There are thousands upon thousands of reasons why I love living in cottage country. And then there are things that happen occasionally that remind you that nature is a force to be reckoned with- and you can either cope with the changes now- or cope with them later. Either way- we must cope
It has been about a month since our last decent rainfall, which poses a bit of an issue if you (like my wife and I) have a dug well, a decent sized lawn, and a vegetable garden that would make your mamma proud. Yesterday I popped the lid off of our dug well, only to see a 25 foot drop in our water level at this time last month. So rather than taking a chance and possibly run out of water- we’ve decided to take immediate action and started conserving!
I will start by identifying the two types of wells that you’d most likely have if you live in a rural area of canada – a Dug Well or a Drilled Well.
Dug well- if you see a large concrete chamber about 2 to 3 feet wide and about 1 to 2 feet tall with a concrete lid on it- if you’re still in doubt take the lid off and look down to the water line- you’ll know very quickly if you’ve uncovered your septic tank! If you have a dug well than you will have a pump that is called a centrifugal pump (jet pump) that uses suction to pull that water from the bottom of the well to your pressure tank.
Drilled well- It is also about 1 to 2 feet tall but it is only about a 1 foot wide cylinder. They typically have a metal lid that requires tools to take it off. Drilled wells can vary in depth, my cousins well is 400 feet deep- it all depends how far they had to go to hit the proper amount of water. People with drilled wells usually have water longer than the poor suckers down the road who have a dug well only because of the depth. Drilled wells have a submersible pump that is actually in the well casing deep, deep down.
Low Water Cut off Switch- A low water cut off switch is used at the pressure tank either on a submersible pump or a jet pump. It is the electrical connection that causes the pump to turn on and off to maintain the optimal amount of pressure in your cottage. The low water cut off switch does exactly as its described- if the well water level goes below the pump the switch can sense the change and shut the pump off before any damage occurs to the pump. This happened at our house last year when my wife was doing some laundry and we ran out of water- the pump ran for hours because we have a pressure switch without a lower water cut off- the pumps only use after that was scrap metal.
Water saving tips! Running out of water is exactly like running out of toilet paper. It is always at an inconvenient time and you can’t help but remember all the times you used it so liberally before- and is usually followed with a feeling of panic mixed with regret. The best way to ensure you don’t run out of water is to take necessary steps BEFORE you run out!
– The future of plumbing is water conservation so it is very easy to find the products out there- many types of toilets, faucets, and shower valves are designed to give you the most amount of pressure (or flush) while using less water.
-A little trick for flushing a toilet I have learned is to fill a 5 gallon pail with lake or rain water, take the lid off your toilet tank and fill the tank with water. There is an overflow built into the tank so you can’t over fill by accident. We used this trick when we ran out of water in the past.
-Lake water is also a great way to water your vegetables. A rain barrel is a cheap, easy, and very effective way to conserve water through out the summer to prevent excess use of your well – remember if you can prevent using your garden hose you may get an extra shower out of it in the morning!
-I was told that a dishwasher actually uses less water than washing dishes by hand. An appliance salesman told me that so I would take it with a grain of salt- but reusing dishes and cutlery can cut down majorly the amount you have to clean your dishes.
These are just a few tips that I’ve had to apply this summer- I hope it helps you!