Well water off the Grid

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Sacred Wolf, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. Sacred Wolf

    Sacred Wolf Member

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    I have purchased 5 acres out west of the city where I live. There is no direct source of water. So I will have to drill a well. I have spoken with the only well driller in the area to learn that there is good water 40 feet deep. He wants an arm and a leg to set up a turn key system that would be hooked to the grid. And of course if for any reason the power goes out then I would have no water. I am rather new at all of this and have no experience. But I want to build a self-sustaining homestead. I would appreciate any insight, or advice regrading this matter. I want to know how and if I can drill it myself? What needs to be done to make it safe and sanitary? what options are avialable for being off the grid. And if anyone else is currently using a system or approach that is not on the grid. At the current quote he will charge me $3000 to $5000 to come in and drill it, and set it up for me. Thanks for all and any assistance. T. :bash:
     
  2. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

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    It may be possible to drive the well by hand...where do you live?
    Another option would be to ask how much it would cost to drill the well and NOT outfit it with a pump and switch and pressure tank and piping and wiring
    that should knock more than $1000 off the price.
    Of course. then you'd have to install a pitcher type hand pump ( about $50 for everything if the water level in the well comes to within 20 feet of the surface) or a deep well hand pump (about $500) if the water is deeper than to get water or lower a narrow bucket (called a bailer) to get the water or install a photovoltaic system and pump (which would be expensive, too)

    Oh and ask another driller for a price and opinion. Tell him your situation and ask for suggestions
     

  3. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

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    We live off the grid and we just hired the driller to drill and case the well. My husband did the rest himself. Our well pump runs off of solar power.
     
  4. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

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    "At the current quote he will charge me $3000 to $5000 to come in and drill it, and set it up for me. "

    That's it! Wow! My well cost me 10K, and the plumber had to connect it to the house after that. Mind you, mine's 180 feet deep, so there's your difference. :)

    We have solar power for all our electricity, and the well pump is just powered off the same inverter as the rest of the house. PM me if you want more details. I'm in northern Alberta, but the technology is the same. :)
     
  5. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Almost two years ago we had two wells dug...one for the house and one for the well. Builder was going to charge us $2500 each, but the well digger let it slip that he charges them $1800. So we paid $1800 for each. :rolleyes:

    I want to install hand pumps at both wells. It sure is aggravating when the power goes off and ours goes off often (small electrical co-op) and ours is the last to be turned on (we're at the end of the line).
     
  6. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We drilled a well with a Deep Rock outfit many years ago (probably 1976 or 1977). Couldn't drive a point as there was too much rock (went through 35 feet of limestone and sandstone to drill a 50 foot well, as I recall).
    http://www.deeprock.com/hydra drill main.htm
    Looks like the website doesn't give prices or a lot of details, but their outfits do work.

    If your land is sand or other non-rocky soil, you might consider driving a point. If the local hardware stores sell well points and related piping, they may know more about the soil types in your area.

    There are lots of options: hand pump, either "pitcher" type (with the pump cylinder within the body of the pump) for water with 25 feet or less, or a regular hand pump and cylinder for any depth up to 300 or 400 feet, the same pump with a pump jack to use an electric motor (of any onvenient voltage or type) or small engine to operate the pump, or similar hand pump with a windmill to operate the pump directly from the wind, and many types of electric pumps, submersible or otherwise, operating directly from solar panels, or 120 volts or 240 volts AC either from the grid or from an inverter
     
  7. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

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    ---Gently--- ask if he will just poke the hole. He will more that likely not be to happy because he is counting on selling you his over priced well pump. (You said he was the only one around) Those guys have a track record of "over selling"--You only need a 1/2hp pump but he'll have to order it--but he's gor a 3/4hp pump on the truck that he can install *right now*..........so You end up paying the higher buck for more than you need.
    At 40 feet you have a lot of good options (pumps) that are not too pricey.
    ---Gently--- feel out the local health dept. to see if you can even attempt to do it your self--ie; drilling. Anymore theres all kinds of restrictions on wells.

    40 feet--Solar---you betcha
     
  8. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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  9. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Where do you live? I put down several wells for myself and a friend in my area, Most took from 1hr to 4hr's washing them down. Cost---what ever the pvc pipe cost. My two wells will produce 28gpm on one and 42gpm on the other with a 5hp gas pump drawing on them. They are 48ft on one and 52 on the other. The 48ft is off grid with a 3/4hp shallow well pump running off of a inverter that is hooked to batteries that are being charged by some solar panels. I get app 9gpm with the shallow well pump. I did run a 12 volt shurflo pump like on a camper for two years, but they burn out to easy if used everyday for showering, watering animals, garden etc. If you live in a area that has alot of rock--my method of washing them down will not help you. Randy
     
  10. Sacred Wolf

    Sacred Wolf Member

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    Oklahoma
    First off thanks for all the help. This is my first time with a forum, and I can say I am very happy and will be a regular. My land is outside of Ponca city, Okla. And as for the well situation, I have been trying to call the man (the only one for some distance as I have found to date) to see 'nicely' if I can get them to just drill the well and case it for me, and I supply the rest. As I have been told, but have not yet confirmed the local government does require a lic. to drill a well. And so, doing it myself will be out of the question. I did find a company over in Tulsa that has solar equipment but the cost shot up over $5000.00 +. I am not the richest man on the block, so this project will be one that I approach as I save up the funds. The current depth as for the area I am in is approx. 40 ft. not to bad but not one you could just go out and dig yourself very easy. I am making a web site of this venture to share with friends and family, so feel included in the first and check in from time to time, I hope to have updates as things get done or I find out info. Thanks for all the advice and I will be putting it to good use. And I will post when I find out for sure what is going to happen one way or the other. Thanks to all again

    http://www.freewebs.com/staggsfarm/

    :goodjob:
     
  11. copperhead51

    copperhead51 Well-Known Member

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    I had a well drilled and installed a 24vdc pump which I drive with my solar cells and batteries.
     
