Off-grid New Well

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by tralalablah, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. tralalablah

    tralalablah New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Idaho
    We've bought about 11 acres in North Idaho and would like to put in a system that will start off running on a generator and end up running off of solar (and possibly hydro) power. I'm trying to be as hands-on as possible and make sure I do as much research as possible to get the right set-up. I thought this forum would be a good place to ask questions, since I want to do everything possible to make sure this doesn't need anyone's help in the future.

    So, the biggest requirement is reliability. I've been reading as much as I can about submersible pumps and well casings, and will probably start to research tanks next. So far, I'm figuring a submersible pump with a Franklin motor and the fewest plastic parts, and a cycle stop valve will be crucial to the build. I've also read that www.simplepump.com is good for off-grid set-ups, but those seem to be different than the submersibles. Have to read more to understand it.

    Also, I've been reading about the problems with PVC in the retail market and would like to stay away from plastics (especially that one) as much as possible, if reasonable. So that's leading me to think we should go with a steel casing of some kind.

    So my basic question is, if you were starting from scratch, and your water witcher finds good water within two hundred feet or so, what kind of set-up would you go for?

    Cheers,
    Angela
  2. Texas Wellman

    Texas Wellman In the Trades

    Messages:
    555
    Location:
    SE Texas-Coastal
    What kind of problems with PVC? Unless you have to put in steel casing, I would stay away from it. It will eventually rust out.

    I would look into a Grundfos SQ Flex. You can go solar, wind, or back-up generator. They are very well regarded by most water well people.

  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,185
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Check with Cary on this if you want to go with a CSV and not the SQ series, ISTR that Grundfos SP pumps draw much less current than some other brands because of how the bearings are setup on the impellers.
  4. tralalablah

    tralalablah New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Idaho
    Well, this website, http://www.acereport.org/pvc2.html, while being uber-environmentalist, does a pretty good job of showcasing my concerns. Since steel's been around forever, I wouldn't be worried about any health impact, though I will have to replace it if it rusts out. But, I've heard of different types of steel, like HTLA, carbon-bearing, and copper-bearing, which I was hoping might mitigate some of that possibility.

    I've also been seeing PE talked about on here, which, while still being a plastic, would be preferable over PVC, though I still need to check further on that.

    Thank you for the Grundfos SQ Flex suggestion -- I'm going to go look into that one right now.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2011
  5. loafer

    loafer Mechanical Engineer

    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    Maine
    It's HSLA for "High Strength Low Alloy" and it is the most corrosion resistant of the three metals you mentioned. it will also cost you1.5 - 2x more than standard low carbon steel. PVC will offer the best corrosion resistance though and is commonly and safely used all over the country.

    The type of water in your area will dictate weather you need to worry about corrosion or not. If your water has a low PH or lots of dissolved solids (such as salts) then you need to consider the more corrosion resistance materials. I would trust the advice or a local and reputable well driller in you area over anything from that site you listed. He will be familiar with the ground water in your area and what will be the most cost effective for your water and needs.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2011
  6. tralalablah

    tralalablah New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Idaho
    I do plan on building 100% PVC free, but that seems doable with the other materials that can be used. Thanks for the correction on that alloy. I'm going to talk to the well-driller about PE, since I've heard many people here mention that it's what they use and I've just been reading about it being a green alternative to PVC, and it would avoid the rusty steel issue and the cost of the corrosion resistant steels. That's probably all I need to get started on getting the well drilled, since the pump and installation of tank, etc. will happen a month or so later.

    Both drillers also quoted a Bentonite surface seal, so that must be pretty common in my area as well.

    As far as the future goes, one of the drillers put two check valves in the estimate, and I read the sticky on that one, so I'm concerned that our Idaho code might not be the best. More research to do.

    Any additional input is muchly appreciated!
  7. Texas Wellman

    Texas Wellman In the Trades

    Messages:
    555
    Location:
    SE Texas-Coastal
    Well, sounds like you've got your mind made up about PVC. The only thing I would have to say is that don't let one single website dissuade your choices. While it's true that PVC can be very toxic if burned, my opinion is that the plastic form is very inert and safe.

    I hope also you decide not to use any gasoline during the construction of this house, as gasoline contains benzene, which is a very strong carcinogen. Also don't use diesel, as diesel also contains carcinogens and the burning of diesel gives off soot which pollutes the air.

    Oh, and I almost forgot, that PE pipe you mentioned contains ethylene, and during the production of ethylene large quantities of benzene and other dangerous chemicals are generated.
  8. tralalablah

    tralalablah New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Idaho
    I'm not that big of an environmentalist and don't have any issues with anything else you've mentioned. The amount of all those things are sure to have already done their damage on me and the building process will be done by the time I have kids. I'm just investigating things one at a time and doing the best I can. Sorry to have caused any problems.
  9. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Don't be afraid of PE pipe. It gets coated with calcium internally [like PVC] and give off no toxins. Its better than PVC anyway.

    My eco friends use a pump jack like an oil well, and a solar panel. Then with DUCTILE IRON pipe, and a double action pump with sucker rods , all is well for the life of your house.

    http://www.dipra.org/
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011
  10. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,588
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Even if PVC is bad for me, I would still more likely get killed by a drunk on the way to the store to pick up some replacement fittings.

    You really don't want to use a CSV with a solar pump. Especially one that is positive displacement like those that have a helical shaft.

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