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Old 01-22-2022, 12:36 PM   #1
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Water Tank as Storage for House Use During Power Outages

Hi everyone,

TOPIC: How to store water in our trailer for use in providing water to our house when the well is down due to power outages.

BACKGROUND: We live in the California Sierra foothills - also known as wildfire country. We occasionally have "planned" power outages when the wildfire potential is high. When this occurs, I use our two small 2kW honda generators to power the refrigerator, lights, TV, fans etc. However, the generators are not large enough to power our well, so we are without water every power outage.

In the summertime, during an outage, I roll out 200' of white hose to get "city" water from my wonderful neighbor. I bought an adapter and connect the hose to a house faucet. This uses the pressure of the city water to supply the house. Each outage I give them a bottle of wine to thank them for turning water into wine.

Unfortunately, right after Christmas we were hit with a heavy snowfall that broke many trees and snapped large branches all over our area. Since they had to plow the road, my "hose to neighbor's house" approach will not work. This power outage lasted EIGHT and a half days - no water!

Needless to say, filling up 1 gallon water jugs from my neighbor's faucet, and using them to provide toilet water was a major pain. (We used about 10 gal / day for flushing).

So, aside from spending $10k on a "whole house generator" (like many of my elderly neighbors) or buying a third separate generator for the well, I want to know how I can use the trailer's 80 gal freshwater tank to connect to the house for use in toilets and hand washing.

SPECIFIC CONCERNS:
1. Since the water must be in the trailer before the power goes out, it must be kept fresh - how, do I treat the water so I'm not draining 80 gallons onto the ground every couple of weeks? Since it will be filled with well water, it will have no city sterilization chemicals. Do I need to keep some chlorine in the water, if so, what is the ratio of bleach to water?

2. How do I connect the trailer to the house? Will I have to connect a hose to an adapter on the fresh water drain of the trailer?

3. How to pressurize the system - do I need an inline pump to pressurize the house?

Thank you in advance for your input!


Peter
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Old 01-22-2022, 12:53 PM   #2
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Fill it with 'city water' and it's good for up to 6 months

Fill it with Well water.....add some chorine and it is good for up to 6 months
*1/8 teaspoon per gallon

**Good set of filters......debris/sediment, carbon at minimum


Cold water Low Point drain......install a shutoff valve with garden hose connection so you can connect your hose and then turn pump.
Cold Low point will be pressurized by pump
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Old 01-22-2022, 12:55 PM   #3
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I feel you.
Living in the Blue Ridge mountains, we have power outages several times a year. If it’s more than two days, our backup plan is to move into the rv. We keep it full of well water until freezing temps force us to winterize. In winter, we drain it, but keep about 50 gal of water in the basement for washing and flushing. There’s no problem leaving well water in the rv tank as long as it’s free of bacteria. We had to flush the rv tank with bleach recently because we found some algae in our home water filters. But after testing the water there wasn’t a need to shock the well. We had made the mistake of leaving the lights on I. The basement for several weeks, long enough for algae to grow in the filters. So, my take is, it’s safe to just leave the tank full, and empty it as you normally would, as long as you’re confident about the cleanliness of the water coming from the well.
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Old 01-22-2022, 01:50 PM   #4
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We've had RV's for over 50 years. The last 40 years, they've been kept on the side of our house. We look at our DP as our earthquake shelter. We're also in California and get the third world power outages used by Edison to punish people for suing them. Sorry. went off on a tangent there.

We've been leaving the RV water tank full for the last 40 years. We also top it off the fuel tank when we come home from a trip. We lose power, not water, so we use the 8K gen to power the house. In all those years, we've never drained out the water. We just keep adding to it as needed. We've never had a water quality issue.

Our water is City water and is heavily treated so it's fine. If you have to fill with your well water, you should probably treat it if you're not doing so already.

Lastly, the Harbor Freight 3.5K Predator generator gets great reviews. Many around here have bought them for the power outages. It should be powerful enough to run your well pump. It even has a wireless remote start available. $1000.00 with tax, they come on sale every so often.

https://www.harborfreight.com/3500-w...ator+generator
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Old 01-22-2022, 01:53 PM   #5
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I'd say you'd be good to go for a few months with unchlorinated well water. Like Old Biscuit mentioned, adding chlorine would most likely keep it good for a long time. Myself, I'd just make it a point to refill the tank with fresh about every six months. If concerned about drinking the water, just use it for the toilets, bathing, and washing of the dishes. Get some bottled water and keep stored for drinking and cooking.

