When we first came to our Mountain retreat, we had few of what you would call necessities for living. Thankfully one of these is air, which is still abundant. The other were sanitation and water. In this article, I will discuss water.
Living in the right place, for me is in the Mountains of Western Virginia. Many mountainside springs are available for water. I my area the mountains emit water all over the place. This water is also of very high quality and doesn't have the mineral taste would would expect.
I have tried many prototypes of the years. Most all of them have worked. I have found that it doesn't really take that much of a spring head to supply the water for your home.
The first one I tapped was no more than a trickle of water, maybe about 1-2 gallons per minute. For a comparison, the typical kitchen faucet is about 3 gallons per minute. That much water going into a holding tank is alot of water over the course of a day.
My first holding tank was a 35 gallon plastic trash can. I installed the inlets with 1 inch plastic pipe fittings, conduit nuts and washers. At the top was the spring inlet. Just below and on the opposite site was the overflow. About 4-6 inches from the bottom was the outlet. This is above the bottom to allow room for any sediment.
The holding tank should be as high on the hill as possible. For every foot of elevation you get about .4 psi of pressure at the bottom.
I used 1 inch polypropylene pipe to run down the hill to my cabin. Do your best to keep the pipe going down hill. Any humps will more than likely get an air lock causing you to loose some pressure.
This system worked well for many years, but because the pipe was on top of the ground, it would freeze in the winter. This was not much of an issue, because at the time we didn't spend much time at our retreat in the winter.
Since we now live here permanently we upgraded the capacity. We found a higher volume spring (about 5 gallons per minute) and guided that to a 325 gallon plastic tank. All parts are now buried and deliver water year around.