Friday, January 4, 2013

Mountaintop Water

I don't know what has changed with our water system, but it has become very problematic that last month or so.  We've had the same system in place for months, but since we've moved to the new mobile and have the plumbing hooked up it seems to be having fits.

Aside from the fact that we just burnt up two power supplies to our pump, the hose filters, in everything, keep getting clogged.  I imagine that it is those very clogs that started our problems with the power supplies.  We had reached a point that we were having to unclog the hoses to the water pump multiple times a day.  Our water pressure would drop to nothing and once the filters were cleaned water would once again flow. 

We thought that a simple enough solution to this problem would be a whole house water filter.  We bought one, attached it the water system between the 55 gallon barrels and the water pump, so that the water entering the pump would be clean.  In theory this idea was great and solved everything, in practice it diminished our water pressure so much it wasn't practical to keep the filter on.  It was at that point, in frustration, that we removed the filter in the hose going into the water pump. 

In practice that solution was good, for a time.  We had great water pressure and no longer had to clean the filter multiple times a day, but I think that overtime all of the debris that the filter would have caught entered our pump and damaged it causing it to not function properly and then burn up the power supplies. 

Since we bought a new pump we obviously left the filter on to avoid repeating this expensive problem.  So far we are not having to clean the filters to the pump multiple times a day, but the washing machine is not functioning properly.  It doesn't finish its cycle without having to be restarted several times, or if it does finish its cycle it doesn't get all of the water out of the clothes, so the drain and spin cycle has to be manually restarted, and even then the clothes don't come out as dry as they used to.  The machine keeps stopping mid cycle and we have to remove a hose, clean the filter and then re-start it. 

It appears that our water is dirty, and that over time that dirt builds up in the filters and causes problems.  Even if our water pump filters are fine now, I have no doubt that it is only a matter of time before they start giving us problems again.  There is a strainer that we can get to help filter the water, but we have yet to get one and try it out - that is next on our list of trouble shooting the water issue.  I also think that it is time to break down and start adding a little bleach to the 55 gallon barrels to see if that helps eliminate some of these problems.

Its been an interesting process to go through these different phases of water and deal with the results.  We have a 500 gallon tank, a pump that we think will work, and most of what we need to get it all working, but we opted to wait till spring/summer to install it, simply because there are always a million things to do, and spend money on around here, setting in all up wouldn't be much fun in winter, and there will no doubt be unforeseen issues that will come up, and since we had running water our needs were met and so we decided to focus on other projects. 

In hindsight I wonder if it was the right choice to wait, but I know that we made the best choice possible with the information we had at the time.  We had no way of knowing that overtime new problems would develop.  In the meantime it is rather frustrating to deal with, but I hope that if we keep trying new solutions we can find one to work.  I was reading something online about water the other day, and something I had stumbled upon said that the average person uses 150 gallons of water a day!  If I knew that little piece of trivia I had forgot it, so it really amazed me to see it knowing that we, as a family of 12, use just under 220 gallons a day!

I have an idea for an old fashioned top loading washing machine and rain water caught off of our mobile, but now that we are having all of these issues with dirty water I'm not so sure if it will work not, but I would like to figure out a way to do more laundry.  As it is right now I can only wash about 2 loads a day, some days I might be able to do 3 loads, depending on our other water needs, but in reality I need to do 4 to 5 loads a day, everyday, to actually be washing everything - like towels and bedding.

Speaking of water - we went to a hotel yesterday.  We went more for the boys to be able to watch the Ducks play in the Rose Bowl, but you know that if hot showers were involved we would have been enticed with or without football being involved.  I'm pretty sure that any water conserving I had credit for - I no longer have.  I think I was in the shower for a good 30 minutes, or however long it takes to turn pink and red and feel like you are going to pass 

So, there's the water update, for those of you interested, and for our own personal notes :)


  1. Recon you need a new well? Sounds like something going on down the to have you suck up all the mud.

  2. A pre-filter (what I presume the strainer is) is very much a desirable feature on water that dirty.

    What about a bladder tank to boost pressure?

    As for saving your motor, you could but overload protection (what is in the venacular called a "heater") on a switch to the power supply of your motor, but those are not cheap.

  3. Some things we need to know to help you. How deep is your well. What width is the well pipe. Are you pulling water thru a sand point. Depth of well, and size of pipe you are pulling the water thru..rule of can push water further than you can pull it.

    1. Hi Larry - I am going to find out and get back to you....if you can help that would be great!!

  4. It's probably not so much "dirty" as maybe mineral-rich, in which case the filter/pre-filter dealio is going to be what helps you. Bleach won't make a difference to the particulate load the water may be carrying.

  5. I hope you get the water problem solved.

  6. Ahhhhh, a nice long a hotel...with freshly cleaned linens you did not have to wash, sounds like a wonderful New Year's break. A moment to replenish your whole family's supply of patience and put away the challenges for a day. So glad to hear it! As for the Mt Top water situation, I wish you well, and whatever is needed to get reliable, clean, running water into your home(s) - - did you have any water in the smaller home as well as the larger home? Could it be a problem with the split from one home to the other? Water is so essential,and it did appear to be all fixed up. Hopefully the solution to this new turn of events will be something simple, easy to remedy and inexpensive to boot. I do hope this gets corrected soon. I don't have a clue as to how to solve this but I applaud your attempts and it looks like some readers have offered potential solutions. Looks like this is a mechanical/ physical mystery just waiting to be solved. Please keep us posted - your blog is super as is your sense of humor!

  7. My exbf worked for a pump company and explains things to me. I will ask if he has ideas.

  8. Do you have "casing" in your well, if not, that might be the problem.

    Aunt D.

  9. My parents had their well drilled a little over a year ago. They had an inline filter as well, and had to clean it out a couple of times a day. The people who drilled and installed the system said it would settle down in a couple of months- but it didn't. After about 6 months, everything came to a screaching halt. The pump died. When they pulled it out, it was clogged with sand. The drill people then sold them a different kind of filter, much more expensive of course. They also told them to use more water. Using more water is supposed to help the well settle faster. So we spent last summer hauling water from their place to our pasture. So far no more well problems.

    Good luck in getting your water issues sorted out!!

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  11. Sounds like time to make the driller come back. Perhaps he didn't seal it, or it has cracked, or didn't make it deep enough. You said there was an artesian well nearby. Any chance you can get to one beneath your property? I swear they are like heaven above. I loved our artesian well. Its pressure was so strong that we had to have a hose to spill water over all the time. I trickled even when we were using lots of water. We put a barrel under it and animals came to drink. But then all our neighbors were doing the same. Made little rivers through the woods. And oh so cold.