How to build a simple PVC Hand Pump – the Peters Pump

Published on Feb 12, 2013 by approtechie

This video shows you how to build the Peters Pump, a simple inexpensive direct-acting PVC hand pump suitable for shallow wells. You can see it working in these other videos I posted some time ago:

In this video it’s attached to a small diesel pumping unit I built for irrigating with it:

You can see a 4″ diameter version of it here:

Every place I’ve introduced this in the world I’ve had to adapt the design somewhat to use the parts available – this version is the one I build in the U.S. Other versions use thin wall pipe or black polyethylene pipe, or a different piston fitting that fits the pipe better, or a foot-valve that’s held in place by forming the pipe with heat, or a foot-valve that uses a copper wire cage to hold the bottle cap in place. Sometimes the pipe ID varies between manufacturers and even between production lots, so you have to be careful. I’ve made several versions of the pump, and usually I have to spend a lot of time browsing the hardware stores to find parts that might work. So far I’ve always been able to build a working pump and show others how to do it, too. I hope you’ll be able to do the same.

[Safety note: please take care when heating PVC since it can give off toxic fumes. Have good ventilation, take measures to ensure you don’t breathe the fumes. Don’t burn the plastic, just heat it gently and only until it’s soft enough to form. You can use boiling hot water to soften it also. Use common sense and stay safe.]

I believe the piston valve made from a bicycle inner tube stretched over a perforated pipe is unique – I’ve not seen this used anywhere else. The main advantage is that it allows a lot of water to pass through it in spite of the small pipe diameter. It’s also lasts for a very long time.

Note that everything that goes into the water won’t corrode – rubber, copper, plastic, stainless steel. This pump can easily last for many years of use because of that. The only parts that wear out are easily replaced using off-the-shelf or scrounged materials.

The thumbnail photo is of a pump I installed in Bolivia in 2003. Notice the 2-liter bottle used as a sliding funnel to fill water jugs without spilling. During a subsequent drought the whole community got their water from this well since it was the only one that hadn’t dried up.

By the way, the little soda can stove in the video works great, and is based on the work of YouTubers ‘Littlebitworks’ and ‘Tetkoba’. Look for “Groove Stove”. It’s made from one soda can in about 5 minutes, blossoms in about 3 seconds, and can cook for about 15-20 minutes.

We’re putting together a more complete printed instruction manual with photos and parts list for those who might want that. It will be available for a nominal fee to pay for printing and mailing. Email me at

I work with an organization training folks in many technologies including this one. You can read about it at

If you have any questions feel free to ask. Thanks for watching!

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