Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

What to do in an emergency?

We are often asked how to use our systems in the event of an emergency, and many folks want to know if there is a manual pump that can be used to drive their BEV system:

There is no manual pump that can power a BEV system. You must have constant water pressure, and purifying water through the BEV systems takes time. The only solution is an electric pump, and our booster pumps are excellent for this purpose, though they are primarily designed for instances where the user has low tap water pressure.

Loss of water pressure is less frequent than loss of electricity, but in a true emergency situation (earthquake) it is possible the water lines are ruptured and one will have no water pressure. That means no showers, no toilet flushing, no running water of any kind. If there is no water pressure, you are likely to be in a situation with no electricity either.

So, what to do about pure water? Step one is to store some water. In my home I have four 5 gallon water jugs filled with pure water. I replace the water in the jugs 3-4 times annually, and I add a drop or two of chlorine bleach to each bottle before sealing it. (I am willing to accept a trace of chlorine in an emergency situation vs. any possibility of a bacterial infection. Though pure water in a clean container is highly unlikely to get any bacteria.)

The 20 gallons of water I have on-hand will get me through a few days. After that I will resort to pumping and purifying my water. As I mentioned, in a no water pressure scenario I am also likely to be out of electrical power, so I have a generator for my home. With electrical power it is easy to use one of our booster pumps to draw water from a 5-gallon bucket and pump it into the BEV system. I return the brine water to the bucket and recycle the water again through the BEV system, allowing me to harvest as much pure water as possible before the water in the bucket is too salty to continue. This way I can typically get 3-4 gallons of pure water out of a 5 gallon bucket. I use a test meter to monitor the water in the bucket so if it starts to approach 2000ppm I know its time for a fresh bucket of water. (Be sure it is clear water, not cloudy or muddy.)

Several enterprising customers have reported using a small solar panel to provide power for the pumps. The pumps use very little energy so a solar panel is applicable, but you would need to work with a solar panel professional to get the right size for our pumps, which draw about 19 watts peak. The pumps are 24v and all ship with a transformer to convert standard 110v to power the pump.

You can also run the pumps by putting a pair of 12v batteries together in series to create a 24v power source. This is my preferred method if I am completely “off the grid.” This way my generator can re-charge my batteries when it is running, as it makes no sense to run the generator to power a 19w device. In my home I have several backup power supplies for my computers. I can pull the batteries from one of these units to power my booster pump. Since the pump actually draws only about 16w while running, I can get several gallons of purified water out of the charge on these batteries.

All our pumps are the same, but configured differently for each unit. The BP100 pump comes in a nifty plastic case so it looks nice on the counter next to a BEV100 countertop system. The BP200 is a raw pump, transformer, sediment pre-filter, along with tubing and fittings. It is not elegant, the way the BEV200 is not elegant. Functional and efficient are the hallmarks of the BEV200 system and BP200 pump. The pump for the BEV300 system (BP300) comes with a solenoid and pressure switch so that it can be installed under the sink with the BEV300 system. All the pumps can be used to purify water from a bucket in the event of an emergency, provided you have a source of power.

-KW, Customer Service Team

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