Underground Well House

In spring of 2020 we paid to have a new water line trench and the perimeter around the well to be dug out. In our zone the water line has to be below the frost line, which is four feet deep. Our old line was not that deep plus, we had pvc lines that bust fairly easy and with the pressure tank in the well house thats not in the best shape it also kept busting on us. Being tired of it is an understatement. Neither one of us want to deal with busted water lines, digging up busted water lines and spending the money on new pressure tanks, valves, etc. Having to do this work in under freezing temperatures is no fun! I don’t think I have to mention how much of a pain not having running water is either. I know people homestead without running water, but we are not set up for that type of living so it’s not practical for us at all.

I made a YouTube video after it was all dug out explaining our plans. You can watch that video here!

The problem came when we began to work on other things and did not prioritize the well set up. We got our monsoon rains and a lot of dirt washed back into the trench and well. And in our typical fashion, time ran out for us while an arctic storm was headed our way. A storm we were entirely unprepared for!

Shoveling dirt out of a 6 ft hole with high winds is torture. We ended up renting a mini excavator. This being the first time ever for both of us to operate said machinery. I have to admit that it was quite exhilarating and intimidating. Ken is such a sweetie always giving me the opportunities to operate big machinery. I’m pretty much the one on the tractor most of the time. Admittedly, I am terrible at directing, but good at operating things, while he’s good at both. So I operated the excavator while he directed me. I was terrified of making a mistake and accidentally knocking him out with the bucket! Thank goodness we both communicate to each other well! We got the job done and removed all of the dirt that had washed back into the trench and well.

Every girl should try this at least once!
The well and water line trench.
We added hardware cloth around the well pipe and then put gravel on top of that.

We then prepared to slip the well culvert we had custom made into the hole. We used the forks implement on the tractor to do this. I didn’t get any footage or pictures of that part. Ken then began to cut holes where the electric wire and pipes would be going through.

We worked well into the night!
The pressure tank, regulator and well are now underground with the water lines going directly to the house from the same spot. Before, there was a water line going from the well to the well house where the pressure tank was, then another water line going to the house from the pressure tank. The well house is on blocks so pipes were exposed in too many areas.

We made some changes, like using pex pipe instead of pvc that has a lower freezing break than pvc, and insulated the pex pipe with heat tape and foam. Now that our entire well setup is 6 feet underground it’s protected from the cold and wind chill. We can also put a heat lamp in there if we need.

It got really late and the temperatures kept dropping rapidly. I didn’t even get to finish filling the well and water line trench with dirt, yet here we are in 15 degree weather with 8 inches of snow on the ground and we have no frozen water lines! There is more snow forecasted!

Hoping that this winter we will continually have water and no more frozen or busted water lines. Now that we have the experience we will plan to rent the excavator (or purchase our own cause we loved it so much) to dig out the water lines for the chicken coop and barn. I am growing tired of lugging the water hose everywhere. It’d be nice to have hydrants around the areas we keep the animals.

I have wanted a pair of overalls like these for a really long time and finally found a pair that are really comfortable!

When the snow melts and it’s not so muddy I will finish filling the trench and bury the water and electric lines. I will need to figure out what I want to do with the well house. Whether we will tear it down or refurbish it and give it a new job. What do you think we should do with it?

Until next time, God bless!

-Cristina

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