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Thread: What type of pipe for 180' well?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member
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    Default What type of pipe for 180' well?

    I now have a leak or bad check valve in my 180' well. Years ago, the pipe going down the well was one continuous length of 1.5" black polyethelene with thick walls that seemed incredibly strong to me. About 9 years ago when I last had the pump replaced, the well guys talked me into replacing that with sections of white plastic pipe with much thinner walls (PVC?) in which they cut threads and installed threaded brass couplers every 15 feet or so. It seemed fragile to me compared to the original black polyethelene. Maybe one or more of those joints are leaking. I do a lot of my own work, but I can't imagine pulling this stuff up myself, it seems like it would break easily, or would be easy to drop. I think I'll hire out this repair.

    I'm wondering: Is this type of pipe system common going down a well? Is it safe? Should I go back to black polyethelene?

    They also sold me all new copper wire, I thought the old wire looked fine, I wondered about that too.

  2. #2
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Bill I think you were taken, especially if there was nothing visually wrong with the pipe or cable. PE has been used for 50 years and down to 500'. If you should go back to PE, use 160 psi rated 1". There's n reason to go to 1.25", which you probably have because your pump will have a 1.25" outlet.

    Since you have a leak the water will run out of the pipe as you pull it, at least down to the leak and it might be the check valve so the whole thing will weigh less. Two guys should be able to lift it and you could buy a Steel vise-type grip wrench to hold it from falling down the well when you unscrew each section.

    Here's the wrench.
    http://www.campbellmfg.com/catalog/r05.htm
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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    Well driller,pump repair. and septic installer Waterwelldude's Avatar
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    The wire that was changed, did it have a green ground wire on it?(the wire that was in your well before it was pulled)
    If your old wire did not have this green wire, by law/code it should be changed. But only if your wire did not have this ground wire.

    When the well co pulled the well, did they do it by hand or with a truck?
    I can't see any reason to change from the pipe you had, unless it was cut or had thin spots in it, where it may have rubbed the side. Other than that, the only reason I can think of for them changing the pipe. Is that threaded pipe was easier for the well co. to work with, or they just wanted to sell you new pipe.

    The pipe they sold you should be at the very least sch40. Nothing any lighter.
    Sch80 with threaded ends, is a much better choice. Over time the pvc will fatigue, and become brittle. That's why sch80 is preferred over anything lighter.


    Travis
    "I shall never surrender or retreat" -Col. William Travis


  4. #4
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterwelldude View Post
    The wire that was changed, did it have a green ground wire on it?(the wire that was in your well before it was pulled)
    If your old wire did not have this green wire, by law/code it should be changed. But only if your wire did not have this ground wire.
    Last Friday I made a call to the pump distributor I bought all my pumps from for many years. They have 4 locations in central and eastern PA covering about half the state. I was told that existing two conductor cable (without ground) does not have to be replaced when the 2 wire pump is pulled or replaced. A ground wire does not have to be added. Only new construction must have the ground wire from the switch to the 2 wire pump. In other words, the existing is grandfathered. I suspect that it is the same in other states if the pressure switch is not at the well, or if there is no ground at the well.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

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    This was 9 -10 years ago, and now I'm remembering more details, and realizing that they are relevant: When we pulled the pump, only 5 - 10 feet of the pipe above the pump was wet, indicating that the water level was now lower. To avoid having the water level go below the pump, we set the pump 10 or 15 feet lower in the hole. I asked them if they could splice on the additional wire rather than replacing all of it (the number of conductors was the same). They said there was no way to do a waterproof splice. I accepted that. Then I watched them attach the pump leads to the new wire with a waterproof splice.

    That must have been the real reason for changing out the pipe also. They needed to extend the pipe, and the only pipe on the truck was pvc. They weren't saying that they simply didn't have any polyethelene, though, they were saying that the pvc with brass couplers was the only system worth having.

    Maybe replacing the wire and the pipe was reasonable and expedient in this case, but what stuck in my mind was that what they were saying didn't make sense to me.

  6. #6
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    As you see, they could have extended the cable with the same waterproof connectors they used on the cable to motor pigtails. And they could have gone and got a 100' roll of PE and 1 insert x insert coupler and 4 clamps and been done with it.

