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#3201833 - 06/26/12 09:33 PM Water system for off the grid?
Jacks Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/26/07
Loc: Bemidji, MN
Does anyone have suggestions for water system for off the grid cabin, and filtering lake water? Here is my situation and what i am thinking of doing. Any other ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.

I have a cabin on lake of the woods on a island. No power just generator for power source, currently pumping water from the lake from a hose out in the lake and a check valve on the end, and filling the water tank on top of my tower around 14' tall. And using thre water for shower, dishes, and flushing toilet. I am currently hauling drinking water out. The pressure is ok, but would like more. The pump has to be manuals turned on, which is no big deal but it seems to always be empty when generator is off so I have to start the genertor to fill tank.

what I am thinking of doing is installing a sand point on end of dock, (doing this for a light filtering) pumping the water to 4 or 5 pressure tanks, and then using a pump hooked to pressure switch to come on when the pressure is down (when the generator is running the tanks will fill, when not i will just loose pressure) and after the tanks putting a tri filter to filter the water. This system will elimanate the water tank.

I could not use pressure tanks and just fill the tank on a auto float, and put a 12 volt booster pump in after the tank and before cabin, but I thought this would be more maintence and close to the same cost as the pressure tanks?

I would like to drink the water and would like some suggestions on filters, and remember I don't have constant power to run uv lights or other systems. Do you have any other better ideas on how do improve the system or ideas on filters. Thanks for any help.

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#3202422 - 06/27/12 10:56 AM Re: Water system for off the grid? [Re: Jacks]
alaska viking Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/25/07
Loc: juneau, alaska
How about a 12v bilge pump in the tank, with a solar charger to the battery? I know that won't fill the tank, but might work from the tank to the cabin. A 1500 GPH pump has pretty good pressure, depending on the size of the discharge hose. Certainly more than adequate for a good shower.
_________________________
Intellectual capacity is no guarantee against being dead wrong.
Carl Sagan.

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#3202466 - 06/27/12 11:18 AM Re: Water system for off the grid? [Re: Jacks]
Hupurest Offline
"Andy S wannabe"

Registered: 09/20/10
Loc: Alaska
sand point, as in a hand drilled well? How deep is the bedrock there?

Why not get one of those little honda trash pumps to fill the tank with??

How big is the tank on top of the water tower??

If you had a big tank, like one of those 500 gallon ones, with the metal cage around it, and built that 4 ft off the ground, the water volume itself will provide a good pressure.
_________________________
The two most common things on this planet are hydrogen and stupidity

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#3202516 - 06/27/12 11:59 AM Re: Water system for off the grid? [Re: Jacks]
Pittu Offline
trapper

Registered: 11/09/07
Loc: Alaska
You could install a large amtrol type bladder tank and then use a Sureflo type 12V RV pump as the supplypressure pump. They have a pressure switch built in so it would cut itself off at whatever pressure you set it at. Run it off of a deep cycle 12V battery or a couple of 6V golf cart Batteries. Put up a small solar panel to keep the batteries topped off. Run the generator when needed (rarely?) to supplement the solar.

You could install a whole house filter or better yet, a pair of filters (rough 25 micron first then a carbon filter second) and pump through those into the pressure tank. Thats probably not enough to keep out giardia, so I personally wouldnt drink lake water. I've done the giardia thing, it's the best 2 week diet on the planet.

We have two of those amtrol tanks in our off-grid home and we get 150 or more gallons between having to run the well pump to fill it again. That roughly 150 gallons is between from 65 psi down to about 15 psi. When the pressure drops to 10 or 15 psi, its time to run the well pump for 10 minutes or so, every 3-5 days.

You could use an larger volume elevated tank like Hup mentioned, but I think pressurized storage is cheaper and easier to deal with (can be installed in a heated area), especially if you arent there full time.

Alot of it depends how far from the lake you are, if you need it to run in cold weather, and if you have room in the cabin for a tank and pump.


