Uploaded on Aug 22, 2011
This was a failed experiment for us. The concept is sound and the technology is good so I still think this is worth considering if you have the right environment. Today our windmill is just nice to look at but we may convert it to electrical generation or to pump water again.
Windmills pump well water from any depth to the surface. They do this by using a "sucker rod" which fits down the center or 2" pipe to the bottom of the well were there is a piston in a cylinder. The blades of the windmill capture the wind and turn the axial rotation of the blades into a linear vertical motion. This moves the piston up and down inside the cylinder and brings water up the pipe to the surface.
We failed to account for the wind speeds we have and the depth of the well and have too small a windmill for our conditions. The bigger the windmill the less amount of wind it needs to pump water. Four things you need to understand well before going down this road.
1) what is my average wind speed
2) how often do I get wind of this average speed and when do i get it
3) how deep is your well and what is your working well depth
4) what water pumping rate do I need
Other things to consider. Windmills only work in a water storage system, they are not "on-demand". So your windmill will pump into a storage tank where you will draw from with a booster pump to supply water to your house. You need to consider how much water you will use and weigh that against the size of your storage system and the rate the windmill pumps at. Rates depend on wind speed. However windmills pump very slowly at 1 or 2 gallons per minute at the minimum wind speed.
Given all those factors its a math problem to figure out what size mill you need, how deep to put it, how much water your gonna get, and what size water storage tanks to use.
Plan on using a crane or boom truck to put in place the mill and to lower the heavy pipe down the well to the desired depth. The footings of the windmill need to be dug deep and poured with concrete to hold the windmill at your worst wind.
On the financial side, it may not make sense to have a windmill. I have heard of minimum windmill installations over $20,000. If you consider that a submersible well pump will cost you $800 and additional batteries and solar panels could be had for $2000, then its hard to justify the cost of the "free" windmill versus expanding your off grid power system. The same math can be used for grid tied systems.
They are beautiful and fun to watch, and have been in use for many generations. But most people do not have the right location or environment where its financially viable.
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