Hydraulic Ram Pump

The Hydraulic Ram Pump is a water pump that requires no electricity or fuel to operate. As long as you have a waterway with falling water you can install and use this pump.

If you would like to buy a pre-assembled Ram Pump then click here.

Check out this video on how to build, install, and operate the pump. Below the video is a link to the Free eBook showing you the parts list and all the steps you need to build the pump and get it working.

Here is the free eBook:

ebook hyd ramย Click to Download the Ebook:

Hydraulic Ram Pump v1.2

This Free “how to” eBook will guide you through the steps needed to make the pump.

-New in Version 1.2: Pictures, Standpipe info.

-New in version 1.1: Standpipes, Snifter Valves, Drive Pipe Ratios, Pressure Tank Size.


File is 19mb


Ram pump book example

Example Page

Old version:
File size : 16mb
Hydraulic Ram Pump v1


Hydraulic Ram Pump Results:

My Brother In-Law and I worked with the Ram Pump and found some data that you might be interested in. We use two methods to find the delivery height. We determine the water Flow Rate at the height that is discovered. And lastly we show you a method to find the feet of head that your pump is working with.
Check out this video for the results:


How far, Horizontally, can the Ram Pump carry water?

With 6′ of head falling into the pump I test out the distance the water will travel at approximately 15 feet above the pump.

I am using garden hose as the delivery pipe because it is the easiest tube to acquire and does not cost as much as other options.

After 415′ of hose set out horizontally I am still getting water out of the hose at the rate of around 1 gpm

185 thoughts on “Hydraulic Ram Pump

  1. Suppose your water sourc is other than a creek and you don’t want to lose 80 or 90 percent of your source water is there some kewl way to retreve that would be lost water without using electricity?

    1. As far as I know there is not another system that will pump water with out electricity. There has to be some form of energy (moving water) to run the pump. Now you might be able to get a solar panel that will charge batteries to run a small electric pump. That way you would not lose any water and you would be essentially electricity free because the energy is renewable.

      1. hi Seth, generally, I get a total different idea to pump water to 10 times higher place than yours same without electricity. my draft design is to erect a n shape pipe in creek, let’s say the n shape get height around 10m; fill water in pipe and it will keep flowing by siphon theory; now put a Venturi on top of n shape to mix air in water, accumulating out air into a container and utilize air pressure to pump water to higher place. several air containers connecting in a row but sitting at different height, each container pump water to a certain place, finally, water out of pipe at much higher place than hydraulic ram pump. what do you think. Cheers

        1. Very interesting. I have not every worked with the Venturi effect and it sounds passible. It sounds like you will need a few more parts than are found in the hydraulic ram but if you are able to pump without as much water loss then you would be saving in the end. Please do some testing and keep me updated with some video.

          I hope that it works well

      2. It’s possible to put a pipe to conduit the water flowing from the pressure valve back to the water source tank in the case of the ramp pump would be used in aquaponic system to move the water between the fish tank and the growing beds. This backpressure how could affect the system performance? I’m thinking about reducing the water usage, wich is one of the greatest advantages of aquaponic systems. The point of discharge of this back flow must be allocated under the pressure tank cap or this level isn’t related to the discharge energy in the pressure valve?
        Or the ramp pump could be partially allocated in the fish tank?, so only after de check valve prior the pressure tank wiil be outside of the fish tank and the water that flows from thepressure valve doesn’t waste.
        I wish had been clear in my questions.
        Thanx in advance for your response

        1. Hello. From what I have seen it is best to use a 12v solar pump with a bell syphon instead of the ram pump to exchange water between auquaponics beds. This is because the loss from the waste valve is so great. When you send water back to the source from a ram pump you will only be getting a small amount of the water back. The ram pump is very lossy pump but free so it works out.

          It is possible to submerge the pump in water and it will still run. So you can place the pump in the fish tank and still have an output.

          It might be worth trying the ram pump for your setup but I have not seen a successful ram pump with aquaponics.

  2. I have a Water Ram I will be installing I have made a reservoir and have constructed a drive pipe of 2″ pvc with rubber connectors. the Drive pipe is 130″ long with 10 feet of head to the pump. I also have a 90Deg. bend in the drive pipe. at about 55 ft. at the stream bend. I tested the pump but could not get it to come to prime . I will be hooking up ball valves on intake side and supply side. I also had many air leaks and my supply inlet pipe was out of the water.
    when the pump did work it shot water out the supply line at high pressure. and I did not have the 3/4″ supply line hooked up. I need to pump 70ft up hill. Will I need a stand pipe for this to work. I will try testing later in the week when I have more time after I fix all these little problems .
    Your site is very useful thank you for the information and I love your videos ./and E book to Thanks John F.

    1. Installing pumps is so fun! Thank you for the good comment!

      It sounds like you have a nice setup. From everything that I have read and heard you will need a stand pipe for anything over 100′. (my pump is only 75′ long)Try it without first and see what happens. If it does not work then you will need to go up from the pump around the 100′ mark and install your stand pipe. it will have to be a tall one to reach the height of the source tank. If the pipe is not heigh enough then the water will just pour out of it from the source.

      Now you bring up an important point that I did not talk about in my Ebook. The air in the pipe during priming will stop it every time. when you start up the pump hold down your check valve and let lots of water run out to make sure that you have all the air out of the pipe.

      adjusting ball valves will let it prime much faster. I would install those for sure.

      So I would suggest that you stop those air leaks and make sure that all the air is out and it should start working every time without issues.

  3. Hi Seth , I worked on my Ram pump the last few hours after work this week on two separate days.
    I fixed all the leaks in the drive pipe and located the drive pipe under the water level of my reservoir.
    I added a 2″ ball Valve on the intake side and a 3/4″ Ball valve on the delivery pipe to the delivery line. I had it pumping for 3-4 minutes it was cycling at 1 pump every 3 seconds which I think is slow?
    It stopped pumping!. The pressure and water volume is really excellent. I noticed some leaves in the pump cylinder. My pump has a glass ball inside that opens and closed in a rubber Lined steel cylinder.
    I started the 2″ ball valve at 80-90% and keep the delivery at only 20-30% open .
    I noticed when I turned the delivery ball valve open all the way to 100% the system lost prime and shut down faster.
    what is the theory of the stand pipe and do you think I need one .
    I have my delivery pipe at 2″
    I used pvc with rubber connecters
    I have 8-9 feet of head drop to the pump
    Drive line length is 135 feet long,{I have a 90 deg bend at 55′ } Lost wave speed?
    my distance to water source will be 75 feet rise
    I have a 3/4″ delivery line I will have to travel 650Ft to source
    I have 5-6 gallon per minute water flow to pump

    1. Your pump setup seems like an extensive one but fun. Those ball valves will be important for getting the pressure tank primed the first time and they make it much easier to clean later. because your delivery pipe is a lot smaller than your drive pipe you might need to adjust the ball valve on the drive pipe side so that the ratio is correct. (not totally sure about that one) A cycle every 3 seconds is slow and that is from the time it takes the wave to get to the end of the drive pipe and back to the pump. If you have an 8-9 foot of head and a 135 foot drive pipe you could place a stand pipe at the 40 foot mark or less from the pump that was 1′ above the source tank.

      so basically take a ” T ” pvc joint and place it on some section of the drive pipe. and add a pipe that stands at least one foot above the source tank. this will move the source water to the place the stand pipe is. just place it below that 55′ bend because it is slowing the wave a lot.

      Now I am not sure that the pump is going to get the hight that you are looking for. the 2″ pipe might make a difference. what I have understood is that you will have a 1 to 7 ratio. so your 8′ of head * 7 = 56′. then you will likely lose a little on the distance of the delivery pipe from friction.

      when you had it pumping how high did you get the water to flow? Thank you for the good comments.

      1. Hi Seth, I have pumped water uphill about 13-15 ft. at a distance of 300ft of black plastic 3/4″ pipe. I need to go up about 350’ftmore and uphill 65-70′ ft. I had good pressure when it was pumping . But I had to almost close the ball valve on the delivery side to make the pump stay primed and pumping but this also failed.
        the water was coming out much slower then when the delivery pipe was fully open.
        should I place the Stand pipe at 100′ ft. after the 90deg bend which is about at 55’ft o w the stand pipe would be 45’ft farther down the Drive pipe. And should I use a 3″ or 4″ wide pipe for the stand pipe. thanks for your help and the conversations John.

        I really have to measure my feet in head it could be higher than 8 feet I will have to figure out. thanks John.

        1. Just so that we are on the same page I made this little picture. let me know if it is right.

          I have not ever used a stand pipe so I cant really say what the best size is.

          You might want to check out this video showing some info on drive pipe with stand pipe.

          basically if you are using a 2″ drive pipe the supply line to the stand pipe should be 4″ and the stand pipe even larger 6″.

          before you go into all the work of installing a stand pipe. did you try to bleed out all the air in the drive pipe? by holding open the pump and letting water flow out into the creek?

        2. I have not tested but have a feeling the pulser pump is better. It just needs more testing. With the pulser pump the air getting in is desirable that is how it works and it is quiet too. The vibrations of the ram pump could harm wildlife in the water. The pulser can probably have leaves pass thru no problem and run longer without issues.

  4. Thanks for the video it was very helpful a lot to reconsider. the guy I bought this from through a lot of miss information and the size of piping I could use. 4″ supply will cost me a lot more and 3″ will too.
    I,m thinking of changing out to 3″ before the standpipe for supply from my reservoir and making the stand pipe 4″ and then 2″ into 11/2 ” to the pump .
    the reason 11/2 ” the supply line must be half of what the intake is .that is what the guy was explaining in the video. I could buy 1″ flex tubing and use the 3/4 inch for another project. what do you think I should do Seth now I’m totally confused in what I should do. thank you John.

