The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Lessons learned from irrigation pump replacement adventure

punping water from a creek with a 220 volt submersible pump from Myers

We figured out the problem was not with the wiring. I'm still glad we upgraded to the 12 gauge wire, which might help our new pump last longer.

The PVC pipe I cut in half to hold the pump turned out to be a mistake. It was allowing clay to accumulate next to the motor, which might have been causing it to overheat and then to shut down. We deleted that "improvement" today.

repairing a sprinkler head unit with Craftsman channel locks up close and personalAnother mistake might have been upgrading the power from 1/2 horsepower to 3/4. We decided to take back the 3/4 horsepower pump to Lowes and order a 1/2 horsepower pump from our local hardware store. The new pump is made by Myers, and the step down in power cost more than the Lowes 3/4 pump by about 50 dollars, which I feel fine about. I'm confident our local guy is not gouging us on the price and think that this may be a higher quality device.

It sure is nice to not have a garden full of thirsty vegetables.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Mud will kill a pump. You need a filter on the inlet, and you should always have the pump suspended in the water off the creek bed (either with a buoy or by hanging into the creek from a wire that is attached to another wire strung between two posts, one on either side of the creek). Hope this helps.
Comment by Mark Mon Aug 8 02:13:51 2011
Yep, we've made a new arrangement that keeps the pump out of the mud better. It's still not perfect since the creek isn't deep enough to allow the pump inlet to be more than a few inches off the bottom, but hopefully it'll help.
Comment by anna Mon Aug 8 08:31:41 2011
I'm in the process on trying to figure out how to irrigate from my creek. My main question is: why did you choose to use a submersible well pump? Did you consider pumps closer to the garden/house that sucks up creek water via a long hose? Thanks!
Comment by Dave V. Fri Jul 13 20:44:59 2012

Dave V --- The creek is a good distance away and downhill from our garden, which means we had to pay attention to pressure to ensure we still had some when the water got to where it was going. After some research, we discovered that submersible pumps give you more pressure in that situation, and the sump pump types just aren't powerful enough to get water up our hill. (Sump pumps would really have been more appropriate, though, if we could have used them, since they're made to handle the bit of debris that inevitably ends up in the creek.)

A non-submersible pump that sucks water rather than pushing water generally only operates if you don't have much vertical distance to cover. So, your first step should be to measure both the vertical and horizontal distance you want to move water, then use those numbers as you're researching your pump. Good luck!

Comment by anna Sat Jul 14 07:41:31 2012

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