New and Improved Solar Water Tank

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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,298
Northern NH
After a mostly successful trial of my system to supply water to my garden from a spare surface well last year I had to upgrade to a new tank and decided to upgrade the pump. The first picture was the trial system. I was using standard bilge pump to pump out of the well which worked early in the season but as the water level dropped one pump ran out of pump head so I added the blue barrel with its own pump. So the well pump pumped up to the barrel and then the barrel pump moved the water to the tank. The tank was probably 30 years old and free but lacking a frame it would bulge out. It eventually sprung a leak on a flex point.

well pump.jpg

Here is the new version, the blue barrel is gone as I bought a new DC pump with higher lift (up to 220 feet) https://www.nemopumps.com/nemo-pump/ Its connected to the three solar panels on top of the well which add up to around 180 watts in full sun (they are over 20 years old and still put out power). For now I manually turn on the pump if I need to when its sunny. There is a float switch in the top of the tank that turns off the pump when it nearly full. I would like to find a low voltage disconnect switch but all the ones I have found need a battery in the loop.

It does not put out a lot of pressure but enough to run a small lawn sprinkler in my garden. Unfortunately I have not found a soaker hose that will work long term. They flow for a few days and then stop flowing.

20220531_095456[1].jpg
 
Last edited by a moderator:

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,745
WI, Leroy
commercial soakers need pressure to weep , very tiny holes/ slits they will gunk up depending on water minerals
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,298
Northern NH
Yup, I started with the standard ones and then went with low pressure advertised to work with rain barrels. I did not see a lot of difference. I did drill holes in one of them and it sort of worked.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,730
South Puget Sound, WA
commercial soakers need pressure to weep , very tiny holes/ slits they will gunk up depending on water minerals
Over time they can also gunk up with internal algae buildup. I quit using them many years ago.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,298
Northern NH
This water supply is from an old well with zero water treatment. The tank sits in the sun with an open top so it heats up and does form some algae. Obviously for garden water I do not want to treat it, the water is "free" from the local fairly reliable ground water source while my household water comes from 300' down in a tight granite aquifer so I will just top apply with a sprinkler.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,910
Downeast Maine
Over time they can also gunk up with internal algae buildup. I quit using them many years ago.
My guess was some kind of microbial biofilm, but probably not algae unless the soaker hoses allow light to pass through. Currently we are watering our garden by hand twice a day on sunny days, but I am interested in automating this a little bit. Do soaker hoses powered by normal house well water have more longevity/resistance to gunking up?
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,298
Northern NH
My experience is soaker hoses on household pressure seem to work better. My house pressure is between 20 and 40 psi. The tank is obviously maybe 3 psi.
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,745
WI, Leroy
Seem to work ok for me, working off household pressure- shared well. had a lot of rain so won't need them until later on.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,730
South Puget Sound, WA
My guess was some kind of microbial biofilm, but probably not algae unless the soaker hoses allow light to pass through. Currently we are watering our garden by hand twice a day on sunny days, but I am interested in automating this a little bit. Do soaker hoses powered by normal house well water have more longevity/resistance to gunking up?
Yes, my term may not be correct. Our water is from treated, artesian springs mostly. The soaker hoses got pressurized water. The film built up over time and got worst overwinter. By the second year, the flow was diminished and as the season went on I noticed some plants not getting enough water. I checked the hoses at the end of the season and they were barely dripping. The next year I switched to drip irrigation for everything and have not had this issue since.