How to Replace Submersible Well Pump : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Well, as a city boy in the country, I am learning alot from this forum, thanks to all. My water just quit with a 25 year old submersible pump. The pump had been kicking on and off often and I assumed it was time for a new pressure tank (also 25 years old). Is it time for a new pump as well? Is the installation easy? Like killing the power, pulling up the old pump and dropping in the new pump? ANY advise would be greatly appreciated! Thank you! Jon

-- Jon Bernhard (, April 06, 2002


whats the pump doing now?? maybe the switch went out first, ,or maybe the tank is bad. What kind of tank, maybe its water logged, and needs repressureizing,, do you have easy access to the pump? Get to it easily?, then its just a matter, of cutting power, disconnecting, and replacing. All depends on what kind of set up it is

-- Stan (, April 06, 2002.

Ditto what Stan said. We need more info. Even though I am not for spending unneccessary money, I might consider changing as many parts out with new parts. When you are done, you will know that you have a new system. It may be worth its weight in gold.

My fathers well pump wnt out a year ago, and I was pretty nervous about changing it out. Please let me be the first to say that there is really not much to changing the pump, and it is pretty easy. There are alot of hints that would make the job alot easier though.

If you do get to the point of pulling and replacing your pump, the biggest thing will be making sure that you do not drop that pump into the bottom of your well. My fathers pump water supply line, the pipe that ran from the pump to the top of the well, was made of PVC. As you know, PVC gets very brittle and will break. If yours is made from PVC, make sure you have someone at the top of the well as you pull it up WITH THEIR HAND ON THE PVC in case the PVC breaks at some point. There should actually be a safety rope tied to the pump and to the top of the well for this reason, but often there is not. If your well has a safety rope, make sure you tie that rope to something or always hold it in your hand.

-- clove (, April 06, 2002.

I forgot to mention:

Do what Stan suggested.

Your problem could be a bad pressure tank. It could also be a hole in the water supply line that runs from the pump to your house. This was the problem with my dads pump, which kept kicking on and off. It eventually burnt the pump out. Do you have easy access to the pump? Take the lid of the well head, and listen for water that is being pumped up, going through a hole, then dropping back into the well. You should be able to identify this pretty easily if it is the case. Check for very muddy areas between the well and the house. It could be a broken or cracked water line.

My guess is a bad water line of some sort or a problem with the pressure tank.

-- clove (, April 06, 2002.

jon, we have submersible pump that was doing the same thing. after shecking all else we had to pull it.i took 5 of my firefighter friends to bring it up.hand over fist 358 feet down.turned out to be 2 of the 3 wires broke and it was holding on by 1 wire. advise? exaust all avenues before pulling it if its real deep. what a hassle. cody

-- cody (, April 06, 2002.

In the future, pay attention to the rapid cycling times of the pump. That needs to be maintained, or you will rapidly wear out a pump.

Your system right now may only need a shot of air, & will work again for years. All depends on exactly what is happening?


-- paul (, April 06, 2002.

definatly need mor info, but can tell you from experirence, be sure to tie an "insurance rope to the foot to reach to the opening as a lift assist. I put my first one down using just the water lines and now there is a $80 surge foot and 15 feet of water line somewhere in that cavern. I tied a 100 foot length of nylon marine rope to the new foot so I can use a block and tackle to help lift the lines and not throw more money down that shaft.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, April 06, 2002.

There are a lot of folks on this board who know a lot more than I do about this, but we had a similar problem once so here's my two cents: It might be the switch that turns the pump off and on----sometimes they start to short out or somehow get their settings messed up (on our system, the pump was set to come on when the pressure in the tank hit a certain level and to turn off when it hit the desired level.) I would consult a plumber for a look-see before I took the pump out. When we had this problem, the plumber tried to exhaust every other possibility before pulling it out. Oh yeah, increasing the pressure in the tank sometimes helps, if only temporarily. Good luck.

-- Jeff (, April 06, 2002.

You should be able to determine if the switch and the pump are ok by observing the pressure guage while cycling the pump. If the pump comes on when the guage reaches 20-25# and shuts off at 40-50#, depending on the pressure switch settings, the switch and pump should be ok. Next I'd be thinking about the pressure tank.

Is it a bladder/diaphram tank or an air cushion tank? If its a bladder tank does it have a schrader valve on top? A schrader valve is like a tire valve. If it does, shut the pump off, then drain the tank. Do you have a check valve in the system? If not install one before the water goes into the tank. When the tank is drained make sure all faucets are shut, then charge the tank with 20-25# of air. Start the pump and watch how it behaves. If it acts correctly, that was your problem.

If you have a bladder tank without a schrader valve you can install a schrader valve with the following process. Essentially this is a way of converting a broken-bladder tank to an air cushion tank, thus saving you the cost of a new bladder tank.

Shut the pump off. Drain the tank. Do the check valve thing described above. Have a shut off valve at the tank inlet and outlet. Plumb the check valve first, then the shut off valve to the inlet of the tank, then a union to make the connection to the tank. Between the tank and one of the shut off valves install a tee. Reduce the tee, facing upwards, to 3/8" or 1/4", depending on the size of the schrader valve, and install schrader valve. Charge the tank with air as described above.

If you wanna plan ahead for the eventual leaking and unavoidable day when the tank has to be replaced, make the connection to the tank inlet and outlet with a pipe union. At this point you'll be set up so you can isolate and decouple the tank and install a new one fairly readily.

If you have an air cushion tank it should already have a schrader valve.

Once you've eliminated the tank as the source of the problem, then check for broken water lines. The advice given above about pulling the well cap and listening for water falling back into the well is good.

If it is necessary to pull the pump and you do have PVC piping, I'd strongly urge you to replace the PVC with black poly pipe, rated for 160psi. It's cheap, rugged, and you can get it here in up to 400' rolls. Other than the connections between the pipe/pump and the elbow at the top there are no joints to leak or break.

-- john (, April 07, 2002.

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