    1. Well you already have a lot of 2″ pipe. What I would try is start at the ram pump and walk about 25′ to 35′ up the drive pipe and install a 3″ standpipe there. That would move the source to that point. it would bypass the 90deg bend and it would shorten the drive pipe a lot. use the 2″ pipe that is already there for the supply line. then use 3″ for the stand pipe. then go down to 1″ to the ram (or 1-1/4″)

      this would save you some money. you would only need to get the 1″ or 1-1/4″ pipe. and the stand pipe.

      When I made my installation I was not worried about ratios. I just want out there and started testing. the 1-1/4″ drive pipe and the 3/4″ delivery worked very well. but 6′ of head only gave me 35′ of pump lift then it stopped pumping. So I am still worried that your 8 to 10 feet of head will stop lifting before getting to the desired destination.

  5. Thank you Seth for the help. I have decided to start next spring some time in late march or April of 2014 and pickup where I started. I have run out of money for this project for the year . I will probably go for the 4″ pipe for the drive line and go with the 6″ stand pipe . I can use some of the 2″ later for moving water on other part of my land. I will probably change my mind an do it this Fall before the freeze. I live in Northern New York State in the Adirondack MT’s.
    I will keep you posted on my updates and I will make a video when it is working and pumping.

    1. Thank you for the correspondence! I would love to see your pump in a video when you get it working. Your setup is much more complicated than my “set in the creek and turn it on” pump. Seeing the creative things that you do to get it just right will be good.

      Wow I bet it gets cold up there ! and stays cold.

      1. Hay, Seth, I got the system working yesterday, I set it aside for 5 days and just let it run without the delivery pipe installed. and started it up and has been running now for over 15 hours. I measured the gallons per minute at 3/4 per minute. the run is 300 ft. to my pond and 15ft up hill. pressure seems good!.
        I also reconstructed my dam uphill and lowered the intake drive pipe and extra 6″ . this made a real difference in performance . the pipe was sticking up out of the water I had to place a cinder block and a few large rocks on top to get it under the water. I just did not like this setup one bit.
        My son and I will test the system some more next week to see how far it will pump up hill.
        I will still install a stand pipe 3″ on this and tweak out the drive pipe to send more pressure to the drive pipe and to the pump.
        thanks John I will keep you updated on my progress.

        1. very nice! 300 foot and 15 hours is a good start. getting 3/4 gallons per min would give you over 500 gallons a day. Not half bad at all.

          Adding an extra 6″ should give you 3 or 4 feet more lift.

          making sure that the pump is flat is important if you are using the swing check valves. if the pump is leaning to one side or the other the swing will not be working as well as it could.

          Once you get the pump working for the first time it seems to get easier.

          Keep me updated .

  6. Hello Seth have you considered doing a design on a linear hydraulic ram pump. The linear pum seems like a cheaper pump to build.

    1. I have seen those! I might get into them at some point but for now I am testing out variations to the one that I have in the videos. Thank you for your interest in these amazing pumps.

  7. I was watching another video where it said you were supposed to drill a small hole somewhere near I think the horizontal check valve or near the pressure tank. i cannot remember. have you heard of this? if so why, and is it really necessary? By the way. i am looking forward to making one of these and your information so far has been awesome. Thanks.

    1. Hello Dale. That small hole is called a snifter air valve. It allows air to escape a piston in a hydraulic cylinder. I have seen people use them in the Ram Pump but I have made several pumps that have been working for a long time without the snifter valve. basically water can flood the pressure tank that is on the top of the system and that will stop the pump from working.

      I dont see the need for it in the pump that you can build from my little ebook. some people will also insert a pool noodle or a bike tube to keep the pressure tank from filling with water.

      If you go with my design then you can simply unscrew the tank and push a bike tube in then fill it with air and that will do the same as the snifter valve if you ever find that the tank fills with water.

      I hope that this helps answer your question. Go build one! they are lots of fun.

  8. I have read in your notes about the delivery pipe being the same size of the 1st check valve being very important. My problems is i have a huge pile of 2.5 used pipe laying around I wanted to use as my delivery pipe..My delivery pipe is going to be almost 250 foot long (going with a stand pipe) But if i reduced my drive pipe down from 2.5 to 1.25 for the 1st check valve, maybe 10′ above the pump, think it would work? Want to build this soon, have a stocked fish pond and the fish are growing awesome, but the water level isn’t. Or should I stick to the rules..I saw some 2.5 check valves on the interweb, and maybe go with a 4″ pressure vessel? Any advice be greatly appreciated!

    1. Thanks for the awesome question!

      I should say that the important thing about the valve and drive pipe is that you cannot use a large check valve and small drive pipe. But in your case you are using a large drive pipe and wanting to use a small check valve. That should be just fine.

      I would place your stand pipe someplace between the pump and the 75′ mark. just make sure that you have at least 1′ of pipe above the water level of the source. Something that I did not mention in my ebook was the ratios of using a stand pipe. You really should have a 3,2,1 ratio. so the drive pipe from the source should be the largest size then the stand pipe should be the middle size and lastly the drive pipe from the stand pipe to the pump should be the smaller of the three. so if your main drive pipe is 2.5″ then you would use a 2″ stand pipe and then go down to the 1.25 at the end. this ensures that no loss occurs in the system due to pipe size.

      For the pressure vessel, if you are using a 1.25 valve, I would go with a 3″ pipe and make sure that it is at least 3′ tall.

      From what I have found the ram pump is robust and works even under less than ideal conditions so you should be just fine in your setup with a large drive pipe and smaller check valves. Those check valves are expensive and I see why you want to use the smaller one.

      Hope this helps. Let me know about your progress.

  9. Hi Seth, Great detailed videos, Followed your plans to build a rampump, just set it up yesterday in fact. Am fortunate enough to have a good flow of water from stream with plenty of fall!, I used a different check valve to the one you used,it not working too good .
    Only starts pumping when I keep my finger on it ! ,and without applied pressure to it, pumps way too slow for the amount of water coming into it. Question being, Is the check valve the problem do you think! ?

    Cheers Brian.

    1. I am happy to hear you have a pump made! When you get them working they are amazing.

      Is your first check valve held open by gravity?

      Its been my experience that a slow pump is caused by a few things. the drive pipe is to long or the check valves are to small to name a couple.

      If your drive pipe is more than 100′ your pump will be slow. Add a stand pipe closer to the pump. If your drive pipe is bigger than your check valves it will cause problems.

      If the pump won’t start it could be air in the drive pipe or a water logged pressure tank or you don’t have enough back pressure on the delivery pipe to keep your output open fully.

      I hope these are enough to get you started. Let me know.

  10. Seth,

    How would I use this ram pump on my water well?
    The well is at the bottom of the hill and I want to pump the well water up the hill to my house.
    Thank you for your help.
    I am wanting to purchase your ram pump, but I need to know how to apply it to my well.

    1. Hi Susan. Thank you for checking out my pumps!

      The Ram Pump works by way of a pressure wave and has to have falling water. Does water pour out of the well like a spring? If that is the case then you can use a ram pump. If you have to use a well pump to get the water out of the well then you are better off pushing the water up the hill with that pump. The Ram Pump will have lots of loss and you will be using more water than you should. Basically the ram pump works best in a creek or pond.

      I hope this answers your question. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hello. The ram pump works by water falling into the pump and creating a pressure wave. If you have water falling you can use the pump in salt water for sure. The ram pump won’t work on flat water.

  11. Hello Seth, Thank you for delivering all this information. I want to ask is it possible or will it work if i attach my feed pipe to a tank in my attic or what happens when the tank fills up. I would have a ball cock to stop it overflowing, but what about the ongoing supply from ram. I would appreciate your reply Eileen

    1. Hello Eileen. Thank you for checking out my site!

      The output of a ram pump is fairly consistent but the pressure is going to be low. You can hold your finger over the delivery pipe of a ram pump and stop the water most of the time. The pump itself will continue to operate even if the valve on the delivery pipe has been closed. I say this to show that you can use a ballcock valve to stop the flow of the ram pump delivery pipe when the tank is full and it will not effect the pump. So when the tank is lowered the delivery pipe will be opened again and allow water to flow.

      It is completely possible to do this just remember that the pump will pump 24/7 so make sure that the ballcock valve is working or you will flood the house.

      Thank you for the good question!

  12. Hi Seth,
    I have been watching your videos and think this application will work for me. If I understand head, it is the distance the water falls to the pump. I could conceivably have 20′ of fall to the pump. the drawback is it will have to pump uphill that 20′ plus 50′ more to where I placed the storage tank, approximately 350′ distance. I measured my flow at around 4.5 gallons per minute at its slowest time of year.
    I do not have a clue what size pump I will need given these parameters. I saw where you put some check valves in the output side at the point in elevation where water stopped flowing.
    I have a culvert that runs under the drive and thought about building a collection area to force all the water into the drive pipe or running a 4″ pipe and reducing it just before it enters the pump. Any ideas will help and let me know which pump to order.

    1. Hello. Thank you for watching my videos. You are right! Feet of head is the amount of water fall into the pump from the source. Your setup is very plausible. In my testing I have achieved 70′ vertical lift with only 12′ of head. If you have 20′ available then you will be able to pump to that hight. The horizontal distance of 350′ will not make a difference. (Some pumps have gone over a mile) The water flow that you have is what will determine the size pump you will need. The 3/4″ ram pump needs about 3gpm to run at full but I have managed to get it to work on 1gpm. The ratio of input to output is the same on all the pumps the difference is the flow rate. smaller pump = less flow. Using the one way check valves inline with your delivery will make a big difference in vertical potential. So if the flow is small you can add the valves. ๐Ÿ™‚

      The intake is a little tricky because creeks often have a lot of silt in them that will stop up the pipe. So if you can make a little pond as the intake or use a 4″ pipe as you say to collect water it will be a lot better as far as maintenance. I hope this answers your questions well enough. Please ask more if you need to. …… You would need the 3/4″ pump.

      1. Thank you for your reply. I also noticed that you use 1.25″ galvanized nipples in the construction. Why not 1.25 schedule 40 PVC? Seems like that would be more cost effective.

