Your Own Water Well

Discussion in 'Other Reminiscences' started by Frank Sanoica, Jan 16, 2018.

  1. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Supreme Member
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    Missouri Ozarks place, 3 miles off paved road on previously Forest Service gravel, electric power had been run along it in the 1950s! Locals recalled hiking to the one-room schoolhouse 3/4 mile east of our farmhouse and having no electric lighting there. So, primitive, it then less so when we moved there in 1999. 300 acres mostly timbered with Oak, Pine, Ironwood, Hickory, even Persimmon trees! We got 90 acres with the farmhouse, my nephew due to retire there in 2 years about 110, and our neighbor from Phoenix about 90; neither wanted the farmhouse. The previous owner, Gene Townsend had moved there in 1951, installed wiring in the house, had a good well drilled out back 100 feet deep, with electric pump, installed faucets, toilet, added on an addition which was about 1/3 the area of the original house. Townsend raised his family there, died in the '90s, and his wife moved to town, the kids already gone.

    The well was located within a concrete block enclosure he had built about 12 feet square and 7 feet high, surrounded by backfilled earth except for the face with the door, heaped at least 20 feet high, to insulate the structure. Inside was the pressure tank, pump, and water feed line, buried, leading in to the house.

    Ozarks during most of the year excepting the dead of winter, has very high humidity, often 80% and more. This meant that the 45-degree water stored in the tank caused it to sweat constantly, as did all the interior surfaces of the pumphouse. Biggest problem was during sustained very cold weather, possibility of freezing pipe inside was a very real possibility. I installed a small electric heater, sold specifically for such application.

    Our last two years in the Ozarks, 2010-2012, we wintered in Arizona, during which time I feared one of the numerous power outages the area was constantly plagued with, might allow "busted pipes". I opened all the faucets, and blew out all the pipes with compressed air. Returning in May, 2011, we found one pipe had burst: flex line under the kitchen sink, water trapped in it.

    The water was wonderful, cold, clear, great-tasting, coming from limestone strata for which the area is famed. Just enough dissolved rock to make wonderful home-brewed beer! Impossible to draw that well down, other folks often complained of wells going dry. When Townsend's old above-ground Jet Pump quit, we bought a deep-well submersible, 1/2 horsepower, not huge but completely adequate, and my wife walked with the plastic pipe trailing behind her as I guided it out of the well casing: 95 feet of it! We hung the new pump on new pipe, lowered it along with it's wiring back into the well casing, which was 8-inches in diameter. Always one to gamble on my own abilities, my wife very dubious, I dismissed the Lowe's "water expert's" dire prediction that we couldn't possibly install a submersible, but was glad to get the sale. Worked like a charm!

    Any water well experiences here? Frank
     
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  2. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Supreme Member
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    Our only source of water to the house is a well. Nice not to pay a water bill, but we don't have water if the electric goes out..
     
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  3. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    That's one thing that we need to get on our land up north - a well. I'd like to get one in there before Maine starts requiring a permit, as many other states do. We've saved the money for it, so it's just a matter of my getting around to having it drilled.

    Probably, I'll build a pump-house around the well once we get it in; maybe a earth-bag building, since I have been wanting to play around with earth-bags. I bought the bags last year.
     
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  4. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Supreme Member
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    @Ken Anderson , wouldn't you be better off digging an open well? If disaster strikes and you didn't have electricity, a drilled well would be useless, wouldn't it?
     
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  5. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    No one around here will dig an open well, and I am certainly not up to it myself. Yes, it would require a generator, or perhaps solar.
     
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  6. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    You can install a hand pump alongside an electric one. I had a brochure for one that tied into the existing system so that when the power goes out, you pump water into your system's pressure tank, making it a manual backup for the electric pump. Or you could leave a tap open to full up the tub, a sink, a large pot, etc.

    They also sell models that pump the water right there, just as any standard manual pump.
     
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