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Thread: Pulling a submersible pump

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    DIY Senior Member abikerboy's Avatar
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    Default Pulling a submersible pump

    Im going to be helping a friend in replacing his submersible pump. Going by his construction reports, the pump is at a depth of 225 feet, and is on 1" pvc rigid pipe, threaded in 20 foot sections. My question is can two men handle the weight of this setup? We're trying to determine whether we can do this by hand, or if we need to build a tripod. I've borrowed a pipe vise, and we have made a 3' long T-handled pipe to screw into the pitless adapter. I have pulled pumps near to the same depth before, but the dealings I've had were all on black fexible pipe, which is what we're putting back in this well. Thanks in advance for any advice that anyone can offer!
    Rob

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    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Weight will be about 120 pounds of pipe and water, wire at maybe 40 pounds, and pump maybe 40 pounds. About 200 pounds plus any drag on pump-to-casing. The total weight will be only slightly more than if it is poly pipe.

    The PVC pipe can be brittle and you risk dropping the pump if it breaks and the shock at the end of the tether tears away the safety rope and wire. Keep them snug when lifting so they won't break from the shock if something breaks while hauling.

    Holding 20 ft of 1" PVC full of water in the air while you unscrew it might get exciting. Unless you have a use for the pipe, the Sawzall method to make shorter sections might be easier.

    The 1" PVC may bend enough that you can treat it like flexible pipe. I have never tried it. If it breaks, it will probably be at the top of the casing so I wouldn't count on it for lifting. Also, if the bent pipe breaks the broken end will straighten out and extend like a spear, so stay out of line of the plane of the bent pipe.

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    DIY Senior Member abikerboy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. We are definately going to replace the pipe with flexible black plastic, so the sawzall is ready! I can barely imagine trying to unthread a 20 foot section of rigid pvc sticking straight up in the air! Our guess was that replacing the pipe would be a good investment due to age and possible stress on the pipe at that depth, plus the flex will simplify any future repairs as well.
    Rob

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default vise

    I assume you are going to use the pipe vise to support the pump on the well casing as you remove a section.

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    DIY Senior Member abikerboy's Avatar
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    Hi;
    Yes. The pipe vise will be used to support the weight as we pull the pvc up far enough to cut it. I had a look in the well today, and there is no safety cable, so we will be building an 8 foot tripod to support the pipe as we lift it. As I stated earlier, the pump is currently on rigid 1 inch pvc, but we will be replacing the pvc with black poly flexible pipe, and will also be installing a safety rope for extra backup support. Due to the fact that there is no safety rope, and the pump is set at 225 feet, this is why we decided to go ahead with the tripod. We do not want to risk breaking the pipe, and dropping the pump! We will pull the pump up through the tripod, and as the sections of pvc rise, we will be cutting them off with a sawzall, since we wont be reusing them after all. We do have free loan of a backhoe, with which we could use the boom for lifting, but since doing it by hand would both be more precise, and also would not mar up the lawn, this is why I was asking for the weight. We will be replacing the submersible pump with a Goulds 1 horsepower, 3 wire unit, and because failure of the bladder in the pressure tank caused the pump failure, we will also be replacing this as well. I convinced my buddy to use the Goulds pump, as that is what I have in my well, and it has supplied 3 households, two of which have children, and myself having a large hot tub which I drain and refill every 3 months, (my well is spring fed, so overpumping is not a prob) and heavy water useage, since 1993 without missing a stroke! Basically, considering 3 households, my Goulds has 39 years of highly above average use on it within the time frame in which it has been in service! And by the way, I am not pushing Goulds. I know very little about plumbing, (if I knew more, I wouldnt be asking questions) and I have no affiliation with any manufacturer. Just a simple homeowner! I am sure that there are thousands of pumps out there that are just as good...maybe even better! It's just that this is what I've had such good luck with myself. If anyone has any more advice, or suggestions, thank you in advance, and many thanks for what has already been given me!
    Rob

