Monday, April 28, 2014

A New Solar Well Pump and A Well For The Store

It has been a busy and exhausting week but a good one.  As soon as we got the truck washed we put it down at the store and I ran some ads.  We got a call right away and the man wanted to come on Wednesday but we made plans with the kids to ride the Creeper Trail which is an all day trip.

Taking a break off the trail in the woods.  Nicole and Ella:

Mike and AJ:

One of the falls on the side of the trail:

We did half the trail which is 17 miles.  It is a beautiful down hill bike ride.  You can rent bikes in town and get a shuttle to the top of the mountain.  We were a bit early as not everything was in bloom but we had a good time:)

Creeper Trail

Now it's time for some work.  There are a few things that Mike still wants to change on our house to make us less dependent on gas/propane.  One of them is our well.  We have a unique set up.  We have a 1000 gallon tank in the ground that we use to store our water.  When we need to fill the tank from our well we have to use the generator.  The well pump uses too much voltage for us to run it off our solar.  From the underground tank we have a pump that we use that runs it into the house.

Mike ordered a new well pump that we should be able to run on our solar set up.  We will by pass the tank and run the water directly from our well to the house:)  And now the work begins.

Starting to dig out the pipes that run from the water tank to the house and also to the well:

Mike taking off the pipe insulation on the water lines:

Next up.  We need to get the well cover off the well.  It's a good thing we lifted the top off.  We had a small leak and it got all of the insulation wet.  It was also full of ants.  Mike pulling out the insulation:

Time for the big boy.  Since Mike and I cannot lift the well cover off the well we have to use the tractor.  Love that tractor:)  We manage to get the chains around the cap:

And away it goes:

We will use the concrete well cover at the store.  We need a lighter one at the house so we can easily check it.  We also need the concrete one at the store since the well is right off the driveway and we don't want anyone driving into it.

Here is the plan for the day.  We will disconnect all the water lines and the electrical to our well.  Then we need to pull 300 feet of water line, the old well pump, and all of the electric out of the well.  Thankfully our water tank is full so we won't be out of water.  Most people who have to do this have to go without water until a new well pump is installed.

Hopefully this goes well as we have never done this before.

Mike taking the electric off and loosening the well seal:

Rigging up a way to get the well seal off and pulling out 300 feet of water filled pipe and old pump:

OK…here we go:

We wrapped some carpet around the casing on the well so we don't tear up the electric wire.  We want to reuse that.  We are about 20 feet out….only 280 more to go, lol:

Mike pulls the water line out while I pull the electric at the same time.  We don't want to kink it.  Mike can only go so far with the tractor then we need to reset.  Sadly when we reset we can't use the well seal.  We have to use a large strap, tie it around the water line multiple times, knot it and then tape it all up.  Then we can pull another 50 feet or so:

We get about halfway and we come across one of the rubber adapters.  These are used to protect the water line and electric wire while going down the well.  Mike taking it off:

We are getting a very long pipe on the drive.  Mike cuts the old water line so we can reset:

Yay we finally got the old well pump out:

Now we have to change gears, lol.  The well drillers showed up at the store. Mike and I go down to watch the big trucks do their thing:

Well drilling is always a little nerve racking.  You don't have a set price.  They will drill until they hit water or in some very bad cases they don't hit any water.  The well drilling rig is set up with 20 foot lengths of pipe. First they attach a 6 inch by 20 foot drill bit that will drill down for the casing.  Then 20 foot sections will be added one at a time to continue drilling.

Once they get a 20 foot section of casing in they take out that 6" diameter drill bit and change it out for a 4" drill bit:

Changing out the drill bits:

Looks like we need more casing.  The casing is used to protect the sides of the upper part of the well.  Here they are welding tow 20 foot sections of casing together:

The drillers got down 80 feet and then we got rained out.  They will be out to finish sometime next(this) week.


