Pulling a submersible pump

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by abikerboy, Apr 22, 2006.

  1. abikerboy

    abikerboy DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    202
    Location:
    VA
    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
  2. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

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    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    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.
  3. abikerboy

    abikerboy DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    202
    Location:
    VA
    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
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    vise

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

    abikerboy DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    202
    Location:
    VA
    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
  6. abikerboy

    abikerboy DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    202
    Location:
    VA
    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!!!
  7. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
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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...
  8. abikerboy

    abikerboy DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    202
    Location:
    VA
    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
  9. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    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...
  10. abikerboy

    abikerboy DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    202
    Location:
    VA
    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
  11. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    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. Pumpman

    Pumpman Pump Sales

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    So. Cal
    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
  13. abikerboy

    abikerboy DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    202
    Location:
    VA
    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. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    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.
  15. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    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...
  16. Pumpman

    Pumpman Pump Sales

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    So. Cal
    For many people, their water systems represent a major investment, and should be treated as such. Buying an expensive car and never maintaining it will turn it into a piece of junk. Same thing with water system equipment. If you purchase quality to begin with and maintain it properly, it will serve you well. Of course, I think the whole thing hinges on supplying the correct equipment for the job. I know of a company whose main goal is to sell the most expensive pump that it has in stock, whether or not it's the properly sized pump for the job. Thats ok though, it keeps me busy cleaning up the mess.
    I am a Goulds dealer and a AY McDonald distributor, but I also sell Myers, Sta-rite, Berkeley and others. When I'm specifying a pump for a certain job, I look for the pump that the customer needs, not what I would prefer to sell them.
    If people maintained their system, like Rob does, I'd probably be out of business!!
    Ron
  17. abikerboy

    abikerboy DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    202
    Location:
    VA
  18. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    The standard installation for a submersible pump is to have a pressure gauge, pressure switch, and relief valve in tees near the tank and before valves that shut off the flow. There is a device called a "tank tee" that has fittings for each of those devices.

    There should be a tank before any of the valves that close off the discharge of the pump so that the pump will pump into some volume, even if there are tanks at the end of the line for individual owners.

    The relief valve should be able to discharge the full flow of the pump at a pressure less than the safe pressure for the system. There should not be any shutoff valve in the piping to or from the relief valve.

    They usually sell 1/2" and 3/4" valves preset for 75 psi. If you need something bigger because of the capacity of the pump, they are usually adjustable and more expensive. A 3/4" preset valve at Grainger, stock 5YM67 is $7.12 in my catalog.
  19. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Maybe I'm wrong but I've never heard of PR valve or requirement for one that can/will dump the capacity of a submersible pump used in residential applications.

    And as you say, the holes in a tank tee are 1/2" or a 1/2" and a 3/4", to accept the a PR valve and a boiler drain valve but... I don't recall ever seeing a 1/2" PR valve. So you won't get the capacity of most of the submersible pumps we install in residential wells around through a 3/4" valve. And they aren't rated on capacity, only pressure, which on some is adjustable. Also, we don't use less than 1" pipe from any well and all tank tees are either 1" or 1.25". At least that is the way it is here in PA.
  20. abikerboy

    abikerboy DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    202
    Location:
    VA
    Not sure of what the capacity of my pump is. Will have to look that up. It is a Goulds 10EJ series, installed in early 1993. Well is spring fed, and test pumped at 12 gallons/min for one hour with no reduction in static level...dont quite understand what static level means. Pressure tank is burried right beside the well, and is located in line before all shut off valves. Question is, since tank and all tees are underground, where would I install a pressure valve? Would it be possible to install 3 seperate valves, one on the supply line to each of the 3 houses that the well serves? The idea here being that if pressure were to rise above 75 psi, all three would open, and while maybe would not discharge full capacity of pump, hopefully would gain enough attention to let one of us know that something is wrong. Checked current pressure readings today. I have a guage on the same flex line as the pressure switch, hanging down the top of the well, and also a guage beside my filter unit under my house. Both guages indicate that pressure is set at 40 psi cut in, 60 psi cut out. Underground piping distance is, 150 feet from my house, 275 feet from one of the additional houses, and 355 feet to the third additional house. Not sure what size most underground piping is, but from what installation report says, drop pipe from pump is 1 1/4 inch, and pipe into my house is 1 inch, so I would think that the other underground lines are 1 inch as well.
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