Digging a well: Part II, Above ground thoughts
Now that you have drilled the well and inserted applicable piping, connectors, and pump, etc. all this connects above ground to a well pump station-for lack of better words. This station is usually placed inside a house, a utility room, or a basement, and then connected to the house plumbing. Of course you can locate this well pump station anywhere-but with reservations.
The pump inside the well forcers water up and into a metal tank wherein it has a butyl (rubber) bladder that expands from the water pressure and is in fact a holding tank of sorts. This pressure tank keeps building water pressure until the pre-set well pump on/off switch engages. Normally when you purchase one of these switches for about twenty dollars it is pre-set to turn on the well pump at 30 lbs. and shut off at 50. So when you are drawing water into your shower the pressure may swing up and down a bit, perhaps to your discomfort. Therefore we have to adjust the start pressure point higher, and the cut off switch higher too. I have mine set at 40 lbs and shuts off at 60 lbs. This maintains a nice even water flow and lots of water pressure just like in the big city.
However you must consider that the pressure tank, generally sold as a “package deal” by the well installer is trying to keep prices down. He will sell you a small twenty-gallon tank. That means that the tank on and off switch will be rapidly switching as your daughters draw Hollywood showers; this puts wear on the well pump down in the well.
An alternative to avoid the rapid wear and tear switching with wearing out of the pump would be to install a “farm size” water pressure tank- a 90-gallon size. That is more costly, about three hundred dollars, but it pays in the end with a better-regulated water flow with less wear and tear; and of course, down time- waiting for a replacement.
Not everybody who drills a well comes up with natural pure sparkling well water. Sometimes you get iron or sulfur water. Water equipment sales specialists recommend a salt-water containment tank that captures and filters the distasteful water. These salt tanks, requiring high maintenance and additional costs, are often listed by consumer advocates for health as unsafe. You may want to research this on your own, as this is a common sales item. Essentially it puts too much sodium (salt) in your drinking water.
We mentioned in the first article about a sediment screen in the well shaft enclosing the well pump. Mine really works well as the water that flows out of my pressure tank goes through a special water filter (about fifty dollars) and the insert cartridge is just clean all the time. These paper filters can be had in the 5 micron and up size for cleaning water sediment and even bacteria. I would certainly install, and did install, these filters on the old springhouse water supply, inside my herb prep room and potable water to the house.
There is considerable controversy about chlorine water injection systems being employed. When we took in children, the county required a chorine injection system on the spring box. If the chlorine injection system is set properly you will not taste the chlorine and it will kill all the potentially harmful bacteria. Starting with the Clinton Administration there was a big push to use black lights to kill bacterial laden water flowing through a pipe. This has not materialized to any great degree although it is available at considerable cost for those subjected to surface water contamination.
The location of the storage station is drippy at best. If located in the house per se, I would encourage a concrete retaining wall of 12 inches high around the pump station equipment and a drain hole to outside, or install a water basement floor pump (fifty dollars) to catch leaks, or else water leaks will run all over the floor. A dirt floor basement could become a swamp.
You will also want this pump station to be located where it will not freeze in the winter. All pipes leading to and away from the pump station need be insulated below grade. This implies that an above ground pump house needs to be insulated.
Years ago ¾” plastic pipes conveying your water was the state of the art. These are inadequate for moving enough water in a modern needs house. Consider that new washing machine, dishwasher, multiple showers, tubs, hot tubs and etc, all demand water and as one is being used there is not enough water pressure for something else at the same time. To maintain city water flow in a well system you need 1” super heavy-duty 160 lbs –200 lbs pressure pipes that are rock puncture safe. Yes it costs more but that is what you need. I just re dug all new direct lines from the well to the house and outlaying buildings, plus hydrants thereby upgrading decades of old metal, undersized pipes, and corrected major leaks. I won’t say how much, but it is worth it.
You will want to have a consultation with Dallas Haynes, at Hanes Drilling Company in Christiansburg, Virginia, phone number (540) 382-8251 and (540) 745-3999 for Floyd, VA.
COPYRIGHT: 2010, Back2theland.com, Mark Steel