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WATER PUMPS, TANKS, TESTS, WELLS, REPAIRS
WATER CONTAMINANT LEVELS
WATER HAMMER NOISE DIAGNOSE & CURE
WATER ODORS, CAUSE CURE
WATER PUMP REPAIR GUIDE
WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WATER TANK REPAIR PROCEDURES
WATER TANK: USES, TROUBLESHOOTING
WATER TESTS, CONTAMINANTS, TREATMENT
WATER TREATMENT EQUIPMENT CHOICES
WELLS CISTERNS & SPRINGS
WELL FLOW RATE
WELL WATER PRESSURE DIAGNOSIS
WELL YIELD IMPROVEMENT
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
This article describes the components of a submersible well pump water system, how the pump, well and controls work, what the well pump components look like, and what they do. We give submersible well pump troubleshooting advice and invite questions. We include definitions of water well and water well drilling terms, the typical capacity of drilled water well pumps, and we include descriptions of methods used to fish materials out of a water well if you've dropped the pipe, well pump, or tools down into the well casing.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2013 InspectAPedia.com, All Rights Reserved. Author Daniel Friedman.
Readers of this document should also see PUMP, SUBMERSIBLE OPERATION, and see see Water Tank Types and before assuming that a water problem is due to the well itself, see Water pump and pressure tank repair diagnosis & cost which offers an example of diagnosis of loss of water pressure, loss of water, and analyzes the actual repair cost. If your building has water pressure problems, see WELL WATER PRESSURE DIAGNOSIS. Readers whose wells simply run out of water should also see How to Test Well Water Quantity and see How to Get More Water From a Well.
We introduced drilled wells and bored wells at Drilled Wells - steel casings. Our photo (left) shows the process of pulling a well pipe and submersible pump.
Here we provide detail about the individual components and operating characteristics of drilled wells using a steel casing where a submersible water pump has been installed in the well to deliver water to the building.
Rather than an in-well submersible water pump, other wells use a one line or two line jet pump (depending on well depth. Those well types are discussed in more detail at Shallow Well with One Line Jet Pump and Well with Two Line Jet Pump
Sketch & Definitions of the Components of a Drilled Well with a Submersible Pump
Here we see an illustration of the details of a submersible well pump at left, and at right additional details of a submersible pump well design, courtesy of Carson Dunlop's sketch. The letters at each definition are keyed to our rough deep well sketch higher on This article .
A submersible deep well water pump (the pump is physically inside the well and at or close to the bottom of the well piping) can typically raise water from depths of 30-feet to hundreds of feet, and at water delivery rates of 4 gpm 25 gpm depending on the variables that we list below. Submersible well pumps are typically offered in horsepower ratings of 1/2 HP, 3/4 HP, 1 HP, and 1 1/2 HP. At WATER PUMP CAPACITIES TYPES RATES GPM we compare the pumping capacities of one line jet pumps, two line jet pumps, submersible well pumps, and other water pumping methods.
Rated water flow rates for pumps range (by horsepower and model) from a nominal 6 gpm to 35 gpm.
Watch out: installing a higher capacity well pump may indeed give faster water flow and higher water system pressure, but if the pump is not properly matched to the well's safe flow rate (by pump selection or pump controls) you can pump all of the water out of your well, run dry, damage the pump, etc. See Define Safe Yield for a Well
A nice example table of Deep Well Submersible Well Pump Capacities is provided in the Water Ace 4-inch (diameter) Submersible Well Pump Installation Manual and excerpted below to illustrate the factors that determine well pump capacity. We have sharpened the text and provided a larger, more legible table (click to enlarge) than the original.
In selecting a well pump the well depth as well as water flow requirements must be considered. While jet pumps have a pickup placed typically 5-feet above the well bottom, when installing a submersible pump it is placed ten feet above the well bottom (maximum) or ten feet below the draw down limit for the well.