        I have to share this story. Yesterday when I was walking down through the woods to get to where I was going to measure water flow, I heard a slight noise. I usually play close attention while walking but this time, I was more concerned about spider webs so I was waving a stick in front of me to break the webs. Well, the noise made me look and, less than four feet from me, there on the ground was a copper head coiled and ready to strike. I gently backed up. It pays to watch everything. This could have put everything on the back burner.

        1. Oh you are watching my old video on how to make the Ram pump. The models I sell on the site are all pvc other than the brass check valve. You are right. The pvc is the way to go.

          Gosh that would be a day spoiler! I have a story like that. I was in Mississippi walking around a lake in the woods and almost stepped on a copper head. Those things are so bad.

  13. Hello Seth Johnson.i need ur help.i tried to built a 1 inch ram pump at home.the drive pipe is 10 m long with same dimensions as the swing check valve.when i opened the inlet valve the first swing check valve closes.the pressure is good enough.i used a water bottle for the pressure chamber.no doubt water gets up in the water bottle but the hammering effect doesnot occur.Plz help…

    1. hello. I am happy to hear that you have made a ram pump for yourself. Normally when the first check valve snaps closed and won’t start the hammer effect, it is because there is air in the drive pipe. Make sure the pipe is 100% free of air. just hold the valve open until it stops bubbling. If that does not fix the problem sometimes if a rock is in the second check valve, holding it open, the pump will not start.

      try these things and let me know if it works. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Thanks Johnson for the help.I worked on ur advice and made the drive pipe free of air and it worked beautifully.Tried for 5 times before but the pump was not working.Really grateful to u.
        Will the pump perform better if the first swing check valve is larger in dimension than the second check valve? Does the height of pressure chamber effects the performance of pumping?What about those pumps where the second swing check valve is perpendicular to the first or in line with the pressure chamber.which will pump better?

        1. Oh good! That is normally what the problem is. It can be annoying to get all the air out of the pipe but it has to happen.

          It has been my understanding that the two check valves need to be the same size but I have not tested making the second smaller. that is an interesting idea though. The hight of the pressure chamber does not make a difference but the volume of the tank does. if the tank is too small the potential is reduced. If the tank is to large it just takes a while to get the pressure up.

          I have seen the pumps that have the vertical second valve and I dont like them. It just seems that the inline pumps work better. I like the idea of having the pressure wave inline with the input and output and then having the pressure tank on the top.

          Happy your setup is working!

  14. Seth,
    Great article on ram pumps! Thanks. I built a linear pump a few years ago and tested it with water supply from the house. We’ve had a fairly long drought here in Central Texas, so our creek has only been running in short cycles until the water table builds back up. My ram pump has 1 1/4″ inlet and 3/4″ drive pipes. I have found lots of information and tables on
    flow/drive/lift, but none on how far (linear distance) the pump will transfer water. I read somewhere that it is better to use a rigid pipe on the delivery side versus a garden hose.
    I was planning to use garden hose to start as I can cobble together a bunch around the ranch for a test.
    How far do you think a ram pump will push water? Would there be much difference between your 300-400 ft and approx.1,000 ft due to friction losses?
    My goal is to pump water from the creek bed approx 35′ in elevation over a distance of about 1200 to 1500 feet to a stock pond. If I have to, I can explore a solar transfer pump to move the water whatever the last part of the distance will be that the ram pump can’t make. It would be awesome if the ram pump will make the distance!

    Thank you,

    1. Hello

      Thank you for checking out my stuff. My test of 300+ feet resulted in No loss basically. I have heard of people shipping water over 1 mile from a ram pump. These pumps are so forgiving that I think you will have no problem with your distance. One thing that you might do is place an inline one way valve in the delivery pipe close to the pump. This will reduce the pressure of the water on the pump itself.

      I have another test where I use 350′ of garden hose with a 70′ lift and I ran out of hose before I was out of water. I am sure that using a ridged pipe for both drive and delivery pipes would be the most ideal but you will be just fine with a garden hose. especially if you already have them.

  15. hello seth … after watching a several video about your hydraulic ram pump i think i should have one!! .. and now im already make my own hydraulic ram pump and the size is 3/4 … my problem is the check valve sometimes operate not constantly and it will operate with low velocity of water only … for your information i only test my pump with the water coming from garden tap only …. …. what should i do ?? …

    what is the recommended size of pressure tank for my 3/4 hydraulic ram pump ?? …

    can i use the same type for both check valve ?? …. for example, can i use spring check valve only for both check valve or i need to use 1 swing check valve and 1 spring check valve??

    do you have any suggestion if i don’t want to waste the water that coming from waste valve??? … my plan is to attached the garden hose at the top of waste valve and supply the water to the delivery pipe??… does it possible??..

    glad to hear back from you!! … thank you…

    1. Hello

      Thank you for watching my videos.

      The ram pump needs to operate by a pressure wave so connecting to a tap actually will prevent the pressure wave from working correctly. If you connect the pump to a bucket or install it in a creek then you can have the pressure wave.

      For the 3/4″ pump size I would use a 2″ pipe that is 15″ tall.

      The first check valve in my design needs to have a swing valve. It much hang open by gravity. Now the second one can be a spring valve.

      The pump is going to have a 50 to 90% loss out of the waste valve. You can use that water for all kinds of things. Typically my pumps are installed into creeks so I just let the water run back in the creek. If you connect the waste valve to the delivery pipe the pump will stop because the waste valve is low/no pressure and the delivery pipe is high pressure. Now you can use the waste pipe as a flow down hill.

      1. hye seth…. thanks for your comment … im following the every step that u make in your videos … and im facing another problem … please help me.

        when i open the ball valve at drive pipe …. my first check valve will slam shut… and i push the valve to get rid of air inside the drive pipe…. and looks like the pump start working and start to build a presure inside the chamber… my problem is when i open my second ball valve that connected witth delivery pipe ,… my first check valve slam shot and not pumping the water … what should i do ??

        for your information… my chamber is 2 inch and the height is 12 inch ,,, my both check valve is 1 inch and my drive pipe also 1 inch …

        1. This is a common issue that you have. when you open the second ball valve you are releasing the pressure in the tank. I suggest opening the valve slowly until water has reached the end of the delivery pipe. then you can open the valve more to allow more flow out. If you do not have your delivery pipe high enough then the pressure in the tank will quickly shoot out water from the delivery pipe and the pump will stop.

          Basically what I am saying is this: make sure the delivery pipe is uphill from the pump. slowly open the ball valve until the pipe is full of water. then open the valve all the way. If the pump still stops then you dont have your delivery pipe high enough to support the pressure in the tank. you will have to only open the ball valve half way.

          1. hye seth… thanks for your advise… now my pump start working …. but , im already attached a garden hose for my delivery pipe and i put the end of my delivery pipe at my rooftop … but … whenever i open the second ball valve all the way… the pump will not working ….

            is the related to my air chamber … im only use 2 inch diameter pvc pipe and the height is 12 inch ….

            fyi… my length for delivery pipe is 10 m …. please help me thank you

          2. That is a small pressure tank. I would use one that is at least two feet tall of that size but three inch pipe would be better. When you open the ball valve only a little does the pump continue to work? If the pump works with the valve open only some but when you open it all the way it stops then the issue is one of two things. 1) The pressure tank is too small. 2) the pump has too much head falling into the pump and when you open the valve the pressure is all released and the pump stops. you can reduce the feet of head entering the pump or you can just open that second valve partially.

            If you open the valve only some does the water reach the roof? It should reach but be a slow flow.

          3. hye seth… thanks for replying my message… im very appreciate that..

            the pump continue to work when i open a second ball valve a little… the water does reach the roof but in a slow flow… my head falling into the pump is about 2 feet and the drive pipe is about 6 feet. for this im only test my pump using a water storage tank as a source of water.

          4. OK so you are getting results. That 2′ of head is enough to get you between 14 and 18′ of lift so you are likely opening the ball valve and a surge of water flows out then the pressure tank is empty and the pump stops. You can add hight to the delivery and that is good news. The bad part is that you cant open the ball valve all the way without losing this pressure.

            Also 6′ is a very short drive pipe. I typically dont go less than 15′.

          5. hye seth… thank for replying …. now im going to fix the problem that i had… im going to change the size of air chamber as u recommended… hope i can get the better result with that ….

            im watch your videos about attached a one way check valve at the delivery pipe to increase the efficiency of the pump …. how does it works?? … does it will increase the efficiency of pumping the water??? … im really into it … glad if u can share some information with me about that … thanks sir …

          6. The inline valve in the delivery pipe will reduce the weight of the water resting on the pump. So by adding the valve in the delivery pipe you will allow the pump to work with less effort. Your setup has no issues with weight on the pump because your delivery pipe is not very high in the air. If you try to pump another 10-15′ you would benefit from the valve in the delivery pipe but for your current 10′ hight on your roof you will not see any change.

  16. Hi Jhonson,i have followed your instructions and assembled one.I got good results.I’m thinking of providing another set of 1 1/4 swing check valves ahead of the actual set as in your video.Is it possible to increase more pressure by providing what i said? Or are there any modifications to increase pressure to pump more height,i mean to increase efficiency of ram pump.

    1. Hello. I am happy that you have made a Ram Pump! Yes you can add an inline check valve to the delivery pipe to increase the potential of the pump. I have had the best success with inline spring valves.

      To increase the efficiency of the pump you can make sure the Drive pipe is ridged (does not have flex such as Steel or hard PVC). In my videos I use a black flex pipe and this is not ideal. Also you can make sure that the pump is standing upright and the first check valve is also upright. Tilting the first check valve will reduce the efficiency.

    1. I dont understand your question. Are you referring to the PDF download of the Free Ram Pump book?

  17. Ho Seth. Is there a way to increase the delivery height with your design by increasing the diameter of the pump fittings, drive pipe, etc? I have very limited head of water available, but there is plenty of flow. I would need to increase the 1:7 ratio of head:delivery height, substantially.

