Archives for January 2015

The Great Disaster Kit collection – Buying a Pump for your Water Barrel

Buying a Pump for your Water Barrel.

Onward in our quest to outfit the family in case of water problems in Portland (like the e-coli scare of last year) or in case the Pacific Subduction Zone decides to make a move on us.

As you may have read in our previous installment, Family Ready for the Big One?, we bought our water barrel from Alberto at Myers Containers.

Next, we needed a pump to siphon the water out of the barrel when disaster arose. Woody and I have a mechanical pump of the old farm-home type. We’ve set it up in a barrel pond at our home. The grandkids and I enjoy playing with it on a sunny day, but its pipe is bigger than the opening in the plastic water barrel. Besides, for our family Christmas, we needed five pumps for our five families. Farm pump in rain barrel 2IMG_1851

Myers Containers doesn’t sell pumps, but when it came time to buy one, Alberto brought in his colleague, George, who had studied the pump situation. I asked him about the pumps I had seen online. They were plastic versions of the old pump handle seen in the farms of our grandmothers.

George told us he had once ordered a pump of the type I described from the mid-western company that I had found online.

“What you don’t want is to rely on something with plastic parts in an emergency. I had that type and within two weeks it broke.”

So, what do we want?

“Pick up a metal pump that works on the wheel mechanism instead of the siphon being created by the rise of the handle. I think you can get one at a really good hardware store, and it will save you the cost of shipping.”

We went to True Value’s Parkrose Hardware at N.E. 106th and Sandy Boulevard. And there we found exactly what George described to us. water pump closeup,IMG_1856The price was the same as the online order for plastic, about $65. We were going to save time and big shipping costs. Plus, because we ordered five, Parkrose Hardware gave us a discount. We got the Ironton Rotary Hand Pump, item # 37903. It is made with a cast iron casing and three sections, totaling 38 inches of telescoping suction pipe. The impeller (the rotary thing) is made of carbonized resin. I expect to have this pump in action for a long time.

It turns out that the wheel mechanism gives you a continuous flow of about a quart every three cranks. The flow can be controlled by speeding up or slowing down. That’s an improvement over the farm pump that delivers a whooshing splash after a good deal of priming each time you use it.

Thus, I won’t be breaking my arm to get at the water I’m storing in our Big Blue barrel. Here is a photo of Iron Ton, being tested in the water pump demo,IMG_1861kitchen sink. (Did you think I’d test it in the driveway at today’s 36 degrees?)

And here is our Big Blue in his new home on the north side of the house. We decided against storing in the garage because we have not yet cleaned a nice place for him there. Maybe next summer when we empty and refill him, he’ll have indoor shelter.20141214_124326

Next? Guess what? It matters what hose you use to put water in the barrel. Who knew there’d be so much to learn in this quest for an emergency kit?

Tooon In.