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How To Build A Ram Pump How To Build A Ram Pump

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How To Build A Ram Pump

Written by: Evelyn Wilson

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Kathryn Senior
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Reviewed by
Kathryn Senior

Senior Editor in Create & Decorate, Kathryn combines traditional craftsmanship with contemporary trends. Her background in textile design and commitment to sustainable crafts inspire both content and community.

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Learn how to build a ram pump with this step-by-step DIY guide. Perfect for DIY & Crafts enthusiasts looking to create their own water pump.

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Are you looking for a sustainable and cost-effective way to pump water on your property? Building a ram pump might just be the solution you need. This ingenious device uses the power of flowing water to pump a portion of that water to a higher elevation without requiring any external power source. In this article, we will guide you through the process of building your own ram pump, allowing you to harness the natural energy of water to meet your irrigation or water supply needs. Let's dive in and explore the world of DIY ram pumps!


Understanding the Ram Pump

A ram pump, also known as a hydraulic ram or water ram, is a water pumping device that utilizes the kinetic energy of flowing water to pump a smaller portion of that water to a higher elevation. This ingenious mechanism operates without the need for electricity or fuel, making it an environmentally friendly and cost-effective solution for pumping water in remote areas or off-grid locations.

The basic principle behind a ram pump involves the use of two check valves and an air chamber. When water flows into the pump, it first passes through a waste valve, which allows a portion of the water to escape. The remaining water then flows into the pump body, creating pressure that closes the waste valve and opens the delivery valve. This sudden increase in pressure forces a portion of the water into the delivery pipe, where it is pumped to a higher elevation. The air chamber helps to regulate the pressure and maintain a steady pumping action.

One of the key advantages of a ram pump is its simplicity and reliability. With few moving parts and no external power source required, a well-built ram pump can operate for many years with minimal maintenance. Additionally, the ability to harness the energy of flowing water makes it an ideal solution for off-grid or environmentally conscious individuals seeking a sustainable water pumping method.

Understanding the inner workings of a ram pump is essential before embarking on the journey of building and installing one. With this foundational knowledge, you can proceed to gather the necessary materials and tools for constructing your own ram pump.


Materials and Tools Needed

Before you begin building your ram pump, it's essential to gather all the necessary materials and tools. Here's a comprehensive list to ensure you have everything you need to complete the project:


  1. Pipes: You will need durable pipes for the construction of the ram pump. Opt for high-quality PVC or galvanized steel pipes that can withstand water pressure.
  2. Check Valves: Acquire two reliable check valves to control the flow of water within the pump.
  3. Air Chamber: A sturdy air chamber is essential for regulating pressure fluctuations and ensuring a steady pumping action.
  4. Pipe Fittings: Gather a variety of pipe fittings, including elbows, tees, and connectors, to assemble the pump components.
  5. Sealant: Invest in a waterproof sealant to secure the connections and prevent leaks.
  6. Support Base: Depending on your installation location, you may need a stable base or mounting platform for the ram pump.


  1. Pipe Cutter: A pipe cutter will be necessary for cutting and preparing the pipes to the required lengths.
  2. Wrenches: Have a set of wrenches on hand for tightening and securing the pipe fittings.
  3. Drill and Bits: You'll need a drill and suitable drill bits for creating holes in the pipes and mounting the pump components.
  4. Measuring Tape: Accurate measurements are crucial for ensuring the proper assembly of the pump, so a measuring tape is essential.
  5. Hacksaw: In addition to a pipe cutter, a hacksaw can be useful for cutting pipes and other materials.
  6. Level: To ensure the pump is installed correctly and operates efficiently, a level will help you achieve a straight and balanced setup.
  7. Work Gloves and Safety Gear: Always prioritize safety by wearing work gloves and any necessary safety gear when handling tools and materials.

By gathering these materials and tools, you'll be well-prepared to embark on the construction of your ram pump. With everything in place, you can proceed to the next step of building the pump and harnessing the power of flowing water for your water pumping needs.