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    DIY Senior Member abikerboy's Avatar
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    Pulled the pump today. the original was some kind of a cheap junk unit with the pump head made of black plastic. The plastic pump head was split wide open, and that was the original cause of failure, dont know whether it was caused by the failed pressure tank or not. Anyway, we installed new tank, and my buddy is picking up a new Goulds replacement for the pump monday morning. My theory is that when the pressure tank failed, the pump was "chattering" on and off during low flow useage, and this stress was what destroyed the plastic pump body. My buddy says that whatever the reason, he's not going to put another pump made of plastic back down the well. Funny thing is, I've never seen a plastic pump before this!!!

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    There are a lot of plastic pumps out there. They used to use brass a lot until the lead/brass thing started years back. Now it's stainless and plastic. There is really no difference if you use a good brand name with a good plastic. In some cases the plastic is stronger than the stainless.

    Forget the rope. It's a joke. If you can't pull that pump with the pipe, that little 1/4" rope isn't going to pull it. It's important to tape the wire to the pipe every ten feet or so. This keeps the wire from rubbing the casing during motor start up. After you get the pump in the hole, before reconnecting the pitless unit, leave the tee sticking up above the casing and run the pump on the groung until the water clears. This is better than running all that nasty looking water into the home.

    bob...

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    DIY Senior Member abikerboy's Avatar
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    Thank you Bob.
    I will follow your advice. Also, will not waste money on the rope. What you said makes perfect sense concerning lifting with the rope. How long usually should we run the pump to clear the water? Could we allow a little extra pipe when we install the pump to direct the water away from the house, and then cut the pipe and install the pitless after flushing? My main concern is that the well is in an area near the house and we dont want to over water that area.
    Rob

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    Some wells clear up very quickly, others take an hour or so.

    You can pipe it as far away as you like, just don't restrict the flow of water too much. Open discharge is the best way to make sure you don't have any reoccurrences of colored water.

    bob...

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    DIY Senior Member abikerboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by speedbump
    Some wells clear up very quickly, others take an hour or so.

    You can pipe it as far away as you like, just don't restrict the flow of water too much. Open discharge is the best way to make sure you don't have any reoccurrences of colored water.

    bob...
    Thanks. Will keep that in mind also. Will be dropping the new pump in tomorrow a.m., and we only need to direct the discharge about 10 feet to keep it away from the house area. Maybe could run the discharge into something like 1 1/4 inch sump pump hose or something. A little water where we dont want it will not do any harm. We just dont want to discharge several hundred gallons right there.
    Rob

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    Sure, that will work fine. You just want to get the gunk out first. Because it will be nasty for a while, unless you have the best water around.

    bob...

  12. #12

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    I don't know about the tank thing. Fiberglass tanks haven't caught on much in my neck of the woods.
    I can tell you though, that the Goulds GS Series pumps are very good pumps. However, there are a number of good ones out there. I know Speedbump is a Myers man, and they are great pumps, especially the submersibles. Sta-rite is a good pump, as is AY McDonald.
    I've said this before in this forum, and I'll say it again. Pumps at Home Depot, Lowes, Sears and even alot of the pumps Grainger sells are cheap for a reason. Yes, some of the major manufacturers make these pumps for the retail market, but most of them are down rated, not only in performance, but in materials.
    Rob's experience with his pump speaks volumes.
    Ron

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    DIY Senior Member abikerboy's Avatar
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    I can tell you though, that the Goulds GS Series pumps are very good pumps. However, there are a number of good ones out there.



