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Thread: Converting from jet pump to submersible

  1. #1

    Default Converting from jet pump to submersible

    We had an old jet pump which never shut off so we had the plumber come out and replace the pump, and change the foot valve. The pump worked for about 10 minutes then cut off. The plumbers came out again (same company, different guys) and tried another pump and again replaced the foot valve. They tried for about 4 hours to get the pump to run more than 5 minutes and they couldn't. The verdict was that our well is much more turbid than it was years ago and a jet pump gets clogged easily. The suggestion was to go with a submersible pump (which is what most of our neighbors have). Does this sound right?
    We live in Maryland and the plumber's estimate for 1/2hp, 115 volt 2 wire restricted Goulds well pump, replacing pitless adapter, well pipe and wire. Wire will be run through one of the existing lines from well casing to house. The will also relocate the pressure tank and connect to new pipe, was $4100.
    Included in this price was all their previous labor which amounted to about 8 hours.

    I would appreciate anyones input.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    ummm, way too much money and there is no proven need, or determination as to why the jet was working but now two new jet pumps won't work for more than a few minutes... I strongly suggest another 2-3 quotes from pump guys or well drillers and plumbers that know wells.

    The pumps not moving any more water after a few minutes says incomplete priming or dirt breaking loose from inside the drop pipe etc..

    I've sold many Gould's pumps and I have converted a number of wells from jet pumps to submersible, what is a "restricted" Gould's pump?

    And why a 120 vac instead of a 230 vac; which will use fewer meter spins to operate it?

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member rshackleford's Avatar
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    Two things here:

    plj520: The company I work for would probably be in the same range for that amount of work. I would guess that if we installed all new equipment it would be between $3500-4500. If some of your stuff was reused it would be on the lower side.

    Gary: Please explain why the 115 volt pump would use more energy then the 230 volt. I am not sure that I understand.

    Thanks
    rshackleford

  4. #4
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    A Goulds 1/2 HP submersible pump should cost about $500 wholesale or at Grainger.

    The "Restricted" probably refers to the Goulds Model 5GS05R which is a small pump that they use to replace the old 1/3 HP model. It is rated at 210 ft of head (about 90 psi) at 5 GPM, including the depth to water. The regular 1/2 HP provides 5 GPM at 280 ft of head (about 120 psi including depth to water). You must be sure you have a relief valve with a submersible, which you may not have had with a jet pump.

    The 230 volt pump is better because it uses less current so less wire loss. Otherwise the power should be the same. Amps will be 1/2 as much with 230 Volts. I would install a 230 volt every time. The only reason one would put in a 115 volt is that they don't want to put in a 2-pole breaker and want to run off the 115 volt circuit that the Jet pump used. The other reason could be that they want to get rid of a 115 volt motor that they have on hand. A submersible will be more efficient than a jet pump so you will have a smaller motor and lower cost to produce the same water.

    One issue with a submersible is whether you have a clean casing to take the 3.75" diameter pump (called a 4" pump). You can get it in a 4" casing. I can't imagine why anyone would install a deep well jet pump if they have a 4" casing.

    Frankly, I am overwhelmed by the cost of some of what are pretty straightforward jobs. I have seen people put small pumps in on their own, usually with a helper who knows a bit. It is really not a big deal if you have a bit of understanding of plumbing and wiring. You could take a week's vacation with what you would save. The problem is that you usually need it now and there isn't time to consider the alternatives.

    Google "submersible pump installation" and see what you are getting into if you do it yourself.

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member rshackleford's Avatar
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    115 Volt pumps works well in two places. (1) Where 230V is not available. This is usually on a water tank in the hills on a really old electric service or in a house with an old electric service. (2) Again in the hills on a livestock tank when you want to use a float. A lot of simple floats don't allow you to break two hot, current carrying conductors.

    With the 4" casing you would need the Goulds "G" as in 7G05 series pump. This is the streamlined pump. Also Grundfos actually makes a pump that is just less than 3" in diameter.
    rshackleford

  6. #6
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    rshackleford, your company and the plumbers wanting $4500 for this job must be in some urban area. Around here people would laugh at that and throw you off their property and do it themselves.

