Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and their Answers
for The FERGUSON WINDMILL WATERPUMP

This series of questions and answers is designed to be used in conjunction with the information provided in our main web page.
If there are still things that remain unclear about our product please do not hesitate to email us and put your questions in writing so that me may answer them and expand this page to clarify as much as possible.
The following are the most commonly asked questions but they are not in any specific order of importance.

Q - What is lift?
A - Lift is the vertical height between the surface of the water supply being pumped and the intake of the pump.
It is sometimes known as suction height and relates only to the vertical distance - not the lineal measurement.

Q - What is "applied head" or "head"? (as relating to water pumping)
A - Head is the vertical distance between the pump and the discharge point of the pumped water.
Applied head calculations may include an allowance for pressure increases caused by the friction of the water against the wall of the pipe through which it flows.
Our windmills operate on a constant, slow flow basis and pipe friction is not a significant feature in calculating pumping heads.

Q - How much wind is needed to pump the amount you state in your brochure.
A - The wind speed required to pump 500 gallons day depends on the vertical heights of both the pickup (water supply level) to the pump and from the pump to the discharge point, such as a reservoir.
With a lift (suction) height of 1.8m (6ft) and a discharge, or head, height of 12.2m (40ft) a wind speed of 13.5 knots will give you 500 gallons in a 24 hour day.
In the case of a 175ft applied head you would need at least double that windspeed for the same output and this will also depend on your lift height.
Q - What wind speed is required to pump 500 gallons a day and if it will pump 175 ft, is that vertical feet and at what wind speed is required for it to pump that kind of distance.
A - Refer to the answer to the previous question.

Q - Can your windmill be used to oxygenate a pond or pool?
A - Our mill does not pump air but it can still be used to aerate water by spraying or trickling the water back to the supply.
The water has to come in contact with the air to become aerated and the larger the area of water exposed the greater the oxygen uptake.
For example a fine mist will take up more oxygen than a steady stream of water.

Q - Why does our windmill need to be re-primed after it has stopped turning for a while?
A - Simple answer - because there is air in the inlet pipe leading from the water supply to the pump.
Either, air left in the inlet line which wasn't properly evacuated during the initial priming process, or there is an air leak in the inlet pipe or one of the joints in the inlet line.
During priming it is critical that all air in the line is completely evacuated.
Even a little air at the top of a "gooseneck" or hump can cause problems with getting a perfect prime and so it is best to have a steady uphill rise on the inlet pipe all the way to the pump whilst priming. Once the pipe is completely full and primed it may run over humps and hollows in the ground without causing problems.
The difficulty is compounded by the fact that, although the pump can be self-priming, the slow speed at which it operates in normal conditions is too low to allow it to be fully self-priming.
The most difficult problem to trace is if there is a faulty joint or of crack in the inlet line and so great care has to be taken to get all joints perfect and the use of new pipework is recommended.
Following the priming instructions provided with the windmill is of utmost importance.

Q - What minimum wind speed sustains pumping capability?
A - Our windmills will pump water in wind speeds as low as 1 - 2 knots.
Pump performance and energy requirements are based on operating conditions and are governed by a combination or factors including - vertical height of lift to the pump - applied head, or vertical height the water is pumped to - pipe size - and wind speed and density, in the case of a windmill.
Factors such as ground contour and the proximity of buildings, trees, or other obstructions which may cause turbulence can effect wind speeds and effectiveness.

Q- What maximum wind speed may cause damage to any operating parts?
A - Turbulence and sudden wind direction changes are the major problems for any windmill.
Strong, steady wind speeds of over 100 kph have been handled by our windmills without problems.

Q - What arrangement is there to stop the rotation of the blades?
A - The fan can be turned out of the wind and then captured and tied back to mast.
This may be necessary for maintenance or during times when there is no pumping to be done.
Check here for instructions on how this is done.

Q - Your windmill does not have a tail or feathering device - why not?
A - We do not fit a tail to our windmills because it is unnecessary to do so.
It is an omnidirectional mill and will follow the wind as required.
The perception that a windmill needs a tail to keep it facing the wind is misconceived.
Designed correctly there is no need for a tail to be used to capture the wind.
Tails are fitted to most windmills, of this type, as a feathering device to turn them out of the wind when wind speeds become too high for them to cope with - our mill does not need to be feathered - it's blade design is able to withstand very high wind speeds.

Q - Are there recommendations for water filtering when fed from a pond or natural water source?
A -Water quality and the necessity for filtration or otherwise would be dependant on the water use.
We do not make any recommendations in this regard although, from experience, unless water quality is very poor and stock suffer from drinking it, most stock water is used, unfiltered, direct from the source.
The better the quality of the water the better it is for stock.
Obviously the pump is made for pumping liquids - not solids - and suspended solids in the water may cause wear in the pump and this could suggest the use of some filtration system but in most cases, if the intake pipe is suspended just below the surface of the water, and does not sit in any mud on the bottom of the supply source, there probably would not be any need for filtering the water.

Q - What are the costs and maintenance periods for normal wear and parts replacement?
A - Maintenance costs are minimal and consist of regular greasing and inspection every 3 - 4 weeks and replacement of a 50c reciprocating o'ring every 6 - 12 months, dependent on water quality.

Q - What are the recommendations for type of pipe and fittings?
A - 25mm ID alkythene for the inlet pipe for which we supply the fittings in the price of the windmill.
20mm ID or bigger pipe of your choice for the outlet - we recommend 20mm ID alkythene as the minimum.