  12. copperhead51

    copperhead51 Well-Known Member

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    It doesn't cost any five grand. Start with:

    400 watts of panels $1800
    6 golf cart batteries $500
    solar pump $500
    misc wiring and pvc $100
     
  13. TnAndy

    TnAndy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well drillers here gets 11 bucks/ft + 10/ft for casing......40-50' well would be about 1000 bucks. I just had a 240' one put in for 4141. ( no pump )

    Pump install is easy....WAY easy at 40'.
     
  14. SouthernThunder

    SouthernThunder Well-Known Member

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    OK
    Howdy fellow okie. I checked into getting a well drilled around the Mounds area about 2 years ago. Going rate was $9.50 a foot. I needed to go 200'. I elected to do it myself.

    If your ground water is only 40 feet down you should be able to easily drive it by hand. If you hit rock just move over a couple of feet and start again. If you don't mind the work you can save thousands of dollars. I would highly suggest you try this method. Driving it with a maul or sledge is very possible especially in the sandy Ponca area. If you have access to a water tank and some method of high pressure water you could almost jet it to 40'.

    As for your well pump.. you shouldn't need much of a pump to go around 40'. Lots of cheap ones online.

    One other note.. something that helped me out tremendously was dynamite. It is surprisingly not that hard to get a blasting permit in our state. I can get you some forms if you like. It is issued out of the Oklahoma Department of Mines.
     
  15. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    One option to consider would be a two pump system. Lower head pumps are more efficient, more reliable, lower cost, and easier to maintain. The first pump would deliver it to a large storage tank in your home at low head more or less continuously but very slowly when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing, but perhaps with manual backup at a higher speed. Rainwater could also feed the same tank, or a separate large tank. The second pump could water from either of those tanks and pump it into a pressure tank when the pressure tank needs to be refilled. That would likely be an electric pump, perhaps with manual backup. For backup 15psi of system pressure would be sufficient.

    Pressure Tanks:
    http://www.do-it-yourself-pumps.com/water-system-pressure-tanks.htm

    Pumps:
    Does anyone know of a inexpensive very low speed medium-high head pump that can be operated by wind or solar power at very low speed? Typically you would charge a small battery which would then pump at a faster speed on demand, but I am trying to avoid even a small battery.

    10w 50% efficiency = 5w = 3.7 ftlbs
    70 feet total head = 0.8 gpm = 120 gallons in 5 hours ???

    20w 50% efficiency = 10w = 7.4 ftlbs
    140 feet total head = 0.8 gpm = 120 gallons in 5 hours ???

    Could such a pump be hand made. Are there designs available?
    Can you get cheap reliable motors as small as 10w?
     
  16. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

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    I shure would be curious to see the list of equipment for that 5000.
    That ought to be a real nice system, But, as has been said, you could spend less and have enough water.
    Include in there a large storage tank.
     
  17. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    I did a little research.
    This is in Alaska but it has lots of good information:
    http://www.absak.com/alternative-energy/dc-water-pumps.html

    Good manual pumps and gear motor assemblies are neat, but very expensive. There is a $30 kit for making your own cheaper and you might be able to rig it up with your own gear motor or small wind turbine.
    http://www.absak.com/catalog/default.php/cPath/24_178

    I think a more interesting route would be a very low flow 12v DC system using a couple of small inline pumps. The outside diameter is only 1.5". The hose inside diameter is 0.5". The cost for a 12v Amazons is $60 each. Two of these inline could pump 1 imperial gallon per minute at a combined head of 50 feet using 4.5 amps each, for 108 watts total. For 4 hours a day operation you would get 240 gallons/day using 36 amp-hours. You would need a very small $50 battery just to ensure 12v if you only operated when the sun was shining with a large storage tank in your house. A 100 watt solar panel would cost about $500 and provide on average about 4 hours of pumping each day.
    http://www.absak.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/24_74/products_id/188

    2 12v Amazon Pumps = $120
    1 12v Battery = $50
    1 100w Array = $500
    240 gallons/day up 50' to a storage tank.

    Back in your house you would have a storage tank, perhaps 240 gallons or more, and a conventional pump and pressure tank to provide 40psi of system pressure. This same two stage system could be used with a rain water catchment system, and perhaps a solar or wood hot water system. Pressurizing hot water after it is heated might require a separate system and special pumps rated for the temperature, but if you hot water was rainwater it would be softer and need less soap and less likely to foul and corrode your systems.
     
  18. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    It just occurred to me also that in a low flow situation you could reduce the diameter of your pipe, preferably with a long tapered adapter, and you would be able achieve a great head with the same pump. For example, I you tapered an outlet pipe from 3/4" down to 3/8" you could increase lift from 25' to 100' while reducing flow from 2gpm down to 0.5 gpm and use the same amount of power. Is that right, or would you blow a seal or something? I might be confusing force with pressure.