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

Warming trend

Snow retreating toward the hillside.The temperatures rose above freezing at last, and the month-old snow began to creep back toward the hill.  The first daffodil leaves peeked through the soil in the sunniest spot, and an amorous cardinal started to sing.

I celebrated by washing our laundry, pumping water down the hill from the thousand gallon tank since our water line is still frozen.  Then I turned off the pump...and water kept right on flowing.  Gotta love capillary action!  Now I know that I only need to use electricity to get the suction started --- after that, water will flow four feet up out of the tank all by itself!

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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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As you have found out syphons are a good thing to know about. As long as the discharge is lower than the suction and no air is let into the suction, you can lift liquids quite high. Many pumps have a suction lift of up to 28 feet so it is possible to move a lot once you get it going and turn off the pump. Just remember the only enemy of a syphon is an air leak.
Comment by vester Sat Jan 16 10:21:14 2010
28 feet with the pump off --- that's amazing!!! I can't believe I've been running the pump the whole time in situations like this --- a waste of energy!
Comment by anna Sat Jan 16 12:50:11 2010
We've had to clear frozen water lines many times over the years. They are 1" black plastic pipes. What we do is feed a 1/2" plastic pipe up (or down) the frozen pipe feeding hot water into the end of the smaller diameter pipe. This drills through the ice and clears it out of the larger frozen pipe. A funnel on the end of the half inch pipe works out in the field or if you're close enough to the house connect it to the hot water of the house with a hose - just avoid back flow to your potable supply. Not an issue in this case though.
Comment by Walter Jeffries Sat Jan 16 15:57:32 2010
Those are really good ideas --- I'll keep them in mind for days when we really need water. At the moment, we tend to take the wait-and-see approach --- if the lines are frozen, we wait and see if they'll thaw tomorrow. :-)
Comment by anna Sat Jan 16 18:24:37 2010

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