When deciding to purchase our remote property years ago, there one strong positive feature, and another feature that took some ‘getting used to’. On the plus side the property included a small 12×16 cabin and a working 370′ deep well. This took care of the big unknown everyone faces when developing their remote property – WATER. The detracting feature was that the property had been in a wildfire burn and there were many 6″ diamater black poles that were formerly known as trees.
Well its been a few years and we’ve had several years of wood cutting when jackie and myself and the kids would look like coal miners after working with the black charcoal coated wood. Things have grown back and I’m really thankful that we didn’t let that factor keep us away! On the plus side, that well has supplied our water needs without any problems.
Since we started with a working well, I didn’t think it would be useful to replace the 240Vac 1HP well pump with another expensive ‘solar friendly’ one. I researched the alternatives, but there were few when the well is 370 feet. This early decision shaped several other decisions about inverters and our water system.
This large electrical load could come on at bad times and be detrimental to our power system if it came on automatically. First result: The well system would not run automatically, but manually when we need water.
Because the well is a large electrical load, it would be best to only run it off the generator, however, we must be able to run it some with our solar power system in emergencies (generator failure, gas problems, etc). Second result: I purchased 2 – 120Vac inverters and slaved them together to provide well power if / when needed.
The natural design of our water system was clear. We’d need a large water tank or cistern to fill up with generator power and then a pump from it to provide the home water. I found a large poly 2500 gallon tank for this and placed it on a flat spot behind the house.
Once inside the house, our water system is powered with a 12V RV pressure pump. These pumps will keep the house plumbing pressured at all times and only turn on when the pressure drops. So whenever you open the facuet the pump goes on. The flow is a little lower, about 2 gal/min, but these little SureFlow pumps last about 3 or 4 years in our full time situation and only cost about $60.
Normal well water systems use a bladder tank to hold 30-60 gallons of water under pressure and ready for use. They also rely on an automatic switch to run the well. Thats why we have something different. Our neighbors, who are part time summer visitors, have a bladder tank. They have to run their generator / well for each 50 gallons. This may work short term, but this constant chore would drive you nuts for full time! With our system, I run the well for about 6-7 hours once every 5 or 6 weeks. That I can and do live with!
Please leave a comment about what water system works for you! Or just leave a question.