Bison Pump AssemblyThink how handy having a clean water source in your backyard would be, if the power went out. It could make the difference between having to evacuate your home and being able to stay put in a prolonged power outage.

You can install a hand pump on top of your existing well casing, if the static water level in your well is no more than a 200 feet down. Much deeper than 200 feet, it becomes hard to pull up the water manually.

What’s the static water level? It’s the height that water rises to inside your well casing. For example, the well you see pictured here is 160 feet deep, but the static water level is 80 feet, which means if you drop a line down the well you’ll hit water 80 feet down. Hand pump casing is placed typically 20 feet lower than the static water level to account for seasonal variations in the water supply. Even if you have a very deep well, check out the static water level to see if a hand pump would work. You might be pleasantly surprised. Martha Geddon’s well is over 330 deep, but her static water level (she’s measured it twice to make sure) is 17-30 feet, so the hand pump casing mounted on her well only needs to go down 50 feet.

Pumping the Bison Hand PumpWill the hand pump interfere with the electric pump? No. The submersible electric pump found in most household wells is placed at the bottom of the well, so there’s room at the top to install a backup hand pump cylinder. The hand pump casing is much smaller than standard drilled well casing so it fits easily inside.

The pump featured here is from Bison Pumps. Bison hand pumps are stainless steel and manufactured in Maine. Lehman’s also carries a full line of hand pump supplies and has an instructional installation DVD available as well. You can also hire local plumbers to install the well head for you, if DIY plumbing isn’t your thing. Burris Plumbing & Heating has experience doing such installations in our area.

Whether you’re building new or looking to retrofit on your existing well, consider leveraging the investment you’ve already put into your drilled well by installing a hand pump as part of your preparedness plan.