    1. Hello

      There are a few things that can improve the ratio. First is install a check valve in the delivery pipe a little way from the pump. This will relieve the pressure on the pump and allow it to work better. Also you can use ridged pipe for the drive pipe. Still you will not get much better than 1:9.

  18. Hello Seth Johnson,
    I Was Hoping You Could Help Me With Some Information please Sir. I Have a Waterfall Producing 30-50 gpm and Flows Almost 150 Ft Downhill Into A Creek. The Proposed House Site Sits 75ft aprox. Above The Pool base Of the Waterfall and 400ft Away. So Im thinking I Have 100ft Or Better Of Fall(head) From Pool To Creek. Is It Possible With Your Largest Pump To Get Water 150-200 ft If It Runs The Side Of Thr Cliff Horizontal And Vertical Gradually,and 400ft Away?

    1. Hello and thank you for checking out my stuff. That is a nice waterfall. So the horizontal distance of 400 ft is no problem at all. I have pushed water 500 ft with no change in flow. The vertical is what will get you. 70 ft is the highest I have tested my large pump but some of my customers have reported over 100 ft. One issue that you will run into with my design is the limitations of the brass swing valve. It is light weight and all that pressure can keep it closed if you add to much head. That said you should be able to get 100 ft from the pump just fine. You will only need 15 to 20 ft of head to get a good flow at the top. If you want the water at 75 ft you will be really good but I assume you want a little pressure fall into the house spot?

    2. Hi Seth

      I have not built any pumps, but with a drop like that I would imagine that a
      “pulse pump” is a way better deal. It has no moving parts whatsoever so there is nothing to wear out.
      And there is also not as much shock waves going on.

      The theory is simple.

      -You have a large u shaped pipe with the outlet a fair bit lower than the inlet for a good flow rate.
      -At the inlet you introduce a whole heap of air straws that angle down inside the pipe. These will suck air because the water flowing down over them creates a vacuum.
      – The air never gets to the other side of the u however because you put a tank way down at the very bottom of the u which catches the air as it tries to go past, allowing the air and water to separate. Only most of the the water at the bottom of this tank continues up the other side. The trick is that the water head of the lighter water-and-air mix going down will exceed the water head of the denser plain water coming up the other side, so the u must be a fair bit lower on the exit side to account for the higher density.
      – Now for the pipe that you will be interested in. You add a third small pipe that comes from near the top of the tank that you installed. This pipe will gulp all of the air and a little bit of the water when all the air has been gulped. The density of this mix, having ALL the air, but only some of the water is the least dense of all. It stands to reason, that the height that this will flow to is much greater than any of the pipes so far, as it will take much more height to create the same pressure head. There you have it. No valves required and nothing likely to wear out in a hurry! This pump will happily pulse away delivering air, water, air, water…

      The same principle can be used to make an air compressor, if you take less fluid off with the third pipe and allow the air to fill the chamber so that no water goes up your third pipe. In that case you add a fourth pipe lower down in the water, but not as low as the main large u pipe. Every now and then (rarely if you set a valve installed on the third pipe right), the fourth pipe will hit air and vent a bit of air and water thus keeping the air level right. The reason for having the fourth pipe is so that air never goes up the main U. This ensures that the densities stay as you planned. If the density was to drop in the U pipe, then the air pressure might drop too.

      1. Just as another note on the pulser pump (sorry I had the name wrong – it is not a pulse pump but a pulser pump)

        There is a good link that will give you a good start if I am allowed to put links

        It is http://www.appropedia.org/Pulser_pump

        I really think that given a very large drop it is a better way to go.

        1. I have actually seen one of these on a news story! It was used as a filter pump for a river that had lots of pollution. Because it has such potential to work without moving parts it is good for a long long time. My brother in law was talking about such a pump used in very large fish setups because they can be used to get air into the water. He did say that the pipes must be very carfully placed and sized or the system wont work. Someday I should try to make one. .. Thank you so much for sharing!

  19. Hi

    Seth, I’ve been trying to test the unit out but it seems the check valve doesn’t close or doesn’t open. I’ve being testing it direct from a hose line. My trouble is priming the unit. If there is any slight leaks in the pipe thread connections will that be ta problem. And my Pvc one way check valve I am using are they pressure rated ?

    1. Hello

      The pump actually wont work on a garden hose. This is because the pump creates a pressure wave that travels up the drive pipe and then back down to the pump. With the 60psi of a garden hose you are unable to get this pressure wave.

      Make sure the drive pipe inner diameter is the same size as the the brass check valve. This is a must if you are to get the pump to work.

      Small leaks will cause the pump to stop working over time but should not stop the pump from priming and starting for a while.

  20. Visited your site, and I believe I watched all of your videos about the pump; as well as others before installing our own. Thank you for publishing all of this great info. We finally got to install our pump and worked great. Very little pressure at the top of the hill but we filled a tank and used that. It worked for us for about two months? We only had to reprime once or twice. Not bad.

    Then the other day the tank started getting lower and lower. Checked on the pump. It was still going. We checked the black pex pipe for delivery to ensure it was still conmected. It was no holes no problem. Checked for a clog in the lines. We think there may have been one but unsure. Either way when we pour water in at the top of the hill it makes it to the bottom. Found out after that that the delivery had slightly come disconnected from the pump. ‘re connected ‘re primed and started the pump again. Still nothing. What are we missing. Beside the fact that a Hunter or other tresspasser lodged a large stick into the check valve at some point surfing our scratching out heads. It appears the pump and valves are all fine and in tact.

    What we have:
    20 foot long 1 1/2 pvc drive and check
    300 ft 3/4 in delivery pex
    15 to 25 ft lift (I say closer to 15 hubby says 25 or more. We didn’t measure)
    Guessing 4 -6 foot drop.
    25-28 gpm (don’t remember exactly)
    We do not have a pressure gauge.

    Thanks for your help. We sure don’t know what else to check.

    1. Hello and thank you for watching my videos. It sounds like you have air in the pressure tank. The pump will still work or look like it is working but in fact there is not enough pressure in the tank to get the water up the hill. What I do on my pumps is turn off the delivery pipe and drive pipe. Then disconnect the delivery pipe to let the water in the tank flow out. Some pumps have a snifter valve that allows a small gulp of air with every action of the pump but the design that I use only has an inner tube in the tank.

      SO the first thing that I would try is purge the tank of water and then start it again and see if your lift returns. If that does not fix the issue we will explore other options. Hope this helps.

      1. Hi Seth

        Great site, information and attentiveness to it. Thank you.

        I have a problem that I think is similar to Mary’s: We inherited a pump (commercial but cannot find another site as informative as yours) and have had it running for about 13 years now. However I’ve been battling with it over the last 2 years – complete loss of pump height (delivery pressure) with pump still going strong! Disconnecting it all and letting the water flow out solved it for a while but now it cannot get the pressure up at all, and it stops after an hour or two anyway. When I try and restart the pump air gurgles out of the waste valve. No obvious leaks in the drive pipe, delivery pipe or connections. So I think air is stopping it but cannot find a leak. Given your experience what is most likely the cause (and as per your above answer shouldn’t there be air in the pressure tank)? Any help greatly appreciated.

        1. Hi

          Thank you! I have enjoyed getting to use these great pumps.

          Since you have a commercial pump I am going to assume it has a snifter valve to gulp air with each cycle. First I would make sure that valve spits water every time the pump clicks. (if it has a snifter) This will make sure the tank is getting air.

          Since the pump is stopping after only a short time I would say this is a small bit of air in the drive pipe. Often times you can hear a small slosh sound in the pipe. Another common reason for the pump to stop after a while is a leak in the delivery pipe. This might also be why you have lost pressure.

          SO… Yes the pressure tank must have air in it. The drive pipe must be air free. also the delivery pipe must not have a leak in it. make sure the snifter valve is working if there is one.

          Those are the main points to look at first. I do hope that helps. If not please email me a picture of your pump.

  21. Thanks Seth

    No snifter valve. The new agent is determined I put one in but since it’s been working in the same place without one for over 60 years I know that is not the answer! I’ll recheck all the pipes and connections this weekend and let you know how I go.

    Thanks again

    1. Do let me know what you find. To work That long and just now have an issue does it have a valve that has warn out?

  22. Hi Seth

    Yes, I think you are probably right – I have not been able to find leaks in or around the drive or delivery pipes. The ram (Billabong/ Danks hydraulic ram) is old-style with a cast iron dome (air chamber) within which is a spring-loaded delivery valve with a valve disc and rubber. I think the rubber may finally have gone. Another possibility is a worn gasket where the dome is bolted onto the “body” of the pump. There may be a tiny leak here but somehow I think it’s more than that. The waste valve is new. I’ve been reluctant to undo these 60 to 80 year old bolts for fear of things falling apart but the time has come. Air is both leaking from the air chamber (pump works for a short while after I pump air back into the chamber), air is coming out of the waste valve stopping the pump, and I can no longer get the pressure required to pump it up to the tank. I need to open the dome.

    1. It sounds like you are on the right track. When you get those bolts of you might have to replace them sadly. If they have rusted out over that long a time. I have made gaskets from rubber roof lining. I was able to get it from my local hardware store but you might be able to get some better gasket materiel. I have also seen a delivery valve like you say and I know they can wear out too. BUT to be honest you have gotten a long long use out of that pump so dont be upset about replacing some parts. (except having to use less quality modern parts)

  23. Seth, really helpful info on your site. I’ve built a ram pump and had it working well for a year or more but starting to get problems with it stopping after a while so am considering a few mods. I have mine connected to a tank with float valve and was concerned that the float valve may have damaged the pump by shutting off the delivery while the pump was still running, but your experience suggests not. I don’t think the non return is the issue as I’ve installed a commercial grade Crane duo check non-slam wafer valve which is supposed to be bullet proof, so my only other potential issue is the tractor bladder in the pressure tank which may have lost pressure. I have a gauge on the tank and can get it up to 20psi but it doesn’t want to go any higher even if i keep the delivery shut whereas before I could get it up to 40-50 before opening the delivery valve.

