Rural Water Systems – Cold Climates

If temperatures at your ranch drop below freezing for days or weeks at a time, the riser from your pump (pipe that brings water to the surface) can’t exit the well from the top.

Your contractor will cut a hole in the case at the appropriate depth, 36″ in this example, to install a special fitting known as a pitless adapter.


The adapter functions like a 90 degree elbow, but is threaded at the top so the hoisting rig can lower the assembly (pump, riser and fitting) back into the well.  The o-ring seals it to the inside of the casing, preventing surface water intrusion.  When installed, the outlet of the fitting (male threads) protrudes from the casing.  The contractor will connect an underground line to the fitting and run it over to your pump house.


The line should enter the pump house on an interior wall.  The gray conduit stub seen in the lower right of this photo is where that will happen (contractor will push 1.25″ poly tubing from the well up through the stub).  The pressure tanks and water treating equipment will also need to be protected from freezing.  The pressure switch is on the right in this photo, covered by its box, at the inlet to the system.  A 500 watt heater keeps the space warm (above freezing) in the winter.


This photo shows the basic arrangement, construction almost complete.  The well is on the right.  Cement-fiber siding and metal roof for fire resistance.  The gooseneck lights (one in the rear also) are on dusk-to-dawn control.

Next to the house and barn, you’ll probably spend more money on the water system than any other part of your ranch.  But that’s what you have to do if you want live among the wild horses of the American West.


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