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Thread: Opening the Well Head

  1. #1

    Default Opening the Well Head

    Hello all.

    My submersible well pump is out. It is a 1/2HP unit so I figured I could replace it myself. I've done some research and have a plan, using a come along, for getting it out.

    My difficulty is opening the well head. There's a lot of rust on the well head but this is what I can see. There are two pipes coming of the top (I presume one for power and the other for water). From the top of the well looking down (about six feet), I thought there were bolts holding it in place. When I climbed down, what I thought were bolts was small piles of rust.

    Inspecting the head, I could see grooves on the cover and a collar coming up to about an inch from the top of the cover. The collar is about 6 inches long. Just below the collar are two half rings bolted together. The bolts holding these rings are rusted badly.

    I can guess as to how to remove the cover, but I'd like to be sure. Does anyone have any experience with this type of cover. Any help would be much appreciated.

    John


    Per the request of Gary (who replied to this post), I have added pictures of the well head.

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    Last edited by johnpm; 05-16-2009 at 12:25 PM. Reason: Want to add pictures

  2. #2
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Sorry, I can't visualize what you are describing, it might be a sanitary seal. Can you post pictures?
    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.

  3. #3
    Well driller,pump repair. and septic installer Waterwelldude's Avatar
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    Do not take the bolts all the way out!!!!! The bottom half of the seal will fall, and can cause a wedge against the pump and the casing. It can lock the pump in the hole. Most of the time the bolts were never tightened.

    It should just pull straight up, and the seal will come with it.
    Leave the ell on there and find a way to pull as close to the center as you can.
    If you pull from the edge of the ell, it may cause the ell to break off and the pump to fall to the bottom of the well.

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


  4. #4

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    Travis,

    Thanks for the help. I WAS contemplating removing the bolts.

    I'm still not clear exactly how the seal is made and how it works. You said the bottom half of the seal would fall into the well if I removed the bolts so those half rings are clamping together the two halves of the seal? Once the seal assembly is removed, should it be replaced since there is a lot of corrosion?

    So, just to be sure, I need to loosen the bolts (couple of turns??) then pull the entire assembly straight up from the center. I will pull up the entire seal as well as the pump discharge pipe. I'm planning to pull from the top with a come along attached to an A frame directly above the well. would you expect it to come easily or will I need to apply a fair amount of force?Any other tips? I'll let you know how it all works out.

    Thanks again.

    John

  5. #5
    Well driller,pump repair. and septic installer Waterwelldude's Avatar
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    It is hard to tell, but the well seal you have may, be a two piece, with just a top and bottom.
    Some seals are actually 4 pieces, 2 halves on top and two halves on the bottom.


    First, do you know how deep the pump is set in your well?
    It could be very heavy(500 to 1500 pounds), and can be very dangerous. The weight is just a guess.
    The pipe the pump is hanging on, is it steel, pvc, or poly? Each have there own set ways to be worked with. Having proper tools is something to be looked at. Something to hold the pipe when it gets to the top of your a-frame,someway to lift the pipe.

    I am not saying you cant or shouldn't do it, I just want you to know kinda what to expect.

    There are variables that wont be known until you start pulling it.

    From the amount of rust, or what looks like rust. It may be a bit hard to get the seal out. You should pull on the pipe not the seal. As you pull the pipe out of the seal, you may have to use a small pry-bar to get the seal out of the casing.



    Just some thoughts and a few things to be aware of.

    Travis


    Here is a pic of the well seal that you appear to have.





    Last edited by Waterwelldude; 05-16-2009 at 08:53 PM.
    "I shall never surrender or retreat" -Col. William Travis


  6. #6
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Man I wish you luck with that. I've never seen anything like but it looks like you aren't going to loosen the nuts.
    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

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    The well pump is a least 20 years old - it been here as long as I have. I don't know the depth, but the motor is 1/2H HP so I would guess 100 feet or less. Also, the waster is terrible - high hardness, high iron and iron bacteria. I treat it as it comes into the house.

    After reading your posts and looking at the condition of the well head, this may be over my head. I don't want to make the situation worse. Can anyone tell me about what I should expect to pay a professional to pull the pump and replace it taking into account the condition of the seal.

    Again, thanks to all for all your help - your posts have been quite informative.

    John

  8. #8
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Good choice. Price varies widely from one area to another. If it were mine, I wouldn't use the same type seal again. And I'd hang the pump on 160 psi rated 1" PE pipe.
    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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    Something I think you guys are missing. That is a four inch casing lowered into a six inch well held with a clamp. If he pulls on the pipe, the whole thing might come up. This might not be a bad thing if it's not more than 21 foot of pipe. If it is, he could cut things as they come out. I don't see why they did this, but that's what I see in the picture. It's a very expensive way to keep from buying a six inch well seal.

    bob...

  10. #10

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    Why is 21 feet of pipe a critical length???

  11. #11
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    It's not critical, it's simply the length that most well pipe is made. PVC on the other hand is 20'. Unless of course you buy it at a big box store, then it's 10' and they charge you for the cut.

  12. #12
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    Looks like a a liner to me. I'm not sure why they would have one in there unless the 6" was full of holes. But still, if he just pulls on the well seal, and that 4" is just hanging there, it may come up with the pump. That well seal can hold on pretty good after being in there for years.

  13. #13
    Well driller,pump repair. and septic installer Waterwelldude's Avatar
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    More tan likely the 6" has a hole somewhere and the 4" was installed past the hole or bad spot. Hopefully it has a seal on the bottom of the 4" and should have been filled with grout to the top in between the 4" and 6".

    Without knowing for sure why there is 4" inside 6" or if the is a seal in between the two, I would use some kind of expanding sealer around the top, to try and keep the bugs and dirt out. If you poured cement down, and there is no seal, you could plug up the well for good.

    The are a lot of old 3" well around here that are steel, and have developed a hole. Then in the same fashion, 2" was placed inside down to the screen with a seal, and grouted all the way to the top. A new pump if it was needed was placed on top, and all was good again.

    It looks to me, that the same thing may have happen here. I may be wrong, but that is what it looks like.

    When the pump is pulled out, hopefully the 4" will stay there.


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


  14. #14
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    Same here Travis. We have the old 2" and 3" wells that were drilled over 35 years ago and they are all slowly dying from acidic surface water eating through them. In some cases we can put a 3" sub in the well and save it as long as there isn't surface water pouring down the casing. If it were, the well should be grouted or lined like you described.

    I'm like you, I hope there is a seal on the end of the 4". If not, I'll bet a bacterial test would come back kind of scarey.

  15. #15

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    One last shot at this - if I can't get it today, I'll bring someone in.

    Travis, the picture you showed of the seal is similar to what I have. Once I removed some of the rust, I can see the two halves and the four bolts. Unfortunately the bolt heads are gone. I don't have the tools to remove them - will have to get them. Question - Is there any way this seal will come out with those bolts in place?? Second, if you look at my pictures the seal looks like it screws in. There are threads on the seal going into the 4" housing. The picture Travis showed has a gasket sealing along the side of the pipe and no threads. I can see how that one will seal. Do you guys think mine seals similar to that or might it have an O-ring at the the bottom which when screwed in will seal against a lip on the housing. If that's the case though, what will the four bolts do?

    I guess my main question is should I take a pipe wrench and try to turn it, or try to pull it straight up.

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