When drilling with two hoses, the weakest part of
our human powered "drilling rig" is not the human motor or even the
plastic drill bit. It is the lack of sufficient water flow.
Water flow is the most critical part of drilling a well from a DIY
If you have washed down a few wells using two hoses for water flow you
probably have thought you could have gone much deeper if the pipe had
not begun to stick. In the area I live, frequently down around the
30 foot level, drilling actually gets easier. The problem is when
I have to stop to add a piece of PVC, sand down in the hole collapses on
the pipe and the pipe gets stuck. With
two hoses I dont' have enough water flow to wash the hole out enough to
get the pipe free.
A 30 foot well is plenty for many folks. A little deeper would
frequently be better. To do that, you need more drilling fluid
(water) flow pushing those cuttings back up to the top of the hole.
If you could fanangle it, ten hoses would not be too many.
Enter the lowly mud pump. This machine can make a huge difference
in your drilling. If you can buy or borrow one to drill with, do
it. I'm not so keen on renting them because first time drilling
projects tend to not finish on time and by the time you pay four or five
days rental on a mud pump, you could have nearly bought one. If
you only want to use a mud pump for one well, consider buying one and
selling it when you are finished. Better yet, buy a used one and
sell it when you are finished.
Two hoses put out about eight gallons per minute (GPM). I have a
minimal mud pump that pumps about 100 GPM (it is routine for mud pumps
to put out 200 to 500 GPM). In the video below I
measure a single household hose at 4.25 GPM. Then I measure my mud
pump at 107 GPM. That calculates to the mud pump putting out 12.5
times as much water as two hoses. But the advantage of a mud pump does
not end there.
A mud pump permits us to set up a re-circulating drilling fluid (water)
system and add bentonite to our drilling fluid. Bentonite
hardens the sandy walls of our well as we drill. The hardened
walls do not collapse when we stop drilling. You usually can take
30 minutes to add a piece of PVC and the drilling pipe will still be
free! Several folks have reported stopping for the day and finding
the hole still open the next morning. And the advantage does not end
Because the sandy hole will stay open on its own, we are no longer
restricted to open drill bits. As you know, we have been using
drill bits that are simply pieces of PVC or metal pipe with teeth cut in
the edges. This is so when we drill down to depth, we can insert a
smaller well screen pipe down through our drill pipe. This
technique gets the well screen down there before the hole can collapse.
would be useful to have a cutting edge or edges in the middle of the
drill bit. With a mud pump system
we can use these more efficient drill bits. We can drill the
hole, remove the drillpipe, and then insert the well screen because the
hole will stay open long enough to do it.
To demonstrate the dramatic difference between the GPM output of a mud
pump vs. two hoses, I have made somewhat of a silly video that appears
below. I know it is like racing a bicycle against a Ferrari but
take a look anyway if you will.
MUD PUMP vs HOSE
I've never held a fire hose but I can
only imagine how hard it must be. This little hose requires a firm