Pumps n' Stuff

August 14, 2015

The next facet of the project: getting water from the tanks to our faucets. We have two in-tank pumps: one in the truck tank and one in a rain tank. This gives us a bit of redundancy in case of failure, and allows us to completely isolate the truck tank if need be. The trucked in water is dirtier than the rain water and we didn't want to contaminate all of the tanks needlessly.

The well pumps out to the truck tank, too. If the rain water is running low, we can isolate that tank and turn on the well and let it contribute. If it can't keep up, we will do as we always do and order water. The pex pipe from the well is marked with black tape, and pex pipe running from the tank to the house is marked with white tape.

This is the type of pump we have: Grundfos SBA-3-45-AW We've been having a hard time getting non-defective ones, however. The pump itself seems fine but the hose attachment has the wrong threads. Only one of five pumps that we've purchased worked out of the box. Grundfos has not been helpful in getting us compatible parts (as in, they just dropped the ball and never replied). We've purchased from two separate retailers and encounter the same problem. We know it's a problem because the very first pump we got had no problem at all - the hose screwed nice and snugly in to the pump. All subsequent pumps have mismatched threads with the hose (we have not yet pulled our existing, working pump to see if the pump threads or the hose threads are what are different). I don't think it's the retailers' fault as these units are packaged at the manufacturer; however, I expect the retailers to do the legwork to sort things out since that is what we are paying them for.

We filter the water once it reaches the house, before we put it in the pressure tank. We have the following triple filter system: Viqua IHS22-E4 It does sediment, charcoal, and finally UV. Our doctor friend highly recommended this particular system. He discovered a dead mouse in his rain tank and did some testing of the pre- and post- filtered water and found that the filter took care of all noticeable contamination.

Excitingly enough, we sold our big garage tank. It was a love-hate relationship with that tank - it was a constant reminder of how we were taken advantage of when purchasing our house. In the end it was exciting to see it go, but also a little nostalgic. It served us well all of these years, but we are happy to have the garage space now.. and the vastly larger capacity of our rain tanks. I hope it serves well the young men who purchased it, who themselves are embarking on a rain collecting journey.

The pressure at the faucets is lower than it was before we made the switch. We changed alot in the system, both before and after our pressure tank, so it's hard to say what is causing the loss. However, if I could do things over again, I would like to go with 1.25" pipe from the tanks to the house rather than 3/4".

I also regret not installing a line for a frost free hydrant out at the tanks, since I plan on doing some gardening or something out there once the dust settles.

I had been wondering for a long time how this was going to work.
Man power.
Good bye, tank!
Pex running from well to truck tank and from truck tank to house.
Truck tank with pump.
Truck tank pump installed. That's well water flowing in.
Dr. Seuss would be proud. Our triple filtration system.
The defective pump-hose junction. Notice how the hose is not seated nicely.
DescriptionCost
Dig water and electric trench (8 hrs)$640
Clean trench, insulate pex, lay it in trench (6.5 hrs)$390
Design electric power for pumps (6 hrs)$210
Pick up electrical parts (4 hrs)$140
Pump electric lines (8 hrs)$480
Pump electric connections (12.5 hrs)$750
Run lines under house, electric conduit in trench (13 hrs)$500
Install truck tank pump. Call Grundfos. (6 hrs)$260
Deal with pump issues (2 hrs)$120
Pump plumbing (20.5 hrs)$1330
Pump electrical (22 hrs)$1400
Hang filter in garage (2 hrs)$120
Insulate pipes above tanks (2 hrs)$160
Order and pick up 2" bulkhead, 2" gray pvc, and 6" fittings (2 hrs)$70
Cover lines (8 hrs)$489
Expose septic lines$320
Pex pipe and fittings and insulation$835
3/4" Gray PVC unions$59
3" pipe and fittings$940
Electrical conduit bends and fittings$117
Hardware$14
Wire for pump outlets$893
3/4" to 1" for filters$28
Pipe insulation, post, stain$73
Pipe glue$30
Pex adapters and rings$40
Grundfos Pumps (x2)$1287
Triple Filtration System$1395
Fuel$650
Total$13090