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Small greenhouse on top of well pump house  RSS feed

 
William Bagwell
Posts: 9
Location: North Georgia USA
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Good idea or bad idea? By greenhouse I mean to start plants for the garden. No supplemental heat except perhaps for a month in the early spring. Built beside an embankment about half as high as the pump house so a short set of steps or a slightly longer ramp is all that will be needed to get in the 'upstairs' if and when it gets built.

Thinking of separating them with a thin slab which could serve as the pump house roof and later the floor of the greenhouse. Googled a bit on thin slabs and they are mostly used over existing slabs to add radiant heat. Did find a few discussions of thin slabs on wood framing typically including the warning "You need a structural engineer" which I would agree with if it was a large dwelling. Pump house is only 64 sq ft (8' x 8') and framed with 2"x6" pressure treated on 16" centers with triple stud corners. Not even full height as I cut one 14 1/2" bridging block from each stud. Plenty strong enough to hold even a 4" slab if I have to go that thick. If I have done my math right will be 720 LBs per inch of thickness, so obviously do not want to buy, mix or carry any more concrete than I have too!

Deck it solid then put down a layer of plastic and let the slab float? Or as my son suggested use some scraps of commercial metal roof I happen to have upside down so the concrete has two inch deep 'ribs' every eight inches? His reasoning is the metal alone would be strong enough to stand on even without the concrete plus it might be stronger with the ribs.

Anyone done or heard of a similar project?

Back ground: Needed a well house for 23 years and have been incredibly lucky the past ten years with it seldom freezing due to multiple adults with widely different work / sleep schedules. Last kids just moved out plus I am installing a chlorination system and need room for the tanks and barrels. Also hope to add a proper sized bladder tank in the near future and there is no room for that stuff inside our house. Stalling out at building a normal roof since my son needs to get his camper out once he sells it. No room for an overhang so my sudden idea of a flat roof.
 
Travis Johnson
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If I get what you re saying, you are describing something quite similar to northern livestock farmers use to keep their stock tanks free of ice in remote locations where electricity is not available.

In that incidence, culvert pipe is buried vertically down 10 feet or so with a diameter of at least 2 feet. This brings up sufficient warm air (57 degrees here in Maine) to warm the bottom of the stock tank. By insulating the outside of the stocktank and covering the top to limit heat loss, but with a spot where the animals can drink water; the heat from the ground keeps the stocktank from freezing.

What you are proposing sounds similar.

 
William Bagwell
Posts: 9
Location: North Georgia USA
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Travis Johnson wrote:If I get what you re saying, you are describing something quite similar to northern livestock farmers use to keep their stock tanks free of ice in remote locations where electricity is not available.

In that incidence, culvert pipe is buried vertically down 10 feet or so with a diameter of at least 2 feet. This brings up sufficient warm air (57 degrees here in Maine) to warm the bottom of the stock tank. By insulating the outside of the stocktank and covering the top to limit heat loss, but with a spot where the animals can drink water; the heat from the ground keeps the stocktank from freezing.

What you are proposing sounds similar.

Vaguely similar perhaps. Drilled well not bored so very little heat will be coming out. What little there is might slightly reduce the number of times supplemental heat will be needed in the well house, but can not picture it helping a green house above. You did give me another idea to think about. Rather than insulate the ceiling, build some sort of insulated panels and hinge them just above all the well stuff. This would cut the volume needing heat on freezing days by 3/4 and allow the rest of the space to share heat on the less cold days.
 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
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Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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What is the difference between a drilled well and a bored one?
 
William Bagwell
Posts: 9
Location: North Georgia USA
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Rebecca Norman wrote:What is the difference between a drilled well and a bored one?


Diameter mostly though drilled wells are also typically much deeper than bored wells. My current drilled well is 6 inches in diameter and 220 feet deep. Years ago we had a bored well that was 2 feet in diameter and only about 20 feet deep.
 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
Posts: 1273
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
127
food preservation greening the desert solar trees
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Oh! So I guess our "borewell" is a drilled well. It's a 6 inch diameter pipe going down 130 feet.
 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
Posts: 1273
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
127
food preservation greening the desert solar trees
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Oh! So I guess our "borewell" is a drilled well. It's a 6 inch diameter pipe going down 130 feet. We made a little straw-clay house for it, stuffed with sacks of leaves, and covered with leftover greenhouse plastic, to prevent the various pipes coming out of it from freezing.
 
Bernard Welm
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Location: Minnesota
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One thing to think about when building around a well house. There may come a time when someone needs access down the well shaft. (think fixing things). Therefore you may want to keep a location above the well shaft open or openable to allow things to be pulled up or sent down. Yes deep water pumps need less of this but it still may happen.

I have a deep well but the pump mechanism is still above ground. So there are pumping rods to get the water up. As a result I need to keep a space above the well open to pull the rods up when things need fixing.

One thought I had for the well house is to build a solid wall on the north side and then poly the south side. This would warm up the whole building and allow me to use it as a green house as well.
 
William Bagwell
Posts: 9
Location: North Georgia USA
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Quite true for pumps on iron pipe. Mine is on 1 1/4" ABS plastic so will bend in the seven foot space to the ceiling. Even have plans to acquire a front wheel (no tire) from a junk motorcycle and hang it up as a 'pulley' the next time I need to pull the pump. If it works as well as I hope, might be ably to go back to a 1 HP pump near the bottom of the 240' well instead of a 1/2 HP only about 70' deep.

BTW the greenhouse is on hold for now but is still an option for the future...
 
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