Ok, as usual it is months between posts, but for good reason. A lot has been going on, so let me catch you up. First of all, last year saw us burn through 7 cords of wood to heat 250 square feet. This is insane, so a new woodstove was purchased. It’s an airtight, with a glass front, and it burns less than half the wood to heat twice the space of last year. Here’s a picture.
Shortly after this acquisition, fall descended on the valley. Unfortunately I took pictures early in the fall but neglected to catch it later when everything turned orange and red. Here’s a picture of early fall though.
So with fall, comes shorter days. When you live off-grid and rely on solar power, this can be problematic. The 620 watt per hour array was just not producing enough power for the fridge, the deep freeze, and the internet, laptops and lights anymore. It was decided more capacity was needed. Another 540 watts has been added to the array for a total production of 1160 watts per hour. Even now in the winter sun we are producting between 4 – 5 kwh per day. I had to add another surface to the power shed in which to mount the new panels, here’s a picture of that.
So now with uber-power another way to expend it had to be found. The well was just sitting there begging for a reason to exist. So after much debate about the different types of, well setups that can be used in an off-grid application, it was decided to go with the Grundfos SQE 160 1/2 hp well pump and constant pressure system. Basically, instead of the huge pressure tank and cistern option that most off grid people use, which requires more equipment, maintenance, and excavation, the constant pressure pump was the best option. The pump itself supplies the pressure directly to the house, the PSI is adjustable from 40 to 100 PSI. There is a control box inside that allows you to adjust the PSI setting and turn the pump on and off, as well as providing diagnostics. There is a small 2 lb pressure tank to allow for soft starting of the pump. We had to bury the water lines at almost 6 feet in order to keep them from freezing. Pictures below.
This is the pitless adapter and pipe coming from the well into the trench.
This is where the water lines were brought in through a hole in the floor, finally we can pour the rest of the slab and eliminate the last of the dirt floor!!
This is the pipe that comes up from the trench into the house. It is wrapped with heat tape to prevent freezing. A 6 foot length of this heat tape only consumes 12 watts, so is acceptable for our power system. On top of the heat tape was placed vinyl backed insulation to further protect the pipe from freezing.
This is the 2 lb pressure tank and past that the pressure sensor. Above the sensor is the control panel. Yes, that is string holding up the pressure tank until I put the cabinetry in and secure it properly. Once all of this was installed, we turned on the pump and were gratified at the sound of pressurized air rushing out of the pipes as the water moved through them. Then, everything stopped. After a nightmarish time figuring it out we had to pull the pump back up 120 feet of wellpipe because a coupling in the pipe had failed. The part to repair it will be in soon and the pump will be dropped again. The hurry, of course, is to get all this done before it snows and threatens to freeze the system….
Then this happened. *sigh* But it was the first real snow so it is melting off and I think we’ll get one more shot at this. More soon (I hope).