Edited by Pittu (06/27/12 12:16 PM)

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#3202627 - 06/27/12 01:29 PM Re: Water system for off the grid? [Re: Jacks]
martenpine Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/17/07
Loc: user conflictville, Alaska 99X...
We use a honda pump to pump water from a stream into settling tanks (fish totes) and then transfer it to a main water tank. From there the water goes through a filter and into a pressure tank. We use a UV filter and on demand hotwater heater. Plumbed to shower and a sink. Everything is pex with shark bites and easy to unistall and install as well as add onto. Everything is powered by a generator.
_________________________
when there is shot in the air, there is hope.


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#3203319 - 06/27/12 09:35 PM Re: Water system for off the grid? [Re: Jacks]
Jacks Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/26/07
Loc: Bemidji, MN
Thanks for the ideas and suggestions guys, after reading all of them I need to clear a few things up.

1. I have no intentions of driving the sand poin in the ground, merly fastening to end of dock and submerging in water. I don't know if this is necessary, I could just have a hose in water and screen on the end, but the sandpoint is cheap, thought it would hold up good in the ice, and easly fasten to end of dock.

2. I have a about a 125 to 175 gallon plastic water tank. I would like bigger, but I would not trust the structure of the water tower to put up any more weight. Also with an auto fill system like I will probably end up going with if I keep with the tank, and not do pressure tanks, then there would be no need for more I think, as we run the generator a few times a day.

3. The cabin is in canada

4. I am currently filling the tank with a transfer pump from the lake, and that works good.

5. Red knot is correct, I am dealing with 2 issues,
1. Pressure to cabin, and 2 filtering water, i assume this would have been easier, but I am finding out it is tough to do with out continious power for uv lamp.

Keep the ideas coming

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#3203327 - 06/27/12 09:39 PM Re: Water system for off the grid? [Re: Pittu]
fivemiletrapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 11/27/09
Loc: Northeastern Ontario
Originally Posted By: Pittu
You could install a large amtrol type bladder tank and then use a Sureflo type 12V RV pump as the supplypressure pump. They have a pressure switch built in so it would cut itself off at whatever pressure you set it at. Run it off of a deep cycle 12V battery or a couple of 6V golf cart Batteries. Put up a small solar panel to keep the batteries topped off. Run the generator when needed (rarely?) to supplement the solar.

You could install a whole house filter or better yet, a pair of filters (rough 25 micron first then a carbon filter second) and pump through those into the pressure tank. Thats probably not enough to keep out giardia, so I personally wouldnt drink lake water. I've done the giardia thing, it's the best 2 week diet on the planet.

We have two of those amtrol tanks in our off-grid home and we get 150 or more gallons between having to run the well pump to fill it again. That roughly 150 gallons is between from 65 psi down to about 15 psi. When the pressure drops to 10 or 15 psi, its time to run the well pump for 10 minutes or so, every 3-5 days.

You could use an larger volume elevated tank like Hup mentioned, but I think pressurized storage is cheaper and easier to deal with (can be installed in a heated area), especially if you arent there full time.

Alot of it depends how far from the lake you are, if you need it to run in cold weather, and if you have room in the cabin for a tank and pump.


12v marine pumps are used around here. 1 deep cycle battery and solar panel.

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#3204081 - 06/28/12 12:49 PM Re: Water system for off the grid? [Re: Jacks]
Pittu Offline
trapper

Registered: 11/09/07
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: Jacks
Thanks for the ideas and suggestions guys, after reading all of them I need to clear a few things up.

1. I have no intentions of driving the sand poin in the ground, merly fastening to end of dock and submerging in water. I don't know if this is necessary, I could just have a hose in water and screen on the end, but the sandpoint is cheap, thought it would hold up good in the ice, and easly fasten to end of dock.

The sand point seems like overkill. A mushroom head strainer seems like it would do just as good if you keep it below the ice level.

2. I have a about a 125 to 175 gallon plastic water tank. I would like bigger, but I would not trust the structure of the water tower to put up any more weight. Also with an auto fill system like I will probably end up going with if I keep with the tank, and not do pressure tanks, then there would be no need for more I think, as we run the generator a few times a day.

You could use a mechanical float/valve to stop flow into your tank. The increase in pressure would trip the pump's pressure switch off.
3. The cabin is in canada

Problem solved, you dont need water, there is beer available every where in Canada!!