Mike sold the truck this morning:):)

It's a beautiful day….time to get the new water pump in at the house.  We went to the Farm Supply and picked up 300 feet of water line.  We laid it out on the lawn to let it heat up to make it easier to work with:

Mike cutting off the hose off of the old pump:

Aww…poor Niki girl is getting old.  Since her back and back legs are bad I have to carry her up and down the driveway.  It so sad to see our furbabies get old.  At least she still likes to be with us…most of the time:)

Getting ready to hook up the new well pump.  Mike clamps the pump onto the new water line:

 The new well pump to the water pipe:

Before we go any further Mike takes out the test meter to make sure the water pump has electric:

Time to splice some wires and hook up the old electric line to the pump electric:

Using the shrink tube and torch to seal the newly connected electrical:

Wiring is done on the pump end:

We clamp on the rubber adapter to protect the electrical.  This part will be at the bottom of the well:

Taping it up with electrical tape:

Now for another fun part.  We have to attach the rest of the electrical wire to the water line before we can send it all down the well.  We tape the electric wire to the water line every 15 feet or so….for about 285 feet:

Half way and we connect another rubber adapter:

Yay…we are done with that part.  Time to feed it into the well.  It's a lot easier to send it down the well since there is no water in the line yet.  It is so much lighter:

I stand in the back and feed it to Mike while he guides it down the well:

Woo hoo.  We hit bottom.  We have extra water line but we will cut it off after we get the new pump hooked up.  Mike tests the pump by hardwiring it to an extension cord:

Whew…it works and we have water:

We take a sort break after that.  Nicole stopped over earlier to pick up our pressure washer and she is now bringing it back.  We talk with her awhile and then we go back up top.

Uh oh…since we turned the pump on to test it, it filled with water.  When it filled up with water it pulled the rest of the water line down into the well.  We are so lucky that we didn't cut the extra water line or it would have been 20 feet down.  As it was Mike was able to stick his hand in the well and grab the water line.  Now for the hard part.  We have to get it back out.  We recruit Nicole for some help.  We all get the line out about 12 feet.  It is now very heavy because it is filled with water.  Nicole and I hold it while Mike gets the tractor to try and strap the water line until he can get the well seal on.

Finally we get the the line out far enough so Mike can pull the electric though the well seal and then bolt the well seal onto the casing:

We are so lucky we didn't lose the water line.  If it went any farther down the well we would have had to have the drilling company come and bail us out.

The pump is in and the electric is hooked to the pressure gauge on the pipes that go to our tank and to the house:

We are finished for the day.  The old line is out and the new well pump is in.  Mike tested it and there is no more surge when we turn on the water.  Once he cuts off the lines to the water tank we will run it straight to the house.  We also don't need the generator to use the hose anymore:)

I will stop here as this was a long story.  I will write again this Thursday to bring you up to date.

Have a great week:)


  1. I am tired just reading this! :)


  2. So, do you plan to use the old pump down at the store? You'll be on the grid there, right? Though if you plan to sell solar stuff, you might want to go green!
    Any information about that new pump? Why is it easier on your system, is it just a smaller pump, or is it something special?
    I don't know if I'd bypass that holding tank...might come in handy if there was ever a problem with the well or any other systems. Just keep doing as you are, but now you won't have to run the generator.

    Once again, you guys have done a great, what is the plan for the well cover? Is Mike going to make a little "dog house" that is super insulated?
    Can't wait until Thursday :-)

    1. We were going to use the old pump at the store but it is 6 years old now. We may buy a new one for the store and sell the old one. We are on grid at the store and we will keep it that way in case we ever need/want to sell it.

      Mike had to do a lot of research about the pumps. We ended up getting a great deal on a Grundfos Pump. You can read the details about them here:

      We will leave the tank…just in case. Hmm…wonder if I can use it as a root cellar:)

      Mike already took care of the cover. I will show you on Thursday.

      Thanks fro writing in:)

  3. I hope you have the house well pump connected to a pressure tank, either “captive air or bladder type” as you wouldn’t want the well pump to turn on every time you open the faucet.

    1. The original well had a bladder tank in the ground and that is what we are still using.

    2. Sounds like you have it covered then. Grundfos are an excellent pump and should give you years of service. I pulled one from my well that was almost 20 yrs. old and it was still working perfectly. I had a small hole in the up pipe was the reason for pulling it out, but figured due to its age I should replace it.
      Are you going to renew your or should I just dump the link?

    3. We are lucky. We got a very good deal on the pump. I hope we get a lot of years from it.

      I will leave the address at You can get rid of the old one.