Why having a second house isn't as glamorous as I thought it would be

by Brian L Published 7.11.2012

When my wife and I bought our house in a semi-rural area, we discovered a number of things we had never dealt with before, many of which involved water. I had grown up in the suburbs. I’ve always had city water and sewers, so I never really gave too much thought to where water comes from, or where it goes after we’ve used it. It was always there. Just turn on the faucet and water comes out, whatever water ends up in the sink, goes down the drain, never to be seen again.

A photo of our well houseNow all of a sudden, we have this little structure behind our house a little larger than a doghouse. This, we were told, is the well house. It’s where our water comes from. When I opened the door, after sliding aside a few boards and some obviously mouse infested fiberglass insulation, I was surprised to see that the house sits on a deep foundation. At the bottom, about five feet down was a pump, some piping and a pressure reserve tank. My first thought after looking again at the boards and insulation is “I wonder if the pipes in here ever freeze?” We do live in northern Ohio after all, and there’s no heat in this little building. Then I started thinking about all of the other ways that our “new” water supply might not prove to be as reliable as what I’m used to. Top it all off with the realization that the water is pumped out of the ground and straight to the tap without any treatment at all and I was starting to get a little uncomfortable with this situation.

Well, it’s been almost nine years since my first encounter with the well house and I can happily report that after replacing the boards and mouse nest insulation with rigid foam, (not to mention, cleaning and painting the outside since we have to look at it everyday) the pipes have never frozen; at least not yet. I guess there’s enough heat five feet below grade to prevent that. But I can also say we have had a fair number of system failures and have also made a few other water infrastructure improvements, the details of which I can share with you in future posts. 

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About the Author

Brian L
Brian L

I am not a water expert. I have worked at Kinetico Incorporated for close to 20 years now in the Information Technology Department. Much like anyone reading this however, water plays a big role in my life. For the most part, everything is smooth sailing, but with three young children and a 150 year old farmhouse, sometimes keeping my head above water can be difficult. Join me as I explore and try to understand the water that touches my life and family.