I am looking for an easy way to pump water uphill out of a barrel. Feel free to suggest other methods, but in particular I am wondering about the following:

Can I use a siphon like this as a manual water pump?

The product description at this link says I can use it or air; would it be practical to use for water?


That's not going to get you very far with actually pumping water uphill. It can get a drain/hose started -- like an aquarium siphon kit -- but if you need the water to exit the hose at a level above the water level within the barrel, a better solution would be an inexpensive submersible pump.

You can find submersible pumps of varying sizes at major home improvement stores, online e.g. amazon, at large landscape or swimming pool suppliers, etc. I have a really small (~$20) one that would be good for the barrel situation; I've also used it as a temporary laundry pump and to drain rain water from swimming pool covers. I just put on a 1/2" ID clear PVC hose and plug it in.

  • Would this work? It looks suspiciously like a siphon but it is not labeled as such. ebay.com/itm/… – capet Sep 26 '20 at 2:21
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    There are many suitable pumps available from pond and aquarium supply sites. I routinely use one to pump out of a rain barrel. And another to make a 30 ft stream for a pond. – blacksmith37 Sep 26 '20 at 16:54

You cannot siphon water uphill. If two reservoirs A and B are connected by a siphon hose, water will flow from the reservoir whose surface is higher to the one whose surface is lower.

  • Thanks! I guess I was wondering whether the situation would be any different if I were to just continually operate the pump. – capet Sep 26 '20 at 1:22

You can “pump” water uphill without using electricity - use a hydraulic ram pump or water hammer pump. Also some call it a clapper pump, as it tends to make a noise...

All you need is flowing water but you may need to concern yourself with the delivery volume compared to the volume needed to drive it. However, there are many easily found resources explaining these and several manufacturers.

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