    I have variable flow in the creek throughout the year but very little head of 1.5m. Being right on the lower limit with head I’ve compensated by making a small weir in the creek to get another 30cm head and use a 4″ steel drive pipe 36m long with commercial couplings (same stuff used for fire systems in multi storey buildings). I have a 4″ brass ‘flapper’ valve like the one you use but mine is weighted down with steel washers and a nut to slow down stroke so its builds max speed before closing. I push through the crane 4″ non return into a 2″ T with the back end connected to a 60 litre gas cylinder with tractor bladder and the other side of the T connected to a reducing nipple connected to a 1″ delivery pipe. My setup is buried in a small creek bed and we get floods each wet season. My design is a little different to yours and I’ve got the pressure tank at the back laying flat – this allows rocks and debris coming down the river to pass over the pump without damage. I note your design has the pressure tank upright in the middle with the delivery pipe at the rear. I have two questions
    1. Have you tried or considered laying the pressure tank horizontal with the tank, or even installing an elbow so it is parallel to the pump? This would minimise potential damage compared to the “T” shape of your pump – especially if this is submerged
    2. Have you tested the pump with the pressure tank at the rear (ie swap the position of the delivery pipe and pressure tank – but still have both behind a non return valve. I would think that your system may be more efficient due to the linear flow, whereas the water flowing in my pump has to flow into the pressure vessel at the end, stop, then reverse direction until it hits the non return and finally turn 90 degrees to push down the delivery pipe.

    I’d be really interested to hear if you’ve experimented with swapping the position of the delivery and pressure tank, or played with orientation of the pressure tank, and if this has any impact on flow rates or head. I’d try to swap my pump around but only the flapper is visible and I’ll need an excavator to uncover the rest of it!



    1. A four inch pump is a big one!

      Stopping the pump by the delivery pipe is actually of no consequence. At times when the pump comes back on it can surge and lose pressure but not if you have enough back pressure. So you should be just fine there.

      When I have tested the pressure tank on its side I have noticed that it fills with water and only the parts with the bladder are working as a pressure tank. But when the tank is upright it has way more air in it and that allows for much better psi. It sounds to me that you have a bladder that has gotten old and sprung a leak. Since your tank is horizontal it has reduced the available air space in the tank and thus the psi has gone way down.

      I have seen those designs that use the delivery pipe out the back side of the pressure tank but I have not used them before. My thought process was the same as you mentioned. I figured the the water would flow best in a direct shot approach. When I was first doing my research I looked at several designs and I like the one I build the best because it does allow the water to pass right through the pump but under pressure.

      Your tank is under a lot of rocks and stuff it sounds like but that is the first thing that I would try. Because every other component in the pump seems to be of good quality.

  24. Hi Seth

    Some follow-up – took the dome off to inspect the delivery valve – yep, the rubber’s badly worn. (The nuts though are brass – in perfect condition.) Also, much of the cast iron inside was layered with clumps of rust; the delivery outlet rusted down to the size of a pin-hole. So right now it’s at the sandblasters (after I chipped out as much rust as I could) while I await some new parts (rubber, gasket, spring).

    Can now confirm that the pump is at least 70 years old – and I doubt if it was ever opened before.

    Will let you know when it’s all back together.

    (PS Do you know what pressure ranges are generated in the drive pipe?)

    1. Hello

      Brass nuts and bolts! thats awesome!

      Considering that thing is 70 years old I am still impressed with the operation.

      All of those things would effect the operation of the pump. I expect you to get better results than ever before once its clean and in good repair. Luckily there are not many things to change on these pumps so you should be able to get it done rather quickly.

      In my tests I have found a few values of psi. But I am not sure what the value gets up to when the pressure wave flows. There are a couple numbers you can work with to get the values.

      For every 1ft of head you have .433psi. So if you have 7ft of head you have a little over 3psi at the pump in the drive pipe.

      Now the pump works on a ratio of close to 1:7. I have found this to be true with my tests. For example if I have a pressure in the tank at 20psi and I have a hill that is 10ft tall. At the top of the hill I place a psi gauge on the delivery and get 15psi.

      20psi/.433= 46ft potential lift. If I subtract the 10 ft from the 46ft for the hill I have 36ft potential. So 36*.433=~15psi.

      I know that was some cray jumbled math but basically you can expect to get psi in the drive pipe of greater than .433*ft. because of the pressure wave.

  25. Hi Seth, At the driest time of year, my spring only delivers 1/2 gal / min. Is that too low a rate to power a ram pump? Would it help if I built one out of 1/2″ pvc rather than 3/4″? Also, am I understanding correctly that my drive pipe should be the same inside diameter as the components of the ram? As you have said, the delivery pipe should be approx half of the diam of the drive pipe. If I built a 1/2″ ram, I don’t believe there is a commonly available pipe smaller than 1/2″ to make the delivery pipe out of. Would it be ok to make both drive & delivery pipes 1/2″? Thanks, Pete

    1. Hello. You can make a 1/2″ ram pump just fine! The delivery can be 1/2″ just as the drive pipe. You do need to keep the drive pipe the same as the two check valves this is rather important. In my testing the 1/2″ pump will use .5 to .8 gpm. So you might need to build a catchment tube to pull water from. I suggest the spring catchment from carolina water tank. Or make your own with a uniseal. I hope this helps. You can look at my 1/2″ pumps for sale to get an idea of what the pump looks like.

  26. Hi seth..i hope u can answer me with my given calculations..i have a 20 feet of head..with a required vertical lift of 100 feet..the delivery distance is about 150 feet..the climb to the hill is approximately 130 degrees..is there a possibility to bring the water up with the use of a ram pump?..thanks seth in advance..im planning to build one..

    1. Hello

      Yes that is a good setup. With your flow rate I would suggest building a 1″ or 3/4″ pump to make sure you don’t have low flow issues. You will only need around 16 to 17 feet of head. It might be helpful to add an inline check valve to the delivery pipe.

    1. What is the purpose of the in line check valve on the delivery pipe? is it to prevent the heavy back flow of water to the pump? what could happen if there is none? thanks seth for replying..i want to buy your pump but it would cost much..i am from the philippines..

  27. Hi seth! Does the size of the pressure chamber affect the output amount? And is there any computations on how the pressure in the chamber pushes the water? Thanks!

    1. The tank size does effect the output. If the tank is too small the full potential won’t be reached. If the tank is too large it will take a while for it to reach pressure. But it won’t gain a higher pressure than the pump can supply. As far as the math behind the flow I don’t have those details. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Hi seth..I already built my ram pump..i followed your advice on building a 1inch ram..however my pressure tank is 4inch for 3 feet long..is that too big?what could could be the best size and length of pressure tank for a 1inch ram pump?..

        Next is,we have made it working and pumping..the water got higher and higher..and when it reached to a quite higher point..the waste valve gets locked..and I forgot to put an inner tube inside the pressure tank..is it water logged? i suspect it is the back pressure of the water on the delivery pipe..

        thank you so much seth in advance for entertaining our questions..

        1. Hello

          The 1″ pumps that I sell have a tank size of 3″ x approximately 22″ tall. This seems to be an ideal size for that ram pump. You can use the larger tank size it just takes a little longer to prime the system.

          As long as your system is upright (not leaning to the side) you should be able to get a few months of use without the tank getting waterlogged. Can you give me the numbers of your system? How many feet of head and how high you are lifting water? It does sound like you have an issue with back pressure. If the water pressure out the delivery pipe gets low because to much water has gone out then the check valve will close.

          1. Thanks seth..i really appreciate your responses..

            I have made some changes on the location of the pump.. guessing 20-22 feet of head..25 feet long drive pipe..not steel or pvc..just a pex pipe same as yours..vertical height lift is about 100-120 feet..and delivery distance is more than 120 meters..

            I did some back reading on some questions here..and i think what closes the waste valve could also be the too much water pressure from the drive pipe?because of the light swing check valve?and when the waste valve starts to click its really fast..

          2. Pex is fine as long as the inner diameter is the same size as the valves. I think the black pipe I use is called “flex pipe”.

            You can get water up that high with that feet of head. Should not have an issue.

            Yes if you have too much head pressure and too low pressure on the delivery end the valve will close and stop. You can slightly close the drive pipe ball valve or reduce the head pressure. Or you can add weight to the waste valve.

    1. Hi seth..just an update..we tested our pump yesterday with a pressure gauge..we only had 22 feet of drive..feet of head is just 6.5 to 7 feet..and we were able to pump close to 50 feet up..almost halfway to the top..and we only had 19 psi per cycle..our next plan is extend the drive pipe down to a total of about 60 feet to gain at least 15 feet of head and i hope the psi will increase..that is actually our next plan..are we on the right track?..i am really much excited on our next plan..

  28. Seth
    We have a problem with our ram pump brass check valve closest to the drive line. After it initially closes it does not re-open and cycle like it should. The check valve is not sticking or defective. Our pump is the same as your design except we use an in-line spring check valve instead of a brass swing check valve for the valve located closest to the pressure tank. If I manually open the swing valve repeatedly, the pump builds pressure and pumps water out our delivery line at a 10′ height.

    We think our problem is that the pressure wave dissipates in the current drive line arrangement. We are using an existing 4″ PVC pipe from the nearby stream with an 7′ head as our drive line. It runs about 120 ft. underground from our stream and has no standpipe. We step this 4″ line down to a 2″ ball valve, then again through a reducer to the 1.25″ input line to the pump.

    Our proposed solution is to place a 2″ standpipe of sufficient height after our 2″ ball valve, then a 2″ to 1.25″ reducer and then run a 20′ section of 1.25″ PVC to the pump. We’ll add a ball valve at the pump to control flow from the drive line. We would like your view on whether our proposed solution will work before we buy more stuff.



