How our well & plumbing is setup

When we were looking at the house the power was off and the pipes were dry so we weren’t exactly sure what we were getting into until the inspection.  As it turned out we had a few copper pipe leaks under the house, and the well pressure tank needed to be replaced as the bladder had a whole in it.

The previous owners must have used the pressure tank with the hole in it because a lot of the sinks, toilets and faucets had rust on them. The existing pressure tank was completely rusted on the inside and was breaking off and feeding into the house.

After we made the purchase  water was our number one goal so that we could clean-up the place. We spent a couple days replacing copper pipes under the house, some PVC in the pump house as well as the entire pressure tank.

We opted for the largest pressure tank we could find locally, and went with the 119 gallon unit from Lowes. Even though the pressure tank is 119 gallon it does not mean we will have 119 gallons available for the house. The maximum draw-down for this tank is 44.2 gallons, and you lose avaialble draw-down by increasing the pressure in the tank (thus always supplying higher pressure to your house). I believe you can have it kick on at 28psi and also charge it to 70psi (or whichever level is safe for your pump) and store more water than our current setup.

The lowes unit comes with a 5 year warranty a base and is pre-charged to 25 psi. The manual that comes with it and explains the pressure vs. available draw-down and methods of hooking it into your system was easy to follow.

The well tested fine during our well test inspection, and we have a flow rate of approx. 14gpm. Which I beileve is limited to our pump size and depth (a little over 400ft). It was able to keep 14gpm for 4 hours (I believe that’s how long the test was). The test also turned up no toxins in our water and no chemicals. However after doing a couple crude tests we could tell the water has a decent amount of sediment in it.

Our Current Well / Plumbing System:

  1. Water is pumped from the well which is approx. 400ft deep. The pump is 3/4″ HP.
  2. The well pump then feeds the 119 gallon pressure tank in our pump house. We have a pressure switch that turns the well pump on and off based on our desired pressure. I believe we have it turning on at 28psi and turning off at 55psi.  This means the pressure tank is set at 25psi so that it will always be delivering water to the house, and also means the well will kick on. If the well pressure switch “ON” level was less than the pressure tank charged rate the pump would never kick-on. Our water pressure is not to high compared to some city water but is more than enough for our needs and will prolong the life of the pump and potentially any bad pipes. In the future we will probably raise the pressure a bit (once we hadd a second pump).
  3. The pressure tank then feeds our house via entry into our mud-room / laundry room. The hot water for the house is fed into a large whole-house water filter from home depot. The basic particle trap unit, I believe it was $55. It allows itself to be bypassed for filter changes. We did this to prevent sediment build-up in our on-demand hot water heater, which is next in line after the water filter. The cold water pipe enters the house in the mud room as well as under the house. Currently the cold water has no filter on it.

We have plans to add a second 119 gallon pressure tank as well as adding three of the cheap sediment filters in the pump house to prevent the sediment from going into the pipes at the house. These filter systems are cheap, and the replacement filter elements are approx. $10 for two. With three in a row the third probably wont need to be changed as often as the first two, and the one before the hot water heater will very rarely need to be changed.

We also plan to add a 2600 gallon Snyder above ground water tank for fire control, and watering the garden. The plan is to fill it and use it as a seperate tank for gardening. In the future we plan to add a second 2600 gallon tank with pump, and re-do the water setup for the house so that both large tanks would be able to feed the house, and also be used for gardening and fire control. More on the 2600 gallon tanks in another post.

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One comment

  1. I admire you for taking on this project. It’s a dream of ours to have a house with some land and be off the grid. Right now, it just seems like a distant possibility. I know you are in the midst of some big projects. I would be overwhelmed. I would love to learn more about the gardening, wells, and even more about home repair. LOL….I can say that now.

    Best to your family in achieving your dreams of self-sufficiency!

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