We live in a time of crazy weather and wild storms. Things have grown so unpredictable that even the most easy-going American has given some consideration to surviving a lengthy power outage. Most of that planning is focused on keeping the house warm and the food cold. But if you’re among the 15 million American households who get their water from a private well, you have another challenge. Without electricity, your well pump won’t be able to bring the wet stuff up from the depths.
Fortunately, there are three ways to keep the water flowing when the electricity isn’t.
Buy a generator. Expensive, but easy. But be careful to purchase the right model. Many electric well pumps run on 220 power, while most home-use generators put out 110 current.
Use a sleeve bucket. You’ll feel like a pioneer using this thing. It’s a slender sleeve designed to slide down the well shaft on a length or rope and scoop up water. Be sure to tie the rope at the top of the well so it doesn’t fall down the shaft. You buy a sleeve bucket or make your own out of a piece of steel pipe with a cap at one end and a rope at the other.
Use steel instead of plastic, as the metal will be heavy enough to sink into the well pool while a plastic bucket will just float happily on the surface.
Get a hand pump. Yep. Old school. Again, shop carefully. Not all hand pumps can be installed alongside an electric pump. And check the pump’s capacity — make sure it has the ability to pull water from the depth of your well.
Cover Image: Tim MacWelch