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Thread: Installing a deep well

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member kaw550's Avatar
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    Default Installing a deep well

    Hello,
    I just found the forum. It looks like a great site. I am just starting a big project and will have a ton a questions. Were trying to turn a cabin into a house...

    The first step is to install a well. The PO's had a line running to the lake. We planned on installing a well but had hoped to use the lake water for a few weeks but found that the line to the lake is clogged. So were pushing to have the well done ASAP.


    Were having a tough time selecting a contractor. We had three quotes and called four companies. Two were similar and one was a few grand higher. The pump components were sized larger than the other two. He also said that he uses a different drilling method that gives a better seal between the casing and bedrock. They also quoted 7 gpm vs. 5.

    I should mention it will eventually have 1 1/2 baths and a kitchen and I never had a house with a well.

    So here are my questions:

    Two companies based the quote in 5 GPM. the other was 7. Do I need 7?
    Do I need a 1/2 hp pump or 3/4 (submersible)? I assumed the well will be under 200 feet based on the four surrounding neighbors.
    22 gallon tank or 44?
    Anything else I should ask or have done?

    None of the companies include (or wanted) to dig the trench, not of them connect plumping or electrical.

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member guy48065's Avatar
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    Before getting into your questions--what was the lake water used for/is there plumbing int the cabin?

    With no plumbing or electrical hookup how do you verify the well is working as promised & the water is drinkable?
    Romeo and Atlanta, MI

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
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    If you are in Eastern Mass, I would highly recommend Ace Well Drilling.

    Unless the laws have changed, a licensed electrician has to do the wiring in Mass
    Last edited by craigpump; 10-06-2013 at 05:53 PM.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member kaw550's Avatar
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    Guy48065- From what I can tell, they had a shallow well until around 2000 when they put in a new septic and leach field. At that time they switched to lake water. The water fed a kitchen sink, bathroom sink, toilet, shower and water heater. So, there was running water. the plumbing looks fine in the house. Under the house there seems to be a few patches.

    It is located in central Mass.

    We are planning to have an electrician connect the wiring. THe current circuit is 110 so we would need to upgrade.

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member VAWellDriller's Avatar
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    With the size cabin you described, 5 gpm would be fine....7 would always be better though. There isn't much difference in cost of the pumping equipment on the wholesale level (maybe $100).....If the well is 200', even worst case, you could get by fine with a 1/2 hp 5 gpm pump and not have to upgrade to a 240 volt circuit. I'm a mud rotary coastal plain driller, but I service lots of rock wells like you're going to get.....and ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY the most important thing about a rock well is the seal between the rock/casing interface. It is the only part of the process that the well driller can control; every thing else is up to Mother Earth. Not only is this grouting the casing the most important part, but it's the part that most drillers cheat on to save time..... I suspect the high priced guy may want to use the mud rotary method to get to bedrock, set and grout casing, and then switch to air. This takes a lot longer, but it's a much better method than using air right from the start. I see a lot when they try use only air around here that they may encounter bedrock at say 75'....then they can only get 70' of casing in because the hole collapsed...then they grout it anyway, and have problems a few years later. If you mud the hole down, it's much easier to prevent collapse. Ask a lot of questions about how they are going to do it... then nicely tell all the companies that you are curious and you want to watch them seat and grout the casing and see if that's a problem....and don't be scared to use the high priced guy. If possible, do watch them set and seal the casing.....if they do it right, the casing will go in the hole correctly, and the grouting pipe will go to the bottom as well.

  6. #6
    Porky Cutter,MGWC Porky's Avatar
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    Not to disagree with VAWELLDRILLER but a qualified air driller can install and grout the casing properly. If you feel that you can't trust your contractor and if you are qualified I recommend that you watch him through out the drilling and testing of the well or have a knowledgeable and trusted consultant watch complete progress for you. Don't let the contractor sell you a VFD computerized pump. I recommend you install a conventional pump and a Pside-kick kit http://constantpressurekits.com/products/pk1a. It's all the tank that you'll need. Call Cycle Stop Valves if you have questions. Large pressure tanks aren't necessary for most systems today! If your contractor recommends installing only a Variable Flow Pump "VFD". . . then I suggest that you look for another contractor because they're just making more money and they'll be coming back a lot.
    Porky Cutter, MGWC
    (Master Ground Water Consultant)

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member kaw550's Avatar
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    After pushing one of the contractors I was given a second quote for a system that had a variable speed pump. However, it was because of my concern over the water pressure not being consistent (30 to 60psi). I was told it would maintain a higher pressure but he wasn't really pushing it.

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member kaw550's Avatar
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    More questions...
    Can I install the tank inside the house? Does it make noise at it fills and drains? The cottage is built on piers and would freeze in the winter. If I move the tank inside, I only have to worry about the water line.

    I am not sure if it would fit but I would like to raise the water heater an install the tank under it.

  9. #9
    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
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    Yep the tank can go inside with no problems. The only noise you might hear is the rattle of the check valve when the pump is running.

    We have installed both Grundfos SQE and Franklin Sub Drive constant pressure systems, but I prefer conventional dumb pumps combined with a large tank.

