Setting up low-flow well --> cistern --> house

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by Irish Mtn, Jun 17, 2015.

  1. Irish Mtn

    Irish Mtn New Member

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    Hi all,
    I'm new to the world of wells and could use some advice. The local well contractors are giving me conflicting opinions. I have literally sunk a lot of dollars into a 250' well that only produces less than 1/4 gpm. I then had a 1200gal concrete cistern set about halfway along a total run of about 200'. The cistern is slightly uphill of the house. All are connected underground with 4" Big-O, but no water pipe of wires yet have been pulled. I am thinking about breaking the project into 2 stages, the first being the installation of a sub pump in the cistern to feed a pressure tank in the house (4bdrm 3.5bath) and then having water delivered by truck. At some point in the future, Step 2 would be to put a pump in the well to feed the cistern, along with a float switch. Valveman has helpfully posted a diagram with just that type of set up. My question is whether it makes sense to install the well pump to a electronic timer so that it refills say a max number of gallons per night (let's say 150gal). Most of the time the house will only have 2 ppl and usually only on weekends, so I don't foresee water shortages. The reason for holding off on step 2 is because both contractors recommend abandoning the well--1 says flow OK, but quality bad and other says flow bad and quality OK. --I need more time to properly evaluate it.
    Any thoughts on how to proceed with Step 1 without screwing up Step 2?
     

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  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    I don't see an advantage to a timer. You will want a device to shut down the pump, such as Cycle Sensor, when it runs dry, even if the float switch is asking for water.

    The pump will not draw a lot of power, so the electric rates during the day would have to be really much much higher to make a timer worthwhile. If you wanted to limit emptying the well with a timer, I would think that timer might have to be one that allows the pump to run a few minutes per hour all day rather than running just at night. Is your casing really big? Your pump will probably be a 1/2 HP 5 GPM pump.
     
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  4. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

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    Yeah the Cycle Sensor has a timer built in. It shuts the pump off when the well is dry, then you set the timer from 1 to 500 minutes to restart the pump. As long as the float switch is down, it will keep trying. When the float switch is up the pump stays off.

    1/4 gpm is still 360 gallons per day. With a little head start that could easily be enough.
     
  5. Irish Mtn

    Irish Mtn New Member

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    Thanks for the quick reply,
    I hadn't known that the Cycle Sensor delay setting was as long as 500min. That should work just fine. I had been looking at water heater timers, which are not very smart or flexible. I have a couple of other rookie Qs through,

    Would 1/2 hp -5gpm pump be OK at 200+' depth? Is there any advantage to rigging it higher?
    Should flow be restricted as much as possible to prevent well walls from getting repeatedly exposed to air? (was told 1gpm restrictor was min size)
    What do you think about the need for a pvc liner? (limestone, red-brown shale all the way down) Neighbors don't have them
     
  6. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Here is a table of PSI at the top vs pumping depth for a 1/2 hp -5gpm pump. You would use the 0 PSI row because you are pumping to a cistern.
    img_5.png
    Usually pumps are set about 20 ft from the bottom to leave room for sand or whatever to settle. That can be decreased at times for lower water, and it can be higher if the water level is plenty high.

    Note that computing the depth to pumping water level would start at the inlet of the cistern rather than ground level.

    I don't know about the liner. If you use a casing/liner is possible the water is trickling in from higher levels and a full solid casing would stop the water. So with a casing, the water producing areas should have slots to admit water.

    My post is not based on experience but just reading.

    Edit: I see the static water level is 30 feet. That sounds good. How large is the casing/well?
    Also, with the water static level so high, the pump will be operating in too shallow of water. You may need a flow restrictor like a 5 or 7 GPM Dole valve to keep from running with insufficient head. Search for the term upthrust.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2015
  7. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

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    The deeper you set the pump, the more water you will get from the well. But the deeper you set the pump, the more sediment you will get also. With a 1/4 GPM well, the water is going to be pulled all the way down and expose the casing to air no matter if you pump it at 1 GPM or 6 GPM. The sediment will come out of the well better if you do not restrict the pump. Just have to clean it out of the bottom of the storage tank once in a while.
     
  8. Irish Mtn

    Irish Mtn New Member

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    Been off doing other stuff, but thanks for previous advice on setting up my low-yield well with a cistern. It looks like a 5gpm 1/2hp pump fits the bill best, plus a safety measure like a Cycle Sensor. I found 0.25gpm dole valves online, which would match the rated flow of the well. My question is whether that small size is safe to use with a 5gpm pump (I see from other threads that a 1gpm dole is no problem). A flow of 0.25gpm puts it into dotted-line territory on some pump curves I have seen (i.e Grundfos 5S05-09). Am I right that the issue is to ensure sufficient cooling of the motor?
     
