In my plan to make a tiny house and live off the grid I needed to make an off grid water tower. I originally had planed to make an ebook showing each step and I actually started writing. But after losing interest I decided to let it go. Now I have had several people ask to see the tower up close and that is what I have done in this video:
My goal is to make another tower in the garden spot to water the plants. I will bring you along for this build in detail.
4 thoughts on “Off Grid Water Tower1”
Over the years I’ve looked into constructing a water tower that could deliver reasonable water pressure without pumps or electricity. There is a video on-line that I viewed of a homesteader in British Columbia that has a couple thousand gallon tank about eighty feet above his house on a hill and the system delivers whopping pressure. The problems, however, seem to outweigh the hassle of constructing the tower, freezings, over-heating… Have you discovered 12 VDC pumps? We buy them by the case, 12 VDC, built-in regulator, built-in check valve, run on a trickle of power easily delivered from a small PVC, and cheap at about $65/each, and will deliver enough power to have a powerful shower or spray a garden hose. They don’t require a pressure-side accumulator tank and of course installed in a climate controlled space aren’t subject to freezing. I’ve installed several in various places and over several years have never had one fail.
I have considered a few changes to the one that I have made in this video. Especially not sinking the wood in the ground. The 12 volt pumps are something that I will be getting into in the next couple months. I guess they are called diaphragm pumps? I hope to use one from a 55 gallon tank to achieve 40-60psi and run a filter for shower/sink water. I am surprised that more people dont use them. Freezing is a big problem for outdoor water. My tower here froze rather fast.Thank you for your thoughts!
Random thoughts, no particular order…
We live in campers and have an agricultural well, the ag well was approved based upon watering our goats and other “occasional” uses and so far to avoid hassle if the county ever shows up I’ve refilled our campers with a hose from the well, but haven’t connected them directly to the well. A little trick to running a non-heated hose in subfreezing weather is to only run it in the warmest part of the day when it peaks close to above freezing, and after use it must be put onto a sloping hill with a down-hill run the total length to drain entirely, cannot be any level spots where an ice plug will form, and if no ice plugs form it should be ready to use again the next day in 20-ish deg weather. If you have 120 VAC we have found the best heated hose to be the Pirit brand. In addition to the well we want to begin supplementing with rainwater with a goal being to transition mostly to rainwater. That would require multiple tanks and a sophisticated filtration system which will be a job in years to come.
So our water systems are “tank” based. Now, the campers have on-board water tanks but we also have a selection of off-board tanks. A camper on-board tank delivers about 30 functional gals which is about two reasonable showers and a little dish/hand washing, but you’ll go crazy refilling something that small. In the past, during the coldest part of the winter, I have typically run only the on-board tanks, and must refill them daily. Still, if the temp is in single digits even on-board lines are subject to freezing. Now, off-board tanks are ideal and I would recommend the dark green or black “water only” tanks. We keep them in the shade in the summer and in the sunshine in the winter. On our primary camper we’re currently running a 220 gal tank and have a 12′ Pirit heated hose and it does not freeze. Even in the recent sub-zero weather the tank developed a huge interior ice-island but the lower parts remained liquid and the heated hose delivered the water to the on-board tank 12′ away. The pump is a little dream-machine 12VDC, with the features mentioned earlier including self priming and won’t hurt to run it dry: SHURflo 4008-101-E65 3.0 Revolution Water Pump. I’ve installed these in all campers, in stand-alone little washing stations and they’re awesome. Finally, if your big reservoir tank is in the sunshine, it will develop algae, about an ounce of bleach every several refilling will keep it clean. If we ever build and have a basement that’s where I’d guess the tank(s) would go.
Now then, get ready for this…….. have you discovered tankless hot water heaters? …oh-wow, you ain’t seen nothing until you’ve discovered tankless hot water heaters… with one of those little pumps and a solar panel and battery and a $139 tankless hot water heater and a BBQ propane tank you’re going to have a blasting good hot shower out in the wilderness: Marey.com … and I didn’t believe they could actually work three years ago, but countless blazing hot showers later I’m more than sold.
Seems like homesteading wisdom and tricks are never ending……….
Keep Having Fun!
— I do still want to construct a garden elevated watering tank, which would do well with water collected from puddles and old washing water which I’d rather run with gravity and not through a pump, and get the water up there slowly with a ram-pump.
That is a nice tip! Using the hill to drain the hose after each use. Luckily around here there are an abundance of hills to use. I will be using the ram pump for water out of my creek for watering the chickens and goats. Then I will be using the same setup for the tiny house water. It will require the 12v pump and filter combination. For drinking water I will be using the Berkey filter.
I can see that freezing will be tough for any outdoor water storage. When temps are -10 here there is really not much that can be done other than drain the tank and leave it alone. For my tiny house I am looking at installing a small room on the back of the house for the water system. That way it will be kept warmer and hopefully not freeze. A pump like you have mentioned seems very ideal for any off grid setup. there is a guy close to me that has a pump on his rainwater. Seem to do very well!
YES I have been learning about the tankless propane water heaters! They are amazing! the best way to heat water hands down. One of them will work just fine for a shower and sink. Thank you for the link. I will be looking at pricing before to long.
My next tower build will be in my garden for watering plants then goats and chickens. This is going to be 8 to 10′ tall and have a 55 gallon barrel on the top. with a 3/4″ ram or even a 1/2″ ram pump I can fill that thing really fast.
you are right. the homesteading info never end. Thank you for sharing!