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 05-30-2004, 13:17 Post: 87271
DeTwang



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 well system water towers

I've been slowly arranging my life so that I can move into a mountain property (4000') which I inherited about a year ago. I,m currently there vacationing (after taking another load of belongings with me) for two weeks. I soent the first week working on the plumbing here as it's atrocious. The well/pump system is a hodge podge of fixes and upgrades with nothing labeled or installed properly. The trailer is old (1974), partly plumbed in copper, partly in gal pipe. The whole well/pump system is in PVC, and as a result is constantly leaking. It also only has a single water filter designed for use as an undercounter water filtration system. This means I have to rteplace it constantly to keep flow rates up.

I plan to get rid of the trailer and build something else (currently looking into dome homes) so I want to work on getting the infrastructure of the property in order before I start on the home. The first order of business will be the pump/well.

I've been thinking of possible approaches to set it all up, but not having any experience with wells, I coule use some advice as to what is possible and prudent.

Since power goes out up here sometimes during the winter (and for other reasons), I was thinking it would be nice to have a gravity fed system. There is a 1000 gallon storage tank in the system now, but I was thinking it might make sense to raise it up so that gravity itself creates the neccessary pressure for the entire system, instead of using the well pump to create pressure in a bladder tank as it currently is set up.

My question is, how high do I have to rasie it to achieve desireable pressures (60psi or greater would be awesome)? Is there a formula somewhere someone can point me to? Or would the hieghts neccessary to raise this to achieve usable pressure be prohipitive?

In my mind, I'm envisioning a tower that houses the tank and above that is an observation deck and then antennas for emergency radio, TV, etc..

Obvious things I have to deal with are structural concerns (It's in northern Ca, so earthquakes are possible), protecting the plumbing risers from freezing, and lightning/wind/etc.. I'm thinking that using a pool filter as a prefilter for water going into the tank would allow me to continue using the small water micron filter without sacrificing flow rates as it would increase the useful life of the small filters.

If anyone can point me to any (affordable) publications or other sources of info on building water towers I'd appreciate it. I'd really like to hear from people who have done this or considered it. I'd also be interested in what it cost those who have been down this path before me.

Thanks,
Mark S.






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 05-30-2004, 15:51 Post: 87289
blizzard



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 well system water towers

Mark,
One foot head of water is 0.43 PSI, so to get 60 PSI the tank would have to be 139 feet higher than your faucet.
Perhaps a reasonable solution would be a battery powered pump like those used in RV's from the supply tank for use when power goes out. You could charge the batteries from the grid, install a small generator for backup, or go with a small solar (expensive) unit. Large (500+) gallon approved for drinking water tanks are available, as are good filters for potable water. I'd hesitate to use a pool filter for drinking water. I'd also get the water tested, for bacteria and metals and organics, to be sure it is safe.
The link below has some good info that you might find interesting...
Good Luck,

Bliz






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 05-30-2004, 16:23 Post: 87291
DeTwang



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 well system water towers

Hi Bliz,

>>One foot head of water is 0.43 PSI, so to get 60 PSI the tank would have to be 139 feet higher than your faucet.>>

Yikes!!. Well the water tower idea is out. Although that would make a heck of a nice observation deck.. Smile

>>Perhaps a reasonable solution would be a battery powered pump like those used in RV's from the supply tank for use when power goes out. You could charge the batteries from the grid, install a small generator for backup, or go with a small solar (expensive) unit.>>

I've actually been considering, setting up a battery backup/converter system for essential systems (fridge, well, phone, etc.) that would initially be powered from the grid and then slowly add solar panels as I can afford them. The idea of reducing dependence on the government is very attractive to me. The only thing I don't know how to get around is property tax. That one is patently unfair, removing any hopes of true security in land ownership.

>> Large (500+) gallon approved for drinking water tanks are available, as are good filters for potable water. I'd hesitate to use a pool filter for drinking water. I'd also get the water tested, for bacteria and metals and organics, to be sure it is safe. >>

The existing 1000 gallon tank is less than five years old and I feel good about it. It's one of those black accordian style polyvinyl things (or whatever it's made out of). I was more considering the pool filter as a 'prefilter' to remode sedimant, etc. allowing the existing micron filter system (designed for undercounter drinking water systems) to last a while longer than the current two or three weeks they now do.

Thanks for the link info.

