Cottage Water Pump Time

Well it’s almost my favorite time of the year….yup! you guessed it, almost time to ‘hook up the water’ at the cottage! This year I am faced with a decision, whether to replace the old Southern Piston Pump with a new jet pump, or keep the old water sucker, just fix it up.


I was looking at new jet pumps today, and although they look alright, it is still hard to do make the decision to do away with the old Southern piston pump.

The old water pump has been around since the first pump was ever made I’m sure, and it still works. It’s just getting old and hard to get parts for. In fact, I went looking for a kit for it today, and was informed at my local building supplies/hardware super-duper big store that they don’t stock parts for piston pumps anymore.

Just like that, no compassion really, no look of understanding from the clerk, just the statement, “Everyone is using jet pumps these days.”

Well I’m not…not yet anyway.

I love my old piston pump, mostly because I more or less understand it. That’s important around a cottage, where you need to understand things like the water pump and the old Kemac oil stove. Me and mine have come to some kind of an agreement and old though it might be, it still tries to come through for me, and not be too hard to fix when it breaks.

Those of you who are veteran cottagers, you know what I mean, it’s the kind of personal relationship that develops when you spend your time with your water pump under your cottage in the night, with a flashlight, pleading with it to prime and start pulling water so your wife can have a shower…that kind of relationship….it takes time for that to blossom.

I’ve had some 30 or 40 years with ours, we’re old friends. Sometimes, late at night when I crawl under the camp in the dark, screwdriver clamped in my teeth, stilson wrench in my back pocket, and flashlight in hand, I swear, the old pump looks happy to see me.

These new jet pumps seem, well, kinda cold, without the personality that comes with an old piston pump, the wheel spinning rhythmically, motor humming, water dripping from underneath of it….that…is a pump with personality.

Anyway….I must have looked dejected because the guy at the hardware store did tell me to try a place in the local business park that supplies odd parts for appliances and things like water pumps.

I can also get one from an online company called Pomco Inc who have all kinds of parts for pumps, including Southern and Duro. They also have detailed PDF files with diagrams of the pump and it’s workings…this is a great resource folks, especially if you are using an old piston pump for your cottage water.

My old piston pump has certainly seen better days.

On the other hand…these new jet pumps do seem to be popular, ones like this Wayne SWS50 1/2 HP 195 GPH Shallow Well Jet Pump is under $200 and pumps up to 385-gallons per hour at a 5-foot lift, which would be fine for pulling water from the lake as we do. It will also work for a well up to 25 feet deep.

This pump self-primes after its housing is filled with water, a feature I must admit I like, and you can run the pump at 115 or 230 volts with the quick change voltage selection switch, which is helpful around old cottages where 115 is likely to be the norm. I dunno…gonna have to think about this….just how attached am I to my old piston pump ?

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One thought on “Cottage Water Pump Time”

  1. and,…. just how much to you enjoy crawling under the camp at night? I think I vote for the new pump! Even if the old one is happy to see you! (still laughing!)

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