The Water Ace charts (shown in part above) make clear that the capacity of a deep well pump to deliver water at a given flow rate varies by these factors:
Permission requested, Water Ace Corp. Aug 2010 - Pentair Pump Group.
Water Ace asserts that a typical 3-4 bedroom home requires a water delivery rate of 8-12 GPM.
Watch out: the water delivery rate at plumbing fixtures is determined by the water pump as well as building water supply piping and controls. But it is a number independent of the ability of the well itself to deliver a sustained water flow - the well yield. The water delivery rate is also independent of the total quantity of water that can be run before you run out. See How Much Water is In the Well? and see Define Safe Yield for a Well.
Watch out: Safety warnings are throughout any pump manufacturer's instructions. Because some pump models are capable of developing internal pressures of more than 100 psi, if your building piping, pressure relief valves, safety controls, wiring, and plumbing are not properly installed, very dangerous conditions including electrical shock, tank explosion, and leaks or floods can occur.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about submersible well pumps & pump controls
Question: we were pulling an old pump and piping out of the well when the pipe broke and fell back into the well - how do we retrieve the well pipe and pump now? How to Fish Stuff out of a Well
Help! 50 ft well.. old... pump not been replaced in over 20 years that we know of.. we use well as main source of water... pulled black plastic pipe out, broke off and snapped cable connected to it. the previous owners left no information. we used a come along and that is how it snapped. We dropped a weight in water, hit water at 45ft.. bottom of well at 50ft... can't see the pump.. don't know what to do? thank you! - P.T.
Reply:How Do Well Drillers & Well Plumbers Retrieve Pipes, Pumps, Tools dropped into a Drilled Well Casing
Dropping stuff into a well, or worse, a person or animal falling into a well is a problem as old as mankind and wells. [See Luke 14:5 and Matthew 12:11.] And I know about this "Honey I dropped the Pump" problem too, and haven't added a full article on retrieving stuff from water wells at InspectAPedia because of lack of photos of the array of in-well-stuff grabbing tools, and also because I don't think most homeowners will have much luck retrieving stuff that has fallen into their well on their own.
First off, it sounds like a horrible problem when a well pipe breaks and we drop stuff into the well. But don't panic. You have to figure that you're not the first people to have such bad luck - and it happens most often to well drillers not homeowners.
Our photo (left) shows an old galvanized iron well pipe being pulled out of the steel casing at a Minnesota home. [Click to see a larger detailed version of any image at InspectAPedia] . You can see the clamp being used to secure the well pipe at the top of the casing while the well driller removes the upper length of well pipe that has just been lifted.
The well drillers/plumbers I've worked with, including this one, tell me that once they've had a few bad experiences the are scrupulously careful to avoid a repeat of breaking a well line or dropping the whole shebang down into the well - say while trying to pull things out of the well in the first place, or during reinstallation of a pump and piping.
But sometimes bad luck, or a mistake, or a bad fitting or section of pipe can cause a length of pipe plus well pump, foot valve, what-have-you to fall back down in the well.
Certainly that device is used when, during the well pipe and pump pulling process, the operator has to stop to remove vertical lengths of well piping. Otherwise we'd have many feet of pipe sticking up in the air - creating another problem.
As a length of well pipe rises out of the casing, leaving the winch assembly attached to the top of the pipe, the operator will stop the winch, tighten a clamp around the well pipe a few inches above the top of the well casing, gently, using the winch, lower the pipe back down so that the clamp rests on top of the well casing - to "test" that the clamp is secure.
Then, trusting the clamp, the upper length of well piping is removed, the winch pulling connection is made to the newly exposed top of well piping just above the clamp, and the process continues.
I Would Call a Well Driller for Help Getting Stuff out of the Well
You can infer from all of this, that in your case the bottom line is you'll need to call your local well driller/well installer who should have the winch equipment as well as a clamping system to both grab and retrieve the top of the broken well piping as well as to pull it out without further catastrophes.
