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Well question

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by kobudo, Sep 9, 2009.

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  1. kobudo

    kobudo Member

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    Hopefully, we have a well guy or a plumber that can help with this question.
    I have a new cabin that will be used during the winter. After construction it was explained to me that the following must be done to the well between visits in the winter. (Is this easy, necessary etc.)

    "Besides opening the exterior drain at curb stop, each time you leave you will need to take the cap off the top of the well and turn the handle on a pipe just below the cap, which opens a drain down 8 feet in the well, so the water can drain out that is in the riser pipe."

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  2. woodsman23

    woodsman23 Minister of Fire

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    I have neighbors that have wells and i have never heard of them doing this EVER??> Maybe for freezing reasons but hell we are near Buffalo Ny and everything freezes here.
  3. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    This is the whole point of pitless adapters, to put the water line (the riser within the well) and also the line between the well and the building below the frostline. If your plumber got lazy and didn't want to bury these things deep enough then you are stuck with having to drain these lines manually. Every time you take that cap off you risk contaminating your well with debris from above as well as dropping the bolts down the hole.

    It is much colder where you are but these extra steps create risk if you forget to do them or if you get lazy and leave the cap off while you're there. A rat could fall down that hole.
  4. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    +10
    Spounds like your plumber didn't bury those lines deep enough.....I am in the North East, but have an uncle in Grand Forks, ND...and I know it colder that a witches teat there!...Just sounds like you had a lazy plumber, and are now stuck with the manual open and close every year...sorry that you are stuck wth this dilemma.
  5. kobudo

    kobudo Member

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    Unfortunetly, there really isn't a good way to bury things deep enough. The cabin's location is on the "Canadian Shield" area and once you scrape off the first 9" to a foot of soil it is all ledgerock. I think that if the well were used every day this procedure would not need to take place but if the cabin sits empty for a month and temps get to -40*F things could freeze up. In any case, can anyone provide a few more details about how this is to be done. I haven't ever had the cap of the well of and don't have a photo of it handy. Are there just a few bolts to remove? Once off is it pretty easy to see what needs to be done?
  6. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    There's a way but it might have been more expensive than your time to live with draining this line every time you visit.

    So the normal cap on a system like yours will have the electrical conduit leading up to it on one side and the well casing next to it. The cap caps both of these pipes. On top of the cap will be three or four hex head bolts. The cap has two halves and the top bolts will allow you to remove the top half end espose the open casing and open electrical conduit. You will see three wires going down the casing, if you look farther down the casing you will see the pitless adapter where the actual water comes out of the casing. Somewhere in there you will see this funky drain valve which probably is designed to dump the contents of the waterline between the well and the house back into your well casing (talk about a cross connection) and also the linkage that allows you to operate the valve from the surface.

    When you replace the cap there should be a gasket to seal the halves. Be sure to remove this cap, the work needed, and reinstall the cap when you arrive at the cabin and when you leave. Don't get lazy and leave the cap off while you're there or a rat will fall in and ruin your water. Don't turn on your water heater until you've refilled the hot water tank and burped out the air.

    So next time you're up there. Bring a 3/8" socket set and remove the cap to see what you'll need to do.
  7. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    If you take the cap off you might consider tossing a few chlorine tablets down the well before putting the cap back on just to be safe. Then, run the water for a while in the cabin until the chlorine smell goes away and you should be a-ok.
  8. dgold

    dgold New Member

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    I'd post this question on http://www.terrylove.com/forums/index.php. An excellent plumbing and remodeling forum with many pro plumbers and other tradesmen happy to help. It's been an invaluable resource for me. There is a forum dedicated solely to pumps & wells.
  9. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    The ones I have seen just have a T handle a few inches below the cap. Prolly a 2 minute job at most. Make sure you open all the sink and garden faucet and bladder tank type valves so the water can drain back.
  10. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    If this is likely to be a frequent task, might also be worth looking at reworking the cap hardware to make it an quick and easy "tool free" removal / replacement process - this would reduce the temptation to leave the cap off in order to avoid the hassle of finding the wrench each time...

    Gooserider
  11. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Not knowing the details of the well and pump, this may or may not apply. One system designed to introduce air into the air volume tank (mainly for iron filtering), uses a line without a foot valve. Instead there is a check valve up at the house that stops the backflow and it also lets air into the line so that the line drains back to the well on every pump cycle. There is also a similar type of system designed specifically for cottages. Both use bladderless air volume tanks that vent the air to the atmosphere.

    http://www.cottagewatersupply.com/
  12. kobudo

    kobudo Member

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    Thanks for all the responses. I'd post a photo of the well but don't know how....
    I don't have a traditional water heater. We have a propane powered instant water heater.
    We do have a pressure tank. The water goes from the well to the tank then is fed to shower/kitchen etc.
  13. Couderay80

    Couderay80 Member

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    Back when I had my old system with a top feed going to my trailer (pipe in well casing came out of the cap on the well) I drilled a 1/4" hole in the 1" pvc pipe 8' below ground level. This allowed the water to drain back into the well casing never freezing the pipe. Yes it did pump water out of that small hole in the feeder pipe, while feeding the bladder. This was in northwestern Wisconsin. I still have the same well but when the new house was built a pitless adapter was put in.
  14. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    You'll want to be carefull with that setup as most pumps have a foot valve, a big check valve, that maintains pressure in the system between the pump and the bladder when the pump shuts off. Poking a hole in the pipe will allow the bladder tank to drain back into the well and cause the pump to come on over and over to recharge it. Another side effect is that you will be pushing lots and lots of air into your plumbing system each time the well comes on.
  15. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    The check valve is before the bladder, thus not allowing the water to flow backwards from the bladder tank.
    If I read correctly, the gentlemen suggested the hole prior to the check valve on the well side. Bladder cannot empty itself past the check valve, unless the valve goes bad for some reason.
    Still, not sure drilling a hole is the best solution.
  16. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    There is also a check valve at the pump. This is the reason that it is much heavier when lifting the pump out of the well than it is when lowering it. Don't you think that you would be pushing lots of air into the system. I hate when those bubbles spurt out at the sink, seems hard on the system.
  17. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Bladder type tanks are not very good for air injection type systems. The tanks for air injection systems have a float valve that will vent the air to the atmosphere. My iron filter has a micronizer that injects air and the tank has a vent.

    http://www.wellmate.com/products_trad.htm
  18. Couderay80

    Couderay80 Member

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    It was a solution that worked for me and came from a owner of a well drilling outfit my father known for years. It did work for the 16 years I had the trailer, now I have the pitless adapter. Is it code? That I can't say but many drank from that well, all are still here, and its still in use today. It took care of the freeze ups nothing worse than waking up taking a shower and oh what in tarnation happened, damn well froze up again Festus. Yes I had a check valve before the bladder tank and never really remember air getting in the system.
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