Building the Ram Pump

Now that you have all the necessary materials and tools at your disposal, it's time to roll up your sleeves and start building your ram pump. Follow these step-by-step instructions to construct your very own water pumping device:

  1. Assemble the Pump Body: Begin by connecting the pipes and fittings to create the main body of the ram pump. Use a pipe cutter to cut the pipes to the required lengths, ensuring precise measurements for a snug fit. Secure the connections with the appropriate pipe fittings and sealant to prevent any leaks.

  2. Install the Check Valves: Position the two check valves in the designated locations within the pump body. These valves play a crucial role in controlling the flow of water and facilitating the pumping action. Ensure that the valves are securely attached and allow for unidirectional water flow as per the pump's design.

  3. Incorporate the Air Chamber: Integrate the air chamber into the pump assembly, providing a space for air to compress and regulate pressure fluctuations. The air chamber helps maintain a steady and consistent pumping action, contributing to the efficiency of the ram pump.

  4. Secure the Components: Use wrenches to tighten and secure all the pump components, including the pipes, fittings, check valves, and air chamber. It's essential to ensure that the entire assembly is stable and leak-free to optimize the pump's performance.

  5. Mount the Pump: Depending on your installation location, mount the completed ram pump on a stable base or platform. Use appropriate fasteners and supports to secure the pump in place, taking into account the weight and water pressure it will experience during operation.

  6. Test for Leaks: Before proceeding to the installation phase, conduct a thorough inspection of the pump assembly to check for any potential leaks. Pressurize the system and observe all connections for signs of water seepage, addressing any issues promptly to prevent water loss and maintain efficiency.

By following these detailed steps, you can successfully build your ram pump and prepare it for installation. With the construction phase complete, you're ready to move on to the next crucial stage: installing and testing the functionality of your newly constructed ram pump.


Installing and Testing the Ram Pump

Now that you have successfully constructed your ram pump, it's time to proceed with the installation and testing phase. Follow these steps to ensure a proper setup and verify the functionality of your newly built water pumping device:

  1. Select an Ideal Installation Site: Choose a location for installing the ram pump where there is a consistent and sufficient source of flowing water. The pump should be positioned at a lower elevation relative to the water source, allowing it to harness the kinetic energy of the flowing water for pumping.

  2. Secure the Pump in Place: Use sturdy mounting brackets or supports to secure the ram pump in its designated location. Ensure that the pump is level and firmly anchored to withstand the water pressure and operational forces it will experience.

  3. Connect the Delivery Pipe: Extend the delivery pipe from the ram pump to the desired higher elevation where you intend to transfer the pumped water. Secure the pipe in place and account for any necessary fittings or supports to maintain its stability.

  4. Prime the Pump: To initiate the pumping action, the ram pump needs to be primed with water. This process involves filling the pump and delivery pipe with water to expel any air and establish a continuous flow for the pumping mechanism.

  5. Observe the Pumping Action: Once the pump is primed, observe the pumping action as water flows through the system. Verify that the check valves are functioning correctly, allowing for the cyclic pumping process to take place without interruptions.

  6. Adjust and Optimize: Fine-tune the pump's performance by adjusting the waste valve and air chamber to achieve an optimal pumping rate. Monitoring the delivery pipe's water flow and pressure will help in determining the efficiency of the ram pump.

  7. Test for Consistency: Run the ram pump for an extended period to assess its consistency and reliability. Ensure that the pumping action remains steady and that the system operates as intended without irregularities.

  8. Inspect for Leaks and Stability: Conduct a thorough inspection of all connections, joints, and mounting points to check for any signs of leaks or instability. Address any issues promptly to maintain the efficiency and longevity of the ram pump.

By following these installation and testing procedures, you can ensure that your ram pump is properly set up and functioning as a reliable water pumping solution. With the pump successfully installed and tested, you can harness the power of flowing water to meet your irrigation or water supply needs in a sustainable and cost-effective manner.


