Submersible well pump diagnostic questions & answers: FAQs.
This article provides a series of questions & answers that can help diagnose problems with submersible pumps used in water wells, including pump operation, loss of water pressure, pump noises, pump control problems, banging pipes, and what to do about floodwater contamination of a well.
This article series 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.
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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.
Our photo (left) shows the process of pulling a well pipe and submersible pump.
[Click to enlarge any image]
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
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.
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 DEFINITION 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.
(Mar 21, 2014) siva said:
kindly sugggest me how to select the pvc pipe grade for 2 hp texmo submersible pump . deep 600feet. ( how i can choose thickness of pipe & pressure range of pipe & wire thick for poer conection.
Siva, standard ABS or PVC well piping sizes (diameters) are stocked by your local plumbing supplier and are chosen based on distance and needed flow rate; typically for residential piping we see 1 to 2 inch diameter. Well piping in residential ranges is not provided with varying pipe wall thickness.
(June 23, 2014) Dave dow said:
We have a well with a submercible pump. The pump cycles 3 times with a 10 minute shower
Is this excessive? Range is 55psi to 20psi. Could their be a pipe leak or something like that?
IF you are running about 3 gpm then in 3.33 minutes you're using about 9-10 gallons of water, which is not an unreasonable draw-down cycle for a typical home pump and tank system.
IF more fixtures are running you'll see the pump run more often, and if you begin to draw water faster than the pump and well can deliver it then the pump will run continuously during that time.
More useful might be to keep an eye (or ear) on the pump cycle frequency to see if it increases. If the pump begins to "short cycle" - turn on and off more and more often, you probably will need to add air to the pressure tank OR find another problem to fix.
(June 24, 2014) Mike T. said:
des the diameter of the pipe effect the flow rate with 120 foot head and a endless supply of water on a 5hp. single phase pump, while the pump has a 2 inch outlet and the pipe is 4 inch feeding a pond. what about the weight of the water trying to return down hill?
I agree that the head pressure in an uphill pumping system can be significant. That's why you may need a check valve on the line to avoid loss of prime when the pump stops.
The pumping rate of various well pumps is indeed given in more detail by a table or chart that shows the pump's output capacity as a function of the head or "lift" that the pump has to overcome. Other key factors are the horsepower of the motor, voltage levels, and possibly piping constrictions.
(Sept 23, 2014) N.S.Sreenivasan said:
Is there any limit for the water column above the submersible pump in a bore well. We have installed a 17.5 hP pump at 900 feeet depth in a 6 inch bore, where water is available at 500 feet depth. The pump gets very much overloades. It takes 48 Amps instead of expected 26 amps. ( 415 v,50 Hz, 3 phase. the voltage at the pump point, when running, is around 380-400 volts). please calrify.
The pump rated lift capacity is the vertical distance from the pump bottom or entry point or water pick-up point and the highest point in the well piping between pump and building's water pressure tank or point of use. Certainly there are submersible pumps designed to lift water from the depth of your well. Keep in mind that "water available at 500 ft" probably defines the top of the static water column in the well, and your pup will be much closer to the well bottom, perhaps at 875 ft.
That distance is given regardless of the height of the water column or static head in the well at least in part because it's the water inside the well pipe that the pump has to lift or push up - almost always a higher point than the water column in the well casing.
See this related article for details:
(Oct 1, 2014) Anonymous said:
What is wrong with the pump that for the home were you get water... it is humming instead of the regular running makes the water come in spurts or bubbles..
Sounds like a failing pump, or dropped water level in the well, or a leak in well piping.
Rose Henderson said:
I'm getting a new pump soon, and I'm trying to learn more about it before I make any decisions. All I know is the pressure on my current pump is pretty pathetic, and I've been told I should just replace the system because that would be more cost effective. I'm still a bit lost as to what I need to do, but at least I have this to refer to if I need it. Thank you!
(Dec 24, 2014) Anonymous said:
Hi There i have a bore with a pump at 90 meters and in the past 3 months the pump seems to be burning out 3 pumps in three months my pump guys tell me its because of gas in the well airrating the water but the previous pump lasted 2 years do you know of any pumps that can pump in these situations any help would be greatly appriciated thanks Clive Jury Cell number is 0274851260
2 Jan 2015 Anonymous said:
Water Well Question
I have a 1HP submerged water pump. I am getting full 240 volts to the control box. I replaced control box considering capacitor or relay may not be working.
I have proper voltage drop from 240 to 120 volts on RED,YELLOW, & BLACK wires running to the submerged pump.
Still no pump operation.
