It’s finally that time of year, although as I look out at the snow on my front lawn, it’s hard to believe it. I’m talking about hooking up the water pump. I discovered kind of to my surprise that although I have written a few posts about disconnecting the water, I don’t think I have ever written about hooking it up.
Before you start, you should round up a few tools, here are some of the tools I take with me under the cottage:
*a straight screwdriver
*plumbers teflon tape,
*teapot or other small water jug.
Also a hammer for banging on the underneath of the floor of the cottage to signal those in the cottage to turn the water on or off.
Your cottage water system consists of a few components all joined together by pipe of some kind, plastic, copper etc. Water is pumped from the lake or well, into the system, and eventually to your taps and toilets, hot water tank etc.
When you are hooking it up in the spring, you pretty much do the opposite that you did in the fall…duh…but there are a few tricks to it….the first trick of course is hire a plumber…but, if you are determined to be a cottage handyperson, and most cottagers are, here goes…these hints are mostly relating to a piston pump, although the steps are very similar for a Jet Pump.
Hooking Up The Water
1) The first thing to do is go around your entire system and shut off all the valves and taps, including the kitchen and bathroom taps and valves under the sink and toilet. You don’t want them open to start with, too hard for the pump to draw water. Make sure your hot water heater is not turned on. Pull the fuse if you have no switch.
2) Next, put back together any connections/joints that you disconnected in the fall, and make sure they are tight, It’s a good idea to use plumbers tape on any threaded connections for a good tight seal. Inspect all your water pipes for splits or cracks, those need to be repaired first if you find any. I am not going into that now, but I will tell you about an easy way to do it in another post.
3) Of course the next step is to put the pump into place, and hook up the water hose from the lake or well to the intake on the pump and then the out take hose or pipe leading to your system has to be connected. These are usually held on with either threaded fittings or a clamp.
4) Don’t forget to put the end of the water hose in the water…either the well or the lake…that is kinda important.
The end of the hose needs a “Foot Valve” which will keep the water from draining back out of the hose.
If it isn’t working, your pump will continually lose it’s prime. I usually replace my foot valve yearly.
5) The pump should then be plugged in to the outlet, if it isn’t hard wired into your electrical system. Many pumps have a separate electrical box or switch, which you need to ensure is in the on position.
6) If your pump has a cushion tank, or a water tank, close the valve feeding into it for a second. Look for a place on your pump that says “prime here” remove that fitting and get yourself a jug of water. I use a tea kettle full. Pour some water into the hole and turn on the pump. It should start to work, gurgling, snorting and doing all kinds of things…continue to pour some water into the hole until it starts to splash back, then very quickly stick the fitting back in and tighten it up.
I almost forgot, before you hook the hose from the lake to the pump up, make sure the footvalve is on the end in the lake, and then fill the water pipe with water. That makes it much easier for the pump to draw the water. Attach it back to the pump.
7) Open the valve to your cushion tank and listen for water to start going into the tank. If you don’t hear any soon, remove the primer fitting and add more water. Your tank should have a pressure valve on it that is preset to shut off when the tank reaches the correct water pressure. My shuts down at about 40. Once that happens the pump will shut off, and you are in business….doing good…keep your fingers, toes and everything else crossed….
8) Now open the valve leading to the rest of the cottage plumbing system and listen. The pump should come back on as the pressure drops in the tank as water starts to fill the remaining pipes. Climb out from under the cottage, bang your head, and then go open the valve to the hot water heater and the toilet etc. It’s important to bang your head…don’t know why…maybe just good luck….
9) Water should start to fill the system, including the toilet tank and hot water tank. It’ll take a few minutes, and the pump will run while it is happening. This is a good time to look under the camp, under the sink, under the toilet and under anything else you can find to see if there are any leaks, or drips. Hopefully you won’t have any, if you do, shut off the pump. You’ll have to fix it. Particularly if it is anything more than a minor drip.
10) So let’s see. The water is in the system. The toilet and hot water tank are full. You can now open a tap and see if water runs. It should. Open any remaining valves, and turn the hot water electricity back on. Use the bathroom proudly, flush your toilet, get a drink of water, and go fishing….you’re done….
If the pump is running, but won’t pump water, check the fittings to make sure all is tight. Look for any leaks in the water lines. Check the footvalve, water should not be coming out of it. Make sure the power is on and the fuses are good. Make sure your intake valves are open as appropriate. If all seems ok, and you still don’t have water, you’re going to have to start again with #6 above, priming.