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Posted by Ross in Hillsboro, OR on 3/7/2009 10:46:57 PM

Nancy and I had a good discussion this morning and we decided to eliminate about 6 out of the 12 French doors in our design. At 8' tall, it cuts our door/window budget by around $6 grand (approx.) Most of these aluminum-clad doors were over $2K-$3K each, which will now be replaced with casement windows. Our window budget was way out of whack before... it's still huge, but much better we think now. We decided we would probably never open half of them as depicted in the architectural drawings... so this was a good day of saving $.

Water service move. I've been working towards relocating the utilities service so that we can demolish the existing living space and still have water and power. Last month the 320-A electrical service was successfully moved, a year after the initial trench was dug... (low budget = long time). First off, if you have a well, it can be daunting to consider doing the work yourself. I had a $1,200 well service two years ago on this property to replace the original 40-year-old jet pump that went out, and also the "pressure foot" which goes down the well. I was pretty happy with the service (I thought), but today I discovered they didn't do quite as good a job as I thought. Here are some tips if you want to consider doing this work yourself... it's easier than I imagined it would be:

1) Research your well.
Our county here in Oregon has all the well logs online. We were able to surf the web and pull a scanned PDF document from the original well driller back in 1966. Our well is a "shallow" well, being only 62 feet deep, with the 6" iron casing going down 60'. When the well was originally dug, the static water level was 12' below grade. Good information. This was in August (summer) of 1966.

2) Prepare, and take small steps.
After months of preparation, I steeled myself to disconnect the existing water and pull up the well line out of the well. I had prepped the new submersible pump last weekend, and wanted to measure the existing line, figuring it would be at somewhere between 50' and 60' down the well, and I would just match lengths.
The pipes were only 30' deep. Only 1/2 the available well depth! A jet pump setup I have could have pumped water from as deep as 80' I understand, possibly not this pump, but generally I expected the hoses to be much deeper.

I was upset that I had paid $1,200 for well service two years ago, and that the lines were so shallow. I "expected" that since running dry was a possible cause of my pump problems, the well service company would have researched the well depth, and installed new line. Not so. I think I was ripped off. $1,200 was about what I paid for a submersible Grundfos pump. With another $200 for hose, and more$ for re-plumbing the house, but anyway now I will know it is being done right. I pulled plumbing permits two months ago, and started with digging a new trench. The old well had pipes entering the well casing.

Having said this, there are a few sites on the Web, (Wes's Water Well Service Store on eBay is where I purchased my system). Also; they have a wealth of information. In my case with only 60' of pipe, it was "waaay" too easy to pull and re-insert a new submersible pump into the well. I still have some plumbing to do on the pitless adapter (tomorrow), but the scary parts have been accomplished.

For the pitless adaptor, I found that Granger ( had a comparable unit for $10-$20 less than the big box stores locally. Also some of the other well supplies on their site are cheaper. Otherwise Lowe's/HomeDepot were reasonable. I found the stores farther out of town towards rural areas had better stock. There are three Home Depots between where I live and where the project is, so I visit them to figure out what they have in stock frequently. Plumbing/Pump supply stores have better stock, but their prices I find are higher, unless you have a contractor account and do volume business. I didn't have enough volume to get good pricing.

I will have to sterilize my well, there are some good websites from the Midwest that discuss how to do this with diluted chlorine. After that I will have my water tested. We have some iron bacteria and sulfur bacteria living in our well from before we purchased the property. I'm hoping that a good chlorine shock will keep this under control. There are also acid treatments, but I'm thinking professional for that if I need it.

Today I connected the old house plumbing to the new water service line, which I had previously air tested (and fixed leaks). It holds pressure with no leaks, so I figured it's time to get the new well in place. The only untested part of the line, is from the one-way check valve inside the house, out to the well head. That gets proven tomorrow. Once everything is leakproof, I can have the trench inspection and fill the trench... Muddy Oregon. Mud EVERYWHERE... I'm tired of mud.


Twin breakers with LED's are surge suppressors ($185 special order from Siemens at Home Depot). These come with a $20,000 warranty if any gadgets get fried in the next three years. Doesn't protect from lightning.
New plumbing is "PEX", I used "shark" fittings, $$ spendy, but I didn't need to purchase a crimp tool at $235 yet. This is a temporary new service to old house plumbing so we have water to toilets until we tear the house down. When we re-plumb, I plan to use manifold with a home run circuit per fixture.
Pressure tank holding water at 45PSI, the sediment filter is out until we flush all tne new lines. The old jet pump can barely do 50-60psi. The lines were all air tested above 80PSI so I could verify that the pressure relief valve (not shown) opens > 75 psi. All of this plumbing was DIY.
Had to re-dig these trenches so the county inspector can see the two lines, including the blue tracer wire on the 1" poly water line. (Plastic pipe requires a tracer wire so it can be located years in the future, to prevent a backhoe from cutting into your water).
Jet pump drop line on the left (two hoses), new submersible pump drop line on the right. Submersible is more efficient, and will run off less electricity than the Jet pump, providing more pressure and higher flow rates.

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