    1. Hello. Nice to hear you are working with ram pumps!

      I have two thoughts for you. First: yes reduce that 4″ to 1.25″ after a stand pipe. What happens with such a large drive pipe is there is too much water pressure for the pressure wave to counteract when the check valve closes. A 1.25″ wave gets lost in a 4″ pipe. Second thought that will cause the valve to close and not reopen : 7 feet of head gives you the potential for around 50 feet of lift. With only 10 feet of lift in your system the pump will depressurize the tank and the pump will stop. I recommend reducing the head pressure or increasing delivery hight or closing the delivery valve half way.

      I hope this helps

      1. Seth

        Thanks for your response and the additional thoughts about managing the inflow and outflow head and flow rate. We’ll implement this in a few weeks and let you know how it turns out.

        All the best


  29. can i use ram pump for my aquaponic system??? also can i submerge the pump in the pond, if so wil the water flow into the pump????(this is because i dont want to lose the water that is coming out from the swing valve)
    pls do reply

    1. The water loss is an issue because you will lose anywhere from 50 to 90% of the water from the waste check valve. The pump will work underwater as long as the source is above the location of the pump in other words you cannot use a ram pump in Stillwater. The ram pump is not effective in aquaponics because you lose the water quickly.

      1. hi seth..can I ask some suggestions?..my ram pump works well producing 50 psi..but it has not yet reached my storage tank..it needs to climb up 30 feet up more..however if I add the delivery hose up, the water still climbs but when reached to the added height, the check valve closes..can u give me an idea on how to add weight on the swing check valve?..bcause i think the waste valve needs more weight to open and continue pumping..

        1. I have not used weight on the valve yet in my tests. I was thinking you could use a drill to make a hole in the flap then add a couple washers on a nut and bolt to add weight. Seems like it would work but I have not tried it.

  30. Hello ,
    I live in Palau and I have actually installed the first ever ram pump here. Watching your videos has been most helpful in getting started. We are currently in a severe drought and we are so lucky to have installed this pump just in time to save our little farm. There is a steady flow of water in a waterfall near by no matter what the weather is like.
    I have made this pump myself since the one I got on ebay broke in just a few days as it was pvc and apparently way too weak for the water flow we have.
    Now I have one out of steel parts and a pvc air tank with an innertube inside it. Its 4 inches pvc and 4 feet tall. the drive pipe is 1 inch steel and the fall is about 20 feet ( the waterfall is taller but I tried to keep the pipe short , about 80 feet long). the waterfall is a cascade of falls that stretches over 150 feet at least so there is potential to make the fall larger if needed.
    The delivery line is 1/2 inch steel for 100 feet then the rest is pvc and a total length of 1100 feet up a hill to a height of 150 feet above the pump elevation.
    The question I have is this. the flow is rather high, about 5 gallons every 10 to 15 seconds at the drive pipe, yet I barely get a trickle at the tank. I noticed recently that even small dips in the delivery pipe near the tanks cause the water to stop flowing altogether, meanwhile the pump operates just fine and there is flow at a lower elevation where I installed a faucet to discharge water to a pond in case we will not need the water at the top tanks. The psi gauge stays at about 100psi so I think there is enough pressure there at the pump…
    I am wondering if the issue is sizes of check valves I used ( they are 1.5 inches as they didn’t have 1 inch ones in stores here…
    Or could it be the placement of the delivery pipe which is laying down on the slope and in places it dips and goes up and down a few times before it goes up the way steeper slope near the farm. Could trapped air in the delivery pipe be the problem more than anything? if so should I try to relocate the pipe so that it is more in an upward sloping position at all times or should the pressure be enough to clear all air bubbles out of it? I also wanna install a check valve in the delivery line since reading a lot about it in this forum. maybe this will help?
    I heard there are valves to bleed the air out of the high points but is that reliable? please advise as to the best solution and if there is any way you can tell me the approximate flow I should expect at the tanks with my setup.
    Thanks so much!

    1. Its awesome that you have a ram pump! They can be so very helpful especially in a drought.

      If you were working with a lower head pressure i would say the first thing to consider is getting check valves that are the same size as the drive pipe or getting a drive pipe that is the same size as the check valves. This difference in size makes the pump much less efficient. Basically the smaller amount of water in the drive pipe has to close that large check valve and efficiency is lost. Now because you have so much head pressure you are still getting results but if your pump used the same size throughout you would see an increase in pressure. Because you have the extra hight on the waterfall you might can just increase the head by another 1 foot. If the head pressure is to high it will hold the check valves closed.

      As for the drive pipe I would likely start there. The way in witch it is laying is no issue. I would install the check valve about half way up to allow the water weight to be reduced on the pump itself.

      You might also have an issue with the tank being to small for the amount of pressure you are working with. Might try another 1 foot hight and see if it makes a difference. It is also worth looking to see if the pressure tank needs more than one innertube to fill the void.

      It has been my experience that 150 feet from a ram pump is about all you are going to get with the swing check valves. You might be able to change the waste valve to a modified spring valve and it will have more weight.

  31. Seth,

    Thank you so much for all your helpful info and taking time to answer everyone’s questions. If you have the time, I’d much appreciate some help too. Here’s my situation.

    I have 3 feet 7 inches of fall over 250 feet of stream running through a 2 inch pvc pipe. (shot with professional surveying equipment) Due to the shallow angle we found we had to have most of the delivery pipe at 2 inches to get a solid 1 inch supply at the bottom. That 250 feet of pipe feeds into a 2 inch stand pipe that is more than 3feet 7 inches high and then a 1 inch poly pipe line. three feet later, this comes into a 1 inch water ram I built. The delivery line out of the pump is 1/2 inch poly pipe and I need to lift water to 20 feet over about 100 feet of travel to get to my garden.

    My flow to the stand pipe is sufficient to maintain a standing head at 3 feet 7 inches even with the 1 inch pipe wide open. The water runs through the pump when connected with no problems. The swinging valves clack consistently, but faster than most other ram pumps I’ve seen videos of. Water will flow into the delivery line to a head of about 7-8 feet and then stop. When I fill the full 100 feet of delivery line with water and then lay it up the hill, it will stay full if the pump is off. As soon as you start opening the valve to the delivery line (very very slowly, and after letting the pump clack for a while to pressurize) all the water that is in the line back feeds down to the same 7-8 feet of head level. I can not get water to pump higher than that. I think I should be able to get a lift of at least 25 or so feet from a little over 3.5 feet of fall coming into the pump. Why is the water able to backfeed though the pump as is clacks?

    Things we’ve already tried. There are no air bubbles in the drive line. The volume is sufficient to maintain the head in the stand pipe. There are no air leaks in the pressure chamber. (3 feet by 3 inch pressure chamber) There is no dirt in the line, we have a very good screen over the intake. The pump is sitting level and solidly secured to a very heavy chunk of cedar.

    Do you have any suggestions on what is wrong? I and my friend who’s helping me have been working on this for a week now and are loosing serious sleep over it. Any ideas would be appreciated!

    Thanks for your time,


    1. Hello. Thank you for the kind words. It does sound like you have done your research on the ram and you have given this a good run. You should have the head pressure to get the water to a height of at least 20 feet.

      Here is my first thought. You are doing the right thing to have the supply line feed the stand pipe to a height above the 3 foot 7 inch mark. But the way I understand it you have a drive pipe that is only 3 feet long? Meaning the pipe that comes out of the stand pipe and feeds the pump is only 3 feet long? If this is the case then I would say make that drive pipe at least 15 feet long. What happens is the valve closes and sends the pressure wave back up the drive pipe but it returns so fast that the system does not have time to recover. So you are getting secondary waves in the pressure tank and that is keeping the second check valve open to let water out.

      So make that drive pipe around 15 to 20 feet long and see if that does not slow the pump down and let the pressure wave have its full effect. If you have extra pipe around then I would even make the drive pipe 40 or 50 foot. I have not tested the values but it seems as though 50 to 75 foot long is ideal for pressure wave.

      Let me know if this helps and we will go from there.

      1. Thank you so much for replying! Yes, I believe we had the drive pipe way to short. I didn’t really understand that adding the stand pipe made everything uphill of that not a part of the drive pipe anymore. We were just trying to get enough volume close to the pump and had been having a problem with that due to our long shallow angle on the creek, so we took the 2 inch pipe right up to the pump.

        We have now replaced the last piece of 2 inch pvc with a 21 foot galvanized 1 inch pipe. And moved the stand pipe to being behind that. And it’s working!

        We also pulled the whole pump apart and re put it together. The one check valve may have been sticking as well. The inline one that we could not see working seemed to be sticky when we had all the pieces apart. There was nothing in it that we could see, but after playing with it for a while it started to move more freely. So when we reassembled the pump, we placed that valve as the waste valve so we could see it’s operation.

        So wether it was a drive pipe issue, or a sticky valve, or a combination of both, I now have a nice little trickle of water flowing to my garden. Thank you again!


        1. Any time.
          There are a number of things that can cause the pump to work oddly but once you figure them out the ram pump is an awesome tool!
          I am happy you have figured out what the problem was and you are now pumping water! If you have other questions just let me know.

          Nice Tiny House you have.

  32. hey seth
    pleae help i build the ramp 1” inch sorcse and 1/2 ” inch delivery pipe but the presure is not so much to lfow the water up to hight my pressure chamber is of 2” inch is it ideal for that please help me out for ideal pressure chamber build for this ram pump

    1. Hello. In my 1″ pumps I use a 3″ pressure tank ~20″ tall.

      What is the head pressure of your source? And what height are you pumping to?

  33. hey seth

    thanks for the valuable relay my head pressure is 20 feet and have to pump the water up 20 feet please suggest and also for all assembley of 1 inch ram pump

    1. 20 feet of head pressure gives you the potential to pump to 140 feet so you should have more than enough to get water to your destination. I would recommend that you only use 4 feet of head to get the water to 20 feet. There is a free ebook here on the site that you can use to build your 1″ pump. Just reduce the components by 1/4″ The pressure tank I would use 3″ pipe.

