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I have an outdoor spigot (like the old red "pump handle" kind) in my back yard. It's down the hill from the well and pump, and in between the house / indoor pressure tank and the well head.

My dad thinks that the pump handle is in a direct line from the well (plumbed between the well and the pressure tank), but I'm thinking that the pump handle must be on a different line, after the pressure tank.

My reasoning is that the pressure switch on the pressure tank is what triggers the well pump to turn on, so if the pump handle was plumbed directly on a T from the well line and before the pressure tank, there's no way for the pump to get activated to supply pressure to the pump handle.

Anyone know how these are generally plumbed before I dig it out and take a look?

Adding info:

I want to run a line to an external unit (ADU over garage). I'm not sure if I need to run a line out from the pressure tank in the house, or if I can run from the pump handle. There's no filtration / water softener in the system, so no worries about treated vs. untreated

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  • Is there a problem you are trying to solve here? What is the type of pump? Most all have a "foot valve" (like a check valve) in the well to prevent pressurized water from flowing back into the well...meaning the entire length of the pipe from the well to the pressure tank is pressurized. If your yard hydrant is Teed into that line it would have pressure, water may flow in reverse from your pressure tank until the pump kicks on, but that's OK. If you have check valves at the pressure tank on the line feeding it then it's a whole different ball of wax. – George Anderson Apr 15 at 21:45
  • "I'm not sure if I need to run a line out from the pressure tank in the house, or if I can run from the pump handle" -- does water come out of the spigot when you open it? If so, what makes you think you'd have any trouble tapping from that location for the ADU? (That said, it's not clear whether you're talking about just hooking a hose to the spigot or adding a T underground...it doesn't really matter in terms of the question you've asked here, but I'd be skeptical of the former approach.) – Peter Duniho Apr 15 at 22:59
  • I guess I had assumed there was a check valve at the pressure tank to prevent backflow to the well. If that's not the case, then I guess I can tap into the system at any point, right? – user101289 Apr 15 at 23:06
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I'm thinking that the pump handle must be on a different line, after the pressure tank.…if the pump handle was plumbed directly on a T from the well line and before the pressure tank, there's no way for the pump to get activated to supply pressure to the pump handle

That reasoning is erroneous.

The pressure for the system is pretty much the same throughout, not counting friction losses while the water is moving and other tiny effects like that. If you open a valve anywhere in the system, the pressure for the entire system drops. It doesn't matter where the valve is.

Anyone know how these are generally plumbed before I dig it out and take a look?

There's not really any "generally plumbed", other than most installers will follow the path of least resistance. There's not any good reason that there should be a separate line from the pressure tank back to the spigot, so by far the most likely configuration is that there's a water line from the well to the spigot, and then from there to the pressure tank and the rest of the system.

One possible exception might be if there is a check-valve between the spigot and the pressure tank.

In many jurisdictions irrigation lines are required to be isolated from the household/potable water supply using a double-check-valve to ensure that no contaminated water can go backwards from the irrigation line into the potable line. But note that that sort of check-valve prevents backflow from the spigot, not backflow from the pressure tank. Only the latter type of check-valve would interfere with the operation of the spigot and require a separate line back to the spigot and there's no good reason to install one like that.

The usual double-check-valve configuration wouldn't pose any problem at all with respect to the pressure switch for the well.

Another possible exception might be if there is a water treatment system (e.g. filter, softener, etc.) present and there was a desire for the water from the spigot to be treated. In that case, a line would have to return to the spigot from the output site of the treatment.

I don't think these kinds of exceptions are likely. But of course there's no way to rule them out completely.

There remains the question of why you want to know how the lines are plumbed. Presumably you have some other broader goal in mind that you are trying to solve. Without knowing what that goal is, it's impossible to help with it. Consider posting a new question where you explain that goal, describe what you've done so far to solve it, and what specifically you need help with.

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  • Yep, Yep and YEP. You said lots of what I said in a comment! Great answer. One point, though, I can't imagine why someone would want treated water from a yard hydrant. For one thing, residual salt isn't good for watering vegetation, and it leaves horrible water spots on cars/trucks after you've washed them....even worse than the original hard water. But clearly, we don't know what the OP is trying to solve. – George Anderson Apr 15 at 22:53
  • @GeorgeAnderson: "I can't imagine why someone would want treated water from a yard hydrant" -- me either, which is why I include that in the "not very likely" category. Heck, at my own house we specifically had the house-mounted bibs excluded from water treatment. I certainly wouldn't put effort into extending treated water out to the landscape. But, different strokes for different folks. One thing I've learned over the years is that you can never assume someone else isn't going to do something you think is crazy. – Peter Duniho Apr 15 at 22:54
  • @GeorgeAnderson: to this specific point , "residual salt isn't good for watering vegetation, and it leaves horrible water spots on cars/trucks after you've washed them", water treatment doesn't necessarily mean water softening, and even water softening doesn't necessarily mean a salt-based system (though in my experience, those are the only ones really able to do the job for any reasonable cost). Again, using my own house as an example, we don't soften the water, it's just filtered for particulates and elemental iron and manganese. – Peter Duniho Apr 15 at 22:57
  • Yes, Like I've said in other posts, water quality issues and treatment can be very very varied, lots of unique situations. The best thing for ppl to do is get their water tested so they know what their dealing with. In this question, however, the OP is only asking about how to make the connections. Your answer was spot on...whether upstream or downstream from the pressure tank should make no difference unless there's an odd combinations of irrigation and check valves. – George Anderson Apr 15 at 23:00

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