  9. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

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    I would not use any smaller than a 1 GPM Dole valve. You can probably even use a 3 GPM, and just let the Cycle Sensor shut the pump off, time out for a while, then turn the pump back on for you.
     
  10. Irish Mtn

    Irish Mtn New Member

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    Thanks. There is no real hurry to fill the cistern of that size, so I think I will go for the 1gpm valve. Now sourcing a pump and I will contact you about the Sensor I also see from other posts that safety rope/wire and torque arrester are not recommended?
     
  11. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

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    I would use a ball valve instead of a Dole valve until you figure out how many GPMs you want to use to fill the cistern. Sure there is no problem filling the cistern at 1 GPM, but it will use 3 times as much power compared to filling the cistern at 3 GPM. You want to fill the cistern as fast as the well will allow. Adjust the ball valve to 3 GPM or so to start with. If the well pump runs more than a minute or two before the well is dry you can open the ball valve to fill the cistern quicker. If the well pumps dry in less than a minute, adjust the ball valve to 2 GPM and try again. I would only use a 1 GPM Dole valve if needed to make the pump stay on for more than a minute.

    Then no matter how fast you are filling the cistern, you need to figure out how long to set the timer on the Cycle Sensor to restart the pump after it shuts off on dry run. Try 20 minutes to start with. After recovering for 20 minutes, if the well pump only runs a few seconds before the well is dry again, then try 30 minutes and so on. You want the Dole valve as large as it can be and still get at least a minute of run time. Then you want to set the timer in the Cycle Sensor for as short a time as you can, but long enough so that the well will recover sufficiently to run for another minute.
     
  12. Irish Mtn

    Irish Mtn New Member

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    Thank for all the assistance, I think I have almost everything figured out. A Grundfos 5S05-09 in the well gives me a gentle 1-2gpm to the cistern, and a Grundfos SBA in the cistern gives me an all-in-one way to deliver water to the house. I just need to know what sort of control-box relay and float switch I need to power the pump. Here is the schematic.
     

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  13. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

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    That SBA pump looks like an "all-in-one" way to separate you from your money. That pump is only good for 30 minutes, which means it is not a heavy duty well built pump. It has controller with a flow switch and no pressure tank. Looks like you one those systems that you will need to replace on a regular basis, instead of one that would last 20-30 years.

    I would use a 10S05-9 regular Grundfos submersible pump in the cistern, controlled by a Pside-Kick kit. Then you would have a pump that is made for continuous duty with a pressure tank, pressure switch, and a CSV to keep you and the pump happy for many years.

    If you use a 2 wire, 230 volt pump in the well, you don't need a control box. Just a regular "pump up" float switch and a Cycle Sensor for the weak well control and protection.
     
  14. Irish Mtn

    Irish Mtn New Member

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    Thanks for the info about the SBA all-in-one. I cannot find any reviews about it anywhere, but Grundfos said it would do the job. Will go the traditional route. But about the float switch, my question is on wiring it up--directly into the 10/2 line at the cistern or through a relay device back at the house. The biggest pump-up mechanical switch I can find is on 14ga wire, Direct-wired, that should handle the 6-amp load of the well pump, but the 40-amp start up load too? I see other threads discussing 24v relays etc., but I dont know exactly what to look for.
     
  15. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

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  16. Irish Mtn

    Irish Mtn New Member

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    Thanks for the links. Got confirmation meanwhile from electrician that direct wiring through 15a float wires would be no problem--and simpler. As for the cistern pump, has anyone got experience with the 10gpm 230v Franklin C1? It has several feature advantages such as drawing from lower in the tank and no flow sleeve requirement.
     
  17. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Looks interesting. http://www.septicsolutions.com/PDFs/C1-Brochure.pdf is brochure with curves.
     
  18. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

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    Yeah that does look like a good idea, if it wasn't Franklin. Franklin is known for re-designing stuff to need frequent replacement, not to last. There is no way those pumps can have as heavy a bearing and internals as a standard well pump. You can lay a regular submersible on its side and get the most water out of the cistern, and a shroud is a cheap and easy thing to add. Having said that, I have not had any problems so far with the Pentair STEP pump, which has been around longer and is what Franklin is trying to copy.
     
  19. Irish Mtn

    Irish Mtn New Member

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  20. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

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    Not really endorsing the concept. Even the Pentair hasn't been around long enough to have a track record. Even though it is only for weekend and vacation duty, it is still important that it work when you show up for the weekend.
     
  21. Irish Mtn

    Irish Mtn New Member

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    Step has floating impellers though. I think you have something against those too
     
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