Questions about wells and water preparedness

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by AshleyB, Oct 17, 2005.

  1. AshleyB

    AshleyB Well-Known Member

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    My husband and I have finally bought our little spot in the country. It's not much, but it is enough for us to get our feet wet and learn the basics of homesteading, 2.5 acres. After reading through the long term survival thread I became very paranoid, once again, and I am now thinking about our water. Please forgive my ignorance about wells, but I need a few questions answered. I am under the impression that wells will not pump water if there is no electricity, is this correct...... If I have a manuel pump handle type set up installed will this work if we lose electricity, how much will having one of these put in cost me..... We don't have any creeks or streams running through our property, so I really need to get this all figured out. If electricity goes out and civilization shuts down for an undetermined amount of time, will I need to do anything filtration wise to water coming out of the well, or will I need to boil it....

    I know that these questions are probably absolutely ridiculous to most of you, but I am really trying to learn. Thanks for your help.
     
  2. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will answer your question - but I just wanted to let you know that your questions aren't ridiculous!! I've asked (and wondered) the same types of things myself!

    The only things I can answer are: yes, you can use a manual pump (but it may depend on how deep your well is!) I've used them on cisterns before.

    A well is a well.... I don't believe the water will change if we lose power, etc. The water won't need treated as long as it didn't need treated before. It's not like city water where you get "boil orders" if the power goes out. (I've never understood what happens to the water that all-of-a-sudden it isn't drinkable anymore just because the power went out).

    Hopefully someone else will answer more. If it were me, and I was concerned, I'd fix up some sort of water catchment system and store enough for emergencies. I always kept empty milk jugs of water in the basement for when the power went out. If nothing else, I could use it to flush toilets, etc.
     

  3. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Preparedness is what some call it, being prepared is just as good. You dont need to be planning for world war III or some government conspiracy to be prepared. Dont worry about questions, THe only stupid one is the one not ask.
    [/quote]
    Please forgive my ignorance about wells, but I need a few questions answered. I am under the impression that wells will not pump water if there is no electricity, is this correct....
     
  4. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    cc boil water orders are given because if the water pressure reverses during a power down then there can be a back flow to the distribution system, also an interuption in filtration with some systems and delivery of chlorine to the water.

    some pumps can be used on deep wells .however pumping large amounts is often not practicable. wind ,solar,and animal power can be used to pump water more efficently. unless your system backflows there is little danger to your well.test regularly.
     
  5. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The best thing you can do is _learn what you have_. There are many different types of wells, from an atresian (sp) well that pushes water out (rare), a 2" sandpoint 10 feet deep, to a 90 foot deep three foot across shallow well, to a 500+ foot deep deep well in a 4-6" metal or plastic casing with an inch pipe to the bottom with a submersable pump on the end of the small pipe.

    Learn what you have, learn how many gallons it provides, learn who made it. This will prepare you much, much better for water problems.

    I've told the story here before, I just spent $1400 this spring getting my well repaired (screen was clogged with magnesium scale) which was a _good_ thing - only other option would be drilling a new well, which costs $10,000 plus. I could get it repaired because the well company that dug it 30+ years ago kept records, knew what the problem was from my good description of the problems, and actually the same man I watched dig it over 30 years ago was the one who came to repair it. Without those records, that knowlegde, it is likely I would have an expensive new well now.

    Counties & states have been keeping records of wells for some time now. Check there.

    Check the area well drilling companies, see if anyone knows who made your well.

    Any way to contact the old owners of the property?

    Check for any placecards or labels by the well controls, sometimes the diggers put a sticker on it.

    Knowledge is power, and you want to know what you have. From there, you will have many or few options.

    Once you learn the type of well you have (is your electric pump on the surface, in a shallow pit, or do some wires & a pipe go down a 5" metal casing, or - what do you have?), then we can tell you what some of those options are.

    --->Paul
     
  6. AshleyB

    AshleyB Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for all of the help. We have not closed on the property yet, that will be in November, and the current owners are not the original owners, so can't ask them. But hopefully it won't be too hard to track down all of the info. All that I know about it is that the part that you can see that is above ground (I don't even know what it is called) is the bigger type, not the small one. Someone told me that the smaller ones are deep wells, and the bigger ones are more shallow. Does that make sense to anyone?
     
  7. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes. You have a bored well, gathers water into the big hole, & your pump periodically pumps it out. Over time, more water filters into the big hole.

    If you work at it, you can figure out how much water gets pulled out, how long it takes for the water to refill the well, and determine the water available to you - gallons per minute.

    I would not want to buy a property without knowing that - if you plan on livestock, garden watering, & the like.

    If the water in the well is less than 25 feet from the surface, then a hand-pump should be quite easy to install. ome of these wells are pretty deep, 90 feet or more, but typically thay are only 20 to 30 feet deep, and the water level inside is pretty close to the surface.

    These type of shallow bored wells often have slower recovery rates - you can pump the water out, maybe 100-300 gallons, and then better wait a few hours for it to refill. _But_, that is a generalization, many supply more water than a person would know what to do with. :)

    These types of wells are easier to contaminate with surface runoff water, & aren't even allowed in my state any more. Keep it clean around the well, and if it supplies enough water (gallons per minute) should be good to go.

    --->Paul
     
  8. VALENT

    VALENT Well-Known Member

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    yeah, kind of makes sense. But is not necessarily true. Jet pumps can be used on shallow or deep wells(with different ejectors) and submersible pumps can be used on either as well. So, dont take for necessarily being correct.
     
  9. AshleyB

    AshleyB Well-Known Member

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    So, would a hand pump be something that my husband and I would be able to install ourselves, or would we have to pay someone to do it (keeping in mind we know next to nothing about wells, but we are teachable)? And if we can install it, where do you buy them?
     
  10. ace admirer

    ace admirer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    mother earth news (with in the last two years)had simple plans to make an emergency deep well pump that required almost no modification of the existing well head. the pump was made of basically common pvc plumbing fittings. mind you it was for emergency purposes was not the type thing you would want to use for large volumes of water.. i'm sorry but don't know what issue it was in.