In the Spring of 2022 we purchased a small ranch north of Hico, Texas. One of the most pressing issues we inherited was a really dilapidated well house. Uninsulated, not well constructed, trash filled, insect and critter infested along with being a fire and freeze hazard we knew it would need replacing asap.
One other thing we discovered was that it was not anchored in to the ground, silly me, I assumed the corner posts were concreted but one morning I awoke to our well house upside down and in one of our Live Oaks from high winds the night before.
Which completely exposed (literally) what we had to work with…some pieced together plumbing and a ton of hodge podge wiring. Yeah, not good. But hey, I didn’t have to tear down the well house, just chained it to the tractor and drug it off, now it’s a chicken coop.
As we own Republic of Texas Land & Home, we have viewed many well houses on various properties. We have also owned several properties over the last 25 years, all on well water, some well thought out, some not so much. As a result I had a very clear vision of what I wanted in a well house.
- Insulated. While we live in Texas we can certainly have some nasty winter weather and frozen pipes can be a disaster, especially when it’s below zero. My plan was to spray foam the inside.
- Pest Tight. Rodents are bad for wiring and insulation and who wants Black Widows and other nasty pests in their well house? Not me. This also means having a concrete pad/foundation.
- Organized. Nothing worse than stepping over pipe, or wiring all over the place. Also makes it harder to keep clean.
- Space. I needed enough space for an 86 gallon pressure tank, filtration and softener along with some space for a bank of batteries if I opted to install solar backup power. An 8×8′ seemed like more than enough.
So I started the process of obtaining quotes for a 8×8′ (I picked this size simply because of the ease of building with 4′ wide sheets/materials) foundation, building and foam insulation, either by each item or turn key. Quickly I could see that this was going to cost more, much more, than I had anticipated from my previous experience with these types of projects. Quickly I could see us spending anywhere from $4500 to $7500, especially with foam. I had quotes for concrete ranging from $850 to $1500, buildings from $2800-$4200 (nuts) and foam….well, figure about $1.00 per square foot of wall and ceiling space. Figure 8′ wide x 8′ tall, 64 sf x 4 then the same for the ceiling…in theory was going to cost $300+ but in reality you can’t get anyone out to spray for less than $500 or even $1000, regardless of size. No way I was going to use fiberglass or bag filled insulation, not unless I wanted to fight rodents and pests for the rest of my days.
One day I ran across a manufacturer that built insulated, prefabricated well houses. Interesting. As I looked more in to these I realized that not only are they cost effective but are also very well made and I don’t have to worry about the cost of insulation.
Made with 1 3/4″ polyurethane foam sandwiched between two steel sheets these are extremely well built and will provide excellent insulation. I liked the design so much that I decided to become a dealer and brought in a truck load of inventory.
These are available in the sizes shown above, 4’x4′, 64″x64″ and two 80″x80″ options, one with taller side walls and a full size walk in door.
I opted to go with the largest version, the 80×80″ tall wall model. I did so as I wanted to not only enclose the well head in the building (more on that below) but also a larger 86 gallon pressure tank, filtration and softener and possibly bank of batteries for solar backup.
Do you have to place the well head in the building? No. In fact, most do not for good reason. If you need to pull the well pump a pole truck must have access to pull the pipe from the well, this can be hundreds of feet and you can’t have something over it. Some will make a flap on the roof but that can create leakage issues. As a result most have the well head in it’s own enclosure, running the pipe in to the ground then up in to the well house. Me, I wanted it in the same building thereby eliminating the risk of freezing pipe coming out of the well head, which is the number one point of failure.
The neat thing about these buildings is that hey have a lifting eye on top so you can lift it with a pole truck, tractor or forklift to access the well head. This is what I opted to do.
We started off by pouring a 92″x92″ pad, I wanted concrete under the drip lines of the roof so it wouldn’t erode the ground around the foundation.
I wanted the well head on the left just inside the door then the pressure tank in the back left corner and filtration equipment in the back right so we placed the ‘box out’ (12″x18″) in the back center to bring in the electric feed and outgoing pipe for the main feed to the house along with drain lines for the filtration equipment for backwashing. This way there was no cutting in the building walls to bring in any lines or plumbing and it keeps everything underground to eliminate freeze risks. Plus I can bring in new lines for a future home when needed.
In this particular case I didn’t want to cut off the water until we were ready to place the building and equipment as we are living here and kinda need water. Once the concrete cured we removed the plumbing from the well head and electric from the control/pressure box then placed the well house on the pad.
Then we placed the equipment inside and ran the plumbing as needed. Once that was complete the electrician ran the line in the box out and wired up a small breaker box along with a 4 plug outlet for equipment and things like a light or heater if needed then the breaker box for the well pump. The conduit was bolted to the wall in 3 places which is easy enough to remove if I need to pull the well house.
Neat and clean with plenty of space to store bags of salt for the softener and add a backup source of power like a generator or solar battery bank. I’ll complete the installation by installing 6-8 3/8″ concrete anchors around the inside perimiter and a bead of silicone around the outer edge to keep water out.
And if you aren’t a fan of white then you can always paint these well houses but otherwise you are finished, no maintenance required!
To buy your well house go here: https://www.usoffroad.us/store/well-houses/