Thursday, December 1, 2011

Colder than a well digger's backside

I can’t deny it any longer, the well pump is dying. It’s been gradually getting less and less robust. Today it took a turn for the worse. Why is it these things fail in December? Isn’t it an expensive enough month? The last time a pump failed, was also in the winter. At least the weather is predicted to be in the 30s, which is much better than -20 that it was last time.

I’m using a submersible pump in a shallow hand dug well. Replacing it requires that the well be drained as much as possible with siphon hoses. Then I have to physically climb down the well and swap out the pump. Water will be quickly refilling the well as I attempt to connect wires and water lines. Once a job like this is begun, there’s no stopping until it’s working, because I’m really going to need a hot shower.

A good dose of bleach down the well sterilizes everything. It’s an important part of the process to prevent bacteria growth. It’s possible, likely even, that just working in the well introduces new bacteria into the water supply.

The old pump had lasted for quite a few years. The Chinese knock offs available these days probably won’t last nearly as long, but they certainly are cheaper. As a compromise, I paid for the 3 year guarantee.

Unless some other crisis comes up, I’ll be down the well, freezing my backside off. It’s just one of the joys of being my own water works. On the bright side, I look at the huge water bills my friends in the city pay. I could replace a pump every 6 months and still come out ahead.



  1. So how do you deal with sewage/waste water? Do you get charged with that? Here in MA my water bill includes this.

  2. My house is on its own septic system. Yep, I'm the sewer department too.

  3. I love having my own well. The water is sweet and clean (the well is 440 feet down). I hate to think about having to replace the pump. I know it'll cost but at least I won't have to do it. H... I couldn't if I wanted to.

  4. Sixbears...I feel your pain. Things always break here during the most inconvenient of times. A few days before Thanksgiving the blower motor went out on the AC, the ice maker threw ice at us and then broke completely and the washing machine flooded the utility room.

    I am holding my breath as the Christmas Holidays approach! Such is life...Hope your work goes quickly!

  5. One of the places I lived in Pennsylvania had a deep well, over 300 feet, and the water was oh so good. Visitors would refuse coffee, tea, beer, soda, etc. and just ask for a glass of water and a jug to take some home. Now I have water that you can almost cut with a knife it has so much iron in it and it is also very highly acidic.

  6. Momlady: I've a shallow well, but the water is fantastic.

    MamaBear: it's always something, isn't it?

    Dizzy: there's a few places in PA that have really good water. My in-laws place in East TX has drinkable water. I didn't think it was anything special until I spent a few months drinking FL water.

    Right now I'm waiting for the temperature to get above freezing before I play in the water.

  7. Guess the trade off makes doing these unpleasant jobs all worthwhile, right?

    Looking forward to the day I can get back to the country and be on my own well!

    City water sucks!

  8. A couple friends came over and gave me a hand. It made all the difference in the world. Just as we were closing up the well, it started to snow. How's that for timing?

  9. Would a pipe union topside, a length of rope tied to the pump, and an electrical J-box topside not save you from going down there?

  10. Yep, except the pipe comes into the well near the bottom. The pump and all the plumbing is either under water or 6 - 8 feet underground to prevent freezing.