The FAQ's below are designed to answer questions related to how to pump water from a well without electricity with our Flojak branded pump systems. Over the years we have been able to capture the questions that our customers have had as they were deciding what to purchase. Our objective is that you be "well-informed" and able to get exactly what you need. There are also informational videos available here, and we have some short "question-and-answer" tools that will also point you in the right direction. On the other hand, if you would rather speak to an actual human...we have some good ones here at our factory in Arkansas, toll free. 855-435-6525. We are here to serve you!
General Questions about Wells and Hand Pumps
1. Does my well water level always stay the same?
In most cases it does not. Over time your water level (called static water level) can drop or rise. And it probably fluctuates from wet to dry season. This is why we always recommend that you assemble your FloJak so that it extends well below the static level. Deeper is better, but stay 10-20 feet from the bottom.
2. Will your pumps fit into my well without removing the submersible pump?
All of our pump systems are designed to fit into the well without interfering with, or having to remove the existing electric pump. Our pumps operate independently from the electric pump and can therefore also operate at the same time as your electric pump. In very small casings...like 2"...sometimes the opening is too small for both an electric and hand pump. In those cases your best option is to store your pump until needed, and remove your electric pump to make room for your hand pump. It will be worth it to ensure that you have water for you, your family, your garden and your animals!
3. What is the fitting I see inside the casing about 4-8 feet down into my well?
That fitting is called a Pitless Adapter. It is no more than a glorified 90 degree elbow installed into the casing wall below the frost-line. It redirects the water coming up from your submersible pump, out through the side wall of the casing, and through a trench so it can supply your household with well water. Your hand pump will slip in beside the pitless adapter.
4. I need to select a pump system so how deep should I go?
Stay off the bottom to avoid silt and sand, but otherwise get as close to the bottom as possible. 10 to 20 feet from the bottom is usually good. The deeper you go, the more filtered your water will be (naturally by the earth), the more water you will have in reserve, and the less likely you will be to encounter a water loss in dry or draught conditions.
5. What information do I need to know before selecting my hand pump?
Assuming you have clearance in your well casing (2’ for FloJak)...you will need to know the depth of your well. Your driller should have a record of the drilled depth and static water level. Often it is recorded under the well cap. While not imperative, if you can find out the depth to your "static water level", then you will know how much reservoir you have available above the pump inlet.
6. How can I determine if I have clearance in my well?
Insert a 10 to 20 foot length of plastic pipe with an outside diameter which mimics the diameter of the system you plan to install. FloJak is 2” at the joint. If it clears, you are probably fine. FloJak is somewhat flexible and has a tapered end. This helps the system to find a path during installation.
7. How can I determine the water level and depth of my well?
You can easily find this info yourself by lowering a weighted string (maybe tie on a washer or a nut) into your well. Listen for the splash. That’s your static level. Tie a knot in your string and then lower it on down to the bottom. Tie another knot. Pull it up and measure the distance to static water level and the bottom of the well. Only takes a few minutes. Your driller may have that info too.
8. Does going deeper make my system harder to pump?
Not necessarily. Force is required to "lift" water, and "lift" starts when water is raised above the static water level. It takes the same force to get water from 100 feet below static, as it does from 20 feet below static.
9. Can I pump uphill?
Yes. If you are also pumping uphill or over the ground for a distance, the water friction through the line will use up part of the total lifting capacity of your pump. The higher you lift the water, the more force is required to pump. If you want to reduce the effort required, make sure your system has al lift-assist lever handle. These accessories that make work a little easier.
10. Will these hand pumps freeze in the winter?
11. How much water is in my well?
If you have a 6 inch casing, there is about 1.5 gallons of water per foot. An 8 inch casing holds 2.6 gallons per foot...or 260 gallons per 100 feet of casing.
12. Are some wells too deep?
Actually the right answer is both “yes” and “no.” The well depth doesn’t matter as much as the depth to water. For example, FloJak Plus is warranted to lift water 150 feet vertically, but” lifting” begins at the static water level. So in theory, you could have a 500 foot long FloJak in a 700 foot well, with a static level of 100 feet. In this case you are pumping water from 500 feet (where the foot-valve inlet is located), but there is only 100 feet of actual "lift" from static. So it’s all about the distance to static water level.
13. Can I pump water into my home through a faucet or other inlet?
You sure can. This is one of the unique features of FloJak and Battle Axe. Use a high pressure hose like our 200 psi GatorHyde hoses to pump water into your household plumbing through an outdoor faucet or any other inlet. To develop useful pressures, you will need the assistance of a lever well pump handle. You will pump to pressurize the water in your blue bladder tank...about 30 PSI. This will provide pressurized water directly to your sink, shower or the bathroom for flushing...without the chore and mess of handling heavy water containers.