    And you did catch where he said the 2 guys' labor was included for their screwing around and not fixing the problem with the new pump and THEN another new pump... BTW, if I were him, there's no way that I'd pay them that time. They still haven't told him what the problem is and spent 8 (man) hours there and are now selling a submersible pump conversion! The man is still out of water! In certain areas around here, they might get shot or other retribution taken!

    As to the 120v... I know that the 120v will pull more amps at start up and run at higher amps and that electric meters will see the additional use. A commercial electric meter will peg at the highest amps and you're billed for the whole month at the higher usage; although you may have only had the higher use for 2 minutes and only once that month.

    But why do you think a 120v pump motor doesn't use more electric than a 230v motor?

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member rshackleford's Avatar
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    I was looking at the pump from a hp point of view. A ˝ hp is about 3/8 of a kW no matter what voltage. I was looking at it from a kW point of view. Now I was aware that power companies had demand charges and stepped rates on three phase applications, but in my area they do not have demand charges on singe phase. I guess I am an electric consumer and should no how meter work. I was not aware that the meters had different rates for different amperages.

    We cover most of north eastern Montana and north western North Dakota. We end up with a lot of time tied up in travel to and from work sites hauling equipment. We are also, as my boss says, “we are the most expensive well, pump, and irrigation company around.” In our defense we use quality products and stay with the job until it is right. You are right though I should adjust my range from $2500-3500.

    How about the work to try and get the jet pump going? Who should be responsible for that? In my job I have trouble with this type of question a lot. Did the contactor screw up the first time and therefore the second trip should be on them? Was it the contractor fault that the well was turbid and plugged up the pump or is that Mother Nature’s fault. The water well and pump service business is a tough business to be in. You really don’t know what is down there or what it going to happen in the well. Things can go wrong really quick and who is responsible for that? Somebody has to pay for it! From the customer’s point of view they didn’t do any thing wrong to warrant the charges and from the contactor’s point of view that is the risk the customer takes when have a well worked on. This has always been a tough and touchy set of issues for me.
    rshackleford

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    Whoever these guys were plumbers, pump guys or whatever. When they put the second pump on, I would have been looking real hard at their credentials. If one pump worked then stopped pumping after just a few minutes I sure as hell wouldn't have thought it was the pump and went to all the trouble to install another one. Especially since I am supposed to be the expert.

    The price in my area to do a job like that would be less than $2000.00. That would include a tank, all the pipe down the well, the pump, switch, gauge... well you get the idea.

    I'm sorry but I get real mad when I hear of a company that doesn't have a clue what they are doing, charging high dollar for their mistakes then quoting double the cost to do something that never needed to be done in the first place.

    bob...

  9. #9
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    I pay substantially less than $500 for that pump without the R.

    They make float switches for 230v. My pump supply houses here have them. And you can get them on the internet.

    The cost to run a piece of Romex and for a couple breakers is returned many times when running a pump at much less electric use for maybe the next 20 years.

    I also get upset with people overcharging a customer and then charging for their screw ups. These guys didn't have a clue as to what they were doing. I quote and go on a job and I give a price stating that if this'n that is found it will be this much more. If nothing comes up, I get what I quoted. If it takes me twice as long as I thought it would, I eat it and chalk it up to advertising because my customer certainly is going to tell people how happy they are and I will probably go to the bank on maybe 2-3 referrals from the guy. AND, I usually make the time up on other jobs that don't take as long as I thought they would; I still get paid what I quoted.

    Guys like this are being dumb IMO, they don't have their mind on the big picture, they look about as far as their hand and see dollar signs because "what is the customer going to do, call someone else when we're here already?"... I'll guarantee this customer will cause them many thousands of lost business over the next few years because he'll be telling this story for a long time to anyone mentioning plumbers or pumps or wells or getting screwed by anyone. And I'll bet these guys are doing this to anyone they can.

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member rshackleford's Avatar
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    The cost of the materials alone are around $1500, then you need a backhoe, operator, transport equipment, and pump techs.

