Putting Up A Windmill

There are lots of old windmills dotting the rural landscape. The metal towers and fan blades were used long ago by farmers to pump water from their wells.

Phil Gehman with Great Plains Windmill Service says the iconic countryside markers are making a comeback. Landowners want an alternative, sustainable source for watering livestock or household use. And, it makes a farm look nostalgic, just like Grandpa’s old place.

There’s no need to reinvent the water-pumping windmill. Gehman says the machine’s operation is as simple as it always was.

"It’s all mechanical, there’s no electronic parts on it, it’s the same design that’s been around for 100-years," he says. "It has a gear box up top and it just works on a six-inch stroke. It pumps out of the well and into a supply tank or into a bulk tank, or whatever you have."

The towers range in height from 20'-80', and the gearboxes and fans range from 6' up to 16'. For those days when the wind isn’t cooperating, you can install a gas-powered pump jack at the ground level.

Gehman says the size of windmill you should have depends on a couple of factors.

"Based on your well depth and how many gallons a day you would need depending on if you’re watering livestock or if you’re using it for household needs. It’s very low maintenance, you change the oil once a year, it’s just two-quarts of oil in the gear box," he says. "That’s really the beauty of their simplicity, they really didn’t require much maintenance so farmers could leave them out in the field for an entire year and not worry about them, and just let them pump water."

The cost of putting up a windmill runs from $6,000 - $10,000.

Learn more about windmills on the farm and how they work