Living in a “dry cabin” saves not only water but also money. While this may not be the reason you chose to live in a dry cabin from the start, the longer you do it, the prouder you become when you realize that you only waste one bucket of grey water every two weeks or so.
Dry cabins are perfect for off-grid lifestyles, but after a while, some people may begin to look at options for running water systems to cut down on hauling water and paying for facilities regularly. Converting a dry cabin may seem expensive and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some ways to dig a well and install plumbing or bypass the extensive system for something simpler and more suited to your needs.
Before you go out and start digging a well, take your land survey to a state geological office to decide how deep you need to dig, what layers you will be digging through, and if water conditions are suitable enough to draw from. Also, take a trip to the local utility company and make sure there aren’t any sewer, gas or power lines near where you plan to dig. When deciding where to place your well, make sure that you are far away and uphill from any contaminated areas, such as outhouses, septic tanks and marshes. Always pull any regulated building permits for your area as well. Once you have chosen a safe spot, it is time to start driving the well.
Wells can be dug in a number of ways. It depends on your preference, use, and how much effort you plan on putting into the project. Do some research and decide what type of well you want to dig, find diagrams and check for parts lists, all of which are available online.
Choose a “well-point” type and the material you want to use. Galvanized steel will resist corrosion, but PVC works just as well if you are digging manually. Some people may choose to rent a drill or backhoe, but these methods aren’t always necessary unless you need to dig below sedimentary rock layers. Depending on the pipe you use and the well-point type, with a little hard work and a day’s time, you can easily twist and muscle a sharp-toothed pipe through the sediment by hand. Make sure that the piping you choose to use is slightly larger than the screen that you will be placing down the tube, as attempting to pull out the pipe will typically result in the hole collapsing.