    Your water level may be down lower today and the pump is struggling to keep up with having to pump from that depth but, if you haven't run out of water, the water level has not been getting to the inlet of the pump, and if no air in the water, the leak is under water. Possibly at one of their threaded couplers or the pump's connection or check valve.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  7. #7
    Well driller,pump repair. and septic installer Waterwelldude's Avatar
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    Gary,

    I found the law/rule about changing the wire to the wire with a ground.
    Franklin and Jacuzzi got together and got the rule passed some years ago.
    It came about when a man was electrocuted and killed trying to install his own pump.
    To protect the pump manufactures the rule was passed.
    It was met with so much opposition, the rule was dropped shortly after it was passed.
    That is why all new sub. motors and all new wire now has a ground wire.

    I want to apologize to anyone I may have mislead.

    However, grounding any electric motor is always a good idea.


    Travis
    "I shall never surrender or retreat" -Col. William Travis


  8. #8
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Travis, no problem.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  9. #9
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    I can say one thing about the green wire. Since the NEC made it code some years back, the amount of motors being Zapped by Lightning has dropped immensely. At least by the scrupulous Pump guys. There are still those who will change out a pump when only a pressure switch was needed.

    Being in the Lightning Capitol of the world, we used to see a lot of this.

    bob...

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member mlnk's Avatar
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    Water in a 1.25 inch pipe weighs .53 lbs per foot. 180 feet = 95 lbs plus pump and PVC or poly weight. But last time we pulled out my 140 ft. deep pump, it seemed like 300 lbs even with three men lifting. I am using PVC sch 40 with couplings only no threads. What is the purpose of brass couplings?

  11. #11
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    PVC drop pipe comes in threaded 20' lengths. Glue-type pvc fittings should not be used to support weight.

    Threaded PVC fittings commonly crack, so is is best to use brass/bronze or stainless couplings.

  12. #12
    Porky Cutter,MGWC Porky's Avatar
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    Pump installers in different areas prefer different types of drop pipe. Since I work all over the world I see metal and copper pipe; PVC and Poly Pipe installed. Personally I prefer Poly Pipe because it can be pulled by hand or by using an Pull-a-Pump on deeper settings and is not so affected when pulling in winter. PVC is OK if you use Schedule 80 with Brass or Stainless Steel Couplings, however it is more tedious to pull in winter. PVC solvent weld isn't recommended in most areas.

    Concerning the submersible wire! I would have switched ends and added the spliced wire at the top (out of the water). This way there's only one splice below the water near the pump. In the case of the 2 wire pump. Rather than replacing the 2 wires with 2 wire w/ ground I would have just added a seperate third ground wire (green if you stay with code) and ground it to the pump housing. Unless it's bad there's no reason to replace all the wire!

    Lastly, Contract a qualified National Ground Water Association Certified, State Licensed and trusted pump installer. If the company or individual is NGWA and State Licensed (in the state the work is being done) you have some teeth to inforce they do a professional job.
    Porky Cutter, MGWC
    (Master Ground Water Consultant)

  13. #13
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cacher_chick View Post
    PVC drop pipe comes in threaded 20' lengths. Glue-type pvc fittings should not be used to support weight.

    Threaded PVC fittings commonly crack, so is is best to use brass/bronze or stainless couplings.
    If it is threaded, than most likely will be schedule 80. If Sch40 PVC is properly Glued it is much stronger than a PVC thread can provide. It is best to use NO threaded couplings. Sch80 would be stronger, but adds a bunch of weight also.

    It is best to use the pipe that has the couplings molded in the end of them, 1 fits into the other, glue properly and forget the add on / threaded couplings.


    Enjoy your project.


    DonL
    Last edited by DonL; 07-02-2011 at 12:35 PM.
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  14. #14
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    Go back to the Poly pipe, 1" is enough. Use the old pipe above ground.

  15. #15
    In the Trades Texas Wellman's Avatar
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    The purpose of the brass or stainless couplings is to ensure that the couplings do not get corroded out as they are the only metal in the well. If the casing is pvc, the drop pipe PVC, pump and motor stainless, and the couplings regular galv. metal then the couplings could get ate out, depending on water quality. Best to use brass/stainless couplings if you think there might be an issue with corrosion.

    It should also be noted that most black polypipe is rated for 160 or 200 psi, while sch 40 pvc is rated for 450 psi while sch 80 is rated >800 psi.

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