    VA, For 20 yrs I drilled wells in Ct, NY, Mass, RI and NH, and can count on one hand the amount of times I saw casing grouted through a tremie line. There was an inspector in Milford Ma who required that every top hole be mudded down even if there was ledge (bedrock) at the surface. His thinking was that the drilling mud was good grout.....

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member VAWellDriller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigpump View Post
    Yep the tank can go inside with no problems. The only noise you might hear is the rattle of the check valve when the pump is running.

    We have installed both Grundfos SQE and Franklin Sub Drive constant pressure systems, but I prefer conventional dumb pumps combined with a large tank.

    VA, For 20 yrs I drilled wells in Ct, NY, Mass, RI and NH, and can count on one hand the amount of times I saw casing grouted through a tremie line. There was an inspector in Milford Ma who required that every top hole be mudded down even if there was ledge (bedrock) at the surface. His thinking was that the drilling mud was good grout.....

    Some drilling mud could be good grout, but it's not permanent. What was the normal casing depth?....In Virginia, you can pour or pump from the top grout if it's less than 20'. We're all over through on depth though, where the coastal plain meets rock country...so casing depths are anywhere from 10' to 250'....I really think mudding down the hole is the safer method, you can definitely control the hole better and not have a big void when an air rig blows through the shallow well water zone....that's not to say it can't be done by air especially with the new stiff foam they've got, but I've seen a lot of problems on the video camera....where the casing is a few feet short and there is a big void. If it were my house, and there needed to be more than 20-30' of casing, I'd want to make the driller mud down, and pump in grout....then wait for it to set up before drilling.....Most of the rock guys here set casing and immediately start drilling....then when they're done, after they install the pitless, they grout. So normally at least 1 day has passed, and there is something else, caved shallow well sand and rock dust acting as the grout (which may or may not work). All in all, they seem to be getting by, but it's not how I'd want it done at my house.

    I drill mainly public mud rotary screened wells up to 1000'....and on DEQ regulated wells, we can gravel pack at most 20' over the screen and then have to tremie grout the rest of the way, usually in the presence of an inspector....I've pumped bentonite grout through 900' of tremie pipe, without problems. (I've pumped bentonite grout through 200' of tremie pipe and had big problems).... That's a joke for the DIY's here, because pumping grout can be tricky, which is why so many drillers choose to skip that step.

    Minimum regs for a deep well are 50' grout, and there are a couple counties in Northern VA that make you pump grout in the presence of an inspector, but unless the customer asks to watch, most residential work never gets any kind of inspection.

  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
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    I have only had one inspector visit a job site here in Ct, and that was on a hydrofrac because she had no idea what it was and wanted to see it.

    Most of the wells around here have 20-60' of casing, but I've set 300' in some places too. In the part of Ct where I live, 95% of the top holes are aired down, while over in RI 95% are mudded down due to the sands & gravels.

    With the drilling prices being what they are up here, I doubt you could find a driller who would shut his rig down long enough for the grout to set up. We set the pipe, let the cuttings settle down in the annular space and call it good. A few guys will mix a bag of Portland cement and pour that in after setting the pipe and then start drilling.

    How do they prevent the cuttings from filling the annular space while drilling?

  12. #12
    DIY Senior Member VAWellDriller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigpump View Post
    I have only had one inspector visit a job site here in Ct, and that was on a hydrofrac because she had no idea what it was and wanted to see it.

    Most of the wells around here have 20-60' of casing, but I've set 300' in some places too. In the part of Ct where I live, 95% of the top holes are aired down, while over in RI 95% are mudded down due to the sands & gravels.

    With the drilling prices being what they are up here, I doubt you could find a driller who would shut his rig down long enough for the grout to set up. We set the pipe, let the cuttings settle down in the annular space and call it good. A few guys will mix a bag of Portland cement and pour that in after setting the pipe and then start drilling.

    How do they prevent the cuttings from filling the annular space while drilling?
    They remove all the cuttings from the hole.....mud rotary it's no problem....dig a mud pit and it settles out. When they air it down, I guess most come out, but that's where you have problems. Did you use steel casing? I don't see a problem with steel....I guess you can push it back down to rock through the cuttings, but around here, they use PVC and can't really push on it much if the hole isn't open, it just goes as far as it goes.

  13. #13
    In the Trades Texas Wellman's Avatar
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    What kind of rig are you guys running? This thread got good.

  14. #14
    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
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    VA,

    There is the difference, we use 17lb steel casing up here with a drive shoe on the bottom. Drill the top hole, drop the pipe in, drive on it a bit to seat the shoe in the rock and start drilling.

    Texas,

    The rigs up here are mostly Reichdrills, a few IR's, a few DrillTeks and some cable tools. I haven't seen a table drive rig in years.

  15. #15
    DIY Senior Member VAWellDriller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigpump View Post
    VA,

    There is the difference, we use 17lb steel casing up here with a drive shoe on the bottom. Drill the top hole, drop the pipe in, drive on it a bit to seat the shoe in the rock and start drilling.

    Texas,

    The rigs up here are mostly Reichdrills, a few IR's, a few DrillTeks and some cable tools. I haven't seen a table drive rig in years.
    Big difference from the PVC around here....that's a good method...still ought to have a little grout though.

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