Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

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  • Mon, Oct 04, 2010 - 05:50pm

    #1
    Davos

    Davos

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    Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

The CM’ers on my FB are, by now I’m sure, tired of hearing me go on about my well. I want to share with the CM community a lesson I learned the hard way with the hope that it will help others, who think they are well prepared become even more well prepared. No well pun intended.

Day 1:  On Friday I was at a clients, who happens to manage a fund. I got a call from Marsh saying that she was about to put shampoo in her hair when the water stopped. She had “Googled” the fault light and determined that there was a loose wire which was sending a fault to the well controller in our garage.

  • The well company had been dispatched.
  • The circuit breaker for the well recycled then turned off
  • The circuit breaker for the hot water heater turned off since if the water doesn’t replenish the coils will burn out.
  • Neighbors were emailed looking for standby shower locations and water jug refill locations, 3 request, 3 immediate come on overs.

We store 1 gallon used OJ containers filled with water and a drop or two of bleach in our 3 freezers, should the power go out it helps keep the cow cold until we bring the generator online. We also have a garage that is scattered with more of these jugs. For flushing we have a tiny pond, and the hen house has a 40 gallon rainwater collector which was topped off. We also have gas stove and a wood stove where water can be boiled, and we have camping water filters.

All the way home I kicked myself for putting off this project: A self built solar hot water system with a couple hundred gallon tank. For over a year I had been thinking that A larger tank or a secondary tank could be used and we could collect the rainwater, so if the well went and we couldn’t get a well guy up in time we’d be self sufficient.

Day 2: Lugging 5 gallon pales of water 300′ from the hen house to the toilet or 200′ from the pond to the toilets stinks. Heating the hot water heater up to get hot water and draining it into what I thought was a clean watering pale for a shower was okay, until I found a worm in my hair while “showering”. Showering I explained to my son and my wife was going to be a lot like camping.

Day 3: Filled up jugs, could have lasted longer but we need more water on hand.

Day 4: Well guy shows up. I’m already devising a lift so I am not reliant on someone to do this for me next time. The culprit was a wire – 700′ below the well cap – that wasn’t spliced well. The wire began arcing. Soon it burnt back and the arcs no longer reached the motor.

Lessons Learned:

  • I’ve decided to move full speed ahead and put in the solar system. The solar parts of it may actually go in later, right now I want a tank that is plumbed into the gutters that will collect 1,000 ++ gallons of rainwater. A roof gives about 1/2 gallon per square foot of roof area per 1″ of rain.
  • You can never have enough jugs of water on hand. Ever.
  • Having a second well pump at the house is a wise idea, they will only go up in price.
  • Copper prices from 2007 until today have been somewhat flat, yet we were charged 1.58 a foot for #6 wire, today on eBay the best price I could find is 3.00 a foot. We are talking about 2,100 dollars in wire if it was to be destroyed by lightning or some other event. Having wire on hand is another good insurance plan.
  • I don’t want to rely on anyone – I want the ability to pull my own pump. I built everything else myself, including the septic system.
  • I want back up. Our bodies come with it, our families have it, planes have it. Water is key to life. Houses should have 2 systems.

Hope that helps, I’m going to take a shower, without worms, and with more than 2 gallons of water!

  • Mon, Oct 04, 2010 - 08:30pm

    #2
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

Thanks for sharing. Davos!  You may not be ready, but you’re way ahead of me and mine!  A very good kick in the butt for me!

I’m also glad you have the gift of time to learn from your live feedback!!

  • Mon, Oct 04, 2010 - 08:57pm

    #3
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

Have had  Well challenges in our day too .    Of course  while the husband is  gone and when I call   he says ‘ sounds like the well has gone dry … we are toast”  .   In my head  I nicely think we are 1/8 mile from the river not a chance … the well is only 40 deep.      I do huge amounts of laundry but no way did I drain the well . So  I had the kids check to see if anyone  had left the water on for the cows or horses .  Nope .  Soooo down the well  hole we go .  I  had the boy start replacing things that look well worn .    One part at a time .Several trips to town .  Pump , valves ,  finally the pressure tank AH Ha  little hole in the bottom of the tank !   But Yeah now everything is replaced and  we are up and running in two days !      We do have many rain barrels that stay full , frozen drinking water, and an old well with a hand pump .    Just not fond of hauling water  for laundry and heating bath water on the stove really slows  you down .

