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#82443 - 01/09/07 07:05 PM Getting well water
capsu78 Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/09/07
Posts: 98
Loc: Chicagoland IL
First time poster- hoping someone has an idea if I can count on this strategy-
Live in suburbia and have a well that provided the house with water. If power went out for several days, I would live on my 96 hour water provisions, my hot water heater and other cases of water I have.
220 power is needed to run the well pump, so without a 220 generator, I need to figure out how to bring the water up the wellcap from a level of somewhere around 100 feet below ground.
In my garage I have a hose fed Honda power washer. If I were to take 100 ft of hose ad run it down into the well, and hook it up to my power washer, does anyone know if the pump would still draw up the water?
My mechanically inclined neighbor thinks not, since the hose end would not have the house water pressure to assist. However, I don't have terribly strong water pressure as it is.
Anyone ever considered "dual tasking" their power washer as a make shift well pump?


Edited by capsu78 (01/09/07 07:08 PM)
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#82444 - 01/09/07 08:01 PM Re: Getting well water
thseng Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 900
Loc: NW NJ
At best, you can't "suck" water up from more than about 33 feet below. This is because there is technically no such thing as suction. A pump can remove pressure from the hose below it which allows atmospheric pressure to push water up the hose, but at a certain point the weight of the water column is equal to atmospheric pressure.

That's why your well pump is at the bottom of the well where it can push the water up. Looks like you need to invest in a generator with a 220V output.
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#82446 - 01/10/07 12:25 AM Re: Getting well water
capsu78 Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/09/07
Posts: 98
Loc: Chicagoland IL
Thanks guys,
That is good food for thought. I am less concerned about ruining my watertable or even being found out by the EPA as I would have only considered this plan only in a SHTH or TEOTWAWKI scenario.
I don't own a generator (yet) and have actually been talked out of one by my electrican who points out since we have underground wiring it may be overkill... " we have not lost power in this area for more than 2 hours in his lifetime" He is looking at it from a past performance point of view and not a preparedness view obviously.
So OK, the right way to approach this is to go the generator route. A couple of more questions-
I have a water pressure tank in the basement that the pump feeds. Would I need to run a generator non-stop to be able to get at the well water, or would I be able to "recharge the watertank" for a couple of hours to at least be able to refresh my water bottles etc. Obviously I have a much shorter window with regards to fuel if I have to keep the gen running more or less continuoisly.
Secondly, regarding removing my wellcap, I have seen manual water pump products sold through Grainger for that purpose exactly. Who would regulate and more importantly enforce the removal of my well cap? Just curious if it would be local state or federal regulations. Always good to know whose law your breaking!
Finally, I like the idea of rewiring the current "hard wired" pump configuration. Can you describe what the alternate gen run set up would look like? 30 amp box, ok... but then what does the wiring between the box and the gen consist of? a standard grounded extenstion cord or something more elaborate?
(PS... I have an electrician I use...I don't do electrical, plumbing, drywall taping and a host of other skills I am resigned to never being any good at! )
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#82448 - 01/10/07 08:38 PM Re: Getting well water
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
"Due to legal reasons the only way they build wells that allow you to pull water up from beneath ground level is with electricity."

Well, I guess that answers a question I couldn't find the answer to elsewhere.

I work with a man from the Philipines. He said the wells there tend to be deep (~500 ft), and where the wells are, there is often no electricity. He said they have what are called 'jetmatic' well pumps, that are hand-operated, and can bring water up from deep wells.

Everywhere I googled 'jetmatic pumps', I could only find them in used in the Philipines.