14. What if I don't have a well?
If you don't have a well...you could drill one, or even better, remember that there are 15 million active and unused wells all over the country...2,000 new ones are drilled each day. Part of your preparation will be to locate 2 or 3 nearby, and get permission to use them in advance. Most well owners would be delighted to know that they could have access to good drinking water in the event of an emergency. It's a good time to make friends with a neighbor!
15. Is well water always pure?
Unfortunately, no. Neither is the water from some municipalities! Well water is probably your safest option though. Well water is filtered naturally by the earth, and is more likely to be good than many other sources. It's always a good idea to test the water in advance. We have test kits available in our store. In the event of a chemical spill, flood or nuclear/biological attack, well water might be the absolute best source for useable drinking water. You can also purify your well with a little household bleach the day you install your FloJak. This will kill bacteria in the well and in your pump.
16. Are your pump systems produced from safe materials, suitable for pumping drinking water?
You bet. All of the pump components are made of food grade materials. This includes the piping and the actual internal pumping mechanisms.
17. What is the shelf life of my system?
Indefinite. It will outlast us all! We manufacture our pumps using medical grade stainless steel and the finest high-impact polymers available. These will not degrade over time. If you have a need to pump water 25 years from now, your FloJak will come out of the box as though it were new.
18. Is every unit tested from the factory?
Yes. Not only do we inspect and water-test every unit at the time of production in our US facilities, we also life-cycle test the design for wear and durability. Your FloJak design has been certified in our test lab, and is capable of more than 100,000 cycles (200,000 strokes), pumping over 10 gallons per minute, at 130 PSI (or 300 feet of lift), with less than 5% wear on the Viton pressure rings, and no perceptible reduction in pumping performance. Sounds made-up, but it ain't.
19. May I call for questions or assistance?
Yes you can…before, during and after your purchase. Anytime we are open, you can reach our helpful customer care agents toll-free at 855-4FLOJAK (855-435-6525) M-F, 8:30 to 4:30 PM Central. For evenings and weekends, use the web-form on the contacts page and we will try to respond ASAP.
20. How long does it take to assemble your systems?
FloJak takes 20 to 60 minutes to assemble...Depending on the length of your kit...after about 10 minutes reading the instructions. Installation into the well is about the same or less. It all depends on your degree of skill and preparation. An experienced installer can do it in about half that time.
21. Are these systems made in the USA?
Absolutely. If we can buy the raw materials here we do. Not only are FloJak pumps made in America, but they are designed, tested and made by actual Americans. We are patriots, and we believe in the free enterprise system.
Choosing Your Hand Well Pump
22. What are the primary differences between FloJak Stainless Steel System and the PVC version?
Big picture…FloJak is made from 5 foot lengths and is a modular system with options and add-ons that you select. It’s designed for wells with a water level of 150 feet or less, and room in the opening for a 2" diameter pump. FloJak is assembled to the ideal length in the field.
The PVC system is more economical than the Stainless Steel...by $150 or so...and is designed to lift water up to 100 feet from your static water level. While the PVC "Original" may be permanently installed, many folks store it as an affordable backup system.
The Plus stainless system may be stored too, but worksgreat as a permanently installed pump...especially in deeper wells and colder climates. The Plus is rated to lift water 150 feet from static.
23. What hand pump length do I need?
Whichever the pump system, the objective is to create a pump that is the "ideal length." That means it must be at least 20 feet below static water level, and 10 feet or more above the bottom of your well. Anywhere in between is fine. The lower your water recovery rate in the well (in gallons per minute)...the deeper below static you should go. The deeper your system reaches, the more water you will have in reserve. Go as deep as you can.
24. How deep will the FloJak pump?
The FloJak Plus Stainless Steel model is a pressure pump and is tested at 300 feet of lift, and rated and warranted for lifting water 150 feet vertically from the static water level...the PVC version is rated at 100 feet of lift.
So if your static water level is only 80 feet, FloJak will also pump water up hill or into a storage tank. Remember, that charging your household pressure with a FloJak system is equivalent to about 50 feet of lift.
25. In an emergency, how deep can I pump?
We test FloJak at 300 feet and rate it for lifting water 150 feet. Pumping from deeper than 150 feet will void the warranty but the system is certainly capable of lifting more than 150 feet. Keep in mind that the work required to pump will increase substantially. But...when you need water...warranty it the least of your concerns.
