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Thread: Multiple homes on 1 water line - pressure problems due to elevation differencess?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member
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    Default Multiple homes on 1 water line - pressure problems due to elevation differencess?

    Hi,

    I have built a house here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of VA. I drilled one well in 2002. When I was flushing and purging my plumbing and hydronic heating lines last year, I found out that well had dried out.

    Since then I drilled two more wells - neither have much flow - one is one quart/minute, the other about one third gallon per minute.

    My in-laws live 2500 feet from the house. They have said we can tie into their water line (pressurized with a pressure tank in their house).

    Their well lies at the bottom of the driveway, down a slope. It is about 6-8 gpm, water hit about 80 feet, depth of the well 200 some feet. Near the well is a hydrant and a barn. When you (fully) open that hydrant by the barn, there is terrific pressure there. Reportedly, there is also a drop in pressure at the house at the top of the hill.

    I guess this makes sense as the hydrant down below is pressurized not only by the pressure tank but also the volume of the water in the line between the downslope well and the upslope house.

    In the past I have asked whether there is anything we can do (check valve) that could solve this. Their well man said no, short of putting an independent system (independent pump, wire, pipe, pressure tank in the barn) to the hydrant at the barn.

    My concern is that my house too is downhill from their house. It is not near the barn, however. The shortest route to my house is via a road, the same road which leads from the barn to my in-laws. From my in-laws, you go through the woods, continue to ascend a little, then start descending the ridge, away from my in-laws', down the opposite side of the ridge from where their well is located.

    My in-laws' well guy said if I tie into their line I would have to put a storage tank (1000 gal) with a float valve in it to prevent me from stealing pressure from my in-laws. (I'm not sure exactly how this would work - I guess because I would draw from it rather than continually calling on their pump - but eventually the tank would have to be filled from time to time.) He suggested at the high point between our houses. But he doesn't want to do the project at all, now, because he was going to plow a pipe in, and the ground is too rocky. He also said there wouldn't be enough elevation drop from that storage tank to our house to alllow my house to be gravity fed to the top floors.

    So I am thinking of ditch witching the line in myself. I can do that kind of work but just don't know about the pressure situation - whether we will rob my in-laws' of their pressure (a la the barn hydrant) or whether we will have too much pressure.

    Getting long here in this description so I'll stop. If you want more info let me know. Any help you can give to help me out would be appreciated - there is really no other good place by our house to drill another well, and my wife wants to move in soon! But there is no water there now of course.

    Thanks in advance.

    earthscaper

  2. #2
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    All you need is a pressure reducing valve at the line to the barn, and another at the line to your house. This will reduce the pressure to whatever you want.

    The main problem is that your inlaws well only makes 6-8 GPM. A 200' deep well, with water standing at 80', has about 120 gallons of storage that you can use at any flow rate, before the well pulls down and all you have left is 6-8 GPM. At this point, if both houses were using 5 GPM each, you would pump the well dry and the pump would shut off. Depending on how and when both houses use water, this could be sufficient by itself. I would ditch a line, hook up a couple of pressure reducing valves, and see how it works.

    If you then decide you need more volume of water, you can put a 1,000 gallon storage tank at your house, and fill it with the line you ditched in. Then put a booster pump and controls in the storage tank to supply your house. You can restrict the line to the storage tank to 1 or 2 GPM, so your can refill the tank anytime without affecting your inlaws water supply. Or you can put a timer so that your storage tank is only refilled at 3 in the morning, when the inlaws wouldn't see it happening.

    A well that only makes 8 GPM will make 11,500 gallons in a day cause there is 1440 minutes in a day. This is enough water to supply 30 homes but, you have to use storage tanks and booster pumps to be able to supply the volume of water needed for short periods of time.

    PS; use 1.5" or larger poly line to the house so you don't have friction loss problems.
    Last edited by valveman; 11-16-2009 at 02:14 PM.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member
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    Thanks for your response!

    When you say 1.5 Poly do you mean the polyethylene (typical black plastic water line)?

    Any advice on preparing a bed within a ditch witched trench for the pipe? Any advice for unspooling and/or coupling 600' lengths (the largest I can get, I believe).

    Any concern about whether the pump in my in-laws' well needs to be re-sized? There is a slight elevation gain between their house and ours - maybe 20 feet over the course of at least 700 feet - before a rather steeper downhill section.

    Finally, any concern about sediment trapping in the low point in the piped line to my house? Much of the way is downhill but the lowest point is about 100 feet from the house, where it ascends to reach the basement.

    Thanks in advance.

    earthscaper

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member
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    Also, 125 psi PE or 100 psi PE? Or a different rating?

    earthscaper

  5. #5
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Yes black or blue PE. The key to the ditch is to keep it off sharp rocks and don't bury sharp rocks on it. And get 160 or 200 PSI rated. A few couplers won't hurt anything as long as you don't over tighten the hose clamps and they should be doubled up and opposed. That's with the screws pointing the opposite direction and half way around from each other. Heat it evenly in and outside the insert area and do not overheat the pipe to put it on the insert fittings and wait until it cools to tighten the clamps.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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