Monday, January 11, 2010

Be a homeowner - Learn about well-digging

"It looks as though we may get to get a new well sometime soon," i say, smiling mysteriously.

"Isn't that expensive?" you ask, alarmed.

"It might be, but God must be going to provide for it. 'Cause we need one!"

Yesterday afternoon, after having heated the well pump for two freezing nights in a row to ensure we wouldn't lose water to the cold temperatures, our well stopped pumping water anyway. I must be up for a challenge!

Digging and or repairing wells is one of the few things my hubby doesn't have experience with. So, he thought he was going to talk to an amateur well expert at work today. But said expert was not at work. BUT all the other experts at work were happy to offer their advice on the situation. So after consulting several different people, online resources, and his own deep thinking, my hubby took the day off work today to tackle the problem himself.

Before i go on, please allow me to explain the well.

Until today, i don't think i had an accurate understanding of what a modern well entails. If you're thinking something with a big wide hole and a bucket, it's not nearly that pretty. As i now understand it, what we're talking about is basically a really really long pvc pipe that is inserted into a really deep cylindrical hole drilled in the ground - deep enough to reach the water table. Then a smaller pipe is fitted with a valve or two that i can't quite describe because of ignorance, and that smaller pipe is dropped inside the bigger pipe (the well). And somehow or another you "prime" this combination with water, and it gets the seal or suction or something it needs to allow the pump (which is on top of the ground) to pull water up the lengthy pipe and push it into your house.

So the conclusion of all the interested minds is that the problem with our well is that it has "lost its prime," and the "foot valve" needs to be replaced. The foot valve, as its name suggests, is located at the very bottom of the small pipe that reaches down to the water table.

The plan: disconnect the pump, pull up the long skinny pipe (100 feet), replace the foot valve, put it all back together, take a shower

The reality:

Upon first disconnecting the pump, the discovery was made that this sucker is HEAVY. So, a trip to "town" was made, and construction ensued, and we had an A-Frame. Please refer to the diagram below. You might have to click on it and view the whole thing in another window.

From pulley

The A-Frame apparatus is there so we can strap the boat crank pulley item to it so we can slowly, click, click, click, pull the skinny pipe out of the ground. And when i say we, i mean 'we.' I was totally helping.

So we wrapped and cranked and held and moved the wrappy stuff and pulled and cranked and held about 10-15 feet (ish) out of the hole. And then the pipe got REALLY heavy. Can't get it down, can't get it up. STuck. It's 4:00 p.m.


1. Dig a new well.

2. Find something big enough to pull what is stuck out of the hole. And then possibly dig a new well anyway.

3. Talk to expert friend and discover that everyone has this problem, and you just have to do a special dance to make it come loose, and then everything will be back in order within the hour.

4. Get back to reality, talk to expert friend for real this time, and see about digging a new well.

The good news is that we should have the money to do it. It's easy to think, "...right when we get some extra money, there it goes..." but it is better to think, "It didn't break until we had some extra money to take care of it! Awesome!"

That extra money was meant to go to something else we really really want, but i am confident that the Lord knows the desires of my heart, and He is taking care of my every need, and He delights in pleasing His children. So, i think we're going to dig a new well. And maybe after that, we will have sand-free water, and i can have an automatic dish washer. Wouldn't that be neat!


  1. I know what sandy water taste like. We had it for a while till someone came out to take a look at our well. I love my well when it is working properly and I hate it when it fails me. Let us know when you get your new well. Hopefully, it will be trouble free for many years. Our hubbies need to take a class in this well business. It could really save us some dough. lol

  2. WOW.... I never knew.... I am empowered... sounds like we could all learn how to dig wells if we had the proper tools.. I am so proud of you and James.


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