reply to post by cosmicexplorer
There are basically two ways to get pressure: gravity-fed and pressurized. Most wells use pressure, because it is less susceptible to wind/storm
damage and is inherently sealed against trash and organisms.
A typical deep well uses around a one-horsepower pump connected to two poly lines that extend into the well itself. Water is forced through one line,
through a venturi at the bottom of the lines, and back up. The venturi causes the flow to pull additional water out of the well itself. That water is
then stored inside a pressurized tank for use whenever and wherever needed. My well ran for 40 years without any maintenance; I had to install a new
pump and venturi finally a few years ago.
There are, of course, additional components, like an air valve to maintain the proper amount of air in the tank, but there are tons of web sites that
give good detail on how to hook up a deep well. Shallow wells are similar, but usually only need one line into the well.
Gravity fed systems use a large container set high in the air to provide the pressure. Water has to be initially pumped into the container either from
a well or an above-ground source. Use caution on above-ground sources as they can easily be contaminated with nasty little bugs and trash you really
don't want to be drinking. Especially if you are not used to survival living, one sip of contaminated water can be potentially lethal. Make sure
trash can't get into that container either; it can clog up lines and create a big headache and a lot of work for later. That always seems to happen
when you really need some water, too.
As was mentioned, pipe size has nothing to do with pressure in this context, only flow rate. The largest lines we have for water distribution are
3/4" PVC. Most are 1/2" PVC.
I recommend making the building around the pump and tank out of concrete block, burying the underground lines well below the frost line, and
insulating everywhere you can. Frozen water lines are a major pain. If there is a danger of freezing, running water will not freeze as fast as still
water; leave faucets dripping in heated areas and have valves to turn water off and drain the lines to unheated areas. Also, leave room for one drop
light with a heat lamp in it inside the building, just in case you need it. 60 watts is all we use, and only when temperatures get bitter.
We run about 45-50 PSI and to be honest, that is pushing things. The pressure switch that controls the pump has an adjustment for the minimum and
maximum pressure. Just be sure you don't try to set the maximum at more than the pump is rated at, or you'll burn it up pretty quick. Also, any time
you do anything to the system, watch that pump cycle through one complete cycle... from low-pressure turn-on to high pressure shut-off and back to
low-pressure turn-on. We don't have a lot of trouble with switch contacts unless we've been tinkering with them.
To locate a good well, I recommend finding someone who knows how to "water-witch." Yes, it sounds silly, no, it does not have a scientific basis we
can explain, but it works. I have used it many times in the past. A well-driller will drill the well for you; expect to spend a couple thousand
dollars (prices around here) for a well, depending on how deep it is (well-drillers charge by the foot).