  34. Hey Seth,
    Great website. I really appreciate the effort you have put in here to create a comprehensive guide to ram pumps. By far the best site on the net for hydraulic ram pumps.

    I built one this weekend that did not work. The pump cycled, but nothing ever came out the delivery pipe. I’m only dealing with 2 or 3 feet of head and a 100 foot drive pipe with 1 1/4 flex hose. When I bought the check valves they sold me Y pattern brass swing valves instead of the standard ones (T-shape) you use in your pumps. Looking at them in cross-section I suspect that that the Y pattern check valve might make the whole system significantly less efficient, especially on the waste valve. What are your thoughts?


    1. Thank you for checking out my site!

      I have actually never tried the y-shaped valves. It does seem like your assumption would be correct that efficiency would be reduced because of that shape. But first I have to ask what is the height of your delivery pipe? With 3 feet of head pressure you should be able to get approximately 20 feet of lift. If you are pumping higher than that you won’t see any water come out the top.

  35. Seth,
    Kudos to you for allowing this info & free to use!
    I have always wanted to build a a Ram Pump , ever since the 80’s.
    But, never could get concise info on it.
    can NOT wait to assemble the parts!
    Steve Mcc

    1. I am happy to share the knowledge! If you run into issues with your build send me a message and I will try my best to help.

  36. Seth thanks for the great information. I have a unique situation I have a stream approximately 200 feet long that is S shaped And limited incline upstream. I need to push water uphill a disgrace of 250 ft and approx. vertical 100 ft. Can you suggest a system?

    1. I enjoy these pumps a lot. So to get water up to 100 feet you will need approximately 15 feet of head pressure. The horizontal distance is of little concern is that vertical that gets you. To find out how much head pressure you have connect a few garden hoses together and place it in the creek. Bring the low end up until the water stops flowing and measure from the ground to the hose. Obviously it will be hard to measure 15′ like this. … unless you are really tall. You can split the hose up into sections and add the previous to the new value.

  37. Hi Seth!

    Thanks for all the info on your site! It helped me a lot in building my pump, but still it is not yet how it should be. Could you please help me out? Here’s the data:

    Drivepipe in PVC 1 inch, 1 bend of 60 degrees, length 19 feet
    Head 5 feet, flow about 15 gallons per minute
    I used brass flapper valves 1 inch all valves and piping for the pump.
    Pressure chamber 2 feet long, 4 inch wide PVC tube
    Delivery line 3/4 inch (should finally deliver over about 600 feet long, 35 feet elevation)

    I get the pump to run easily, the waste valve running at about once a second. But I only get the water to go up to 10 feet above the pump. .. My guess is that I don’t have enough pressure. Should I put more length on the drive pipe? Or could I fix it with some sort of weight on the waste valve? Or… do I seem to have an other problem here?

    Hope you have the answer! Regards,
    Wilco (Dutch living in France)

    1. Hello. That drive by it is a bit short but if you were cycling at about 1 time per second that is not bad. If you have 5 feet of head pressure you should be able to pump to almost 50 feet. So it sounds like you have a leak in a pressure tank or a leak in the delivery line. It may still be something else but that’s the first thing that comes to mind. Are you using threaded connectors for your pressure tank? That is oftentimes an issue

  38. Thanks for your quick reply! Would the drop in pressure be that severe that you go from a lift of 50 feet to only 10 from even a small leak? The drive pipe and the pressure chamber are glued, so I don’t expect it leaking there… But the bras fittings and gavanised pipes are threaded. I did use teflon tape in screwing everything together, but it might be there. I’ll check again tomorrow (now dark here in Europe).

    So you don’t think the problem is in the pressure build from the waste valve?

    Thanks again and I’ll report back!

    1. My apologies I mean you should be able to pump to 35 feet with 5 feet of head pressure. As the volume of air inthetank decreases the ability to pump higher also decreases. Can you send a pump picture to my email? That will help me see how things are built. Landtohouse at gmail.

  39. Great information, thank you!
    I need help working out if my source flow is 1,4gpm and the drop to the pump is 12m, with the 7:1 ratio it’s no problem to get the water up to 80m high, but I’m wondering what water flow should I roughly expect to get at 80m height?

    1. In most of my Ram pump setups I have not heard of going above 60 meters. There is one fellow who is going up to 85 meters I’m not sure entirely what he has done. With that much pressure the check valves do not last long. Because your flow rate is so small you would need to use a 1/2 inch pump. I am uncertain of the pumps production at this height.

  40. Hi Seth. I have a waterfall garden feature with a shallow flow about 15 mtrs in length ending with a pond. The water has to rise 4ft to the waterfall and the pond is 2ft deep. Can I use a ram pump to cycle the water to the waterfall and let it come back down into the pond.

    1. Hello.

      The ram pump can work within these parameters quite well the only issue is you have to have a constant supply of water and your closed system will not be able to supply that. Because the ram pump only has an efficiency of 40, roughly, you will soon find that all of the water is in the lower Pond and the pump has stopped. I would say you are much better off trying a solar pump or maybe even 2 to keep your cycle going.

  41. My first flapper value won’t shut when water is applied to the system? Water just pours out the open valve and no pressure can be built? Any ideas?

    1. That almost always means that there is air in the drive pipe. Getting this air out can be a real pain. I often lift the lower end of the pipe and then set it down quickly to flush the air out. Other things could be the pipe is not the same size as the check valves or the pipe is compressed at some point or there is a critter that has gotten into the drive pipe.

  42. Thanks for all of the instruction. I have constructed my first ram pump. It’s made with 1 1/4 pipe and then goes down to 3/4 on the output to a garden hose. The head is probably only 18 to 24 inches above the pump. The input is coming through corrugated pipe then into 4″ PVC for a total of 40′ and a lot of volume of water. The stand pipe is a 24″ long, 4″ PVC pipe and a bicycle tube inside. I am trying to pump the water through a 150′ garden hose up about 15′ to 20′. I am getting water coming out of the pump.

    My question is…what’s the optimal size and contents inside the stand pipe? Tube or noodle? 2″, 3″ or 4″ diameter? Height?

    1. Thank you for building a pump! IF you would like to see in improvement in your system I would recommend removing the corrugated pipe. A smooth pipe will allow a better pressure wave. I prefer the bike tube inside the pressure tank because it has better flexibility. As the water is surged into the tank the tube will have better compression than the noodle. For a 1-1/4″ pump I would go with 4″ pipe at around 19 to 20″ long.

      1. Thanks for the reply. I have my bicycle tube pretty inflated. Any recommendations on just how firm of an inflation on that tube?

        To clarify, the water source runs through 40 ft of 4″ corrugated and then into a 4″ 10 ft PVC pipe before being condensed down to 1 1/4″ piping for the pump.

        Due to the lack of drop from the head I’m considering a stand pipe. I’m going to insert it between the 4″ PVC and the 1 1/4″ pipe for the pump. I’m hopeful that will create more pressure to push the water coming out of the pump. It won’t pump all the way up the hill and it shuts the ram pump down under the pressure. The check valve just won’t open up.

      1. Ok, my dad built a RAM to irrigate our farm with. We put in 220 feet of drive pipe. The first 200 feet is 4 inch, then we dropped down to 20 feet of 2 inch. However, the pipe is in a fairly straight line- there is only about 3 feet of drop even with that much pipe. So we got everything laid out and hooked up the pipe and the pump won’t work. There are air bubbles coming out the entrance to the drive pipe. So my question is this- do we just not have enough pressure because we don’t have enough drop for the pump to work? I told him we need to dig a hole at least 8 feet deep and put the pump in the bottom and run the pipe to it. Please help! Lol!

        1. There might be a few things to consider here. First what size is your ram pump? The two check valves are what determine the size. The drive pipe needs to be the same size as the pump. So if your pump is 1″ then the drive pipe also needs to be 1″. Is your 4″ pipe smooth walled or corrugated? You can still use that 4″ pipe but you will need to install a stand pipe between 75 and 100 feet away from the pump and use a drive pipe that matches the pump size and make sure the drive pipe is not corrugated. 3 feet of head pressure (drop) will allow you to pump to a height of 21 feet above the pump. haha no 8 foot holes. They will only be filled with water. Let me know some of these things listed and I will see about getting your pump going.

          1. Ok let’s see. His pump is 1″. The drive pipe is smooth walled. And we need to pump the water up a hill with at least a 50 foot lift….

          2. With a 1″ ram pump you will need to have a 1″ drive pipe. you will need at least 8 feet of head pressure to get water to that height.

          3. I highly recommend that the drive pipe be at least 20 feet long. This will allow the pressure wave time to get to the end of the pipe and back to the pump without interfering with the cycle of the check valve.

  43. Seth,
    Have you ever experimented with the efficiency of a “Spring check valve” vs. a “Swing check valve” as the in-line check valve? I just added a spring check valve and it seems like I am getting twice the water out of the Ram.
    Maybee you can do an Adventure?

    1. That is a fun idea. I used the double swing valves in the early pumps I made. The version that I sell now has a swing valve for the waste valve and a spring valve as the inline. I do like the inline valve a lot better.

  44. Hi, I noticed there are 2 way to put the swing check valve. Which one better? after or before the air chamber? My drive pipe and swing check valve are 1″

    1. The waste valve (swing valve) must be on the drive pipe side of the pump. Now there is a design where the waste valve goes past the pressure tank with a T and the pressure wave goes back to the pressure tank with each cycle. It seems like this second design is less efficient but I have no proof of that. I prefer the design that I make because I prefer the inline design.

  45. Hi!
    Just built a PVC ram pump of your design and need some help trouble shooting.

    The pump has 100′ of 1 1/4″ intake line at approximately 8′ of head. The outline is 3/4″ at approximately 410′ and maybe 75′ of head.
    At first, the pump ran with both ball valves open, but nothing was coming out of the out pipe.