I have checked the resistance with the ohm meter and black is 2.2 instead of zero.
and yellow and black is 2.2 ohms
what is this telling me?
What do I check next?
Check the resistance with the wires disconnected from the control (and power off)
4 Jan 2015 Miriam Johnston said:
I am having trouble keeping water pressure flow to my house . Water pressure goes from fine to a trickle before pump cuts on.
Check for a clogged pump pressure control switch sensor port or clogged tube conducting water pressure to the pressure switch.
Re-posting Jim Furgeson's comment without link (security)
Jim Furgeson said:
Thanks for the article! I did not know that there were so many elements to a well! I think it is very important to keep the well maintained and working properly!
(Feb 24, 2015) Stuart said:
I have a variable speed submersible well pump that is surging. Would this be a pump issue or could it be a pressure system issue?
I"m not sure, Stuart as I'm not certain how you're using the term surging. If you mean that a motor speed is varying, I'd ask my electrician to put a VOM on the circuit to see what the supply voltage itself is doing, then separately I'd ask for a current draw measurement on the pump circuit to look for abormality.
If you mean the pump is cycling on and off rapidly, that short-cycling is typically due to a waterlogged pressure tank.
In that case, in More Reading links above, see WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING - home
bryan flake said:
I am buying a piece of land to build a home on. Before I build the house, I need to put in a water well system. The home will be out in a rural area. What would be the best well pump to install? The plan is to have the pump less that thirty feet from the house.
Bryan, first drill the well to obtain an adequate flow rate. Then the well depth and properties will enable choice of an appropriate pump type, operating voltage, and horsepower depending on also your anticipated water usage and require flow rates. In short there is no "one size fits all" correct answer when choosing a well pump.
(May 12, 2015) mike said:
brand new water well, water became very cloudy
If the cloudiness disappears in a minute or two it's perhaps entrained air. If it does not then I'd have a water sample tested.
(May 31, 2015) henry said:
When pressure switch in basement shuts off pump there is loud noise
(July 17, 2015) BreeHill said:
A "bang" in house pipes happens when pump shuts off. Is this a problem of pump, house pipes, or no problem at all. I have a 1 hp submersible pump and new bladder pressure tank. It feeds 100 ft of 3/4in pipe that leeds to a doublewide mobile home. Thanks for your help.
(June 15, 2015) Javid said:
How Important is the weight of a submersible pump?
weight = 302 kg
head = 125 m
flow = 25 lit/sec
Does it work properly for a deep well?
avid a typical submersible pump like the Red Lion .5 hp weighs about 25 lbs ( 11 KG).
A 302 kg pump would be incredibly heavy, well over 600 pounds. Something's wrong with the picture you paint.
(June 15, 2015) A laxman said:
if everything is ok in submersible pump when tested in lab then,why pump is not starting or working below 50 meter if duty point is 100 m.any idea
Perhaps a bad connection, low voltage, or obscure and less likely, a temperature effect that opens an internal winding.
(June 17, 2015) Theodore said:
Greetings. I'm in the Philippines and desperate for advice/info. 4-inch well drilled to depth of 250' (actual depth now at 242' due to gravel pack). No electricity at well site and well driller claimed output was 10 GPM and he never developed the well by doing a draw-down test.
Well has been idle for two years, site now has electricity, static water level is at 20' and I have no idea if I should get a twin-pipe self-priming jet surface pump or a submersible pump. I don't think I should trust the claimed 10 GPM output. Thank you in advance.
How did the well driller determine well flow rate? Normally I'd expect to see a 24-hour flow test using an adjustable rate pump.
If the static head is 20 ft below the surface you've got a 222 ft. x 4" ID volume of water (volume of a cylinder) as a static head.
At that depth you might prefer a submersible well pump.
I agree that I'd not assume anything about the well flow rate before it's actually tested. Remember to also test the water potability for safety as well.
Reader follow-up: (June 20, 2015) Theodore said:
Thanks for your response. Driller did not determine a well flow rate using any type of pump (which I didn't understand). Instead he used an air compressor to force water out of the borehole and stated that we had 10 GPM. That also didn't sit well, because I could not verify the source of the water. He caught some water in his hand and drank telling me it was cold, sweet-tasting with no salt. After working in U.S. Navy medicine for over 24 years, this set off alarms, as water should never be consumed until tests for bacteria and heavy metals/pesticides have been performed.
