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Country Discussion Topics
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Submersable well pump
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Kim L. Morgan    Posted 09-16-2003 at 22:50:22       [Reply]  [Send Email]

I have been told I need a new pump. How hard is it to replace? They are quoting me a price of $1000 dollars. I am thinking that I can do this myself.


Hal/WA    Posted 09-17-2003 at 15:43:08       [Reply]  [No Email]
You probably need to ask just what kind of pump they would be putting in your well, and what they will be replacing for $1K. Higher horsepower pumps cost much more than fractional horsepower pumps and there are different grades of machines. It is possible to buy a cheap pump at Lowe's or Home Depot, but (at least the pump people tell me) the better made ones last much longer. The depth of your well affects what you need to hold the pump up. Plastic well pipe is less expensive, lighter and much easier to work with than galvanized steel pipe, but if your well is too deep, you can't use plastic.

I started with a 1.5 hp pump from Sears, using 1.5" steel pipe in my 72 foot well that was rated by the drillers at 35gpm. It was much more pump than I needed or than I had connecting pipe for and it wore out before its time. (I got a SUPER deal on it.) When I replaced it, I bought a 1hp stainless steel Grundfos pump that was supposed to be the best available. It cost much more than a hardware store pump, but has lasted for about 15 years. I did have one problem with it: the check valve in the pump stuck open, which allowed the water to drain back from the pressure tank into the well and the pump to cycle over and over. I was able to fix that by adding an external check valve right above the pump and at the same time replaced the steel pipe with plastic. With the plastic pipe, I think I could probably pull the pump out of the well, replace it and have the system working in 4 or 5 hours working alone. With steel pipe, it was always a long day project and I always worried about dropping the pump or a section of pipe down the well. And I never dared to work the 22 foot sections of pipe without a helper.

Pumps do wear out. The impellers wear and get less efficient, especially if you have any sand in your well. Every time a pump cycles on and off, there is wear to the motor, switches and relays. Over the last year or 2 I have noticed that my water system will not produce as much volume as it used to. In the early summer, my pump started going through starting capacitors and though it hasn't done this after the second time I replaced it, I think my pump is at the end of its service life. I plan to replace my 1hp pump with a 3/4hp, probably Grundfos during the next month. Another problem I have is that my well does not produce as much water as it used to, and I have been able to run it out of water a couple of times, which really worries me. I suppose eventually I will have to have the well drilled deeper. Or maybe we will have wetter years....

So to answer your question about whether you can do this yourself, I would say that if you are handy, you may well be able to do the job. But if your well is deep and it uses steel pipe, it is certainly not an easy job. And if you drop the pump down the well, you are in real trouble. With plastic pipe in a well that isn't much over 100', it usually is not too bad at all. If the pump that the installer is 1hp or more and it is a quality pump, it will wholesale at $500+, but retail at a couple hundred more. At least around here, I cannot buy a pump at wholesale. So that only leaves a couple of hundred for the labor to pull the old pump and install the new one, but the job would probably have some guarantee. I have fooled around with pumps and wells for many years, and have always done everything on my own system. But I originally installed everything and know how it all works. Your system could have surprises. So my advice would be to find out as much about the system as you can, find out just what the deal for $1k is, assess your own ability, experience and availability of time and then decide if you want to tackle the job yourself. In a deep well, with a quality pump, $1k might be a very good deal. Good luck!


Salmoneye    Posted 09-18-2003 at 04:03:06       [Reply]  [No Email]
Excelent points...

I have a 620 foot well with a 1hp pump at 600' all on black plastic coil pipe...

No way I would even attempt to lift it without a truck or a winch...


Hal/WA    Posted 09-18-2003 at 18:01:05       [Reply]  [No Email]
I didn't know that plastic could be used at such a depth. 620 feet of plastic pipe full of water would weigh a BUNCH! Of course that much steel pipe would be a whole lot more.

I was always worried about the strength of the plastic pipe and wondered if it could support the weight beyond a couple hundred feet. I suppose you have a synthetic rope on your pump to assist in lifting it.

Mighty deep well!