    So I shut it off and tried again, opened the in valve to 90% open, purge the in of air, open the out about 50%, and it started to do something different. It would open and close quickly and then start to slow, and get stuck with the brass valve open, still no water coming out the end. I spent alot of time manually moving the brass check valve, still not much changed.

    What gives?
    Any suggestions?

    1. Hello. To get water to a height of 75 feet lift you will need a minimum head pressure of 11 feet. With only 8 feet of head pressure you can expect to get water to 56 feet.

      Often when the pump opens and closes quickly that means there is air in the drive pipe.

  46. Hello. I have a river beside my property that fluctuates drastically. I need to move water approx. 40 feet in height, and a distance of close to 400 feet. My question is can I draw water from the river while using a water storage tank to power the ram? The ram pump would need to be located near the water storage tank above the rivers flood stage.

    1. The ram pump needs head pressure to operate. Is your river flat or does it have sizable rapids? To get water up to 40 feet you will need a head pressure of 6 feet but 7 or 8 would be best. The 400 feet is not problem. You can install the ram pump out of the water as long as you have sufficient head pressure still going to the pump.

        1. The Ram pump is not going to be a practical pump for your river. Without head pressure the pump will not start. You might want to look into a river pump. I have started testing a DIY version but it has not worked yet. Here is a link to that pump if you would like to check it out:
          http://www.riferam.com/pumps.html Sadly they are rather expensive.

  47. Hello Seth,

    First of all, thank you very much for sharing your knowledge about Ram pumps. It is very informative. I am involve in outreach work with indigenous Aeta’s here in the Philippines. One of their problems is hygeine and we have decided to build a community toilet for them. For their water source, we initially thought of going solar until I realized that there is a stream with about 8′ of head just about 100′ from their community toilets. I have read, check, reread and reviewed your build guide and I found it quite informative. I have decided to purchase the components mentioned in your build guide. Unfortunately in our place, it is very hard to purchase 1 1/4 spring check valve but the 1 1/4 swing check valve is readily available. Can I use 2 swing valves instead of a swing valve and a spring valve? If yes, what are the dis-advantages of using 2 swing valves. Thank you very much for your reply. As of now the community is very excited to finally have water in their place without having to walk a far distance. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. My apologies for the reply delay. It is just fine to use two swing valves. In my early tests I used two of them per pump. There are two main reasons that I use the spring valves. 1 they are a little less expensive. 2. When tightening the pump together it is easier to align the parts with the spring valve. When you use the two swing valves you will want the second one to have the flap swinging from the top. You can see in my early test that I have two swing valves: https://youtu.be/JvqA6zb1k_U?t=3m14s

  48. Hi Seth,

    It’s very kind of you to share this information.

    I’m in New Zealand and unfortunately we have a lot of whale strandings. Incredibly people still resort to carrying buckets of water from the sea to keep the whales wet and cool, but it seems much more logical to have some type of pump to get the water from the sea to the stranded whales. I understand the water for these pumps has to be falling, so I’m wondering if wave action would be enough? If not, do you have any thoughts about what other type of pump might do the trick for whale strandings? I’d like to build or purchase some pumps to be located at our worst areas for whale strandings to give the whales a better chance at survival.


    1. Hello. That is a fun idea but sadly the ram pump has to have a constant flow of falling water. The wave idea would not allow the pump to access the head pressure with every cycle of the pump. Sometime the pump would try to pull water and there would be no wave. I wonder if a solar pump would be ideal for this situation? Years ago I watched a video of a bicycle powered pump that was used to bring water up for building sandcastles. I cant find the video though.

  49. Is it possible to pump a water on ground level up to 20 m high? for a mid-high storey building?
    Please reply! I gotta know! – thankyou

    1. The ram pump needs head pressure to operate. To get water to 20m you would need a head pressure of 3m. This means that you would need the water on the ground to fall from the source to the pump by 3 m. This would get water to 20m hight. I hope this helps.

  50. Hello, i have a question. I am about to set up a ram pump, now i do not need to send water up basically my system is always going down hill. I was wondering if by using a ram pump i will get a more steady water flow and a better water pressure as the tank starts running out of water. I will be using a 1500 gallon tank. Thank you for your help in advance.

    1. The ram pump is actually only good for pumping uphill. In a situation where you are taking water down hill only you are better off just siphoning and letting gravity take care of the rest.

      When you place a ram pump in a situation where the water only goes downhill the pump will stop. The water will bypass the pump and go right out the other end.

  51. Hi Seth,

    Been viewing your videos and i made a Ram pump that has 1 inch drive pipe, 2 inch tank and 1/2inch delivery pipe. From a height of 2 meters of water with 8 meters of drive pipe, i was able to reach a pressure of 30 PSI. My question is if I make my drive pipe bigger than the check valve say a 1 1/4 inch drive pipe for a 1 inch check valve would it do any improvement in the pressure build up? With my current set up, I was able to lift water up to around 40 meters with water flow rate at the delivery pipe of 150 liters/24 hrs @ 29-30 PSI.

    1. Thank you for watching the videos! It is actually best to keep the drive pipe the same size as the waste valves. This is because the pressure wave needs to be the same size going and coming from the pump to source. To increase the pressure you can use a ridged drive pipe such as PVC or you can increase the head pressure.

  52. Hi Seth;
    We have a small river at the bottom of our property, but it is flat (there is no fall to it). I want to pump the water 150′ uphill, and the approximate run is 700′. Because there is no head to speak of, I am curious if I were to use a gas or solar powered pump to lift the water out of the river into a cistern placed higher up on the bank, then ran the water down from an outlet in the cistern to a ram pump placed approximately 21′ below at the edge of the river would that be sufficient to push the water up 150′? How ample must the flow from the cistern be to allow this to work (I am assuming that a solar powered pump would have minimal flow). Or is there some other solution to my problem?

    1. Hello. To get water up the hill at 150 feet of lift you would need to have 21 feet of head pressure. BUT this is just to get the water to that point. You will want a little more head pressure to get usable flow at the top. The flow needed to keep a 1-1/4″ ram pump going is 8gpm. The small 1/2″ pump only needs 3gpm to operate. If your solar pump can handle this flow rate you can use the ram pump like this. One thing to consider is that 21 feet of head pressure will cause the ram pump waste valve to wear quickly.

  53. Hello Seth ! What happens if delivery pipe outlet is lower than the pump? does it still add pressure on the output?

    1. Hello. Sadly if the delivery pipe is lower than the pump the system will stop and the water will flow out of the pump by siphon. There is no extra pressure increase.

  54. Hi, I’ve noticed that you sometimes close the valve at the output of the pump to get it started, and the pump functions fine, just pumping out the waste line, then you gradually open it. My question is this: Rather than using a storage container, would it be possible to have a check valve in line near the elevated usage area, and have a shut off valve at the end of the delivery line, and use this shut off valve to start and stop the flow each day. Would the pump continue to run while the valve was closed, and have the output flow return after the valve was opened back up? Or would the pump need to be re-primed each day?

    1. Hello. It is very possible to have a shutoff valve at the delivery end of the pump. You can turn off the water at the final location with valve and the pump will continue to work without outputting water.

      There is an issue that can come about though. If the pressure builds too high in the delivery pipe there is a chance that opening the valve will cause the pump to stop because too much pressure is lost at the pump. If you hill is high enough this is not an issue though.

  55. Seth, I need this very badly for several different reasons. 1. To water livestock 2. To help the water evaporation in a small pond and 3. To help water plants. I have a running water source, the embankment is about 6 feet high depending on the water level. Which one of these do I need to buy?

    1. The ram pump can lift water out of a 6 foot ditch with ease. To do this you will need around 2 feet of head pressure (drop in water)

      Each ram pump size can lift water to this height. The difference is the amount of water that is required to run the pump as well as the amount out at the top. Do you know how much water is flowing if your water source? The small pump needs 2GPM while the large pump needs 8GPM to operate.

  56. Im contemplating my options for pumping water from a good flowing stream (some small rapids) up to my homesite. The water will need to gain 300 ft elevation and a distance of 450 feet.
    Unfortunately, building intermittent holding ponds is not an option (as you can see it is very steep) and it would need to make it in one go. I would also prefer no to use gasoline/diesel or and fossil fuel.
    I’ve been try to understand these terms of standing pipe, head pressures and so forth but not sure I grasp it all totally…
    The amount of water that comes out at the top isnยดt very important as I get about 5 gallons per hour we should be good. I will also have a catchment system (we get consistent rains) and I plan to have it into a gravity fed holding tank with any runoff ultimately going into irrigation and back down to the stream.
    Is a hydraulic ram a realistic option with wear and tear on moving the parts?
    Solar pump?

    1. The ram pump is great for pumping out of a creek but there are a few limitations that you need to consider. The max lift height that I have every pumped with the ram pump is 185 feet. This is due to the weight of the waste valve. To get water to this height you would need around 25 feet of head pressure (drop in water at the source to the pump)

      In this case I do not think that a ram pump is going to get water to the top. Now you might be able to get water up a good distance and then use a solar pump to get the water the rest of the way up. I have very little experience with solar pumps.

  57. Seth,
    I will be 65 in March 2021, and have watch your videos. They are really well done. I built my first pump with my Dad in 1975 in central TN. Fantastic results ! But the real reason I am writing to you is that I wanted to tell you about seeing my first pump in 1966. It was made from a log. I was only 10, but this was fascinating ! But, I was never able to find the original pump when I was old enough to want to replicate it. Several people remembered seeing it, but didn’t know the details. I thought it was incredible, and wanted to ask if you have seen one in your studies.

    1. Oh wow a ram pump built out of a log! That is very interesting. I have seen some very creative ideas and designs but never one made from a log!

  58. I have a spring approximately 200feet below my homesite. About 5gpm output. Will a water ram pump the 200feet vertical elevation? Any suggestions on size?

    1. Hello. The ram pump that I have here on Land To house has a max lift of around 180 feet. This requires 25 feet of input head pressure. Any more than this and the waste valve will not close.

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