Well use without electricity

Does anyone have a good solution for accessing your well without electricity? We live in the country and have 2 wells which is fantastic. We do have a generator and solar power which can feed electricity for the well, but I want an option without electricity. Something that is maybe a hand pump that could be added to the existing wells. Does anyone have a system you like or love? I would love to hear about your ideas and equipment. 


  • Comments (10)

    • 3

      I originally looked into getting a hand pump for my well and kinda liked the Bison pumps.  However, I changed directions and went the solar backup route.  On a homestead, a hand pump just ain’t gonna provide enough water… especially if dry weather dictates irrigating your gardens & orchards.  So I now have two options to use my well when there is no electrical service.

      First option is to get to the water short term for just personal use.  For that I have a Well Water Boy well bucket.  Very low tech and rather cheap but at least you will have cool, fresh water for drinking and other personal uses.


      My main option is having a Grundfos flex well pump in storage.  This pump can run off of AC or can run directly off of my solar panels… with no need for inverters or other expensive gear.  Just hook your panels directly to it and it starts pumping.  Low voltage doesn’t harm it… it just pumps less.  I did purchase the additional controllers which will allow the well to cycle on & off as water is used, as the well functions now.

      Granted, both options require the tool and the knowledge to pull the existing pump from the well.  It is not hard to do and you can make your own tool from simple metal pipe & fittings purchased from your hardware store.  You just need to thread the tool onto the pitless adapter inside your well casing and pull up.  The following discussion might be helpful.


      • 2

        Hand pumps would take an unreasonable amount of work to irrigate a garden or water the livestock. For family use however, it should provide a good way to extract the water you need for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and bathing.

        The following video is one I was impressed with on it’s low cost and ease of installation without any specialized tools or professionals. 

        I would also check the natural water pressure in your well. Maybe there is enough pressure where you just need to open the valve and would get a strong stream of water without having to manually pump.

      • 1

        You happen to notice at the 1:21 mark where he is pounding on the pipe… and it ain’t moving?  So what happens when you hit a bed of gravel or a rock?  You sure can’t pull it back up.  I also wonder what happens when the screen gets clogged with sand or other debris?  Guess you buy another one and start over again.

      • 1

        You also run the risk of tapping down and not hitting your water table and losing everything you have done as well. 

      • 1

        More good common sense prepping on show. Identify issue, develop mitigation or measures to adress issues, impliment, move on.     Again very well done Sir

    • 2

      Thank you so much for the replies. For now, I plan on going with the well bucket. Very cost effective. Meets the needs of my family. I may invest in a similar well pump in the future. Again, thank you so much for the valuable information.

      • 2

        Just remember, along with the bucket, you will need the tool to pull the existing pump from the well as well as the knowhow to do so.  You will need a couple of strong backs or maybe like me, would use a front bucket on the tractor or use a pulley on a tripod.  A prepper should have plenty of different ropes & pulleys in storage.


      • 2

        Thank you so much for that. Have been discussing this with my husband. He is the brains of our operation. A journeyman in industrial maintenance. He understands all mechanical and electrical things. Unfortunately, My brain was not set up to understand mechanical/electrical principles. Being complete opposites, we complement each other though. I see some very sturdy pulleys there. Clearly an invaluable item. What are they called? The ones with two pulley’s and rope in between them? Each time that rope goes from one to the other it decreases the amount of force needed to pull an item right?

        We do have a strong tripod we could position over the well as well as multiple vehicles (ATV), and lastly we do have plenty of help (2 strong boys plus my husband and I). But would be interested in obtaining some quality pulley systems as I can definitely see how those would be invaluable for multiple applications in addition to pulling the submersible pump. Again thank you so much for sharing your time and knowledge with a newer family to preparing. 

        I realized over some time that all the things we all take for granted can change in a moments notice. History has shown it time and time again. To not plan for those changes would be deadly.  Self resilience should always be a priority. Dependence on government and utilities leads to some catastrophic consequences.

      • 2

        You are most certainly welcome.  Yes, you have a proper understanding of the mechanical advantage you get from using pulleys.  Check out the video below.  It really explains what is going on.

        Mostly, you are seeing snatch blocks.  They are very useful & can be paired together to get more mechanical advantage, as seen in the video.  The set with the ropes that you mention is called a fiddle block, often used by arborists.  I really like it as it is so compact and already set up & ready to go.

    • 2

      Wind powered lift pumps as seen across the midwest over the last 200 years. Perhaps a modern wind powered version