Gary, Mt. Hermon. La    Posted 09-17-2003 at 05:51:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
In 1995 I had a jet pump replaced with a 1hp 220 volt submersable pump in a well 154 ft deep with water at 100 ft. I had a 125 gallon tank installed with the pump for just over 1 thousand dollars. I have been very satisfied with it. I dont think you will be dissappointed with paying the 1k now in 2003.

Have you checked with locals to see if they have been satisfied with the work that this company does? If not you should prior to making the deal. Is there more than one well company doing business in your area? Look around, do some comparison shopping, ask your neighbors near and afar.... there may not be a big difference in price but may be a great difference in the quality of the work.

One other thing, for your shut off valve do not let them put on a gate valve, make sure they use a pvc ball valve. The gate valves never close completely and you'll probably end up replacing it with a pvc ball valve eventually anyway.


Ron in TX    Posted 09-17-2003 at 05:23:13       [Reply]  [No Email]
Don't forget elevators to hold the pipe as it comes out of the hole to keep it from falling back down. Thousand may not be all that out of line, and at least you will have someone to complain to if the job goes bad. I hate yelling at myself when that happens.


Salmoneye    Posted 09-17-2003 at 03:43:54       [Reply]  [No Email]
What 'kind' of pump?
Is the well a tile well or drilled/pounded?
How deep is your well?
What is the voltage?

For a Submersible to be in the $1000 range it would have to be around a 1 1/2 horsepower 4 inch deep well pump...Pretty much overkill for any well over 300 foot deep...

Let me tell ya though...It aint no fun lifting a 4-inch pump from 300 feet...Not only do you have the weight of the pump, but add in the water, wire and plastic pipe...If your static level (water level) is 100 foot down, you are lifting the all that weight in air for the last 100 feet...

See the links:

>do-it-yourself-pumps.com

Submersible-Pumps


LAR    Posted 09-17-2003 at 17:10:08       [Reply]  [No Email]
ARE YOU NOT LIFTING THE FULL WEIGHT ALL THE WAY TO THE SURFACE RATHER THAN JUST TO THE STATIC WATER LEVEL ? BECAUSE THE WATER IS TRAPPED INSIDE THE PUMP AND PIPE DUE TO THE FOOT CHECK ON THE PUMP


Yes but...    Posted 09-18-2003 at 03:56:57       [Reply]  [No Email]
The weight of the pump does not 'feel' as bad till it gets out of the water...

All in my head...Along with the voices...

Salmoneye


Oops...    Posted 09-17-2003 at 03:46:15       [Reply]  [No Email]
The first link didn't work...

It is below...

Salmoneye


Pitch    Posted 09-17-2003 at 03:43:22       [Reply]  [No Email]
Mainly depends on how deep your well is. One person could probably pull sixty or seventy feet of plastic pipe with the pump on it but any deeper and you would need at least two. If you drop it you are screwed. Down in your casing just below the frostline you should have what is called a pitless adapter. It is a U shaped brass fitting that extends thru the side of the casing.The male half of the adapter is on the pipe. You will need to make a tool out of 3/4" threaded pipe long enough to reach the adapter with a T handle on the top and a copper or brass fitting on the bottom that you will screw into your adapter. (The bottom has to be brass or copper so you don't bung up the threads on the adapter.)Then you wiggle and pull straight up (they are a bear to break loose) On the plastic water pipe will be your wirng some plastic guides and near the bottom an anti torque device that keeps the pump from spinning. Once every thing is out of the well it is just a matter of unhooking and reconnecting the new pump and carefully feeding everything back in. As you pull it make sure that the wire does not scrape the casing and get abraded. Put vaseline on the adapter to aid in it fitting back together. As always make absolutely sure that the power is off. Go to Lowes Home Depot or whatever and look at the pitless adapters so you have an idea of what you will be dealing with. Actually $1000.00 may not really be that far out of line as a good pump will run four to six hundred dollars alone. This is one of those jobs that if it goes smothly you call the proffesionals a bunch of theives but if it does'nt you think that they don't charge enough. Good luck let us know how you make out.


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