Pump Stuck in Casing

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by btpaints, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. btpaints

    btpaints New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Strathmore Alberta
    Hi Experts,

    Here is my dilemna, about a month ago, my well pump died following a few months of pressure loss and an already old failing pump. Decided that at 180' deep it was not worth it for me to try to do myself, so I called the Well company out, they did a few basic tests, then determined it was in fact the pump. They started to pull the pump (I was here and helping for this part.) The pump came up fairly easily the first 110' snagging a little here and there by no serious problems getting it up this far. At this point, we were no longer able to move the pump up at all (this is the point I had to go out for awhile) I figured in the hands of a half dozen "experts" this should be a breeze as there was only 70 feet left to go, got home a few hours later to see a temporary Cistern sitting in my driveway and was told that the pump was stuck, it would not go up and would not go down and my only option left was to drill a well at the ultra reasonable price of $16,000. This is clearly not an option. I went and looked at the pipes they left in my yard and they are all clearly broken, as well as the wires to the pump and the poly rope attached to the pump, there looks to be about 130' of pipe sitting in my yard which means there should still be 50 feet of pipe left on the pump. I am struggling to see why we could pull this pump up 110' by hand, have it get stuck and not be able to tap it back down, now they are pressuring me to drill the new well that I don't have the money for and I am stuck with this other well with the pump stuck. Is there a way to free the pump and drop it in and put another pump in above it? I am deperately in need of water and advice. The well casing is 4" steel, and ultimately I would like to replace the pump with a skinny pump and carry right along with having water, it is obvious to me that the well company does not want to have to mess around with this, but now they have left me with a huge mess and are assuming no liability, if I knew this would be the outcome, I would have opted to save the couple thousand dollars and screw it up myself, rather than paying someone to screw it up for me. I apologize if I sound bitter but the pressure is really on me to get this fixed. Thanks in advance for any helpful suggestions or insight.
  2. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,428
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    A 3.5" pump in 4" casing is a tight fit to start with. Usually at the water level the casing gets rusty and there is not enough room to get the pump through. However, you said it had a rope, which is never a good thing. The rope can break and wedge between the casing and pump. Hope you got out all the rope, maybe need to measure it. You could also have torque arresters, which are also not good. They can wedge and stick the pump. But I am guessing the rusted casing is the problem.

    If you can get the pump back down, you can use a mirror to see down the well. Then you can run a brush down to clean off the rust, and the pump might come through. I have tried soap and acid and a lot of other stuff, but if the blockage is above the water level, these don’t work very well.

    Also if you can get the pipe to break at the pump, you can pound the pump to the bottom and just set a new pump above the old one. Is the pump set on steel pipe or plastic?
  3. btpaints

    btpaints New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Strathmore Alberta
    The pump is stuck at around 65 feet from the surface of the well casing, the pipes are plastic and broken as well as the rope is broken all courtesy of the well company, it seems as though there is about 20 feet left on the one pipe and about 4 feet left on the other. The casing is pretty rusty but does not look overly bad, with a light tapping on the pump with a 1 lb metal spacer I managed to get it to move down about 3 inches. Is there a way to cut the pipes at the top of the pump and drop the pump? The part that baffles me is that is came up relatively easily up to that point, I know this well has been serviced in the last 15 or so years as there was another pile of pipe and wire sitting behind the barn however there was no pump there (possibly serviced the old one). I am fairly certain that if I am to pour any kind of a lubricant down there it HAS to be food grade but I also don''t want to grease it up until I have a definate determination of it is going up or down. how much pipe can be safely left on the pump without interfering in any way? Thanks for the help.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  4. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I can feel yer pain and yet, had you stayed to help, your choices would have been the same as the well guys had to make. Difference being you would have made the decision instead of them but my guess is that the pump would be stuck in the same place and the pipe etc. would be broken right where it is.

    Blaming them when IMO it is not their fault isn't productive and sh$$ happens and now it is what it is. And so far nothing has been said that would lead me to think they caused the pump to get stuck. Like dropping the rope or a screw driver or wrench etc..

    I never stuck one that I didn't get free, and I ahd 6" wells and one 5". But many didn't come right out with no scared nervous cussing and high heart rate sweating. It happens at no fault of the guys trying to get a pump out. Many rock bore wells are not straight, and some are 5" or 4" as we see and the normal 4" submersible pump is 3 7/8ths OD, so in a 4" well you have a 1/16th inch of clearance and it doesn't take much to stick a pump, rust chips alone can do it. Or a slightly bent area of the casing.

    I'd blame the dummies that put in a 4" well. Three inch pumps are uncommon and expensive.

    Lubes of any kind probably won't help to pull it out and can really bind it up by washing more rust down. Either the power cable and/or rope is the cause of it being stuck, or a torque arrestor or all three of them.

    If the top of the pump is up out of the water, you may be able to make a 'knife' out of steel angle and heat it like red hot and put it down and twist it against the plastic and index marking the level on the knife pipe at the top of the casing, pull it to reheat it and eventually melt through the plastic pipe and pull it out.

