Frequently Asked Questions
How can you do this for hundreds less than the competition?
After 25 years of manufacturing things such as wheelchairs, semiconductor tools and mining equipment, I realized most problems (costs) arise from designers not talking with purchasers, field installers, customers and assemblers. Our team optimized the design by harmonizing all these disciplines into a simple, easy to install shippable product.
But more importantly we absolutely did not cut any corners to achieve our price point, we got there by simplifying our design. All parts are off the shelf materials machined to precise dimensions with strict quality control. Lean manufacturing and activity-based costing brings you the best value. No crazy design to pay for, just a modest machine shop, great pump designs and well trained team members.
So how can the AK pump lift water without seals?
The AK pump actually does have a seal, it’s the water. The innovative geometry of the AK piston design exploits a fluid dynamics property to create this water seal. Water squeezed between two walls creates a situation of low flow (seal) and very little friction, this is why your car hydroplanes when it hits a puddle at highway speeds and water slides are so fun. We just harnessed this property to pump water. This non mechanical seal is actually a fairly sloppy fit between piston and cylinder, but its performance is surprisingly effective for pumping water out of a shallow well. We have a demo video where we pump 6gpm from 22ft, and we do this on a bridge so you can see it’s not being faked. Thus, we have a water cooled, water lubricated and water sealed piston for our shallow (0-47ft) pumps.
The AK pump thus has no O-rings, cup seals, leathers, flapper valves or anything else that can wear out, age and fail. The wetted parts of the pump are 100% PVC or Stainless Steel. The advantage of this hydrostatic seal strategy is that the cylinder does not have to be an expensive honed and polished cylinder, PVC pipe works just fine. Thus the overall cost of the system is greatly reduced and more importantly the reliability of the pump is industry leading.
Low cost, high reliability and ease of installation is the perfect combination of features that make the AK pump the ideal Hand Operated Emergency Well Pump for families with shallow wells.
Can’t I just make one myself?
Yes, you can, that’s exactly what I did. My manufacturing experience gives me the edge when it comes to design analysis, supply chain solutions and precision machining and it took me 8 tries to get this right. I will admit that prototype # 4 worked just fine but I had to keep going to work out all the bugs so I can sell these pumps. I can assure you that my cost just for the materials for the first prototype exceeds what you would pay for a finely tuned design and installation ready kit that we offer. It looks simple but there is more to this than meets the eye. I have done all the math, done all the testing and have all the tools to do this right… If you could have made it yourself, you would have done it by now …its cheaper just to buy it and be done and use your skills for other things.
Will the pump freeze up in the winter?
All our pumps are manufactured and tested in Montana and I assure you that it can get very cold up here. The pumps have been tested at -34F and did not freeze up. If you live in a northern area where freezing is a concern, a weep hole (1/16 inch) is drilled in the uppermost drop pipe 5ft below the top, to aggressively drain the exposed wellhead and drop pipe, thus mitigating any risk of freeze up. 5ft down should be below any frostline in the lower 48. The water column in the pump will continue to drain at about 1-2 inches per minute below any added weep hole. Well water typically has a constant temperature of 55F and has, what is called, high thermal inertia (takes a lot of BTUs to change the temperature) so flash freezing is not possible. We have a video of one of our pumps operating just fine at -26F.
How deep can you go?
Our newly introduced AR pump (40-100ft) and SJ pump (100-200ft) are our pumps for deeper wells. We kept the same 100% PVC or Stainless Steel material for wetted parts approach but the physics of pumping from such depths require a sealed, positive displacement pump. So, we added one more material to the equation; a piston and its cup seal machined out of a single piece of 100% Teflon®. Teflon® lasts forever, and it is super slippery. Even though it is an expensive material it saves a lot of money because we can use PVC pipe for a cylinder instead of an expensive honed and polished Stainless Steel cylinder. We have pump demonstration videos where we pump water off of high bridges to clearly demonstrate its lifting capabilities.
What maintenance is required for your pumps?
Under normal well installation all our pumps are maintenance free, so you have the peace of mind that the pump will work 10, 20, 50 years from now. Our objective has always been to design a pump that will outlast your well. Getting rid of rubber seals and using only Stainless Steel, PVC and Teflon® for the pumps critical parts is how we pulled this off.
What are your values?
Our company keeps things simple; offer a quality product, at a fair price, stand behind your work and meet a need. We like to sleep at night and look at ourselves in the mirror knowing that we never wronged anyone. We keep track of 4 key relationships to measure our success;
1. Do our customers want to buy from us?
2. Do our suppliers want to sell to us?
3. Do our associates want to work for us?
4. Do our owners want to keep us?
What should I do if I don’t have a well?
City folks hooked up to municipal water supply generally are OK when dealing with power outages for 1-3 days. The water tower and backup generators for public wells keep things flowing. Storing water is still prudent. Many municipalities have wells within the city limits that are used for irrigating parks, athletic fields etc. Obviously you can not install one of our pumps in such a well, but during an extended emergency, you could install a pump, fill 30 gallons worth of containers, uninstall the pump and go home undetected if you do this in the dead of night. As a former Infantry Officer (USMC) and a security guard, I assure you that all sorts of crazy things can be done at 3am undetected. You can also bug out to a friend in the country, show up with a well pump and your in. Lastly our pumps are so easy to install, so as to be considered portable.
Can’t I just use surface water in an emergency?
Yes, you can if it is available. Surface water can be treated with bleach or by the use of various filters to make it potable, but keep in mind that filters are not cheap. This can work, but a well pump accesses millions of gallons of potable water delivers significantly more volume in mere minutes. Water hauling distance and circumstances (think about hauling water in a blizzard) may also be an issue to consider.
Won’t FEMA come to my rescue?
Good luck with that. Roads and other basic infrastructure are compromised during disasters and even if they are intact it takes a lot of to provide disaster relief, even FEMA says you are on your own for 72 hours. Supermarket shelves will be bare in minutes, prepare now for food, shelter and water. You will be the hero in your family when the SHTF and you have your families security firmly established because you had the wisdom and forward thinking skills to prepare when you could. Nothing says “Love” like a reliable emergency well pump.
Can I back feed water to my pressure tank?
None of our pumps deliver pressurized water, they simply fill buckets. Half the world today lives out of buckets, not having clean water in that bucket is 99% of the problem. An emergency well pump does just that, lifts inaccessible clean water to a location where it can be used. Now keep in mind the average house uses water at about 40-50psi. This is equivalent to lifting water 100ft. It takes effort to lift that water and it takes additional effort to pressurize this water to your house, keep this in mind.
Can your pumps work in a sand point well?
Our AK pump can fit inside a 2” sand point and casing. If you are using the pump in a sand point well or other application where grit might jam the pump we offer an optional suction strainer that can be screwed onto the intake. This should be cleaned every year.