Sue

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#82450 - 01/11/07 05:13 AM Re: Getting well water
Seeker890 Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 06/19/06
Posts: 93
Loc: Central Ohio
Local ordinances may dictate that you can't open your well, but in my area of Ohio, there is no issue. It is very common to have to "shock" wells in our area due to iron bacteria. basically it consists of pouring chlorine in the well, circulating from the house back to the well via a garden hose and outside spigot for half an hour. Running water through each outlet in the house, hot and cold, until you smell chlorine. Then pouring more chlorine in the well, and circulating for an extra 10 minutes. Close the well back up. Let it set for 24 hours. Run the outside spigot until you don't smell chlorine any more (up to six hours or more depending on well depth). Then flushing all of the spigots in the house. It is quicker to drain the hot water tank through the bottom hose connection (shut off the power) then refill. I have replaced my well pump twice myself, shocking the well each time to kill the bacteria that I introduce. The EPA used to provide instructions on how to shock your well. If you drill a new well, you need a licensed contractor and appropriate permits. Plus you are required to test your well to prove the bacteria has been killed. I had to have a new well dug. The contractor took care of permits, but I had to shock the well myself.

The pressure tank only allows you to run water, maintaining the setpoint pressure, without the pump having to turn on every time a faucet is opened. Typically you will get about one toilet flush worth of water out of the pressure tank if the power goes out. Not much storage.

I bought a generator in 1997 to run my well pump and sump pump if the power went out. It is fed to the main panel through a double pole disconnect switch. Look around the generators in your local Lowes or Home Depot. There should be switch boxes and info available on how to connect them. Your local power company should also have information on how to safely connect them. You don't want to backfeed a house without the appropriate switch. Without it you could backfeed the line and possibly electrocute a power company lineman trying to restore power. Those switches are not cheap, but this type of service is what they are made for.
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#82452 - 01/11/07 11:34 PM Re: Getting well water
Seeker890 Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 06/19/06
Posts: 93
Loc: Central Ohio
I have heard that Ohio has a good aquafer somewhere, but It's no where near me. My well is very shallow. When it went dry, I went to the OH Dept of Nat Resources to get copies of well logs for every house in my neighborhood. Marked them up on a plot plan from the county office. Found out that I am at the high point of the local layer. There were three dry wells dug on the other side of the house (I am second owner) prior to finding water near where the present well is. I dug the new well 25 feet in the direction of the deepest neighbors well who had the best production. Gained an extra 10 foot of well depth and haven't cavitated the pump since. Shocking obviously won't work on aquafer water. The water layer here is only a couple of foot deep.
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#82453 - 01/12/07 03:28 AM Re: Getting well water
marduk Offline
Member

Registered: 01/25/04
Posts: 160
Loc: Mid-Missouri
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#82454 - 01/12/07 03:59 AM Re: Getting well water
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
"If a dead animal or even a hunk of dog poo fell down into the water table it'd ruin the wells of everyone in at least a mile area."

Yeah, like septic systems. <img src="/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" />

Some years ago, I read about a place in the East (MA?) that had been a livery stable for 30-40 years. It ceased to be an animal-oriented site for the last 50 yrs or so, and it was STILL polluting the local water.

It kind of makes you wonder what those 'modern' cattle feedlots are doing, doesn't it?

Sue

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#82455 - 01/12/07 01:47 PM Re: Getting well water
KI6IW Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/23/05
Posts: 203
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, USA
The generator switch you are referring to is called a "break before make" switch. It "breaks" the connection between your house and the utility before it "makes" the connection between your generator and your house. Not only does it protect utility workers, but it also makes it impossible to feed both utility and generator power into your house at the same time (a VERY bad thing). And yes, you are correct: They are not cheap.
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#82456 - 01/12/07 05:21 PM Re: Getting well water
DesertRat Offline


Registered: 01/11/07
Posts: 5
It's not the depth of the well you have to be concernd about. It's the water table. ( how far below groud level is the water). A shllow well pump will only pull water to a heighth of 40 some odd feet. This is where sea leval pressure levals out and there is no more lift. If you could rig your pump to work as a jet pump you would have no problem getting the water up and if the water leval is no lower then 40' your shallow well pump should preform for you. Good luck. Lonnie

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