Hand Water Pump

Pumping well water by hand is making a comeback. It’s a sure source of water for your family and livestock in case the power goes out, or you’re living off the grid.

Tony Davis is the president of Bison Pumps in Arkansas. He says there are two types of hand pumps. A shallow well pump sucks up water from a static water level maximum of 25-feet below the surface.  A deep well pump lifts water from hundreds of feet down, and can be installed in the same well casing as an existing submersible pump.

"You can put a submersible down one side and then our pump is offset to the side so it’ll go down the other side, and the two pumps share the water. So, at any point in time you could be using the electric pump, and using the manual pump at the same time," says Davis. "It’s a true backup system. Whenever the power goes out you don’t have to hook anything up, you just go out and start pumping water."

They might look like the pumps grandma and grandpa had, but Davis says the biggest difference from then and now is that the pumps don’t need priming to get water out of them.

"Today’s pumps have foot valves. On the shallow well, it’s right there at the pump and for deep well it’s in the cylinder end cap," he says. "So, what that does, when you’re pumping the handle, it draws water through the check valve or foot valve, and then once you stop the water pressure goes down and it closes that valve. That holds the water in the pipe."

Learn more about water pumps and how to measure your well