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Extremely cheap AirLift well pump ~50 bucks  RSS feed

 
Steve Wylde
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I have an unused well on my property that's about 80 feet deep. I was on the verge of buying a convertible jet pump but then I started searching for "build cheap well pump" and came across some good info on Airlift pumps. I don't need consistent flow as I will be pumping into a storage tank so the airlift pump was the perfect fit. I bought everything I need for around 50 bucks. I already have an air compressor so all I needed was some 1 inch and 1/2 inch poly pipe and some fittings. I thought I'd share with you some of the best / most practical info I could find online for anyone who wants to put something simple together without worrying about all the design theory and math, so here are some links for anyone interested:

http://ecosustainablevillage.com.ip01-web23.net/air_lift_water_pumps.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVC-z3GyLk8&feature=plcp

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxy7kVGGoTk&feature=plcp
 
Steve Wylde
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Well I dropped the lines and got everything setup and ran air to the air supply line and nothing happened. The air supply line must have kinked when I pushed it down the well because it builds up all the pressure in the line. When I unplug the compressor air line from the well air supply line all the air that was stored in the well air supply line rushes out. I hooked up air to the water supply line to see if it was stopped up for some reason but it is clear and I hear the well bubbling. The well air supply line must have kinked or be blocked somehow. I tried to pull the whole assembly up but the assembly jams up on something about 30 feet down and I can't get it out. Argh!! I think a hose clamp must be jamming on a well pipe coupler or something. I've got to figure out some way to get that thing out or I'll just have to cut the lines and let it drop into the well and run new lines. It's amazing how what should be an incredibly simple task turns into a real bitch sometimes. :/
 
Amedean Messan
pollinator
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Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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My only problem with these is that they are extremely inefficient.
 
Robert Ray
gardener
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Location: Cascades of Oregon
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I've used that set up several times to muck out shallow wells that are drawing sand.
 
Steve Wylde
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Some more details on the pump. It is simply a 1" inch poly pipe and a 1/2" poly pipe that i connected with a 1" T fitting with a 1/2" right angle barb adapter on the center hole. These two poly pipes are tie wrapped together and run out of the well. The other end of the 1" T has an 8" piece of 1" poly so the air doesn't blow out of that end instead of going up the pipe.

I run the compressed air in the 1/2" poly at about 20 - 25 psi.

I was able to pull the pipes up the other day and found that the 1/2 inch was stopped up with a soil plug because, like a dumbass, I started pumping the first time around while the pipe was sitting on the bottom of the well. Unplugged it, dropped it back in the well and it works fine.

It might not be the most efficient well pump but I already had the compressor and the whole pipe assembly cost somewhere around $50 or less. Also, there's nothing to wear out and I can clean up the crap that has accumulated in the bottom of the well with it since there are no moving parts (the well wasn't properly sealed and has been sitting for god knows how long, the bottom is definitely funky).
 
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