Dale Walker

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since Dec 29, 2013
Starksboro, Vermont
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Recent posts by Dale Walker

Thought I would add a couple pics of my experience.  Had a lot of fun playing with techniques. Really excited about how it came out. Also a thank you to Jay for all his help!

The wood used was air dried eastern white pine.
3 years ago
Hey Joe-

I've recently put in a well at our new place. I wanted to have the water system on a separate power system from the house. We ended up with a Grundfos SQFlex pump, a 380W solar array, and a 48V 130AH battery. So far the system has been functioning outstanding! and through the toughest time of the year, a VT winter. We've had plenty of power for the pump and haven't needed to think about rationing water at all (from a power consumption point of view).  We choose that pump based on a few recommendations and the low startup amperage, although it was a bit on the pricey side, hopefully we won't have to replace it for sometime.

A couple things to look into while selecting your pump.  The wire that you need to run the pump gets big and expensive quickly. We needed 150' of #6 wire to the pump. So depending on the depth your pumps need to be in your well and the distance from the power system... it can add up quick.  

Also make sure that the pump has the head requirements for your situation, don't forget the head required for what pressure you need.

3 years ago
Some good info this doc:
http://www.homeinnovation.com/~/media/Files/Reports/Revised-Builders-Guide-to-Frost-Protected-Shallow-Foundations.pdf

I know it deals with more "conventional" materials... but may provide some good insights.
3 years ago
About Travis's comment on p-trap...  I agree. In my place i just installed a waterless trap in the sink drain. It's got a membrane type closure that is suppose to work with freezing temps.  I put it in incase we ever close down our place for chunks of time in the winter, one less thing to freeze protect.  found it here:  http://www.hepvo.com/

good luck

3 years ago
How are you setting up your simple pump with a pitless? I was under the impression that water has to go through the pump head a top the well casing. Which I guess in your case is inside the pit in your pump house...
3 years ago
I was going to go that route... but the well drillers really did a good job talking me out of it. I'd like to put a simple pump in the future as a back up. When i run pipes between the well and the pump house I'll add an extra one to be able to pressurize our system from the simple pump. Shouldn't be a problem in freezing weather as long as you make sure that the water drains from the pump and exposed lines when you're done moving water. In your case as the primary pump, I think you're making a wise choice keeping it inside.

We're going with a grundfos SQFlex, powered by 48V 130AH battery. I also in the future would like to set that pump up on direct solar pump with a pressure pump on the battery from a cistern.  Time and money crunch currently...
3 years ago
I'm about to setup a very similar system in Vermont. Though I was planning on doing a more bunker style pump house. Essentially a small root cellar like structure. While i'd like to take the time an make a stone structure, as they say, winter is coming (actually it's already here). I think that I'm going to do something similar to Sepp's earthen animal shelters, but enclosing the open side with a door. I'll probably run an earth tube or two to get a little extra heat in there and provide for a great floor drain. Insulation over the top will be wood chips and tarps to keep them dry, all buried under a couple feet of soil. I'm planning on keeping the well head outside of the pump house so if there is an issue with the pump/or well itself it will be easier to deal with. I'll use a pitless to get the waterline into the pump house which will house the batteries, electronics, filters and pressure tank. From there lines will distribute pressurized water around our property.

Kirk - I'm interested in what power/pump system you chose to go with?
3 years ago
Hi Jennifer-

I just had a quick question about your situation. You've said you well pump is 300+ feet deep. What is the static level of the well? that is the depth that the water surface level in the well is. That is the depth that you need to calculate you from for pumping distance.

For example, if the well is 500 feet deep, but the static level is 50', then you only need a pump powerful enough to pump from 50', even if the pump is 450' down. Also helpful to know the recharge rate. If the static level is at 50', but the flow rate is only .5 gpm, then you'll need to consider how much water you'll pump for a given time before the static level returns to 50'. This might require a larger pump.

4 years ago
Hi Susana

As of 7/2007 the state of VT has taken jurisdiction of all potable and wastewater permitting. So it's out of the towns hands... Getting a state permit does require soil tests and engineered wastewater plans. The last one that I got cost me around 2k. There are some "experimental system exceptions" but I choose to not go that route just because I believe the state is required to follow up with results of how that experimentation is being managed. Composting toilets are allowed, but only reduce the system size by 25%, so you still need to have the system installed. I'm not sure about grey water systems. I know that you can do them under a state permit, but I'm not sure the logistics.
Usually, the town will not issue a CO until the system has been installed per the permit.

PM me for more info
4 years ago
I opted for a midi sized excavator, 8 tons. Steel tracks, 2' dig bucket and a 5' wrist grade bucket. We have just started in on our new homestead. 23 acre in VT. Just finishing up a 1200' road, and it has been the perfect machine for me! I've done a bit of trenching and started on our cabin site. So far the only thing I've been wanting for is a way to move material around site. On the fence between a 1 ton dump truck or a dump trailer. I could see a 40-50 hp tractor being helpful down the road.

Our lot is 50/50 woods meadow and not a whole lot of flat.

Good luck!
4 years ago