Well Pump installation prep

For a related post on setting well pump pressure switches, check here. Still raining here, so not much can be done today. I thought I would go through all of my well pump supplies and make sure that I have everything needed to install the new pump. I laid out the parts of the new system on the work bench, less the pipe, wire and rope. I have already installed the new pressure tank and valves. Fortunately, the new tank will be going in a different spot than the old well tank, I was able get it ready ahead of time.

Wellxtrol 40 gallon pressure tank

Wellxtrol 40 gallon pressure tank

On the new pressure tank I used 1 inch type L copper for all of the water supply lines. I included a stub off to the side with ball valves to install some sort of iron filter, since everyone around here has iron in their water. This time I think I will get a green sand filter instead of using the chlorine injection system we currently have.I will keep the old well pump and pressure tank in place and use it for outside watering and car washing.Here is the parts inventory:

  • 300 Feet 1 inch PEX pipe
  • 1000 feet 12/2 pump wire
  • 150 feet 10/3 UF direct burial wire
  • 220 feet Endopure 3/8 inch polypropylene rope
  • 1 HP Goulds 4″ 2 wire submersible pump #10GS10422
  • 1 Campbell B-10X pitless adaptor
  • 1 Campbell sanitary well cap, 6 inch casing
  • 4 1 inch brass barbs
  • 1 Campbell TS-40 torque boot
  • 10 1 1/2 inch stainless hose clamps
  • 1 Danfoss check valve
  • 1 Amtrol 40 gallon captive air tank
  • 1 Square D pumptrol pressure switch
  • 1 Campbell pressure gauge
  • 1 Lee brass pressure tank T adaptor
  • 4 1 inch ball valves
  • 4 1 inch unions
  • 1 boiler drain
  • 1 pressure relief valve
  • 20 feet 1 inch type L copper pipe

Submersible well pumps come in two flavors, 2 wire and 3 wire. The difference is in where the pump control circuits are mounted. On a three wire pump, the pump controller is mounted at the water tank. A 2 wire pump has its control circuits on the pump motor down in the bottom of the well. The control circuits are needed engage a starter winding on the motor to get it spinning. Without the added torque or umph, the pump motor would not be able to push the weight of the water up the well pipe and into the house.

Advantages of 2 wire verses 3 wire pumps are, less wire required, simpler to install. Disadvantages, if the pump controller goes out (buy a good pump) then the pump has to be pulled from the well.

The well is 223 feet deep, I plan to set the pump at 200 feet. The distance between the well and the pressure tank is about 80 feet. I have a 300 foot roll of 1 inch PEX pipe so I should have a few feet left over. I will use about 210 feet of the 1000 foot spool of 12/2 well pump wire. The left over will go to my brother in law, Joe, who has a plumbing business. For the electrical run from the panel to the tank and from the tank to the well head I have 10/3 UF, which is direct burial wire.

I will enclose the PEX and the UF wire in 4 inch PVC waste drain pipe for the run between the house and the well head because the soil is very rocky and I don’t want anything poking holes in my well water supply pipe. This must be buried at least four feet deep to stay below the frost line. That is why I need an excavator.

Well pump installation parts

Well pump installation parts

Pump, sanitary cap, pitless adaptor, torque boot, installation adaptor laid out on my work bench

The pitless adaptor is a two part brass fitting that allows the well pump to be easilly removed from the well for service. The first part attaches to the well casing below the frost line, the second part to the well pump pipe. To install the pump, the second part slides into the first part and is sealed with an O ring. The top of the pitless adaptor is threaded also. This is so a adaptor pipe can be screwed in to facilitate installation and removal of the pump.

Update:It appears that there are two types of pitless adaptors, the slide type and the cable type. I have a slide type, which looks like this:

Pitless well casing adaptor

Pitless well casing adaptor

Both types have a treaded section on the top that the pump installer will use to pull the pitless adaptor apart and remove the pump (or install the pump) from the well. I made my own out of a 4 foot long piece of 1 inch black steel pipe with an eye hook on the top.

Pipe for top of pitless adaptor

Pipe for top of pitless adaptor

Others have suggested a T adaptor, which is similar. In either case, take into account the weight of the assembly and the water in the pipe when removing the pump. See below on how to calculate water weight in well pipe.

