Installing a Log Cabin Water Source

Log Cabin Building Tip:

Locating and Installing a Water Source for your Log Cabin

Water is one of the most important things that you will need for your camp. It can be the hardest or the easiest thing to find. A clear lake and a bucket is the cheapest way you'll be able to get a good supply. It is important that the water you use be free from harmful bacteria. Taste is no substitute for a test of good drinking water.

Local health authorities are usually willing to test the water for you. Other agencies that will tell you whether the water is suitable include State Health Departments, County Health Offices, and Health Hygienic Laboratories.

Now let's get back to the problem of how we're going to get running water into your camp without depending upon some leaks in the roof. Water can be obtained from a dug well, a bored well, a drilled well, or from surface sources such as lakes, springs, or cisterns.

A dug well is usually used where rocky soil prohibits the use of a driven well, and where water can be reached by simple excavation. Basically it is a hole in the ground. Perhaps the first thing to do in building a dug well is to inquire from your neighbors whether they have used this type of water source.

If their report is satisfactory, you should start considering the best location for such a well. Be sure that it is located at least 100 feet from your sewage system and drain field. It should also be located on higher ground.

Having found the best location, start digging a hole about 4 feet in diameter. As you dig, be sure that you use cross braces to keep the upper earth in place. Eventually you will (maybe) reach water. The lower section of the well should be lined with brick or stone. Do not use mortar.

You want a porous wall that will let water in. The upper part of the wall must be water-tight to prevent contamination. This wall should be about 10 feet high and extend about I foot above the ground. If you can install your pump within 22 feet vertical distance of the normal water level, use a shallow-well jet.

Reciprocating, or centrifugal pump lifts greater than 22 feet (sea level) will require a deep-well jet or reciprocating pump. In the illustration you will note that the upper 10 feet of the dug well is filled with earth. A watertight slab is placed over the previous lower section. If you use this type of construction, be sure to include a pipe sleeve large enough to install the water pipe and foot valve.

Also install a vent pipe. Cast some hooks in the slab so that you will have something to hold on to as you lower it into place. It will be heavy. This type of well is similar to a dug one, except that instead of digging a large hole, you dig one of small diameter. A well borer or earth auger is used to make a hole down to water level.

This system works best in firm sand, clay, or light gravel. The borer looks like a double shovel and has a handle about 4 feet long. As you go down, additional lengths of pipe are added to the handle. Digging is done by forcing the borer into the ground and twisting the handle. As the double shovel is filled, lift the earth out and empty. Keep going till you reach water.

When you find water, line the hole with large steel pipe or vitrified tile. Use an internal grapple to lower each section of tile into the hole. This lining should extend a little above ground to keep out surface water. Use a concrete platform at the top as shown in the illustration. The size and type of pump that can be used with this system is the same as with the dug well described before.

About the Author: Jack Hudson is a writer for and These two sites work collectively as a resource for the planning and building of log cabins as well as choosing from different house plans. Visit one of these sites for informative articles as well as free TIPS for building a log home or choosing a house plan.

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