Hand Pump

Can a 19-HP Hand Pump a.k.a. Pitcher Pump be used in the winter months?

Yes! However, it does require a different installation.

Typically, hand pumps are installed with a foot valve which keeps the water from draining back out of the drop pipe (a.k.a. riser pipe) to keep the pipe full of water between uses, eliminating the need to prime the pump with each use. However, when a foot valve is installed the water in the drop pipe will freeze, therefore the hand pump will need to be removed from the water source during the winter season.




There are two possible installations for using the hand pump year-round.


Very simply, the hand pump would be installed with no foot valve. To drain the pump simply lift the handle and the pump will drop the prime. The pump would have to be re-primed for the next use.

The pump must be installed without a foot valve, with the foot valve removed, the drop pipe will drain back when the handle is lifted to the upright position. The handle of the hand pump should be left in the up position causing the pump to self-drain. It is a good idea to tie up the handle as high as possible.

When the handle is lifted as high as possible the plunger contacts the cast iron weight affixed to the valve flapper leather which acts as a check valve. This downward force against the raised tab on the flapper weight tilts the valve flapper lifting the opposite side off the seat, opening the valve slightly allowing air to enter the pipe causing the water to drain down out of the pipe to the water level below the “freeze zone”.


With system #2, the plunger assembly would have to be removed from the hand pump as well as the valve leather. A brass well cylinder would be installed with a 7/16” pump rod connecting the cylinder to the hand pump. A small hole should be drilled in the galvanized pipe to allow the water to drain back. This hole should be down the well about 6 ft. or below the frost line. With this system you would have to be able to cut and thread both the pipe and the pump rod.