    Pressure tank (approx 32 gal) $350
    Drop Pipe and Sub Wire $100
    Pump and Control Box $500
    Monitor Pitless Unit $525
    Brass $50
    Wire $50

    Total $1575


    Gary—Please give me a link for the float switch you are talking about. It would be nice to be able to use 230 volt pumps more often. I have been rigging up a DPDT relay on a float switch for customers because the float switch we have been using will only interrupt one hot leg of power. These floats are the mercury ball type. I realize that there are Square D float switches that basically have the same contacts as a pressure switch and they will interrupt both hot wires, but many ranches prefer the simpler installation of the ball type float. If you know of a mercury ball type float that does this I would really be interested.
    rshackleford

  11. #11
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    I buy all my materials direct from the manufacturer and save roughly 20% on most items. But even with only 20% I can do a job like that one much cheaper. I guess it's a demographic thing. I do know Florida is lower priced than anywhere else in the states. I can sell a 1hp 20 gpm sub or just under $375.00. And everything else is in line with that price.

    I also have floats but they are only two wires. I have the piggyback plugged floats also and they can be used with a 24 volt transformer to make things safer and conduit free if that helps. But you still need the relay to break both lines.

    bob...

  12. #12
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    If you are talking your cost, those figures are way high compared to mine. I buy from a Gould's distributor. I would pay about $275+/- for the pump. Since it is a jet being replaced, the tubing shouldn't be more than a 200' roll of 1" 160 PSI PE tubing. A 1.25" x 1" reducer ($3?) for the outlet of the pump. That's 3 1" x 1" barbed brass male adapters ($3 each?) and 6 hose clamps (I buy boxes of them) including the male for the outlet of the pitless. A torque arrestor ($8?), 3 wire splice kit ($3? and I have the extra splice leftover), and maybe 250' of 12/3 w/grnd (I buy 500-1000' reels). That would be maybe another $200 and that's higher than I think it would be.

    If the jet is a shallow well model, the above are greatly reduced in length and cost. And I don't know if a new pressure tank is in the quote or not. I looked and he says "relocate the tank", not replace it. That would be simple due to running new tubing from it out to the well anyway.

    The pitless costs me $50-$80.

    The last of these I did was $1800+/- for a 1/2 hp 2 wire (no control box) 10 gpm Gould's. New Gould's V60 tank ($90), tank tee package ($48; switch and brass nipple, PR valve, cast tee, gauge). And I moved the tank closer to the wall and that requires changing the outlet plumbing and I always add a new ball valve. Unless the excavating is more than a few spade fulls, I don't do excavating but can get 2-3 guys with mini excavators in for less than $500 to dig down 5-6' and from the casing back to the cellar wall 3-6" deep. If the casing was buried, the hole is a bit bigger and deeper (frost line is 30"+) and a 6" Fernco and a 10' piece of sch 40 PVC if I don't have a shorter piece here and then a casing cap ($13?) and 2 wire nuts. Maybe 3 rolls of tape (I buy a dozen pack) and 6-8 wire guards at about $1.25 each (I buy by the case). I grossed about a grand on that job. I am the pump tech, plumber etc. and my wife is the helper. We do that type job in about 6-7 hours. I've attached a pictures of one.

    A google search for float switches 230, I don't remember what URL:
    http://tinyurl.com/9n96a

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates
    Attached Images Attached Images   

  13. #13

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    Plj520,

    What part of MD are you in?

    If near NE, I can make a suggestion of a good honest plumber.

    Paul

  14. #14

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    Thank you all for your input. I think the mistake we made was telling them that the pump was not working rather than letting them check it out for themselves. This is a plumbing company we have done business with for the past 12 years and we need to get this done before the ground freezes.

    We live in Germantown, MD.

  15. #15
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Default 230 Volt Float Switches

    Many float switches are rated for 230 Volts, but all that I have found are single pole switches.

    The float switch should never be considered a safety switch to remove power from the circuit. There should be a disconnect near where the pump is connected so that it can be serviced. The disconnect must be a two-pole switch or breaker.

    With a properly installed disconnect, you can use a single pole switch to control the pump by interrupting either hot wire. You can wire the switch in at the disconnect, or at the motor if it is accessible. However, I find that it is pretty easy to put in a 2 HP rated relay for less than $15. There is usually room for a flange mounted relay in a submersible control box or even in a 4" deep junction box, or within the enclosure that contains the disconnect.

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