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Thread: Well located under house.

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    DIY Junior Member deuce6911's Avatar
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    Question Well located under house.

    I would like to upgrade my 1/2 hp convertible jet pump in the near future. According to all documentation that I have and what I can see in the basement, the well seems to be located under the house. The house was built in 1971 and the well driller is now out of business. I talked to my neighbor who has lived here for years and he says that the wells in our development were drilled and the houses built over the top of them. As I understand it, I will need to replace components inside the well when the jet pump is replaced. All that can be seen from the basement is the two plastic lines going from the pump through a rough opening in the basement slab. I have no idea how far down the top of the well is. My plan is to bust up some concrete around the opening and dig down to find the top of the well. My questions are: How far down would the well typically be in this situation? Do I need to extend the well casing above the slab, if so what is involved? I am located in Andover, MN.

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    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deuce6911 View Post
    All that can be seen from the basement is the two plastic lines going from the pump through a rough opening in the basement slab. I have no idea how far down the top of the well is. My plan is to bust up some concrete around the opening and dig down to find the top of the well.
    How large is that "rough opening"? If you can see dirt, I would think you should be able to get to whatever might need to be serviced.

    The pump guys here might be able to tell you whether an "upgrade" for a well that is almost 40 years old is actually feasible, but I suspect you might be best off with a new well and submersible pump outside the house.

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    DIY Junior Member deuce6911's Avatar
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    The opening is only about 3.5" in diameter, just big enough for the two pipes to pass through. What would be wrong with the well that would make me better off with a new well?

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    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deuce6911 View Post
    The opening is only about 3.5" in diameter, just big enough for the two pipes to pass through. What would be wrong with the well that would make me better off with a new well?
    The well might be fine as it is, but it might not produce enough water for a larger pump intended to meet a greater demand. Or, it might not pass inspection (being inside) if you ever wish to sell your home. But, those are just some thoughts from a DIY homeowner.

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    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    The well case and cap by code need to extend above grade whatever that may be. In your case, the basement floor.

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    DIY Junior Member deuce6911's Avatar
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    We have only lived in the house for 3 years. When we bought the house there were no issues with the well not meeting code. Does this requirement only apply if the well is worked on? i.e. If we do decide to have work done to the well would it then need to meet current codes?

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    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Certain lenders or regulators are more stringent than others at the time of inspection and sale, so that might or might not be an issue in the future. However, I would suspect any licensed professional would be required/expected to upgrade to modern standards/codes while doing any kind of work on what you presently have, and that could include moving your well outside the foundation.

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    DIY Junior Member deuce6911's Avatar
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    Technically speaking, if I were to replace my 1/2 hp pump with a 3/4 or 1 hp pump without changing the jet or anything inside the well, what would the potential issues be?

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    The jet and pump have to be matched. IOWs you need the right jet and nozzle for the pump, and increasing the hp with a 1/2 hp jet etc. is not going to work well at all.

    Well like yours that I have seen usually have the casing up out of the floor a few inches and use a sanitary seal. Maybe your casing has sunk.

    Maybe you have a 3'-4' hand dug well and the cellar floor is above the lid.

    My experience with odd well construction, like a well in the basement, is that the people, banks, real estate folks and prospective buyers in the area are familiar with them and it isn't the problem that guys here from areas where they aren't used go on about. But then Ive never heard of a drilled well under a house!! but it is MN where they tend to do things more than a bit different at times...

    You can extend the casing above the floor if you find one and can get down in the hole if needed to work on it. I would use a Fernco fitting and the same ID sch 40 PVC as the well casing. Then a sanitary well seal.

    A larger pump may not do well if the well can't produce the volume of water you will use.
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    DIY Junior Member deuce6911's Avatar
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    I am really starting to get curious about this. Last night I tried to look down around the pipes through the slab. I could not see much because the hole through the slab is not much larger than the two lines. What I can tell though is that directly below the slab where the lines go through there seems to be about a 1 cubic foot hollow area. Not sure if it was boxed out with plywood or what but I can see dirt. My next step will be to get a diamond blade on an angle grinder and cut out some of the slab so I can see what is below.

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    DIY Junior Member deuce6911's Avatar
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    The information I have been given was all wrong! After making a larger opening around the piping it is clear that the well is not located below the slab. I can follow the piping down and feel it go horizontal under the foundation. So now it looks like the well is somewhere in the front yard. Now the question becomes, how do I find the well now? I have several trees in my front yard and I hope to hell one of them is not over the well. I sense a lot of digging in my future.
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    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    If that well is working well, I would leave well enough alone and begin saving up for an altogether new one if ever needed!

    How far is it from ground level to your basement floor? Too far to probe from ground level, I suspect ... and so yes, locating that well could require a lot of digging. Another possibility might be to cut a hole in the lower part of your basement wall and dig out to the well that is likely not far away, but I would first want to know exactly where it is before doing anything like that!

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    DIY Junior Member deuce6911's Avatar
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    It is a split level house. When I am standing in the basement, ground level is about waist high. I think I will leave it alone for now, at least until my curiosity gets the better of me again.

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Since the well was put in in 1971, you really need to find the well now instead of waiting until you have a problem and no water some Friday evening, of a 3 day holiday in Dec., in MN.
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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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    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Yes, and it sounds like you really have very little digging to do. Get a 4'-long 3/8" steel rod with a T-handle securely welded (so you cannot impale yourself) on one end and try a little probing. If necessary, you can dampen the soil first, or you can dig down about a foot in the area of the well and probe around from there. You might hit as rock or two, but you might also find the top of your well is actually just below the surface.

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