Two Letters Re: Experience with a Shallow Well Hand Pump

Two Letters Re: Experience with a Shallow Well Hand Pump

Mr. Editor:
Jim W. in Indiana did a wonderful thing, he became utility independent for his water. Not to be critical but constructive, I didn’t see where he made any mention of drilling a small (1/8”) hole in his drop pipe down into the casing about five feet down, to allow for water to drain out of the top section of the pipe to avoid the water from freezing within it. One would think that Indiana might experience some below freezing temperatures. Without drilling the relief hole, one could experience some unexpected problems.

On another note that may be a tad critical, I might question the wisdom in the use of pressure treated wood anywhere near my water supply. While one may have to get some help in the construction of the base, I think a steel or aluminum base may be a more prudent and safe installation. Having said that, Congratulations to Jim! , – Fatboy

Hi James,

I’d advise the contributor of the hand pump article to separate his pump from the pressure treated lumber. I noted that he used stainless steel bolts for mounting, but if his pump is cast iron and is in contact with the PT wood he may be severely disappointed in the results in just two or three years. The current formulation for pressure treated lumber (ACQ–commonly called “copper-quat) is much more corrosive than the old chromium-arsenate formulation. I fully expect a raft of class action lawsuits after an earthquake/hurricane/tornado knocks a bunch of recently built homes off their foundations and it is discovered that all the foundation hold-downs have disintegrated. For the most part the general public is unaware of this problem, and likewise many contractors. Very few folks are opening up five year old walls to check on hardware. Some folks are coming across the problem however, and the word is starting to get out. This letter to the editor of The Journal of Light Construction (July, 2009) is consistent with my own experiences with this material.

I would advise the contributor with the pump to separate the pump (and any other metal which may be in contact at the well) from the pressure treated lumber with a piece of SST sheet metal. Alternatively, instead of using the pressure treated lumber, use Ipe wood. Ipe is becoming more readily available due to its popularity for decking material. It is so dense it will not float, and it is exceptionally durable material. However, it does require pre-drilling before you attempt to put a screw in it.

Thank you for the blog. Please keep up the good work. – Tom F.