Troubleshooting and Maintenance

After installing and testing your ram pump, it's essential to be prepared for potential issues that may arise during its operation. Additionally, regular maintenance is crucial for ensuring the long-term functionality and efficiency of the pump. Here are some troubleshooting tips and maintenance practices to keep your ram pump in optimal condition:


  1. Check for Air Leaks: If you notice a decrease in pumping efficiency or irregularities in the pumping action, inspect the pump assembly for any air leaks. Air leaks can disrupt the pressure dynamics within the pump and hinder its performance. Seal any detected leaks with an appropriate waterproof sealant to restore the pump's functionality.

  2. Evaluate Check Valve Functionality: Periodically assess the check valves to ensure they are operating correctly. If the valves fail to open or close as intended, it can disrupt the pumping cycle. Clean or replace the check valves if they show signs of debris accumulation or wear and tear.

  3. Assess Water Source: If the pump experiences inconsistent or insufficient water flow, investigate the source of the water. Factors such as debris accumulation, changes in water levels, or blockages in the intake can affect the pump's performance. Clear any obstructions and ensure a consistent water supply for the pump.

  4. Optimize Waste Valve Settings: Fine-tune the waste valve to achieve an optimal balance between water delivery and waste. Adjusting the waste valve can influence the pumping rate and efficiency of the ram pump. Experiment with different settings to find the most effective configuration for your specific water flow conditions.


  1. Regular Inspections: Schedule routine inspections of the entire pump assembly, including the pipes, fittings, and valves. Look for signs of corrosion, leaks, or structural issues that may compromise the pump's functionality. Address any identified issues promptly to prevent further damage.

  2. Cleaning and Debris Removal: Clear the intake and delivery pipes of any debris or sediment that may accumulate over time. Debris can impede water flow and affect the pump's performance. Regularly clean the pipes and check valves to maintain unobstructed water passage.

  3. Lubrication of Moving Parts: If your ram pump includes moving components, such as the waste valve mechanism, apply lubrication as needed to ensure smooth operation. Proper lubrication can reduce friction and wear on the moving parts, extending their lifespan.

  4. Pressure and Performance Checks: Periodically monitor the water pressure and pumping performance of the ram pump. Assess the delivery pipe's water flow and pressure to ensure that the pump is operating at its optimal capacity. Make adjustments as necessary to maintain consistent performance.

  5. Seasonal Considerations: Take into account seasonal variations in water flow and temperature that may impact the pump's operation. Adjust the pump settings or conduct additional maintenance during seasonal transitions to accommodate changing environmental conditions.

By implementing these troubleshooting and maintenance practices, you can proactively address potential issues and sustain the efficiency of your ram pump. Regular care and attention to the pump's operation will contribute to its longevity and reliable performance, allowing you to continue benefiting from the sustainable water pumping solution it provides.



In conclusion, building a ram pump offers a sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to water pumping, harnessing the natural energy of flowing water without the need for external power sources. By understanding the principles behind a ram pump and following the step-by-step process of construction, installation, and testing, individuals can create a reliable water pumping solution for various applications, including irrigation and off-grid water supply.

The simplicity and efficiency of a well-built ram pump make it a valuable asset for individuals seeking self-sufficiency and sustainability in water management. Additionally, the troubleshooting and maintenance guidelines provided ensure that the ram pump can be maintained in optimal condition, prolonging its lifespan and functionality.

With the ability to operate for extended periods with minimal maintenance, a DIY ram pump represents a cost-effective and reliable alternative to traditional water pumping methods. By embracing the concept of harnessing natural energy, individuals can contribute to sustainable water management practices while meeting their water supply needs in a resource-efficient manner.

Incorporating a ram pump into a property's water infrastructure not only provides a practical water pumping solution but also serves as a testament to the ingenuity of harnessing natural forces for everyday needs. As individuals explore the possibilities of DIY ram pumps, they contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally conscious approach to water utilization, aligning with the principles of self-sufficiency and eco-friendly living.

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