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A windmill is one of the most energy efficient and ingenious ways ever devised to pump water from under the ground. A windmill harnesses the free and renewable energy of the wind and uses that energy to lift underground water to the surface for farm and ranch uses.
Because windmills are so efficient and durable, the basic design hasn't changed in almost 150 years. The secret lies in the way a windmill harnesses the wind's energy to power an ingenious water pump located deep underground.
Farm and Ranch Windmills
The power of the wind is captured by the windmill and harnessed in two steps. Each step is easy to identify by simply observing a windmill in action.
First, notice how the fan turns. A windmill captures the energy of the wind with the large, circular fan, or "wheel", located at the top of the tower. When the wind blows, the fan rotates. This turning motion is so commonplace that it's easily taken for granted. But don't. This is where the free energy of the wind is captured.
Second, look just below the turning wheel and notice a long rod moving up and down. This "sucker rod", is powered by the windmill's motor. This windmill motor is a unique set of mechanical gears that converts the rotary motion of the wheel into a reciprocating (up and down) motion that powers the cylinder pump located deep underground.
A water well is a small-diameter hole drilled into the earth's crust that fills up with water. As the well is drilled, it passes through various underground layers of sand and gravel, and extends into an aquifer, or underground water-bearing formation.
Once the well is drilled to the proper depth, the well wall is reinforced and perforated to allow water from the surrounding aquifer to seep into the well. Gravity causes the water to rise to the level of the underground water table.
A sealed "drop pipe" is then inserted into the well until its lower end is fully immersed in the well water.
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