26. What “length” options do I have?
FloJak Kits come from the factory in different lengths (50’, 100’, 150’ kits…etc.), and you can purchase 50-foot extension kits. Then FloJak is assembled to the ideal length for your well, in 5 foot increments to dial it in precisely.
27. If choosing a FloJak System, do I need the PVC or Stainless Steel Version?
PVC is a lower cost option and is often used for emergency backup, for shallower wells, and is best suited for warmer climates. The Stainless Steel "PLUS" series is also a great value, but it is a little more expensive. If you are in cold climates, and think you want to leave your FloJak installed for extended periods, and have a well with water deeper than 100 feet then Stainless might be the better option.
28. Do I need a PowerJak or MiniJak Lever Handle for my FloJak?
With FloJak, thelever handle is an option. FloJak comes with a Tee-Handle built in. Lever handles produce leverage so that the work of pumping may be greatly reduced. The volume of water per minute will drop as a trade-off for easier pumping, but you can still produce several gallons per minute depending on water depth, your stroke length and pumping speed. The PowerJak is a 36', double grip system that is good for any depth, but is a "must-have" for static levels over 70 feet. The MiniJak is a 24" single grip design for shallower static levels to about 40 feet. These accessories bolt up to the FloJak hanging bracket in 3-4 minutes and are essential when pumping water into your household plumbing system.
Installation and Operation
29. Can FloJak be connected to a windmill or solar power?
Yes! The "PLUS" series has a welded mounting bracket on the stainless steel pumping handle section. The pumping stroke works fine at two inches...but will also range to over 3 feet. For windmill applications it is important, with any pump, that you have a safety device that does not damage the pump in high winds. FloJak can pump while the handle is spinning with the wind direction.
30. Will FloJak pump water from a cistern or a hand dug well?
Sure will. Just assemble it to the right length and figure out how to mount the bracket. It is a very versatile design with lots of uses. You can even hook up an air hose and pump up a tire...no kidding
31. With FloJak, are there more permanent options than the poly-canvas Well Bonnet for covering my well opening?
Yes there are. You can install FloJak using a "Well-Seal." A well-seal is a cap which is made for well casings. It has a mounting hole for FloJak and is attached to FloJak during assembly. Once FloJak is inserted into the well, your well-seal drops into place last and is tightened up with bolts, securing itself the inside of the well casing while gripping the FloJak pipe simultaneously. We supply well seals, or they are available in your size at Home Centers or any plumbing supply store, for under $40. Well seals and cap configurations vary. Resourceful installers can make a cap out of metal or even plywood. There is always a way.
32. Can these be installed by one person?
Yes it is possible...particularly the 50 foot system. Longer systems could be too with some ingenuity, but it is easier, safer and more fun with more people...one to lift the arc, one to guide and lower into the well, one to handle the top section. As a rule of thumb, FloJak weighs about 40 pounds per 50 feet. Once it hits the water, the submerged part of the pump becomes weight-neutral.
33. Can FloJak pump water up a hill or into an elevated tank?
Yes. The pump will lift water 150 feet vertically from the static water level. However, pumping long distances introduces additional pressure and will impact upon the amount of available lift. Take a look at the PowerJak accessory. It is a lift assist handle that reduces the effort required to pump.
34. How many gallons per minute (GPM) will FloJak provide?
That depends on how fast you can pump…and that depends on how hard the system is to pump…and THAT depends on how deep it is to water. Plan on 5-10 gallons per minute from 50 feet down. Using a lever handle will reduce the effort required, but will also reduce the GPM.
35. Will these systems pump horizontally from a creek?
Yes. FloJak requires that you set up 5 feet of vertical pump over the water source. The mounting bracket is designed to be versatile and can be side mounted like a flange or hooked over railing or a 2 x 4 board. Your FloJak pump must be vertical to work, but you can then pump over ground or even uphill through a high pressure hose. Our GatorHyde hoses are drinking water safe and rated to 200 PSI.
36. Will FloJak pump dirty water from a pond?
The answer is actually "Yes", and there may be times when you simply have to do it. If the dirty water contains soft particles like algae or organic matter, it will have minimal impact to the pump although it might build up and restrict the flow over time. Sand and grit are abrasives and will wear almost any sealed surface. You may find it necessary to pump in that environment too.
37. What is the warranty?
Two years from the date of purchase, on all parts and workmanship, for lift up to 150 feet. This does not cover the quality of your glue joints of course. We will either provide parts, replace or repair your FloJak (at the discretion of the company). You will have to be responsible for freight charges on returned components. We will pay the expense to ship them back. Freeze protection and care during installation are the responsibility of the user. At the time of this writing, we have produced thousands of systems and have NEVER had a single field failure.