4. I am currently filling the tank with a transfer pump from the lake, and that works good.

You could put in the aforementioned 12v pump drawing suction from your poly tank and use it to provide the high pressure to cabin. It would automatically come on when you opened a faucet. PUmp and battery would be indoors so would stay warm and you'd just have to manually pump into the big tank every so often.

5. Red knot is correct, I am dealing with 2 issues,
1. Pressure to cabin, and 2 filtering water, i assume this would have been easier, but I am finding out it is tough to do with out continious power for uv lamp.

You could put in a really fine filter (RO maybe?) between the poly tank on the tower and the cabin (on the discharge of a 12V pump) that would give you the pressure to push thru a really restrictive filter.
Keep the ideas coming

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#3204087 - 06/28/12 12:54 PM Re: Water system for off the grid? [Re: Jacks]
fivemiletrapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 11/27/09
Loc: Northeastern Ontario
Originally Posted By: Jacks
Thanks for the ideas and suggestions guys, after reading all of them I need to clear a few things up.

1. I have no intentions of driving the sand poin in the ground, merly fastening to end of dock and submerging in water. I don't know if this is necessary, I could just have a hose in water and screen on the end, but the sandpoint is cheap, thought it would hold up good in the ice, and easly fasten to end of dock.

2. I have a about a 125 to 175 gallon plastic water tank. I would like bigger, but I would not trust the structure of the water tower to put up any more weight. Also with an auto fill system like I will probably end up going with if I keep with the tank, and not do pressure tanks, then there would be no need for more I think, as we run the generator a few times a day.

3. The cabin is in canada

4. I am currently filling the tank with a transfer pump from the lake, and that works good.

5. Red knot is correct, I am dealing with 2 issues,
1. Pressure to cabin, and 2 filtering water, i assume this would have been easier, but I am finding out it is tough to do with out continious power for uv lamp.

Keep the ideas coming


12V uv lamps are available.

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#3204348 - 06/28/12 03:44 PM Re: Water system for off the grid? [Re: Jacks]
white17 Offline

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"

Registered: 03/17/07
Loc: McGrath, AK
I think I'd consider driving the sand point so that a well is in the cabin. That pretty much eliminates the risk of giardia. Then any of the other possibilities mentioned. No worries about things freezing either.
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Mean As Nails

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#3205011 - 06/28/12 11:01 PM Re: Water system for off the grid? [Re: Jacks]
Jacks Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/26/07
Loc: Bemidji, MN
White 17

I will always have to worry about thing freezing as it is a cabin used on weekends, on a private island with no power, and the cabin is above ground a foot on piers. And no heat source to keep from freezing other than a propane heater and I would be concerned to leave it running for weeks at a time when I am not there. Also the cabin is 3.5 hours away from home, so hard to check on.

I also don't think I could drive the sand point as it is solid Rock under 5' of dirt. I will try to take pictures this weekend of my place and setup.

I sure appreciate all your ideas and thoughts though.

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#3205037 - 06/28/12 11:18 PM Re: Water system for off the grid? [Re: Jacks]
white17 Offline

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"

Registered: 03/17/07
Loc: McGrath, AK
I had a well in the cabin for years without freezing. No power, no heat, floor was about 18 inches off the ground. The key is to set it up so that when you're done pumping or gone for an extended period, the pump loses it's prime and the water drops back down the pipe.

You're right though, the rock 5 feet down will be a problem.
_________________________
Mean As Nails

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#3210509 - 07/03/12 07:58 AM Re: Water system for off the grid? [Re: Jacks]
Grubstake Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/26/07
Loc: Lotw MN
I constantly fight with our water system. We have power on the island but a well would be almost impossible to drill let alone drive a sandpoint. I have seen some sand filters set out in the water made from culvert that work great.

I have no suggestions for you but I do know how you feel.

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#3211457 - 07/03/12 08:03 PM Re: Water system for off the grid? [Re: Jacks]
glandman Offline
trapper

Registered: 02/25/11
Loc: Central Maine
If your tank is clear and sunlight can get to the water, you may experience algae growth at times. You can remedy the situation by using a little chlorine in the water. Just a heads up for planning purposes.
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