Hi everyone, just want to start with everyone is always so helpful and full of knowledge.
I have just bought my first house! its in Zone 3a/b in north-central Canada. This means long winters hitting down to -40s a few times and sitting between -20-30 for most of the main winter. The house is about 45 years old so many of the systems will work, but I feel some could use an upgrade which is where you all come in!
there is a small well house just outside the front entrance. the well house has a jet pump (so it's likely a shallow well), a compression tank, our heat trace, and a few electrical plugs. The small structure has 2x4 walls and a roof with blue foam insulation on the door and roof and batt insulation on the walls. It is apparently enough to protect it a certain amount, but my concern is there is a shop heater inside- it's the metal 18"x12" type. I have to assume it will be a power hog to run in the winter which is not ideal. The structure also has no thermometers or anything to help to keep track and ensure we don't burst any pipes. I know other people in the area keep their's heated with as simple as a 100W lightbulb, not a 1500w heater. Without completely rebuilding the structure, what would be any suggestions for the following:
A) tech to monitor it- ideally from my phone
B) make it more heat efficient without redoing the structure.
Haha, looks familiar! I have seen several setups like this, and keeping them from freezing was a challenge.
How close is it to the side of the house? Older homes kick out a lot of heat through the walls and foundations. A temporary or permanent cowling that connects to the side of the house will add a temperature buffer.
If it's farther away from the house, I have seen square straw bales stacked around them to add insulation, and a big tarp over the whole setup. However: these can attract mice.
Internally, heat tracing is most effective when an insulating sleeve is placed over the pipe and tracing.
A 100W incandescent bulb adds a surprising amount of heat. Or, a heat bulb. Hung from above in a brooder lamp, these can be controlled with a thermostat or an hourly timer.
Regarding the shop heater, many have a built-in thermostat. The former owner may have had it set to start when the temperature got dangerously low in the well house. If it's there, it was probably needed on occasion.
As for tech to monitor it, I used a couple of these to monitor temps in our freezer and a chicken brooder. They are not cheap, but took a beating until my kids moved them and I couldn't find them anymore. They can go directly to your phone, or if the distance is too much, there is a device that can collect the data and send over the Internet to you.
However, can I ask if putting most of the equipment inside the envelope of the house is an option? I live in Maine, which does not get as cold as where you are very often, but all the wells I have ever seen in our area have a pump at the bottom of the well with a pipe below the frost line running into the basement or a closet in the house. The pressure tank and whatnot are inside and are kept warm that way.
"The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is." C.S. Lewis
"When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who is running in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind." C.S. Lewis
I'm on my second house with a well (this one also in zone 3b) and in both cases, all that infrastructure (not the pump...that's down the well) was inside the house. Do you (or anyone) know what determines whether it's done the way I'm familiar with or the way depicted in these posts?
Christopher Weeks wrote:I'm on my second house with a well (this one also in zone 3b) and in both cases, all that infrastructure (not the pump...that's down the well) was inside the house. Do you (or anyone) know what determines whether it's done the way I'm familiar with or the way depicted in these posts?
If there is a full basement, everything is usually in the basement of the house, since it will be heated anyway.
A house that only has a crawl space doesn't have a good place for a pressure tank, so it's put in an insulated well shed with options for electric heat.
On farms, where barns and outbuildings are often unheated, I have seen wells and pressure tanks inside an insulated, underground vault. In very cold weather an incandescent bulb or two sometimes provided extra heat to prevent pipes from freezing.
I'm thinking about a new battle cry. Maybe "Not in the face! Not in the face!" Any thoughts tiny ad?
NEW BOOK: Pawpaws: The Complete Guide to Growing and Marketing