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Old 09-04-2017, 03:07 PM   #1
Hackerman
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Default Re-designing my watering system... looking for a pump

I am re-designing my watering system and I'm having trouble finding the pump I want.

Right now, all my water is stored in 1 gallon plastic jugs. I have a shower in my grow room so I fill about 15 jugs and let them sit in the shower to dissipate (really shitty city water).

I also have 6 more jugs in a plastic tub with 6 air stones, one going into each jug.

When I water, I take (usually 4 gallons) and pour them into a 5 gallon bucket and mix the nutes there. I let it sit for a minute and I check the pH.

Then, I place a submersible pump into the 5 gallon bucket and it has a garden hose with a "watering wand" connected to it. This makes it super easy to get to all the plants.

For quite some time, I have been using one of these as a pump....

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Liquid-Trans...kAAOSwbg9W6ycp

Lately, I have been making some changes and I tried a standard aquarium submersible pump.

However, the problem I seem to have with all the pumps is that they leave about 2" of water in the bottom of the bucket.

I am going to change my setup a little......

I plan to eliminate the 1 gallon jugs altogether. I want to place 5-5 gallon buckets in the shower.

Each one will have an air "stick". It's like an air stone only it's about 10" long. I will suction cup that to the bottom of the bucket.

I can fill each bucket about 4 gallons full (the typical amount I use for each watering) and let it air.

When I want to water, I pick a bucket, mix my nutes, check my pH, (I'll have to put a valve on the bubbler since a bubbler would affect the pH reading)..... and then, instead of a submersible pump, I want to use a nice 110 volt, self priming, wall mounted, pump with an intake hose and an output hose. Preferably a standard garden hose connection.

Then, I can take the intake hose and drop it into the 5 gallon bucket and direct the output hose to the watering wand and the plants.

The problem finding the pump has been....

low gph rating. I need something that is rated at about 100 gph or about 1 to 2 gpm.

I found some RV and boat pumps that were close. I don't mind whatever connections it has as I can adapt whatever to my watering wand. As long as the output is not a tiny 1/8" hose.

The biggest problem has been finding one that is self priming. If I want to mount the pump and the water sits on the floor, it's going to be tough to prime a pump.

So, any suggestions?

Thanks
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Old 09-04-2017, 04:21 PM   #2
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I know that you are looking for a self-priming jet pump, but I would still go with a submersible--they are just so much better and more dependable. Even though it is overkill, I would go with a "real" submersible pump rather than an aquarium pump. I would go with something like this: https://www.amazon.com/Little-Giant-...bmersible+pump

These will take up pretty much all the water but a tiny skiff on the bottom. They are a bit costlier, but will last.

Self priming pumps can be problematic.
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Old 09-04-2017, 05:10 PM   #3
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IME, submersible pumps are efficient and reliable. I use aquarium pumps. For me they work flawless but they leave some water in the bottom depending on their size. I found that the bigger sized ones go for years. I have one that has been running in flood and drain for at least 4 years now, probably more. I opened it up 2 years ago because I was travelling, to see inside it and found that it had one blade in its coupling that is broken. I chose to leave it running and is still running till now with the broken coupling. I have the 3500Liter/hour pumps in my veggies greenhouse about 4 years old and dont seem to break down easily.
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Old 09-04-2017, 05:34 PM   #4
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Hackerman, I see that Harbor Freight has some submersibles on sale today...and there is that 25% off coupon good today only. I have a Little Giant submersible that I have owned and used for about 18 years in my plumbing work--still going strong.

If you decide on a jet pump, you can probably out some kind of foot valve on the line that actually does not allow the pump to become de-primed, rather than being self-priming.
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Old 09-04-2017, 06:07 PM   #5
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Probably this biggest problem I'm having is finding a pump with a low enough flow rate that I'm not firehosing my plants. LOL

At 200 GPH, that almost 3.5 gallons in a single minute. So, I would have to get that wand to all 16 of my plants within a single minute or so.

And, finding a pump at about 100 GPH has been, difficult.

I have a question..... If I use a dimmer on the plug that controls the pump will it pump less? Or, can I put a valve inline to reduce the flow without damaging the pump?

That would solve a lot of problems.

On my way to HF to see if I can snag a pump cheap to, at least, do a little experimenting.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 09-04-2017, 09:48 PM   #6
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This one is 170 GPH. https://www.amazon.com/Little-Giant-...1YFWKAN86C3BAX Remember too that these gph rates are maximums.