PEX, wire, safety rope

PEX, wire, safety rope

PEX pipe, 12/2 pump wire, 10/3 UF and safety rope.

To install the pump I will measure out 200 feet of PEX pipe, attach the pump and the torque boot. Then the electric wire and the safety rope will be attached, securing them to the pipe every 20 feet or so with electrical tape. The safety rope is required when pulling the pump out for service. As you can see below, once the well pipe fills up with water it will be very heavy. Relying on the well pipe to hold all of that weight could lead to problems, including a broken pipe and well pump sitting in the bottom of the well. A check valve is required at the top of the well before the pitless adaptor so when the well pump is not running, water from pipe will not spin the motor backwards which is bad for the motor bearings. The safety rope is threaded through an eye hole on the brass barbs on the pump and the pitless adaptor.To give you some idea of the weight of the pump, 200 feet of 1 inch pipe, and wire I worked out the following:The pump weighs 31 pounds.The 1000 foot wire spool weights 97.5 pounds. To find out how much the wire weighs per foot divide 97.5 pounds by 1000 feet which results in 0.0975 pounds per foot of wire. I will be using about 210 feet of wire, therefore the wire’s weight is 20.5 pounds.Two hundred feet of PEX pipe weighs about 10 pounds. The pipe has a 1 inch inside diameter. To find the area of the pipe, we times the radius squared by Pi or 3.1416. The area of the pipe is 0.7854 inches A one inch section of pipe has a volume of 0.7854 cubic inches. Times that result by 12 and we get 9.4248 cubic inches of water per foot. A cubic inch is 0.004329004 gallons. Continue to the next step, a one foot section of 1 inch ID pipe contains 0.0408 gallons of water. Two hundred feet of 1 inch pipe contains 8.16 Gallons of water. A gallon of water weighs 8.33 pounds, therefore the water in 200 feet of pipe will have a weight of 68 pounds. Add together the pump (31 pounds), the wire (20.5 pounds) the pipe (10 pounds) and water (68 pounds) and the result is 119.5 pounds. The 3/8 inch polypropylene safety rope has a working load of about 700 pounds, so it is within a safety factor of 2.Can you tell I was a little bored today?

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42 comments to Well Pump installation prep

  • MKosh

    what do you hold the pump at the 200 ft level with?
    The safety rope or is the pex line enough?

  • The safety rope. I wouldn’t trust the PEX to hold up all that weight, not to mention the hose clamps, brass barbs, etc.

  • Rick

    Am just in process of installing pump. I am doing almost the exact installation except I am using a 3 wire , 3/4 horse motor and a generator for power.
    Do all pumps need a torque boot. Also can you elaborate on how pitless adapter works. I can see how it connects but if it is 200 feet down the well how does that help you in your re and re ? Or does it just facilitate disconnect between the well head and pipe going to storage tank?

    Are pump wire to power suppy wire connections difficult/tricky? I have some instructions-just wondering how critical dry connections are.

    Also I’ve seen some installation instructions where they use a stainless wire instead of a rope. Any issues with rope rotting?

    Good post though, very helpful


  • Rick,

    To answer some of your questions, the pitless adaptor goes at the top of the well, it connects the pipe going down to the well pump to the pipe going into the house. It is attached to the side of the well casing below the local frost line

    All well pumps should have a torque boot to prevent the pump from twisting when it starts up. This will cause undue wear on the pex pipe leading to possible failure.

    There is a post about the actual installation here
    Hopefully that helps

  • Rick

    Link did not work but I did find the “actual installation” post anyway. Looks like the electrical connection is as per some previous info I had.


    Sorry for the bad link, I fixed it. ed.

  • Rick

    Any electricians out there? I am using a 7600 watt generator. If well is roughly 225 feet deep does generator have to be sited close by or could I run the generator at the cabin and run say 200 feet of wire to the well site control box. So overall 425 feet. Pump is 3/4 horse 3 wire model, 230 volts. Also, is larger diameter wire better?


  • Rick,

    Do you know the make and model number of the pump? Goulds and Grundfos will tell you in the owner’s manual what size generator is needed. The “run” power is not really the issue, its the motor starting load that will tax the generator.

  • Rick

    Is the PEX you used just the standard piping used for house plumbing or is there a special PEX for this application. Plumbing shop I talked to didn’t think PEX was ok for well use .


    ps Thanks for the Gould’s site.

