Getting Comfortable

Gradual Improvements

Running Water Year Round

I started with a point well pounded in by hand years ago (15- 20 ft down to water table) and topped it with a check valve and simple manual hand pump. For years it worked like this: hand pumping into 5 gallons buckets in a wagon then hauling the water 50 feet to a reserve tank that would need to be filled every couple of days. A small electric pump would bring water to the kitchen faucet and it would loudly run when the faucet was opened. This was quite labor intensive and time consuming. Through family and friends, I gradually had acquired all the parts needed for installing an electric pump in a makeshift pumphouse from a short outdoor storage unit at the well that could pump water through a hose to the trailer. My pops showed me how it was done.

Since these pictures, I have insulated the pump house with fiberglass insulation and reflectix – an indispensible mylar bubblewrap kind of insulation great for many things. I also use mouse repellent balls made of garlic and essential oils that work really well to keep the mice out. In the hardest part of winter, I have Two 100 W ceramic heat lamps and a 200 white heater inside the pump house I can switch on. A Wi-Fi enabled temperature gauge allows me to monitor and get alerts on my phone if the temperatures go above or below a certain safe level. It sounds above what you might need but it’s actually very practical and that you don’t have to open up the pump house to see what temperature it is and lose heat doing it. My pump house has doors on the front and the whole top can open so when checking things in the cold, opening just one door to open keeps heat in. I also still keep several jugs of water inside the pump house to access heat sinks in case of power failure, it buys me a little more time to hook up a generator or use an oil lantern or propsne buddy heater. I have a small air compressor that’s battery operated available to blow out the waterlines if power loss threatens them to possibly freeze and if no more generator power is available. I update my emergency procedures, every season sometimes twice depending on what needs to be addressed and what resources are available. Having a plan keeps me calm. First, I protect my life and my dog’s life, and then my most precious assets. Everything else can be replaced. I learned you have to keep clear priorities and perspective when things go wrong. And they will at times go wrong. Always something to learn, but each challenge is a different opportunity. After a while, I trust my systems and self better than the year before. I can’t express enough how cool that is.

The bathroom sink drain and faucet were not hooked up yet so after some PVC fun and inventive plumbing, I was able to have running water in both the kitchen and bath. I learned how to do that and more when I worked as a maintenance and landscaping tech at a motel in my late teens. No water heater yet but it still felt phenomenal to be able to finally stop hauling water.

Did I mention I have a washing machine in my bathroom? Yep, with a spin dryer that ends with clean a damp but nit dripping clothes. No need for laundromat generally save those seasonal and occasional blanket and coat washes.

After thorough online research, I installed heat cables that turn on in below freezing temperatures and pipe insulation over the 70 feet of drinking water safe hosing that ran to Orwell. I then wrapped it with 13 rolls of electrical tape, installed a splitter for my garden hose, and built a small ramp for me to walk over Orwell’s “tentacle” (as I call it), without tripping or damaging it with my wagon I haul everything in. Drinking water is double filtered as I also use a Pur water filter pitcher. For hot water, I use an electrical kettle inside when I need it and outdoor propane shower in a shower house outside of the trailer as the bathroom was rebuilt without the shower it originally came with. There are as many pros and cons to this kind of shower set up that I can get into later.

My electrical guy (Pops) improved my pumphouse and trailer with a GFCI outlets.

2022 Update: The first storm of winter was the whopper of the whole season, extreme temperatures with wind chills at -50 at one point killed my waterline on Christmas Eve since then, I have replaced it with a Camco heated hose and have been quite pleased. Rated To be effective down to -20 I increased that with foam pipe insulation that I could pop on if the temperatures were gonna get lower than that it worked so well I had hot water running through at times, and had to take some of the foam insulation off to lower the temp, so I only use those when it gets really cold. After everything thaws, I can see where my old system went wrong, and will salvage the parts or repair and save them for back up. It’s always good to have two of everything that’s most important. I do have water stored under my sink in 6 gallon water safe jugsand an electric pump to pump water. If I anticipate an extremely tough bout of cold weather I drain the heat hoses bring them inside and use my reserve tank and electric pump until the weather is better.

They also now make propane heated showers that can go inside with external venting. As moisture is not great for old trailers, I think an external shower house is best. I really like the idea of a woodstove powered hot water line for a bathtub and I might experiment with those ideas and maybe incorporate them into future storm shelter plans. After a close call with tornado activity last year, I am highly motivated to have a storm shelter, which means I’m gonna have to build it. Peace of mind is everything. Narrowing down to a couple different plans for this area this spring.

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