Or if it falls back in again, the well driller or plumber will be in charge of getting the pipe and pump back out for you themselves.
Sources of Home Made & Ready-Made Well Pipe Grabbers for Picking Up Lost Pipes or Other Stuff in Wells or Holes
Watch out: when buying or fabricating a tool to pull a dropped well pipe or something else out of a well, be careful not to drop your new tool into the well alongside what's already in there. Test your device above ground first and also be sure it's strong enough and long enough to do the job.
Watch out: also that you do not jam the item you are trying to retrieve. For example, using a grappling hook to try to fish out a well pump from the well bottom risks jamming the whole assembly inside the well.
Concepts useful to understand when fishing stuff out of a water well:
There are just a few basic types of pipe or junk grabbers used to pull stuff out of oil or gas or water wells:
Any tool you make or buy is going to be of one of these classes.
Fishing Tools to Retrieve Stuff from Drilled Steel Casing or Other Water Wells
Question: where can I hire a submersible pump in Australia?
Living in this Country for 30 years I cannot find an answer for this simple question - where to hire a submersible pump for a well described below. There is a 4" well 500' deep. Nothing is known regarding its output. I try to help my friend to get it going (it is in a pretty remote part of Sydney, on the outskirts of the city - Blue Mountains area) - but I cannot find a soul to help us, or trace of Australian company (in Sydney area!) to be willing to get involved in the subject.
Sir! - Any suggestions? - We would be really grateful for for a help. You might have some "french connections" in this "little" country. Many thanks and regards from Down-Under Mark
Reply: Contact a local well driller for assistance. Or purchase a submersible pump - that is probably less costly than hiring (renting) a unit for any longer period
I am not familiar with the hiring of submersible pumps as in my experience, the pump is an item that people purchase and install for longer term use. One would not hire such a unit given its comparatively low purchase cost of a submersible pump compared with the much greater cost of actually installing the pump, piping, controls, etc. to provide a working water supply system.
An exception, and the one that appears to be your case, is the need to test a well flow rate capacity before attempting to connect it to a building's water supply system. Well drillers often employ a temporary pump unit that is used during the well drilling process and at the completion of well drilling to confirm the flow rate of the well.
There also are companies who specialise in well testing services using a portable, and completely self-contained well testing services, though we find these employed principally in the oil and gas industry not the water well industry. And there are manufacturers who supply pre-packaged well stimulation and testing equipment "off the shelf". These are normally purchased by well drillers, but may be available for rental from a manufacturer or supplier in Australia.
For that purpose the driller has purchased a pump and necessary piping and controls, all of which are temporarily connected above ground just to test the well water flow, and are not connected to the building water supply piping.
If this is the sort of application that you need, you might be able to obtain that service for hire by contacting a well driller in your area. But even in this case, unless your need for a hired pump (we say "rented" in the U.S.), is needed for just 24- hours, it will still, most likely, be less costly to buy and assemble what's needed.
A more sophisticated version of a well-proving pump used to test flow rate involves a submersible pump installation whose pumping rate can be adjusted. A well driller uses this approach to find the actual rate of water in-flow into the well at different depths or to find the overall number. If I have misunderstood your application, please clarify and we can try again to be of assistance.
For determining the well flow rate using a temporary submersible pump, you will need:
All of these are equipment that a well driller has on hand and regularly employs.
Our article WELL FLOW RATE may also be of assistance - a true well flow rate needs to be measured over a longer time period - usually 24-hours. You will also want to read Well Yield: Well Flow Rate and since the properties of the well you are exploring will vary at different depths, take a look at Drill Stem Testing.
If I have misunderstood your application, please clarify and we can try again to be of assistance. Please keep me posted on how things progress in your own application, and send along photos or other details of what you are trying to do and of your well equipment if you can. Such added details can help us understand what's happening and often permit some useful further comment. What we both learn may help me help someone else.
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