How Do I Make My Water System More Dependable?
Jim Blair, President, Bee Cave Drilling, Inc.
If your water system shut off right now and didn’t work for 2 days, what would you do? How devastating would that be to your lifestyle? If your answer is “No big deal”, then you can flip to the next page. But, if this would be a problem for you and you want to know how to avoid this potential issue, then keep reading this article.
Everything man-made can break. Your water system will fail someday. There are some things you can do to make your system last longer and give you a backup water supply when the time comes.
1. Protect your pumping system from damage caused by dry run. All pumps are damaged if they run without water. Make sure your pumps have protection that will shut the pump off when this occurs. Depending upon how your water system is set up, you may need a pump-saver or a float switch added to your water system. If you have multiple pumps (like on a storage tank system) make sure you protect every pump.
2. Protect your system from damage caused by voltage spikes. The electrical supply that we get has voltage spikes that can damage our pumps and controllers. A simple surge protector can limit the damage. You have one on your TV, why don’t you have one on your pump?
3. Protect your pump by limiting starts. The life of the pump is shortened each time the pump starts. If you can limit the number of times the pump starts, you can extend its life. This can be done by making sure that you have adequate pressure tank capacity or by adding a storage tank system.
4. Protect your water system from damage due to the elements. Freezing weather can bust pipes, valves, sensors, gauges, and pumps. Hot weather can damage electrical controls and booster pump motors. Rain and irrigation spray can damage anything electrical. A pump house is typically the best way to protect from all these things. But, even if you don’t have a pump house, there are things you can do to limit the effects of these on your water system.
5. Protect your electrical system from pests. We have found ants, wasps, mud daubers, geckos, butterflies, lizards, frogs, and centipedes in the electrical boxes of well systems. They usually cause minor damage that shuts the system down. In some cases, they have caused fires to burn down pump houses. Keep all electrical boxes closed properly to prevent larger critters from getting in. Use ant poisons to keep the small ones out. We use a dielectric chemical spray in our electrical boxes that keeps everything out for at least one year.
6. Develop a backup water system. You know that the system is going to shut down some day. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a backup plan ready to go? Here are some options:
a. Have an agreement with your neighbor to connect to their water system in an emergency. You can run a water hose from your faucet to their faucet. You will just need a simple double female hose connector that you can buy at any hardware store. You can even steal the water hose on your clothes washing machine for quick hookups. The pressure may not be great, but you have water again.
b. Install a storage tank system with a built-in reserve. Most of the storage tank systems that we build for domestic use have a reserve built in. Our standard 2500 gallon storage tank system usually has a 1000 gallon reserve ready to use. All you must do is flip a switch on the controller and you have access to 1000 gallons of water. With this system, you are never out of water.
c. Build an alternate water system. You can never have too many sources of water. If you have city water or a rainwater collection system that can act as a backup for your water needs.
If you get creative, you will find there are several ways that you can make your water system last longer and still provide your home with water if something does fail. If you need help with any of these projects, we would be happy to help.