Well House Construction Concerns

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by JeffSimpson, Dec 30, 2004.

  1. JeffSimpson

    JeffSimpson Software Engineer

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    California
    I am constructing a Well House that will enclose my well and pressure tank, plus the water softener and filters I will be adding. I have run electrical for a 90 amp subpanel in this building, have laid the slab, and framed the walls. The subpannel is high amperage as I want this building to eventually tie into a garage on the wall farthest from the well. Power for that garage will come off this subpanel. This structure will be about 100 square feet.

    I have talked to some contractors who are in the well pump service business and I have learned that I am quickly becoming their worst nightmare. Apparently, it is very difficult to pull a pump with their hoist equipment given the manner I am constructing the Well House. They prefer the Well outside the Well House unless there is an issue with freezing(I'm not worried about that in Southern California)

    I need to check the total depth of the well, but the water level is at about 35 feet. I don't think the well is very deep, as it is 100 years old, 3 feet in diameter, and appears to be hand dug, or at least I was told it was. It appears as though there is 1 1/4 inch galvanized steel pipe leading from the cylinder at the top of the well down to the pump.

    Sorry for the novel, here are my questions:
    1. Is it feasible for me to lift this pump out of the well by hand(with help from friends or family), or will I need a special hoist rig like the well companies seem to have? Let's say the pump is at 60 feet. How heavy is this thing?
    2. Will I need to construct my roof so that it is removable, or do you think I could lift the piping through a 2' x 2' skylight?
    3. If I ever have the pleasure of doing this, should I replace the piping with the flexible piping that is common in wells today? Maybe I should do that before I put the roof on?
    4. With this setup, I'm sure I won't be able to deepen the well. Regardless, I have been told this is very difficult given the original 3 foot diameter. It would be very expensive and I may just hook up to city water if it comes to this. If I have to stop using the well, can I just leave it be, or am I required to fill it with gravel? Again, I may have a problem demolishing the well if I ever have to.

    Here are some pictures of the WellHouse:
    http://www.drchunk.com/jeff/WellHouse/WellHouseLowSide.jpg
    http://www.drchunk.com/jeff/WellHouse/WellHouseDoor.jpg

    Thanks,
    Jeff Simpson
  2. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    pssstt Jeff, they ain't lyin'! but IYO what do they gain by leading you astray?

    Go find a 5' or 10' piece of your size galvanized down at Lowe's etc. and lift it. Then calculate say 60' of it. Add the weight of the pump, maybe 50#, the cable and all the rust on and in the pipe. Add the weight of the water in the pipe at 8.4 lb/gallon and say you have 15 gallon. Can you see you and maybe a short skinny guy that can slip in there with you bent over under the roof lifting and HOLDing all that while you realize the pipe may be 20-21' sections held together with rusted threaded couplers that take a pair of 24" pipe wrenches and maybe a torch to get off. All that while the pipe is maybe 6" inside your back wall behind the tank. Okay, add a 2' hole in the roof and that at least allows someone standing on the roof to hold the pipe section that's above the roof but... how did you say you'll HOLD the weight while unscrewing the sections so you don't drop the pump down the well?

    And it isn't "if" you have to replace the pump or get into the well to replace a check valve, it's when. And 'when' comes sooner the longer it's been since it was done the last time.

    My advice, remove the building allowing free space of at least 5' around the well in all directions. You have to kneel for a fairly long time just to get that sanitary well seal off the casing. Personally I cut two of the four bolts off with a torch and beat the thing and use pry bars... while sweating dropping the pump down the well. ;)

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates
  3. JeffSimpson

    JeffSimpson Software Engineer

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    California
    What if I make the wall on the lowside so that it can be unbolted, and also make the bottom half of the roof removeable? Right now, there is 3 feet of clearance in every direction except for where the lowest wall is. Removing that wall will create a 4.5 foot wide opening on that side of the well. When I am done with the building, the pressure tank, water softener, and filter equipment will all be off to the sides of the building.

    I want to make the pump replacement easier than the trap I almost created, but I don't want to have to have to move where the walls are located.

    Thanks,
    Jeff Simpson
  4. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I've never used a derrick truck but that may work to allow one to be used for your well. It sounds feasible to me and I could get my pump pulling machine in the space and all they need is to dangle a line with a hook on it over the well. But run the idea past the local guys and see what they say.

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates
  5. JeffSimpson

    JeffSimpson Software Engineer

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    California
    Thanks, I will have to have a local well contractor out to see if they can work in the space.

    I have a "sanitary well seal," but I notice that my well is probably not sealed as well as it should be. There is a circular wedge of concrete cut out of the well lid. You can simply lift this up with one hand and look down the well. It makes it easy to add chlorine bleech if the well needs to be sanitized, but this seems like it is not right. This is how I was able to note the pipe is steel and not flexible.

    I don't drink the water, but we do wash dishes with it, and bathe in it. Is this hole in the top bad?

    Thanks,
    Jeff
  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    If you sealed the well tight, your pump would have a hard time moving water out of the well due to creating a vacuum in the well everytime more water was used than the recovery rate of the well; and no water would be pumped.

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates
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