Living Sustainably

Aquaponics | Rain Harvesting | Composting | Other Green Products

Can I get water from my well if my power goes out for a week?

If you have a Juczak Pump, the answer is yes! Built by my buddy Jim Juczak of in Watertown NY.

Kit includes:

No electric components!

-Stainless Steel and Brass pump parts 37 lbs total
-Cast Iron pitcher pump (innards removed & included!)
-6″ Cast Iron Well Cap
-All the little pieces needed to make the pump work as shown in photo.
-Full Instructions for easy assembly including how to check the well.

Not included:

The stainless steel 1/8″ cable a little longer than the drop pipe.
The drop pipe 100′ of 1 1/4″ water pipe (or your depth)
Good drinkable / usable water to be pumped.

Jim say’s:
This pump set-up fits best into a casing that is 6″ in diameter.
It has pumped with the piston part of the kit at 140′ depth and a
static water depth of around 40′.
I used a 1″ PVC drop pipe for testing and get around 1 cup of water
per stroke.
Could I have changed things to get more water per stroke…
probably, but I wanted the pump to function easily enough for a
young child or older person to operate it.
The effort needed at the end of the handle isn’t any more than 15
pounds or so.
This pump is guaranteed to pump water.
If you have questions or problems contact me for solutions.

Free shipping to the United States. International buyers please contact me for a shipping quote.

See your purchase, and checkout:

The Juczak Deep Well Hand Pump $599:


The Off Grid Generator

ef4500iseWe have had a variety of generators over the years. Like most newbies we started out with the cheap department/hardware store B&S for about $300, and when that didn’t last the winter, we upgraded. When we had fewer solar panels, we depended on the generator more, so we looked at long life diesels. We experimented with a 50 year old Detroit that was way too big for our needs (and too noisy), and needed constant attention. We had a lister for a while, but that was a assemble yourself item, and it found a deserving home at Woodhenge. for the last two years we have had a Honda EU6500, and we have been very happy with it. Now it’s time to get another, as the Honda is bigger than we need, since we are slimming down our requirements, and number in our household. Our gen of choice at this point is a trifuel (gasoline, propane, natural gas) Yamaha EF4500iSE from US Carburetion. It’s has the 30 amp 120v plug we need for the camper (the Honda maxed out at 25amps), and comes propane ready, which is important to us. low emissions, quiet, lighter weight, long life, and perfect for the mobile lifestyle we are embarking upon.


Building a solar array at

Last year we helped Jim Juczak and Scott Gilbert (Missionary to Tuva) build a solar array from some high voltage used panels Jim had gotten in a deal. They worked out really well, using a Outback MPPT controller. Here are our pictures of the build we did.


Energy Efficient Water Pumps

Piston PumpA few years ago we invested in a high quality dc pump for our offgrid
water system. It was recommended we go with a solar force piston pump
with a 12v motor. Although it is a fine pump, and is much more efficient
than our old jet pump, it was well over $1000. Piston pumps were well
known 50 years ago, and can last a century if taken care of. We have
replaced the rubbers and packing in a few of the old ones, but parts are
getting hard to find. We now have the same pump available that the solar
force is built on, brand new, and can easily get replacement gaskets and
packing, for less than half the price that Conergy (formerly Dankoff) is
selling the Solar Force. You can hand crank, pedal, or install a ac or
dc motor to this pump. 300-400 rpm is recommended.

Jim Juczak of has finished his book, The High Art of Scrounging, and his DIY Hand Powered Deep Well Pump. See for details.


The / DIY Wind Turbine

The documentation for our DIY Axial Flux Wind Turbine is finally together, and ready for dissemination. Step by step instructions on alternator and blade construction, and additional files and pictures to help you build your own small wind turbine. This design has been tested at 500+ watts, and is ideal for battery charging. Detailed construction pictures are being uploaded. This is the turbine seen in our Science Channel “Invention Nation” episode. $25 (Electronic Download)

wind speed uk Information


AIR-X Wind Turbine Arrived, More Rocket Mass Heater Videos

The 24v AIR-X arrived today, and the Whisper 500 watt unit arrived last week. The Whisper was donated by Jim Juczak of Allan Smith, the creator of the Rocket Mass Heater came for supper, and we discussed his design, and alternative implementations. We will be building one of these soon. A ebook of the heater with video and Sketchup diagrams will be available from us shortly, as well as one with the wind turbine setup and installation. He has also added a couple more video’s on startup of the heater, and heat circulation. The manual wood splitter mentioned in the video’s is found at Bailey’s Online.


King of Scrounge: North Country man finds simple living is easy

Jim Juczak hates mortgages. When he started building his home in rural Jefferson County, he resolved to stay out of debt.

The house he finished five years later is an 18-sided structure with 3,000 square feet of space. It is mortgage-free.

And much of it is made from junk.

The support beams are salvaged from a bowling alley that was being demolished.

A two-story concrete column that supports the center of the house is made from scrapped manholes.

Windows, interior doors, sinks, tubs and other materials were bought cheap or salvaged for free after being removed from renovated buildings.

And the mortar for the outer wall was made from paper sludge, a waste material from a nearby mill. Juczak had to get a special permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation to divert the sludge from a landfill.

“Everyone gave it (the permit) with much humor, because this is basically garbage,” Juczak said. “You know — ‘Oh, my gosh! He’s living in a house made of trash!'”

Read more at and


Installing Solar at

Jim Juczak’s power system was damaged by their recent house fire. A group of us went to help them rebuild various aspects from sheetrock to applying primer. My son Matt and I tackled upgrading and repairing the power system. Jim had built wooden frames for the 12 new solar panels. These panels are a bit different than the usual ones we run across. Each panel is a 45 watt, 98 volt open circuit amorphous panel. Matt and I built combiner boxes and wiring whips so that each frame will hold 4 panels wired in parallel, and a master combiner box that parallels the 3 frames, feeding the Outback MX-60 in the house. The house contains a 24 volt Trojan L16 battery pack.

Each frame has a small combiner box connecting the 4 panels with 12 gauge cable to a 10 gauge uplink to the master combiner box. The master combiner uplinks to the house with 6 gauge. See pics at

They bought a 40′ shipping container to put belongings in while the house is being finished, so we put a temporary pv system on that as well for internal lighting.

We go back next weekend to fix the wind turbine and install some ground lines for the panels.


Fire damages round house

A unique Jefferson County home (, celebrated for its eco-friendly design, was damaged by fire Sunday afternoon.

No one was home at the residence of Jim and Krista Juczak at 14910 Fuller Road in the Town of Adams when the fire was reported to Jefferson County Emergency Dispatch at 1:26 p.m.

The round-shaped home, constructed of concrete and face logs is one of the more famous abodes in the area, having been the subject of various broadcast and print reports as well as host to tours for educational groups.

Mr. Juczak said he believed the blaze originated as a chimney fire and that most of the damage probably resulted from smoke and water. The structure is insured.

Firefighters from Adams, Adams Center and Town of Watertown were at the scene.

Share and on Discovery’s Science Channel

Our air-date has been moved up to tomorrow night, December 17th, at 10pm Eastern time. The Science Channel is found on both cable and satellite TV. Check out You will see show hosts Chris, Nobu, and Micah learning to build a 1000 watt wind turbine from scratch, which helps power our off-grid home. More information on our wind turbines can be found at, and

Get the Wind Power Workshop, by Hugh Piggott, to learn how to build your own wind turbine as seen on our Science Channel episode.

Back Home Magazine is giving away a free set of wind turbine plans when you subscribe for a year. This is a great deal, and I highly recommend it!