    Another thing that I like to brag on....my own tank is burried in the ground (62 gallon, and also a goulds product), and my pressure switch hangs on a flexible line in the top of my well. Had the flex line to the pressure switch rupture 2 years ago, and did not discover this for about 4 days. Really suprised me, as when they installed the system, I questioned the rubber hose, and just assumed that if the line broke, I would simply have no water! First problem I noticed, the connecting line to my toilet blew off. Called a plumber in to fix. He stated "I just replaced your neighbors toilet feed 2 days ago, as well as a leaking icemaker line. Do you guys share the same water system?" Told him yes. He stated that pressure seemed excessive, and that I should call in the well man. The servicer came, measured the pressure, which was at close to 100 psi, and replaced the flex line to the pressure switch, as well as the switch itself for good measure. I had noticed extra water flow, but being sort of dumb with this stuff, I attributed it to my filters, which I had just changed. The first comment made by the pump guy was that he was amazed that the pump had run constantly for 4 days without burning out. His second comment was that he was also amazed that a pump with as much useage as mine could even produce that kind of pressure! And it is still going strong 2 years later! My electric bill alone for that month cost me as much as a cheap pump would have cost! Yes, I am bragging! I am sure that there are many pumps out there as good as, or maybe even better than what Goulds makes, but my experience is with Goulds, and when my turn comes, that is what's going back in my own well! Don't really care even if it's 4 times the price that it is now! That is another reason why I worked so hard to talk my buddy into a Goulds...that and the fact that I have no desire to break my back again by helping him in another 6 or 8 years! Lol! By the way, just for a side note, noticed that the local laws in Virginia have changed concerning shared wells. With my system, I completely own the well, but have a written agreement in place to provide them with water for $XX/month, and the agreements state that repairs will be divided equally in 3 ways. Failure to pay for more than 90 days permantly terminates the agreement at my discretion. Local inspector tells me that if same system were installed today that the well would have to be deeded as joint property to all 3 households connected to the well, and installed with seperate electrical service and meter in all 3 homeowners names. Does this make sense? Just curious.
    Rob

  14. #14
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    It doesn't make sense about 3 electrical services. You can't run one pump with three electrical services and you can't put three pumps in one well.

    It would be possible to have the well owned by an association with each member having a deeded interest in the well. It would be like a condominium agreement. The association would have its own electric meter and arrangements for collecting fees to maintain the well.

    With multiple users on a well, it's a good idea to have a water meter to each user, with operating and maintenance costs paid into an account in proportion to water usage. You can get rebuilt meters from USA Bluebook for less than $50 each.

    A submersible pump will often produce more pressure than a water system can withstand, and should always have a relief valve that will discharge the full flow of the pump at a pressure that the system will withstand. They used to make, but I haven't seen lately, a pressure switch that would lock out and require manual reset if a set pressure was exceeded. You might want to add one to the system.

    Goulds pumps are very good but they have quite a markup. The greatest part of the cost is the Franklin motor, which many manufacturers use. The well man probably pays somewhat less for a Goulds than the price of a flow/head equivalent Dayton pump in the Grainger catalog. Grainger sells some Goulds pumps but not the submersibles.

    The Goulds published performance is usually better than other brands for equivalent horsepower. I recently checked a 3/4 HP Goulds that very nearly matched the flow/head of a 1 HP Dayton in the Grainger catalog.

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    In my opinion the average life of a submersible pump (of good quality) will last on the average 7 years. I know customers that have gotten 30+ years and some that have problems in the first couple of years. The tank has a lot to do with the longevity of a pump. The fewer cycles the motor makes, the longer it will last. This is true of all brands.

    Franklin motors have been around for a long time and have been good motors. They had quite a monopoly going for many years after buying out all the other pump companies motor manufacturing rights. Now things have changed and you will be seeing a new kid on the block. Franklin will be taking a back seat to the new motor made jointly by ITT and Pentair. The people who own just about every pump company in the US except A.Y. Mcdonald and National pump. Just a few owned by these two corporate giants are Goulds, Red Jacket, Sta-Rite, Myers, Aermotor, Berkley, Rapidayton and probably a few more. So as you see, there is not too much competition out there anymore.
    I like Ron don't like the Fiberglas tank. I find their bladders like the big box stores tanks don't hold up long. This is a direct reflection on how long the pump will last.

    bob...

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