Q - We have a situation where the pump would be required to lift about 10 ft and pump possibly/ideally 30 ft high, any problem?
A - No problem at all so long as it is located where there is some wind.

Q - What are screw anchors?
A - The anchors are galvanised, heavy steel rods with an eye at one end and an auger plate at the lower end and they are screwed into the ground until the eye is almost level with the surface.
The guywires are attached to these anchors to stay the windmill mast.
They are the type used by the electricity industry to stay power poles - they do not vibrate loose.

Q - How are the guy wires kept tight?
A - Ratchet type fence wire tensioners are used on the guy wires to keep them tight.

Q - What wind speed is needed to make your windmills start pumping?
A - Our windmills will operate in wind speed as low as 1 - 2 knots but this is dependent on the lift and head you apply.
The higher you lift the water to the pump and the greater the applied head ( height to which the water is pushed ) the more energy, and therefore, the higher the windspeed needed to achieve this.
With a lift of about 2 metres and a head of around 10 metres the windmill will operate in that 1 - 2 knot wind range.

Q - Does your windmill have a tail to feather it out of the wind?
A - No.

Q - Why doesn't your windmill have a tail?
A - The main requirement for a tail on a windmill is not to point it into the wind but to be able to feather it out of the wind whenever that may be needed whether it be for servicing or to reduce it's speed in high winds to prevent over-revving and consequent damage.
Ours is a 'down wind' design and, therefore, does not need a tail to turn it into the wind as it will follow the wind from any direction.
The drive train is very simple and robust without complex gearing and is able to cope with wind speed changes without possible problems caused by momentum in heavier designs and this helps overcome the need for a feathering device, (tail) and thereby increase it's simplicity, by the less dense design of it's fan and it's ability to follow the wind.

Q - Is there a govenor on your windmill?
A - There is no governor - there is no need - increase the wind speed - increase the water pumped.

Q - What sort of pump is used on your windmills?
A - The pump is a proprietary design, manufactured exclusively by us, and is a vertical mount, (due to valve design) positive displacement type with a bore of 1.375" (35mm) and stroke of 1.5" (38mm) and is made with a cast gunmetal (bronze) body, stainless steel pump rod and valves, brass valve bodies, leather main washer, engineering grade plastic gland piston fitted with a nitrile o'ring seal. O'rings are used as static seals for perfect sealing at joints which require simple and effective resealing after any routine maintenance.

Q - Should I use sealing tape on the joints, where there are o'ring seals?
A - NO!!!. It should just be left at that categorical NO but to expand on that terse answer it should be made clear that o'ring seals are just that – seals !! They do NOT require any tape on threads or joints associated with the seal.

Q - Should I use any tape or sealant on threaded joints?
A – Thread sealants such as teflon tapes and pastes, and hemp and other thread sealers are recommended on thread joints to achieve good, air tight, seals. These sealers should be used as per their manufacturers specifications for maximum effect.

Q - It looks like, from your website, the mast just sits on a concrete slab - does this slab just lay on a flat piece of land or does this have to be buried into the ground a little?
A - The mast does just sit on a concrete paving slab, or similar, and is held by the three guywires. The piece of concrete should be laid into any turf just to level it.

Q - What size concrete slab should be used approx.?
A - The slab may be of any size sufficient to stop the bottom of the mast pushing down into the ground but a standard paving slab (as opposed to just a paving stone) of about a foot square and two inches thick would be more than adequate for most situations. A piece of ground treated, solid, timber would do just as well.

Q - Are we correct is assuming that the pump is located in the bottom of the mast?
A – The pump is bolted to a plate, welded to the side of the mast, about 400mm up from the base of the mast.

Q - Does the inlet pipe to the pump come in through the side of the mast or up through the bottom of it?
A - The inlet pipe enters the bottom of the pump and is external to the mast.

Q - As the mast can be sited a little away from the water supply can we assume that if it is up hill a little it works on a suction lift basis Is it a problem to prime the pump if it is on suction lift?
A - The pump is a standard, single acting, displacement, plunger type, capable of suction lift up to a, realistic, height of 25 feet above water level. It is very easy to prime. The initial prime is done by hand operating the pump with a handle which we supply. Once primed it should never need priming again if the inlet pipework is installed properly - no leaks or faulty joins!!

Q - What size inlet pipe to you recommend on suction lift?
A - We recommend low or medium density polyethylene pipe with a 25mm bore diameter for the inlet.
This type of agricutural pipe is commonly known as alkythene, or LDPE, or MDPE.
LDPE would be the common recommendation with the MDPE possibly being used in where a lift of over about 5 metres is envisaged.

Q - How high up the mast does the outlet pipe exit?
A - At about 450mm above the ground.
Both inlet and outlet face downward normally. The outlet port has a tee connection fitted to allow for a monitoring plug, tap, or gauge and that fitting allows the outlet hose to be fitted to exit at right angles to the mast or at any angle in the plane of the mast.

Q - What type of pipe fittings do we need to connect to the inlet and outlet connections?
We supply the inlet pipe fittings for the polyethylene pipe that we recommend.
The outlet pipe can be 20mm ID or larger and, once again, we recommend standard agricultural polyethylene (alkythene) pipe.

Q - How long do you anticipate it would take for two people to erect the windpump and to get it operational?
A – A standard Ferguson windmill can be installed by one fully competent person in about three hours or, with some help, in about two hours.
The pipework and reticulation are not included in that time as that is a variable that we cannot anticipate.

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