

          I mean from the top of the well to the bottom of the well. I think these pumps can reach a static water level of 325′, but I’ll have to check on that for you.

        • Ray,

          The limit for the Simple Pump is 325’ static. (No other hand pump can come anywhere close to pumping from this far down, by the way.) Hope that helps!

          • Kendra, the static level should not be confused with the pumping level. The static level is the level of your well’s water when it has not been pumped long enough for it to stabilize (generally, it’s safe to measure the water level after about 12 hours without pumping, but you might Google how to tell if you’re doing it right. Too complex to describe here).

            The pumping level is the level in the well during the time the pump is running (or being hand pumped)

            If this pump can lift water from no greater than 325 feet.) the static level will have to be HIGHER than 325 feet. How much higher will depend on how fast you pump water out of the well, what the well’s production rate is, etc.

            Additionally, a typical well’s static level changes throughout the year, and from year to year, depending mostly on the weather, but also depending on the water use of neighbors sharing your aquifer.

            Hope this helps 🙂

  15. Hi Kendra,
    We’ve been wanting to get a hand pump for about a year and were just ready to pull the trigger when I decided to take one more search online and see if that was the best buy, After finding your website and researching the Simple Pump, we have changed our mind and are now planning on using this company instead.

    We enjoy your website as we too, have a large garden, a small farm and are into raising a family!
    God Bless

  16. Yay, Kendra! That’s wonderful. I know you’ll be happy knowing you pump by people power.

    Blessings to you.

  17. We had one installed a few months ago for use during power outages. Have had to use it once, and am very pleased with how it performs.

  18. I looked in to getting one of these, but the well people came out and said our well is an older model and it couldn’t be done. I am seriously thinking of digging a new one in a couple of years though and putting a hand pump on that one. This well has (basically) gray water coming out of it, lol. It is full of iron and Sulpher. Smells bad, but I have grown up on it so don’t really mind. We do have a Berkey to drink out of. makes a world of difference. 🙂

  19. We also have a deep well and I would be curious to know how much these cost, and what you paid to install it. I am also curious about you having your pressure tank outside. Does that have anything to do with the handpump? That wouldn’t work where we are as it was still 20 degrees last night and we still have snow.

    • Amy,

      The pressure tank being outside doesn’t have anything to do with the hand pump. It’s always been there. We have a big insulated fake rock thing that goes over the pressure tank and well housing to keep it insulated from freezing.

      The price of a hand pump depends on various things, including how deep you want it to reach. Our unit reaches 100-something feet deep (can’t remember exactly off the top of my head). We paid $1800 for the hand pump, a well cap, and all of the various necessary parts. The plumber charged us something like $100. Hope that helps a little. 🙂

  20. Hi kendra,thanks for the info on the hand pump,it was really interesting. I have been reading your archives and was wondering how miss Addy is doing now? Also I enjoyed reading about your church ect


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