So I guess, I'm going to redo the existing setup. It has a pressure pump (still not sure what it's purpose is besides making a lot of noise), a well pump, a bladder tank, the big holding tank, several time relays and what not all wired in a very haphazard fashion, nothing labeled, and a maze of PVC piping with gate valves an hose bibs everywhere (I hate those things!). I've worked as an electrician for over 20 years prior to becoming a general contractor, doing all kinds of industrial motor controls, and I cannot make heads or tails of what is going on in that pump house. It would help if I understood what each peice was trying to accomplish.

So, now I need to get info on what the ideal system should look like in as far as plumbinmg and wiring, and then rip it all apart and redo it all (in copper with ball valves)

Any ideas where to get that info? Off to check out your link in the meantime.

Thanks,
Mark S.






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 05-30-2004, 17:11 Post: 87293
blizzard



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Mark,
Sorry about that link, it used to be free.
If you're getting that much sediment, I'd certainly get a complete water test, I had a 12' deep dug well for 8 years and never plugged my el-cheapo Sears inline filter, electric water heater lasted 17 years!
I can't think why there are timers in the system, unless the well pumps dry if the holding tank is pretty empty. Do you have any idea how deep the well is?

Bliz






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 05-31-2004, 09:16 Post: 87332
RichM.



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 well system water towers

Mark, theres an article you would probably like in a publication I get. Its called The Stockman Grass Farmer and they have a web site. (easily found in a search, sorry url not handy). This article deals with a couple who have a small ranch and are completely off the grid. They have a pump rigged up off a stationary bicycle and a large pressure tank, all kinds of other nifty things to solve the problems of no juice.Bad news my dog ate the issue (literally) so I dont know the month. I'm sure it was this years and they sell back issues.Ill snoop around to see if I can find what month. This ranch is completely self sufficient and they live there 24/7/365.






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 07-02-2004, 21:37 Post: 89945
DeTwang



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I've given up on the well rower idea (at least for now Smile) as it appears to be impractical for what I was wanting to do.

However, I'm having a hard time finding info on exactly how a well, well pump, pressure pump, storage tank, and bladder tank ahould be preoperly pumbed and wired.

Next time I go up there, I want to take all the materials I need with me to rip out all the PVC, and redo it properly in copper, with ball valves instead of gaste valves, and everything properly wired so that it all works properly and provides consistent pressure (at least long enough to get through a shower without it ending in noithing but air coming out of the nozzel ! ). There must be some diagrams/flow charts out there on the web somewhere descriubing some ideal setups.

I'm tired of trying to deal with all the hodge podge of band aids/emergency fixes, temporary upgrades/add ons, and leaking PVC joints that my dad had let the system turn into.

I can't believe he was satisfied with the way it is now.

Can anyone point me in the right direction to set things up so that I can redo the thing right once and for all and put this issue behind me?

I do have some pictures of how it is now if that becomes important to the discussion.

Thanks,
Mark






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 07-05-2004, 04:33 Post: 90089
harvey



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 well system water towers

Mark it is hard for me to envision your set up. Why is there a 1000 gallon storage tank? Is it above or below your water source? How does your water source arrive, gravity or pump. How far away is your water source? How much water does your source provide? Do you have electricity?

Given those questions it still sounds simple enough. But I am not sure about your preference of copper. Plastics are sooo much easier to work with. Unless you have lots of experience as a plumber.

If is a gravity feed you only need a shallow well jet pump and pressure tank. Tap into your storage tank to feed your house. If you have a marginal source of water and have to pump it to your tank, you will need a float tank set up to pump to your storage tank that way you will not run your source dry and pump air requiring a reprime there.

Whole house sediment filters are reasonable. But that means you have a shallow source of water and a clorinator might be a very good idea.

Good Luck Harvey






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 07-05-2004, 06:24 Post: 90091
TomG

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 well system water towers

Seems like I recall hearing recently that some plastic water feed is failure prone and insurance companies weren't covering its use. I can't recall if it was due to chlorinating or not. Perhaps that was only one type and it has since been withdrawn from the market. It sure is easier than copper to work with though. A pressure tank and a backup generator for the pump etc. sure sounds easier than a water tower.

A thousand gallons storage sound like what is required for some commercial buildings that are outside of fire service areas around here so maybe that was the idea. I've thought about a 1,000 gray water storage tank for both fire protection and waste heat recovery myself.






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