Here are my questions and comments from a TOPIX
thread on natural gas wells:
Here's our story: We bought our turn-of-the-century farm house last December and I ran the old furnace off the gas well for a few months until the temps dropped into the single digits. That's when the regulator quit. The house is also connected to Columbia Gas so I turned some knobs in the basement and all ran fine after that. I wasn't in a big rush to get the well running again because I learned that the 60 lbs being fed into the house was dangerously high and that it's more common (and safer) to reduce and regulate the pressure outside the house and send just a single lb or so into the house. I have an experienced gas man who is going to run a new plastic line to the house with a regulator installed outside. He will also run a line to the barn where I have a small workshop and will run a small garage heater. He quoted $1,500 for the entire job including the trenching, both regulators, all pipe and fittings. He has also mentioned a water separator which he doesn't believe is necessary but I'm thinking is cheap insurance against freezing the regulators during the coldest months. We have a new high efficiency furnace and I am excited by the prospect of no gas bills this winter. I'll post more when the project is complete.Thanks for the reply Bill. So much new info to digest when it comes to gas wells. I've been corrected. My gas well is more likely about 800' deep. The info I found was for a nearby well that apparently has been capped. After some consultation with a local engineer I've decided to wait on the "bailing". I started with 60 and had 20 lbs of pressure right up until the regulator quit in February and we've installed a new high efficiency furnace since then. I've been told bailing could cost around $500, and disposing of the salty water would be my problem. One suggestion was to hire a septic truck to pump it into. BTW, it looks like I have a 6" casing based on the "3 bolt cap" on the well head. I guess there is some risk of too much of an increase in pressure after bailing and ending up with pipes or old regulators failing. Or one could discover that the casing itself is bad and leaks water. That would be worst case. We start the project next week....
Are you saying that 60 lbs is a relatively low pressure? It sounds pretty good to me given the whole house runs off less that 1 lb. How does that pressure-vs-volume thing work? I picked up my water separator last week at Ken Miller Supply in Wooster, OH($300) and am just waiting for my gas man to come out and do the installation. I cannot get the swabber (bailer?) to return my calls. Someone local mentioned that the procedure is fairly expensive... how expensive do you think? Probably the farther they drive the higher the price for sure.
UPDATE: I think that the water separator is called a "positive drip separator". It is the first thing inline after the well head, and before the regulator. Mine is the second of the 2 smallest sizes: the drip separators are 4" x 3' with a max 15# psi limit for $200 and the 6" x 3' is rated for 500# for which I paid $300. I bought mine at Ken Miller Supply in Wooster, OH but any well supplier may have them. Mine looks like it could hold about 3-4 gallons of water and it has a ball valve to blow out the water using the well pressure. It turns out my well is pretty dry because I haven't blown off more than a puff of moisture since it was installed and we have been running the entire house for 1 month now!
With temps even into the single digits for 2 days I am very pleased. We do have a gauge on the well that drops roughly 10 lbs for every 10 degrees of temperature drop. We were 60 lbs with no heat running and just less than 20 lbs at 10 degrees F.(Our Columbia Gas line comes in at just 13 ounces pressure). Needless to say I am thrilled with the work my contractor did. We have all new piping and regulators from the well to the house and barn, and are currently running the natural gas furnace, hot water heater, stove, oven and cloths dryer. Our century home isn't even insulated so I figure even greater efficiency after we get that done. I had my contractor plumb gas to the workshop in the barn as well so I'll be ready to heat that when I get that insulated too. No doubt the $1,400 bill will not take long to recoup. I'll link to some pictures when I get the chance.
I would like to thank "Bill from Fredericktown, OH" for his kind replies.
This is the positive drip separator
Line to barn
Calibrating the regulator at the house
I'll continue add to this Thread as I find more info...