But, this is the Philippines and these college-educated civil engineers will take advantage of a customers naivety whenever possible. When I measured the depth of the well and distance to water, I noted a rotten egg odor in the water (hydrogen sulfide or hydrogen sulfate) and small black or dark-brown particles suspended in the water (decayed vegetation?). I hope after the well is pumped for awhile those two problems clear up. I had been considering the Goulds GS and HS series sub pumps, but while reading the Instruction Manual for the 4" sub pumps I discovered a problem in regards to the 4" blue Schedule 40 PVC pipe the driller had used for the borehole casing. The OD on the pumps are 3.9" and the ID on the 4" Schedule 40 PVC pipe is 3.998".
That does not leave enough room around the pump for the water to flow properly into the pump intake. The only other option for this size casing is a 3" sub pump which is not available here. So, now I am considering either a Goulds J+ Convertible Jet Pump or a EuroStar DPJ150 or a DPJ200 (made in Italy by Speroni).
(June 29, 2015) john said:
pressure switch has power and is sending power to the control box, sometime the pump will start right away or it may take a minute or 2. sometime the pump will shut off before high pressure in reached and may sit idle for a couple of minutes before it starts and complete the cycle. sounds like a bad pump not a control box or switch problem ? thanks
John one of the most common snafus that gives irregular pump switch operation is debris clogging of the pump pressure sensor port from mud or silt in the water supply. Burned sticking contacts come in a distant second. Also check the pump voltage and if yours is a unit that uses a start/run capacitor check or replace that component.
(June 29, 2015) john said:
thanks the point on the pressure stay closed and the pump still turns off then starts up again until the pressure hits 60 that when the points open and the pump turns off.
(Aug 6, 2015) Sadik said:
I got problem that while running pump suddenly stopped flow of water, found some scale in pump followed by no more flow , could you please give me the advise how to rectify this problem?
At Continue reading we provide an INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES that includes a live link to - WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR -
Or in the Continue Reading recommendations given just above see
DIAGNOSTIC TABLE for WATER PUMPS
I suspect the pump impeller is scaled, blocked, or damaged.
18 August 2015 Sam malette said:
We just replaced our pump a year ago. replace hot water heater same time and bladder tank two weeks ago had great water. Got up yesterday and there is no water in the house at all. When we turn the breaker on all you hear is humming but no water is entering the house. Every one is telling me to prim the pump but it is fifty feet in the ground.
There is no water coming in the house from the well out side pump was replaced two years ago we had great water and woke up to no water when i flip the house breaker i can here the humming but still no water entering the house.
Obviously if the pump is a submersible you're not priming the pump - people are being a bit careless in speech.
The pump is under-water, in the well.
It should be impossible for that system to lose prime since the pump primes itself and the pipe aboe when you turn it on.
Humming sounds as if the pump motor is seized or the switch is not turning on the pump.
Search Inspectapedia for ELECTRIC MOTOR REPAIR to look at current draw to see how an electrician might check your pump to see if it's working. If the current draw is normal then the pump is probably working and the well piping has burst somewhere; if the current draw is high the pump is seized.
23 August 2015 Stephen Raisz said:
I live in INdia. WE just had a flood at my house. I have a deep borewell (more than 300 ft) with a submersible pump. Is it possible for the flood water to contaminate the well? The flood is gone, but the water has a bad taste. IT could be the overhead tank needing cleaning which we'll do, but I'm wondering if we should do anything to the well itself like chlorinate.
Yes Stephen it is common for floodwaters to contaminate a drinking water well. And we've been following with concern reports of recent flooding in India - flooding in India has been widespread in 2015 beginning in July and most recently including in the Indian state of Maharashtra. There is nothing you can do about that problem except find sanitary drinking water elsewhere until the floodwaters have subsided. Then you'll need to sanitize the well as well as house piping and water tank. See the following article:
inspectapedia.com/water/Flooded_Well_Disinfection.php - WELL DISINFECTION PROCEDURE, POST FLOODING - and let me know what questions remain.
Also see DRINKING WATER - EMERGENCY PURIFICATION at inspectapedia.com/water/Drinking_Water_Purification.php
We introduced the different types of drilled wells and bored wells
at DRILLED WELLS, STEEL CASINGS. This article discvusses submersible in-well pumps - those water pumps located within the well bore or casing itself, typically close to the bottom of the well.
Rather than an in-well submersible water pump, other wells use a one line or two line jet pump (depending on well depth) - in those wells the pump is above ground rather than in the well. Those well types are discussed in more detail at
WATER PUMP, ONE LINE JET used in shallow wells
TWO LINE JET PUMP used in deep wells
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 WELL FLOW RATE
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.
Continue reading at WATER PUMP, SUBMERSIBLE or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.
Or see PUMP, SUBMERSIBLE OPERATION
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