 Lesson learned  … I am buying spare parts to have on hand  and looking into the$2000.  solar panel that will run the well . Thanking God it was something the son and I could do .  Had it been a deep well not so sure if we could have gotten it pulled .  The pressure tank was a bugger to get down the hole and a very tight fit.  So a holding tank in the basement would be a good thing  but I am not ready to give up the space . Also since it had been loosing pressure for sometime the osmosis did not have enough pressure  PSI to run properly .   Amazing how important  that all things work together .   Whew !

 Life is a series of minor emergencies !

  • Tue, Oct 05, 2010 - 01:51am

    #4
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

Davos,

Thanks for the informative post.  700′ below the well cap?!?!  Where do you live that you have a 700′ well?

  • Tue, Oct 05, 2010 - 02:04am

    #5
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

[quote=ao]

Davos,

Thanks for the informative post.  700′ below the well cap?!?!  Where do you live that you have a 700′ well?

[/quote]+2,600′ MSL. We hit at 840′. Thanks PineCarr and FullMoon.

  • Tue, Oct 05, 2010 - 02:16am

    #6
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

For economical and convenient water storage, I use 59 oz. plastic juice bottles (I’m a pomegranate/blueberry juicaholic) stacked 9 to a plastic milk crate.  I stack the plastic milk crates in an unused corner of my basement up against the wall.  They don’t take up all that much space stored in this way .  In case something with our well goes down, I just have to carry a few milk crates over to our basement shower to take an emergency (albeit room temperature shower) until we get the pump fixed.  The small size is easier to manipulate than gallon jugs for this purpose.

  • Tue, Oct 05, 2010 - 02:20am

    #7
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

Bummer. Sunday afternoon my wife and I installed a hand pump and associated gear at about 130′. Took about three hours. The pump system costs about $1500. I installed one last year in a separate well near my barn for the animals. It works every day. The hand system came from Simple Pump. I have no interest in the company except for recommending a quality product.

Best of luck.

LG

  • Tue, Oct 05, 2010 - 03:11am

    #8
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

Right.  Don’t put it off.  After years of dallying around, we got our cistern completely refurbished as a backup to the county water supply.   This began with a new metal roof on the house for cleaner water collection.  Then, we had a big maple tree in the front yard removed to keep the leaves and debris out of the gutters.   Had the gutters redone. to include runoff from the new back porch, and fit up all new downspouts into the cistern complete with wye diversions fittings. to allow letting the first of a rain to wash off the roof.   BUT!  It hasn’t rained since we got it finished–2 months ago.   No water in the cistern, and now the county water reservoir is running low, so we are on water usage restrictions. 

At least I had the sense to put in redundant systems to get water OUT of the cistern.   There is an electric pump in the basement, a hand pump on the back porch, a gravity drain valve in the bassement,  and I can always remove the cistern access cover and drop down a bucket on a rope!   Don’t forget to put a wieght of some kind on one side of the bucket to tip it over, lest it FLOAT down there forever and not fill up.  Guess how I learned that….

  • Tue, Oct 05, 2010 - 03:24am

    #9
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

Timely thread! 

We are new to the water well party.  I had a 4″ 160′ well dug last thursday. 1.5HP pump with a 120 gal tank.  That thing shoots water like a fire hose.  I plan on converting the house to this well, installing an extensive irrigation system for the fruit trees, garden, and brambles.  We will use the parish water as backup at this point.

I am also planning on buying a spare submerisble pump and the Simple pump for manual pumping should that be necessary.  Glad to hear positives about the Simple pump.

Oh, and Davos I respect people who are book smart, I respect people who are smart with their hands, and I have the most respect for those who are both.  Independent  minded people (with good sense) who can do both are becoming more valuable by the day. 

Thanks for all of the financial and practical info!

  • Tue, Oct 05, 2010 - 08:31pm

    #10
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: Water Lesson Learned: Don’t Put Off Today….

[quote=Southerner]

Oh, and Davos I respect people who are book smart, I respect people who are smart with their hands, and I have the most respect for those who are both.  Independent  minded people (with good sense) who can do both are becoming more valuable by the day. 

Thanks for all of the financial and practical info![/quote]

+10    Well said,Southerner!

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