A cheap contractor's 220 volt genset could be bought to use with the well pump but then you have its maintenance and gasoline storage to think about.
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Old 01-22-2022, 04:27 PM   #6
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No portable generator can run a high power well pump. But we don’t worry about it. It’s not a problem to not have running water for a few days, as we store enough water for washing and flushing for a week. Bigger problem is heat in winter. Fortunately, we have a fireplace. We use our gennie to run our home fridge and a power station to power phones and computers/iPads. We haven’t had to move into the rv yet.
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Old 01-22-2022, 05:48 PM   #7
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While I was building our house and before we even had power I had a generator I could hook up to my well to provide water.

I actually bought a ~10KW generator head from Harbor Freight and rigged up a mounting system and attached it to my Craftsman Lawn Mower. Just had to get the right size/ratio pulleys for correct RPM so the generator would be ~60hz. I used the clutch to start the generator and monitor the voltage and hz using a Kilawatt. Worked pretty good. My well is ~200 ft deep, pushing the water ~400 ft from the well head. Well pump is a 1HP. Didn't stress the generator one bit.

It wasn't pretty but it worked, had ~$300 invested in it.


I also bought a 300 gallon tote/tank that I filled with water for misc stuff. The property had a pretty good slope on it, I set it at the top of the hill and let gravity do it's job. But I also had a 12 volt pump that I could use to pump the water to other locations. I bought the tote at a salvage type place along with some 30 gallon barrels I could easily move around.

When you are remote you have to get a little resourceful!
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Old 01-22-2022, 07:08 PM   #8
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Brian, you may want to check the running current of your well pump.
You might be surprised that you may be able to run the pump off of one of your generators (if the pump is 120 vac). There are 1/2 hp submersible pumps that draw less than 8 amps.
Also, if you plan to use your well water in the fresh water tank, you may want to supplement the type of filter you use to fill the fresh water tank
(Like Old Biscuit said).

You could email the "RVWATERFILTERSTORE.COM" and they can direct you to the correct filters.

Good Luck.


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Old 01-22-2022, 07:21 PM   #9
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I run my well pump,refrigerator, lights and oil burner from a 5500 watt generator. Have enough power left to make coffee. I turn the refrigerator off every other day to run the freezer for several hours.
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Old 01-23-2022, 05:11 AM   #10
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Sorry didn’t mean to imply that a small generator couldn’t run ANY well pump. Mine is 2Hp, 325 ft deep, and 400 ft plus 100ft more elevation from well head. It requires 8000 starting watts.
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Old 01-23-2022, 05:53 AM   #11
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We lived totally of grid for 10 years. You can buy a 12VDC well pump and drop it down the same well beside you existing well pump.

I ran mine off solar. Very low volume but the thing ran all day and kept my 500 gallon (not in the RV) water tank full for years. My well was only 100' but we never had an issue.

Check the solar system suppliers. I suspect those pumps are still available. I just did a search and there are dozens available depending on your needs.
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Old 01-23-2022, 08:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacwjames View Post
I actually bought a ~10KW generator head from Harbor Freight and rigged up a mounting system and attached it to my Craftsman Lawn Mower. Just had to get the right size/ratio pulleys for correct RPM so the generator would be ~60hz. I used the clutch to start the generator and monitor the voltage and hz using a Kilawatt. Worked pretty good. My well is ~200 ft deep, pushing the water ~400 ft from the well head. Well pump is a 1HP. Didn't stress the generator one bit.

It wasn't pretty but it worked, had ~$300 invested in it.

When you are remote you have to get a little resourceful!


Well color me impressed, I would have never thought of a solution with the riding mower. I always come across something on this forum that I keep in the back on my mind.
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Old 01-23-2022, 09:55 AM   #13
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duster73 View Post
Well color me impressed, I would have never thought of a solution with the riding mower. I always come across something on this forum that I keep in the back on my mind.

Well, now I'm blushing.



It was kind of a crazy idea but the more I thought about it the more I thought it would work. It actually worked very well and being on the mower it was moved around pretty easy. The generator head itself is pretty heavy.

The one thing I did learn was that I could try to mow steep hills. Tried it one time and the back rear drive wheels lost traction and I took a ride, brakes wouldn't work either. Only tried it once.
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Old 01-23-2022, 09:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marine359 View Post
Sorry didnít mean to imply that a small generator couldnít run ANY well pump. Mine is 2Hp, 325 ft deep, and 400 ft plus 100ft more elevation from well head. It requires 8000 starting watts.
I understand, I made sure that the amp draw of the pump matched the generator head and that the pump would meet my needs as far as GPM based on the pump curve and head loss. My only concern was voltage drop of the system when it was wired at the house so I used 6 awg wire from the house to the well head. It seemed like overkill but was worth the effort and cost.

Worked out great.
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