John Whitehurst. Maybe you’ve heard of him, but you probably haven’t. Back in the late 1700’s he invented a device that allowed water to be carried uphill to it’s destination only by the power of moving water such as a stream, river or creek. After several iterations by other inventors over the years, the device today is called the hydraulic ram pump.
The concept is quite simple. Flowing water moves into the chamber and pushes air upwards. As the air is compressed it bounces back and pushes the water into the hose or tube and carries it along it’s way until it is delivered into it’s intended reservoir.
The process isn’t completely efficient as approximately 90% of the water is expelled through the out valve while 10% is pushed along for use. But that 10% is free and even though the pump isn’t completely efficient, the remaining 90% moves along for someone else’s use leaving you more than enough to suffice.
Here is a simple diagram of how the process works:
Here is a video of how it works:
The ancient Romans depended on much of their water supply by well-constructed Aqueducts that traveled hundreds of miles. But these systems depended on gravity and were very expensive to build and maintain.
Rain water collection systems are a good idea, but with a tiny house you may or may not have adequate square feet on your roof to collect enough water needed.
A hydraulic ram pump uses no energy except the inertia of moving water and lasts years, often with little or no maintenance.
Many villages throughout the world that previously had to carry water uphill are adopting the hydraulic ram pump to deliver water directly to them. This allows them to focus on other things and makes life much easier.
A hydraulic ram pump would most likely make an excellent off the grid solution for your tiny house assuming there is flowing water nearby. This is even more true if the land your house sits on doesn’t perk or having a well dug is too costly.
When considering a hydraulic ram pump solution, you have two options. Build one yourself or purchase one prebuilt. Here is a pretty good how-to on building one yourself. You can buy them prebuilt from lots of online retailers.
Here is a video of a hydraulic ram pump system in action. Virtually free off the grid water delivered directly to where you need it:
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