Hydraulic Ram Homestead Water Pump

For tech questions please email

You are bidding on a hydraulic ram type water pump. It is new, and made entirely of welded steel and stainless steel. All bolts and fasteners are also stainless steel.

This is an improved version of the hydraulic ram pump we have been selling for several years. It has an improved check valve for more flow and a snifter valve to ensure that there is always an air cushion in the expansion tank. The previous version relied on the bladder in the expansion to maintain the air cushion, but in some cases after a number of years the bladder ruptured and so the expansion tank needed to be replaced. Now with the snifter you can if necessary use other types of tank without bladders, such as 20 lb propane cooking gas tanks. But if you have one available, I still recommend an expansion tank with a bladder for double assurance.

Hydraulic ram pumps have been used for over 200 years to pump water to a storage reservoir using no energy source other than that available from a small dam or falling water. Generally they can pump water to a height of 10 times or more the height of the fall.
Click –HERE– to see the Wikipedia entry on hydraulic ram pumps

Traditionally, hydraulic ram pumps have used a waste (clack) valve much like the valves in a car engine to close the drive pipe and generate the pressure pulse which pumps the water to the storage reservoir. The main cause of failure or reduced efficiency in these pumps has been the wearing of the valve guide due to metal against metal movement, sometimes aggravated by silt or grit in the water, as well a uneven wear on the valve seat, leading to incomplete sealing and loss of pressure.
I have seen homemade hydraulic ram pumps made with plastic fittings, but they never work very well because the plastic flexes, which makes the efficiency poor, and generally fail in a short time as the plastic pieces break from the repeated stress.
This design is a considerable improvement over traditional hydraulic ram pumps, as it basically eliminates these two causes of failure and poor operation. In this design, the valve and guide is replaced by a polished glass ball which closes against a thick rubber seat. The ball rests in a a sort of cup, and when the flow of water past it is sufficient, it is carried upward against the rubber seat, thus stopping the flow, and causing a pressure increase in the drive pipe. As this pressure increase opens the check valve beneath the ballast tank, water flows into the ballast tank until the pressure pulse is dissipated. The check valve then closes, the ball drops, and the cycle repeats. Since the ball is round, it will wear evenly, so it will always seal well against the rubber seat.
I built the first pump of this style 20 years ago for a farm in Guatemala which had no electricity. It had a 5 foot dam on a spring which supplied all the farm’s water needs. Previously, there were two standard type ram pumps, which worked adequately, but required regular maintenance and valve replacement. After some 5 years of repairing and working with these pumps, I came up with this new design. My first such ram pump is still working there, as well as several other similar ones which replaced the originals. Together, they pump around 2800 gallons per day to a storage tank about 25 feet above the pumps. One identical to the one for sale in this listing is installed there now. It pumps about .4 gallons per minute (600 gallons/day) to a storage tank 20 feet above the dam. The water fall over the dam is about 5 feet. Click HERE to see a YouTube video of it running.

You can also see a bit more about the farm on their website They are now a hotel, restaurant and tourist destination as well as a working farm.
I have built quite a few of these over the years. The largest pumped 3 GPM to a storage tank 230 feet above a waterfall 40 feet high.
This one should be good for falls up to around 60 feet, and should be able to pump water to at least 10 times the height of the fall. The higher the fall and the lower the storage tank, the more water it will pump. The overall energy efficiency of this pump should be at least 65%.
This auction includes the ram pump as shown in the second photo, without the ballast tank and steel tee fitting shown in the first photo. The ballast tank is just a standard expansion tank, available for around $25 from Home Depot or similar suppliers. They generally come with either 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch male fittings, so you will also need a 3/4 inch tee and possibly a reducing bushing. The output of the pump comes out the middle of the tee. A short pipe nipple (1/2 or 3/4”) in the middle of the tee can be connected to plastic hose or pipe to conduct the pumped water to your storage tank.
The pump also has a heavy steel flange for connection to the drive pipe to make installation and removal easy. The flange takes a 1 1/2 inch standard steel or galvanized drive pipe coupling.
I can also offer a little advice and assistance to the winner on how best to install it. But basically all you need is 40 feet (two lengths) of 1 1/2 or 2 inch steel pipe for the drive pipe and 1/2 inch or larger metal or plastic delivery line to your storage tank. The pump speed can be adjusted to optimize efficiency by raising or lowering the ball cup with the threaded stainless shaft. Normally about 1 cycle per second works best.
If your water is dirty or silty, you will want a settling pool ahead of the drive pipe to keep the silt out of the pump. And a screen to keep out fish and snails is also a good idea. You will want to reduce the pressure in the ballast tank to a little less than the pressure in the delivery line. That will be about 1/2 PSI for each foot that the storage tank is above the ram.. These generally come pressurized to about 30 or 40 PSI. And if you are in an area subject to freezing, you will also want to take related precautions. In severe freezing climates you may want to take it out of service for the winter. The flange and bolts make this easy to do.
Click –HERE– to see a video of Bob’s installation in Oregon.

He says: I finally got the hydro ram pump installed and operating. I am feeding a standpipe with 80 feet of 2 inch poly pipe. The standpipe was required to address terrain issue at my site, but it also serves to remove any air and grit from reaching the pump. The stand pipe then feeds the pump with 63 feet of 1 1/2 inch galvanized steel pipe. Total Fall to the pump is 5.1 feet and total pumping elevation is 28 feet. I used 280 feet of 3/4 inch poly pipe to reach the holding tank from the pump location. I get 514 gallons per day pumped to the tank. This pump has operated flawlessly for me and I fully expect it will continue doing so for as long as I am around…and likely for much longer…

Bob also has written an online calculator to predict the performance of this pump in various installations. You can put in the data for your site and the calculator will come up with a prediction of what you will get.
The calculator is –HERE– and the instructions for the calculator are –HERE–
The calculator is still being refined, but it has proven to be pretty accurate when checked against real life results.

Bob is an Oregon registered professional engineer, licensed certified water rights examiner for OR Department of Water Resources, and licensed general construction contractor. In addition to engineering and constructing various water work projects including dam/ditches, irrigation systems, hydroelectric cross flow turbines, hydraulic ram pumps, ponds/reservoirs and water wheels, he also does hydronic radiant floor heating and passive solar heating of commercial/residential buildings.
Robert G. Borst, PE, CWRE
Borst Engineering & Construction LLC

Another customer reports getting .285 GPM (410 gal per day) pumped 130 ft high. The drive pipe is 60 ft of PVC and 20 ft of steel 1 1/2 diameter. The delivery line is 700 ft of 3/4 inch plastic pipe. The fall from the reservoir to the pump is 20 ft.

Click –HERE– for a few tips on pump installation and setup