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Thread: Converting from jet pump to submersible

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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...

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