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Thread: Proper System Design for Well Water Systems

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member dhoerl's Avatar
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    Default Proper System Design for Well Water Systems

    I just bought my first house with a well. While the water tastes great, it appears that the flow to the bath tubs leaves a lot to be desired. I'd like to add a whirlpool tub in the house soon, so I am keeping this in mind (need about 80 gallons for the model I am looking at.)

    Now, the house is plumbed as follows:

    well pump -> 44gallon storage tank (WellXTrol) -> filter -> UV -> water softener -> delivery

    Not knowing well systems at all, it would **seem** that a better way to do this would be this:

    well-> filter -> UV -> water softener -> storage tank -> delivery

    When there is a large demand for water now, the pressure drops across the filters and softener.

    It also occurred to me that if the pump really wants to "see" a storage system right inside the house, that I could add another storage tank after the water softener. The purpose of this would be to "source" water when there is a large demand (high flow faucet at the whirlpool can deliver 50 gallons a minute.)

    Thanks for any pointers or advice.

    David

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Important thing to note...your 44 gallon tank actually only holds about 14 gallons of water, the rest of the volume is composed of the air (stored energy from the pump). What you really need to know is what is the pump capacity and the well recovery rate. If the well doesn't have enough (fast enough) recovery, then you'll need to reconsider that big tub, or make room for a much more expensive system to store and then pump water for you. With the supply lines you have, I'd be surprised if you can flow more than about 10 gallons/minute (maybe 15). Basically, once you start to fill that thing, you'll have the pump running continuously until it is full. You'll need one hell of a water heater, too. My unprofessional opinion.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    There are differences of opinion on need for filters on a well, location of filters in the system, and type of filters. You will hear from others.

    How many and what kind of filters are you using?

    If you need a filter, it should be a large filter. The usual 10" cartridge filters are just too small. My preference is something like the 20" long "Big Blue" size cartridge. If you expect to flow more than 15 gallons per minute then you should use two of the Big Blue size filters. You could use two of the 20" long standard diameter filters connected in parallel but the filter life would be less and your total cost of cartridges would be greater.

    Some like the granular filters in a tank that require backwashing. My experience is that they are not as effective in removing small particles.

    Now as to the location of the filters and the tank. If you put the filters and softener after the tank, then the pressure drop across the filters will reduce the pressure available to the system. I put the filters between the pump and the tank with a MANDATORY requirement that there be (1) a relief valve on the inlet of the filter and (2) a differential pressure switch control circuit across the filter that will lock out the pump until the circuit or switch is manually reset. The reason is that submersible pumps usually have very high pressure capability and could fail the filter housings if the filters were plugged and not changed.

    The advantage of putting the filters first is that you end up with the desired pressure in your system and the pump will deal with the filter pressure drop, although with reduced flow.

    Your 50 GPM valve won't deliver unless the pipe is large enough. You should have 1 1/2" copper to deliver 50 GPM and your pump/tank system won't deliver it even with the larger pipe.

  4. #4
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Your softener has to be before the UV light or the UV will not work correctly due to hardness scale and iron etc. building up on the quartz sleeve.

    Next to no softener needs a filter before them but, all UV lights do if for nothing more than sanitizing the light. with bleach, and the plumbing past the light when maintenance is done on the light or the power goes off.

    There should never be anything that can block up. like a filter cartridge, between a submersible pump and its controlling pressure switch. A block up can cause serious, read expensive, pump/well problems.

    Plus the fact that pressure tanks don't need any filter and if once a year you drain the tank and flush any dirt out when you check the precharge air pressure in the tank, there never will be enough dirt in the tank to bother yourself with.

    So... well/pump, pressure tank, softener, filter, UV light.

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates

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    DIY Senior Member rshackleford's Avatar
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    try to find some info on the well. find the well log. you may need to contact the state or the board of well drillers. there should be good info on well production.

    you may also want to sample and test the water. one test for minerals and on for bacteria.
    rshackleford

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member dhoerl's Avatar
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    Default Thanks for all the responses...

    First, thanks to all for responding.

    First, more information. Yes, I know I need a big water heater. I am going to recreate a bathroom I had at my last house - 1" water lines from water heater to 2nd floor, 3/4" to the tub faucets, and a 75gallon storage tank.

    The problem I see it is maintaining some "reasonable" pressure when the tub is turned on.

    I have a 3/4 HP pump, but its 200 feet down, so its delivery is a few gallons per minute. What I'm hoping to accomplish is to store enough water in a pressurized storage tank to keep the pressure up.

    WellXTrol has really big tanks - cost is close to $1000, but hey, the tub is going to cost a lot more than that! I can re-plumb the supply lines - I have good access to where the lines run. As jadnashua said, these storage tanks do not really store the amount of water they show as capacity. However, with two of their 120 gallon tanks (WX350), there should be enough capacity to fill the tub (and more).

    Another thought would be to change the approach slightly, and keep the storage tanks at a higher pressure (like 100PSI) then use a pressure regulator (such as is often used in public delivery systems) to maintain a delivery pressure of around 60PSI. I used a high capacity WATTS unit at my last house (cost like $350 back in '99!). Then my system would look like this:

    well-> pressure cutoff switch -> relief valve -> Big Blue filter w/differential pressure switch control circuit -> water softener -> UV -> storage tanks -> [possible pressure regulator to drop 100PSI to 60PSI if needed] -> delivery

    Obviously the optional pressure regulator idea is only feasible of all components can accept a working water pressure of say 100PSI.

    Maybe I would try this in these steps.

    Get the Big Blue filter (or filters), safety pressure switches, and additional 120 gallon storage tank (which would give me 165 tank gallons, or close to 50 gallons of "useable" water).

    See if it delivers enought water. If not, jack the pressure up to 100PSI, and add a pressure regulator. Test again. If this is no good, add an additional storage capacity of 120 gallons. That for sure would do it.

    David

    PS: additional questions:
    a) Regarding the relief valve on the inlet of the filter - does this just bypass the filter or does it vent water (and thus need a drain)? Can you give me a brand/model of a good one to use?

    b) Ditto - make an model for the differential pressure switch control circuit across the filter that will lock out the pump until the circuit or switch is manually reset.

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