  • Rick,

    The PEX I used is called Endopure and it is specially made for well use.

  • Thanks for your post.  The pictures and documentation are first rate!  I am preparing to replace my 60′ well Jet pump with a submersible and a pitless adaptor.  I have a Grundfos 1/2HP pump with a constant pressure kit from a shop on Ebay.  Very nice outfit.Here in Oregon we only need to go down 18″ (I think) as our winters are pretty mild.  But by going with a pitless adaptor, I can eliminate the heat tape on the current pipes.

  • Ross, Thanks.  I would check with your local building department on depth for the water supply pipe, they will know how deep it should be.  Good Luck!

  • Ross

    I did talk to the county, and the trench depth turned out to be 24″.

  • Ray

    Can anyone tell me if I can service the foot valve in a pitless adapter for a 2″ deep well system? Any help would be appreciated.

  • Ray, not sure what you are trying to say.  A foot valve is at the bottom of the well.  I take it you have a deep well jet pump.  That means your well will be less than 100 feet deep. If you have plastic pipe in your well (PVC or PEX) then you should be able to hook onto the pitless adaptor and pull the whole thing out.  If the foot valve is is broken, then all the water should be out of the pipe and the whole thing will be pretty light.

    If you have metal pipe, as sometimes older wells do, you will need a well pump company to pull the pipe. 

  • Dan

    I have learned a great deal more about pumps than I thought I would ever want to know; I just don’t want to pay someone an astronomical amount- so I looked at pumps, housings, piping, etc. and here is what I have:
    I have a 5″ casing with a metal plate on top of the PVC sticking out of the ground (about 18″ to 24″. I have what looks like a 1″ nipple going up to an elbow (galvanized)- but for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to get the casing cap off. It has a slot cut directly into the top where the power line runs through, but I don’t know if it is screwed on, or just sitting there. I know you said that if the pump quit it would be fairly heavy, and mine is sitting at about 260′. Any ideas on how to get the casing plate off? Any help would be appreciated.

  • mike

    how do you remove the spool to replace a submersable well pump motor if the spool threads are bad/

  • Helmut

    Small correction:
    The total weight (68+31+20.5+10) is 129.5 pounds, not 119.5 pounds.
    The description and pictures are excellent.

  • don

    why do the submersible pumps come with a 1 1/4 discharge but every body uses 1 inch pipe

  • Dennis

    I guess the 1 1/4″ outlet allows use of 1 1/4″ PVC pipe, if needed. However, they do make a 1 1/4″ male to 1″ female brass, or stainless check valve that makes a perfect reducer, plus it offers double protection. Thats if the internal pump check valve fails, then you have a built in backup. Most pros use this method.
    Also, keep in mind that if using PEX in the well, you must have a secondary way to support it (rope, stainless aircraft cable that does not stretch). Unlike 1″ 200psi black PVC, PEX is not that great a holding up the pump and additional weight because it can stretch a little, whereas 200psi PVC will. One more thing about how to support your pump in a deep well, you want the weight on the PVC (black) pipe. This reduces the risk of the pipe chafing the side of the well bore. Plus, in many cases the chafing, scraping frome those little plastic spacers and loose pipe can etch the rock and cause well bore erosion and collapse. So allow the pump to be suspended by the pipe to reduse whipping and chafing. As for those spacers, they eventualy creap down to the pump and make it a B%#@h to pull the pump out later because they hang up on anything that they will catch on. Here is a 1-2-3 list of what supports your pump.
    1. The pipe.
    2. The wire. If the pipe fails
    3. The rope. Last chance.
    As for instalation, I tape, or ziptie the rope and the wire to the pipe on flat ground. Keep in mind the rope stretches and the wire does not. So I slack the wire a little (at the connectors, under the torque arrestor) and leave some slack (just a little) between the zip ties, but the rope is taunt enough to allow the pipe to hang straight.

    By the way. Never, and I mean Never splice your well pipe together. Go to a Well Store and buy the continous lenght you need – don’t go to Lowes and buy 2 100′ lenght and slice them. However, if you have to splice, use a metal fitting and above and below the splice attack two pieces of rope on either side of the pipe and attach the with the pipe clamps (breeze bands), but do not over tighten, you don’t want to compress the pipe. Using this method will allow you to recover the entire pipe and pump if the splice should break apart. In addition, if the pipe broke and you neede to spice it, maybe the well bore bends a that point and caused the failure, so put a tourqe aresstor at that point to avoid another rupture.

