Switching From Well to City Water

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by alingerfelt, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. alingerfelt

    alingerfelt New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Hi everyone,

    My wife and I will be getting city water next week and will be having it plumbed into the house. Because we've been on a well, in our garage, before the water runs into the house's plumbing it first goes through a pressure tank and then filtration. I can easily bypass the filtration equipment. Will I need to have the pressure tank removed? Or just turn off the pump switch and then all electricity to the well? If we leave the tank inline but turn the pump switch off etc., will the water run into the tank or bypass it?

    Thanks!
  2. craftech

    craftech New Member

    Messages:
    52
    Congratulations. Wish it were me. Newbie here ..wish I could help.

    Good luck.

    John
  3. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,472
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    I hate to see anyone switching from well water to city water. You can filter and pressurize well water just like the city does. If you have a dependable pump system and filter, you will get better quality water from the well than from the city, at much less expense. City water means you are now subject to anything "big brother" wants to do to you, plus many times more cost per gallon than when pumping your own well water.

    That being said, you also cannot cross connect a well with city water. The city is afraid you will contaminate their water. I would be more afraid the city would contaminate my well water. Either way you will have to totally isolate the two systems, which means no piping between the two.
  4. alingerfelt

    alingerfelt New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Re:

    The plumber's plan when he runs the new line to the house was to tie in outside the house, where the existing line runs inside, but to cap off the well line so there is an "air gap."

    Is that sufficient, or should we also replumb in the garage so all of the old equipment is also disconnected and not inline anymore?
  5. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,472
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    That should be fine. Don't throw away any of the pump stuff, you may want to go back after getting a few water bills.
  6. alingerfelt

    alingerfelt New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Re:

    Okay. So should the pressure tank pump switch be turned off, and if so, will water be going in and out of the pressure tank, or should I have it pulled?
  7. My best and highest recommendation to you is to have the public water tied into your house line after the pump and tank, and keep the private well system for outside only.
    As advised, they are not supposed to be connected, even with check valves in place.
    Keep your well and pump and isolate your outside spigots supplied only by the pump and well for watering your yard, washing cars, etc.
    I had a well and pump for years and went with county water for the house only because we lost water whenever we lost power out here on the end of the string. With public water, losing water pressure almost never happens, even when the power is off for days.
    Also as already advised, public water is far more expensive than water from a private well.
    I keep both. You will be very glad that you did if you ever water your yard with public water for a month.
    Most people around here use county water for the house, and well water for the great outdoors. It's "illegal" to have them connected here, but who knows what happens with valves, lines and check valves after it's inspected. LOL. A country boy can survive.
    (I also have it plumbed where I can prime the well with county water as necessary with a quarter-turn ball valve.)
    Good luck!
    Mike
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2008
  8. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,248
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    strongly agree

    Have the plumber disconnect the pipe coming from the well AFTER the pressure tank and hook the new city water line to the existing downstream system.

    Then have him run a line as needed from the pressure tank to your outside spigots and garage to run off the well. This is a legal system, as then the two systems would not be connected to one another.

    Most of us would love to have the option of having both city and well water!
  9. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    You should think carefully about what you want to do. You may want to use the well water for irrigation. You could do that by connecting the well system, including the tank, to the outside distribution system.

    If you have a city sewer system they usually charge for sewer usage for all water they deliver, even if you use it to water the lawn. You avoid that if you have your own well.

    If you abandon the well you might have trouble getting a permit to reactivate it. I would keep the well on line.

    You can connect the city water to your system. You might want to determine the quality of the city water. Is it soft water? What is the pH? What will be the effect on your plumbing; especially your water heater?

    You might be able to leave the systems connected if you install a backflow preventer to prevent your system from feeding back into the city water system.

    At the very least I would keep the well system connected and operate it occasionally to keep it from getting siezed up.

    If you connect the city water to your tank it will almost all bypass the tank. The only in/out flow you will get is when the city water pressure increases and decreases.
  10. alingerfelt

    alingerfelt New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Re:

    We are here in Tarrant County and our well is a shallow well at about 250-300 feet. There is lot of iron in this area so we have been using a pretty extensive filtration setup (air pump, oxidation tank, two huge tanks for filtering the iron, and then a water softener for the house only). Before we ever moved in, the irrigation guy turned on our irrigation without making sure the filtration was working properly, which caused a mess of course. They got it fixed and cleaned up but ever since I’ve not been thrilled about being on the well just because of the potential of there being a problem.

    We’re in the county and the water supplier here is supposed to be reasonable. I’ve checked bills with people who own similar size lots and it seems that even if we use the city water for everything then we will have reasonable bills for that and I won’t have to mess with our well or filtration again. We’ll probably leave our softener hooked up in case we do want to use it, but that is why I was asking about how things should be plumbed in our garage. We water about 1 acre (we’re on 2.5 acres). My friend who waters with the city water said he runes his irrigation 7 days a week and his last bill was $150. He waters about .75 acres.

    Part of my irritation with the well and filtration has been that we still get some minor staining on our property, on the concrete. The filtration people have told me it is due to the hardness and all of the leftover minerals in our water (that isn’t softened). Inside, things have been fine but one irritation I have had is that our hot water when you fill up a tub all the way begins to get slightly discolored. We do have electric water heaters, which the filtration people told me is not a good combination with a well system (even if filtered) but I have also wondered if it is also our softener. So when we have the plumbers switch us over to city water, I am going to have them flush out our heaters and also replace the anode rods and I will leave the softener bypassed the first month we are on city water.

    We have septic so we do not have sewer.

    Bob, what effects could city water have on our water heaters (2 electric 40 gallon AO Smith water heaters with a recirculation pump)?

    We’ve paid so the city will be extending the line to our lot this upcoming week, beginning Monday, and they will be setting a meter. It’s a distance of 320 feet plus boring, so I’ve been told it should take them a week or less. So my plan was to have the plumber out the following week.

    My thinking was to use the city water for everything, to just leave the softener inline (but bypassed) to see what the water is like without it and to see what our hot water is like without it, to cap off the well line and to turn off all of the power to the well etc.

    I figured I should leave all of our filtration equipt. in the garage then, in case we ever sell the house, and then someone wants to re-hook the well back up.

    Thank you for the help and all of the great responses.
  11. gwrace

    gwrace New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Cost of City Water

    That $150 per month does sound kind of expensive. The last money we spent on our well was 12 years ago when the pump failed. It as a $2300 repair job that included a new 20GPM pump, 260 feet of wiring and maint. free 86 gallon tank plus all the labor to install it. If I do the math that is a cost of about $15.97 per month plus the electricity used for the pump. I also run an irrigation system with 12 zones that waters almost an acre.
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