4 Ways to Get Water From Your Well When the Power Fails

Recently I have run across several people who are concerned about how to get water out of their water well in an emergency.  Without electricity, most of today’s water wells would become useless.  But remember people had functioning wells prior to electricity.

1. Hand Operated Pumps

Old-fashioned hand operated water pumps can still be purchased and are quite effective on wells less than 200 feet deep.  Some brands say that theirs will work to 300 feet in an emergency, but that the number of strokes required is less than desirable.

2. Solar Powered Pumps

If the water level in yours is over 300 feet, solar powered pumps will go as deep as 800 feet and wind powered pumps will go down to 1500 feet.  Here is a link to a prior post Solar Powered Well Pumps can Solve your Water Problems

3. Wind Powered Pumps

When I lived in the Midwest, every farm had a wind powered water pump.  You still see many of these in use in many areas.  The Aermotor Windmill Company which has made windmills since 1888, is still in business.  You can find their windmill on the internet or through a good drilling company.  Both of these methods will make your water supply independent of the electrical grid.

4. Well Bucket

A fourth method is to make a well bucket, they are simple and inexpensive to make.  Here is a link to a post that shows how to make your own, Make your own deep well bucket.  The buckets work better in shallow wells, you can use them if they are deeper, but it will be a lot of hard work

A well bucket

One thing, it is important to remember is that even if your well is over 300 feet deep; the water table may be much higher in the casing.  We have a well in our family that is cased to 200 feet deep but the water level is only about 13 feet deep. These buckets and hand pumps may work.

See also  Off-Grid Washing Machine Options for Dependable Cleaning

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14 thoughts on “4 Ways to Get Water From Your Well When the Power Fails”

  1. I installed a “SimplePump” three years ago and am very happy with it. My regular electric pump is a 3/4 hp submerged 220v AC; the well is 220′ with the water table – stabilized by a nearby lake – lies 40′ below the surface. My plumber and I installed the SimplePump right inside the 6″well casing at a depth of 150′. The SimplePump easily slides past the well’s Pitless Valve and sits right on top of the well head; the new well head is provided by “SimplePump” as part of the package. My plumber installed a “street valve” that – when engaged with the well by a rotary valve control handle – allows the SimplePump to send pumped water directly in to my pressurized water tanks in the basement through the same line that serves the main pump. This gives me water in the house at the normal 55 lbs. pressure, allowing me to fill & flush toilets, run water into the sinks and shower. The SimplePump cost $2,000.00 and my Plumber’s charge was $500 to install it. To disguise the “SimplePump and to give me a sheltered and concealed place in which to pump, I had a small hut built around the well. The roof is hinged so as to fold down to permit the pumps to be pulled when necessary. ($3,000.00).
    It takes one hour of pumping the “SimplePump” to raise 35 gallons of water into the pressurized tanks in the house.

  2. I also have a Simple Pump, which I installed myself along side my electric pump. My water level is at 130′. It works well in any weather conditions, I went out on a sub zero day and was still able to pump water. It takes some work to pump 5 gallons of water but it certainly gives me peace of mind knowing that even if there was no power for an extended period we would at least have water. I purchased the pressurization kit which you can use with a hose and one of your outdoor spickets to pressurize you in house lines, allowing toilet flushing, etc., but I haven’t tried that yet.

  3. I made something similar to the well bucket, without the fitting on the end. I put a cap on the end with a hole in it the size of the flapper on a toilet stopper…dropping the pipe into the well (on a long line , well tied to the bucket) the pipe would fill up with about 3 gallons of water, when you started to pull the pipe up, the ball cock flapper would close keeping the water in the pipe..simple..

    1. we had a shallow hand dug outside well that had a roof over it. the bucket was pulled up by a 6″ hand cranked wooden log windless. the bucket was lowered until it touched the water then the bucket was raised about 1 foot. with a quick flick of the wrist, the bucket was flipped sideways which caused it to tip contacting the water and fill instead of floating (it was a wooden bucket). the full bucket was then cranked up with the windless. in wells for livestock, the bucket was lowered by hand into a board covered well then flipped the same way to fill the buckets

  4. I didn’t realize that they made solar powered well pumps, that is so cool! I will have to talk to my husband about it, but I think this might be a great option for us. We just moved to a new home and it has a well on the property. It is kind of in a state of disrepair, but I think with a little elbow grease it will be very useful to us. If you had any further tips about restoring this type of thing I would appreciate it!

  5. I didn’t realize that wind powered pumps could go down to 1500 feet! I can see why this would be a sure way of getting water from your well if the power goes out. My parents have been wanting to get a well put in their backyard so that they always have pure water to drink from. I’ll have to point this out to them the next time I see them.

  6. That’s a good tip to consider using a solar powered pump. That way you won’t have to rely on the grid at all for your water. My new build house is a little outside of city water, so I’m looking to get a well.

  7. This is some really good information about how to use a water well without power. My father is thinking about getting a cabin with a water well. So, I liked that you talked about how it might be smart for him to get a back up solar panel for it.

  8. I wanted to thank you for everything that you had mentioned here on getting water from your well without electricity. My wife and I live in a very rural area and we have our own well that we pull water from. With winter right around the corner, I think that it would be a good idea to be able to pull water from the well in case of an emergency. As you explained, an old-fashioned hand-operated well pump are pretty effective on wells that are less than 200 feet deep, which would be perfect for us! Thanks again for the advice!

  9. i am buying an old 1900 farmhouse. I have a non working windmill that sits over that metal water pipe. One of the pipes has wires and such connected and no top so i put a plastic bucket on it for mow. about six feet away there is another metal pipe sticking up with a top thats been super wrenched on. I have made this bailer for emergencies which for a girl is pretty cool. I can’t find anywhere anyone using this that has wires and stuff in the well pipe. Will this still work or am i out of luck. What is the other capped off pipe for? I know there was a cistern in the basement at one time. My fiance may think I am crazy but just want to be prepared just in case. Could i text someone some pics or anyone have any ideas thank u in advance

  10. We are not getting close. I need to lift water 800ft. With out power. Pvc. Not a chance. It can not hold the weight. How can I do it? What can I use?

  11. So can you reliably have water in a modern well without electricity? For some reason I was under the impression that they required some kind of pump to pull the water out of the ground. That’s not quite right is it…

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