    Well I hope all the piping questions are answered. Simpler is better sometimes.

  • Ernie

    All great info. here.
    I’m new at this well business but have been checking the pump house from time to time, desperately wanting to become familiar with this.
    The pressure gauge has been higher than normal for a couple of months and this morning I checked and found it to be at the max 100psi.
    Water pressure at the faucets has not been excessive so I turned off the pressure switch and ran the faucet at the well until the water stopped.
    The pressure gauge never went below 70psi, so it must be bad, right?
    Or am I missing something here?
    Another thing, when I turned the switch back on the water was very murky but after a few minutes of letting it run it cleared up and it seems normal now. Maybe sediment in the bladder came out?
    The water here has always been great since we moved here 6 months ago.

  • April

    Your pressure gauge has probably been frozn at some point. Those gauges, well mos of the cheap ones dnt last long. But you dont have to chng the pressure gauge because it has nothing to d with the well. The only reason we put them on here is to set the pressure, to ry to get it as close as we canto tank pressure. When you drained all of the water the bladdermore in likely is what empty the sediment out.

  • Will

    Great Info Thanks! Does the Pitless Adapter hold all the weight of the drop pipe and pump? Did you attach the metal pipe you used on top of the Adapter to anything (well seal, cap)? How do you get the one part of the Adapter, that goes inside the casing, down the well 48″ or so and poke it out to screw it into the outside piece of the Adapter?

  • Larry Conklin

    Was wondering about answer provided by Dennis on the 1 1/4 inch discharge using 1 inch pipe. what do you use on 2 inch discharge pump?

  • Kudo’s to all the contributor’s, great information. I’m another one of those guy’s trying to do the DIY thing and don’t want to be like the kid with one Karate lesson and get my b— kicked because I was sorely ill prepared for the task at hand. Enough of the intro.
    I have a new well that is 380′ deep. I will be setting the pump at about 360′. I have some black poly used for burial of fiberoptic line. I’ve been told that this would make good well pipe and it’s a little better than your typical black poly because the wall thickness is greater. The I.D. is 1 1/4 “. In Dennis’ comments he states to NEVER splice your well pipe together. I’m considering the black pipe for this very reason, that is to minimize the number of slices. If the black poly described is not recommended I had considered going to schedule 120, 1 1/4″ I.D. PVC,threaded and then use metal female threaded connectors. Using the black poly I had intended to use metal connectors and adhesive and back the connection up with stainless auto type hose clamps should a splice be required. In the event I use PVC I will have a metal connector at each joint. If splicing is not recommended than how do you install checks valves? Have I misinterpreted the recommendations. Any thoughts on what I am proposing to use, i.e., black pipr or schedule 120. Any help appreciated.

  • I thought replacing my double jet with a submersible was going to be relatively easy after reading some websites. However, I have hit a snag. I measured my well to 74 feet deep and surface at 18 feet. I went to drop my submersible in and it stops at 24feet and hits something. I put the old double jet line down and it goes right down. I move the old double jet line around to see if there is any buildup on the casing. Any suggestions as to what I am hitting with the submersible? Is 6 feet from the surface okay for the submersible. 4″ casing, 1/2 HP pump.

  • Jon

    Here’s a link
    which rings of a similarity to your problem– Iron build up caused pump to catch in well casing? Here is the essence of the month-long correspondence which resulted in a cure.

    “Thanks for the description of the reaming machine. I never knew there was such a device. That sure puts a lot of rust scrapings down in the well. I assume it all settles to the bottom where it doesn’t get picked up by the pump.

    Today I ran the camera down the well and could actually see where the pump’s cable guard had scraped the casing wall in places. Could also see where the sections of casing were welded together.

    This afternoon I made a reamer by flaring out one end of a 2′ length of 3″ heavy-wall steel pipe to about 3 7/8″ dia. Next I ground the inside of the flared edge to an angle for shearing any protrusions on the casing wall. The makeshift reamer weighs about 35 lbs and has worked down about 40′ so far. I use the safety rope to work the tool up and down as it shaves the walls. Also attached a backup 1/8″ steel cable in case anything unexpected happens to the rope.”