You can somewhat control flow by the nozzle you use. I do not know about using a rheostat to control a pump, but I'm thinking no. It does have a 1/4" outlet, but your wand probably can't take more than a 1/4" line can output. Also, these pumps are affected by how much the water has to be raised. So, if the volume and pressure is too much, you can loop your hose to a sufficient height that your pressure and volume are where you want them. For instance, this pump is rated somewhere around 50 gph at 6'.
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Old 09-08-2017, 08:18 PM   #7
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I added a return hose on my system with a ball valve, so i can dial in how much flow goes to my buckets,, if too much flow,
then just open the ball valve for the (return) (a extra feed hose that i sue to regulate the flow to the other hoses..)
hope this is clear
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Old 09-08-2017, 09:09 PM   #8
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I did make it to Harbor Freight to get a pump but my back has been so bad the past couple weeks, I have not had a chance to set it up. I think it's going to be a little too much pump but, we will soon find out.

Thanks
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Old 09-09-2017, 02:35 PM   #9
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Hackerman, did you get a chart that shows the GHP at different heights? The flow can be regulated somewhat by how high you are raising the water.
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Old 09-09-2017, 03:29 PM   #10
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There was no chart with the pump but I found on online. So, I can use the mounting height to control flow to some extent.

Plus my watering wand has a valve on it so I can close that a tiny bit to reduce the flow without damaging the pump (I hope). LOL

My back is still totally dead. I'm hoping I don't have to have surgery but I was told a year ago that I needed it and the surgeon said I probably wouldn't last a year the way it is. And, it's been a year. LOL

If it gets a little better, I'll take the pump down and give it a quick try. Maybe I can get Mrs. Hackerman to help out a little.
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Old 09-09-2017, 07:47 PM   #11
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Sorry about your back Hackman. I am fortunate to not have any significant back problems, especially considering my line of work.

It is amazing how fast some pump lose flow when you are lifting the water 6' or so.
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Old 09-09-2017, 08:21 PM   #12
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If the pump will self prime, I will mount it as high as I can. Just kind of makes sense so the water will flow to the ends of the hoses and not settle in the pump.

Yeah, back problems are a pain. I have had them since the early 90's when I had my first surgery. It's rare for me since I go to the gym a lot but, now and then.... bang, old age rears it's ugly head. LOL

As long as I recover without surgery, I'll be happy. Hope to be back to the gym next week.

Looking forward to this new system working. My current setup just ain't hackin' it. LOL
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Old 09-10-2017, 03:01 PM   #13
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Self-prime? Didn't you buy a submersible pump?
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Old 09-10-2017, 03:10 PM   #14
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No, I went with this one...

https://www.harborfreight.com/110-hp...ump-63317.html

I did try a submersible that I had laying around. It was when my back just started hurting so I didn't get to experiment much but the inlet was kind of on the side of the pump and it quick working when it got down to about 2 or 3 inches.

If you look at the accessories that came with this pump, it has a wide scoop/filter that takes water down to 1/4".

If I end up with a lot of water/nutes in the bottom of the bucket, I have to pour it down the drain (or on the 2 or 3 plants I can reach). I am packed in pretty tight in my room. So, getting the last drop out of the bucket is a top priority in this whole design.

Back is still too messed up to play in the room. Researching surgeons already.
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Old 11-02-2017, 08:38 PM   #15
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Well, I should have listened to you in the first place, HG. I ended up with a submersible.

That last pump I bought could have been used to put out fires in California (from here). I'm lucky I didn't hose down my entire room when I was testing it. LOL

Although I don't like sticking my hand in a bucket of water that has an electrical cord going into it, I went with a light duty submersible. I had to do a little Rube Goldberg to get it to drain the bucket completely but it is working pretty well.

One problem I had was that most pumps were way too powerful. I wanted something that would just 'pour' the water out. Even this pump was too high pressure with the hose that fit it correctly (3/8").

So, what I did was used progressively larger hoses along the way to reduce the pressure and finally fed into a 3/4" x about 2' PVC pipe. I can use the PVC pipe like a watering wand to reach all the plants and the pressure coming out is just perfect. I can hold the wand over a plant for about 5 to 7 seconds for a 'runoff' watering.

I need to clean up the Rube stuff but overall..... another happy ending.
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Old 11-03-2017, 01:23 PM   #16
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Glad you found something that works for you!
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