    In one of the posts it is also mentioned that well drillers are capable of reaming the casing.

    Hope this helps.

  • Bruce

    I wish to install a pump in a 4″ casing to pump water into a pond. Is it possible to simply have the pipe attach to PVC that runs open ended to the pond with no tank and no pressure switch. I’d like to just manually turn it on and turn it off for the appropriate amounts of time using a gas powered generator.

  • dave

    I install new sumersible for new house home owner is doing electric on the pump has two blacks n a green and it looks like green goes to ground screw n blacks to middle screws on presure switch and not in any order now looks like the hot loops two outer screws on switch so looks to me like no neutral would that b right help thanks

  • Rebecca

    Hello, my well has been turning off sporadically for the last 4 months. The pump, casing & pipes have been replaced about 4 years ago. We recently replaced the start & stop capacitors in the box above ground at the well. We also replaced the pressure tank. After we replaced the capacitors the well shut off two times and then has ran perfectly, however, it just now turned off after a month of working. What could be the problem? Please get back to me.

  • Ruth

    What if your static water level is above the frost line? How do you protect the pitless adapter? also, I will be shutting down our water system in winter (no commercial power to run heat tape), so I will need the incoming line to drain (using a submersible pump) – can I just put in T with a ball valve on the house side of the pitiless adapter (to drain water and all own air in? Then how do you keep that sterile (safe).

  • Leroy

    I’m using a well pump in a waterfall installation. I specs say the pump has a left handed thread. I haven’t recieved the goulds 1/2 hp pump yet. I’m trying to get all the plumbing ready and can’t find any reference to a left handed thread. Is this standard with well pumps?

  • HI Paul,
    Thanks for all of your insight! You were very detailed in your pump installation directions. I have a website, http://www.gmbpumps.com, that sells a lot of well/water pumps and I think this information would be very valuable to our customers. Would you mind if I shared your post on our blog? Thanks!

  • Paula Baldwin

    ttried to pull submersible pump but first pulled the pex tubing off of pump and yes you guessed it. I now have pulled the safety rope off. So fairly new pump remanes in the bottom of the well. Do I have an option to just drop in a new pump?

  • Paula Baldwin

    tried to pull submersible pump but first pulled the pex tubing off of pump and yes you guessed it. I now have pulled the safety rope off. So fairly new pump remains in the bottom of the well. Do I have an option to just drop in a new pump?

  • Bindu

    Nice description about pumps installation along with the pics!

  • Jeremy

    Have an old well pump that sits at the top of a pipe that goes into ground. Running 110 to motor. Seems that it’s running to slow to keep enough water in the system and the motor runs all the time. Would it hurt to hook up 220 to the pump to increase water valume in building. We bought the building and this is what I was left with. If you could help me out with this prob and send some info on the best way to set and run the well at peek performance. Thanks

    • Scott

      I’m sure Jeremy has either tried it or not by now, but for the next person along: applying 220V to a 120V pump motor is a quick way to destroy it (a few seconds at most). If you’re lucky the breaker will pop first.

  • Joe Kinsler

    I am laying 1 inch PVC for my water line. I have very rocky soil. Is it ok to run the water line through 4 inch corrigated pipe to protect the water line.

  • I am installing a 1hp electric pump on an old hand dug well. The well is about 18 feet deep and it is about 13 feet down to the water. I intend to install with 1″ Sked 40 pvc for my suction pick-up, with a strainer on the end of it and then discharge to 1″ PVC to water my garden. The pump is rated at 9gpm. I there any thing special I should know about this set-up? I don’t intend to use a presssure tank; just pump direct to my discharge side. I don’t really know all I know about this but my logic tells me it should work? Am I right?

  • my dad has a well and the pump is down 160 feet he has a 3 wired pump and wants to know what the difference is between a 3 wired and a 2 wired pump can a 2 wired pump work and if it can how? and what do i have to change?

  • David

    Can someone help me? I have a capble with this pitless and can’t pull out the pitless out with my tee tool. Has eveyone hsd this problem?

  • Jason

    What’s the correct order to install filters and psi tanks and water lines from a submersible well? (ie pump, filters, tank, lines) Is it ok to have water piped out to faucets in between the submersible pump and the psi tank or do all the pipes need to be piped out after the psi tank? Where should the filters be placed? Or does it matter?

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