    Or use 3/4" galvanized or black iron pipe down inside the plastic pipe to the check valve and pound that to get the pump down but, if the pipe goes down with the pump, you won't get a pump in with the plastic pipe sticking up in the well so far so you need to get the pipe off; or the pump out.
  5. btpaints

    btpaints New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Strathmore Alberta
    Thanks for the ideas, first let me clear the air, I am not trying to blame them, however they were griping and groaning and telling me it was going to get stuck before they even started working on it. I understand that Sh@# happens, and you are right it would have happened the same either way, but it just seems to me that they were really quick to determine I need a new well and that they gave me no other options at all, flat out I don't have the money to drill the well, and a cistern is a great band aid but with having livestock a cistern just doesn't cut it for providing them with water as well. Not to mention we are coming into winter and the prospect of driving on treachurous roads with load after load of water is not an idea I am even willing to entertain, so if I can get the pipe off chances are good I can pound it down? While looking in the casing it looks as though the casing may bend a little bit but it is really hard to tell for sure. I appreciate the ideas for getting the pipes off they may just work. If I was to lubricate it, my plan anyways was to drop the old water pipe back down to the pump and pour it through that so as to not coat the casing in oil, kind of like a GIGANTIC WD-40 Straw :) The top of the pump is dry as a bone so definately out of the water, are there any other options for getting this thing out of the casing?

    Thanks again
  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Which says to me they have experience with 4" pumps in 4" wells, and if it was me, I'd gripe'n groan too. I would have told you about the probability of the pump getting stuck too. And other than risking it, or drilling a new well, options were zero.

    No one can tell you IF you pound on the pump that it will fall to the bottom but you got it to go 3"; who knows. But I wouldn't pound it anymore until I got the pipe off and it may fall during getting the pipe off.

    I would not use lube, it will seal the pump and casing and make the pump act like a cork in a bottle pulling against a vacuum.

    With PE pipe and a hose clamped insert male fitting going into the pump outlet, maybe pulling hard and rotating the pipe CC, you might 'unscrew' or chew it up enough to pull it off the insert male. But that sticks the pump more.

    You didn't say what type plastic pipe.

    Were these guys pulling by hand and if not what?
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  7. btpaints

    btpaints New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Strathmore Alberta
    Well I am kind of going off of what you had said previously that you had never stuck one that you could not get free, the old what comes up must go down logic is kicking in, the reason I was asking all this was my intention was to call another well guy and have him get it unstuck, because these guys won't even try to do it, and if it freely came up 110' then it should freely go down 110' I guess ultimately I need to measure the pipes and get a solid determination of how much pipe is left on the pump so I know what exactly I am up against. This is not something I expected to become such a huge ordeal and again this is why I called the pros in the first place, to try to minimize the problems that could occur. Now in the event I can get the pipes off and the pump goes down but not all the way is there a way to destroy it in the casing so it shatters or cut it or something so it will fall in pieces. Does anyone have a picture of a similar pump so I can see what I am up against? I would assume they are all of similar shape and layout. They were pulling by hand up until I left, after that I have no idea, but I know that if someone was determined enough it is more than possible to accomplish.

    Thanks
  8. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You said it got difficult to pull a couple times before it stuck. So it didn't come up 110' ok.

    You keep saying " get the pipes ...", is there more than one?

    You haven't said what pipe material, galvanized, black, blue, gray or white plastic?

    The pump is either stainless steel, both wet end and motor, plastic wet end and SS motor or cast iron and SS. So it isn't going to come apart in pieces. My guess would be it will go down if pounded hard enough but, you may not be able to pound galvanized or black iron pipe hard enough with a hammer to get it done. And then you must prevent the galvanized or iron pipe from going down the well.

    Here's a picture of a new shinny submersible pump getting ready to down the hole. It has a torque arrestor installed, the guy seriously insisted against my advice.
    .

    Attached Files:

  9. btpaints

    btpaints New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Strathmore Alberta
    By difficult to pull I meant that hand pulling, it would get stuck every 30 to 40 feet where we would then drop it back down again a couple feet and pull again and it would come up another 20 or so feet, it took about 5 minutes to pull it out 110'. The pipe is black plastic, and I am saying the pipes because there is one for water and one that the power wires are fed down. I don't know if it has a torque arrestor or not, when I dropped the line down with the steel spacer on it I could hear it hit metal when it bottomed out, I am not sure if the pipe containing the wires was attached to anything on the pump if not, I would presume that it all came out, the other pipe is definately broken due to pulling, it is thinned out and tapered where it broke indicating stretch. perhaps there is no pipe left on the pump or only a couple inches on it, it is reallly hard to feel with 65' of rope and a steel weight, but you can hear when you hit something hard and hear when you hit something soft, the well casing above ground is rusty but not rusted through, not even at ground level, I understand that a geological shift could cause the casing to bend or blow out, I am only able to see about 40 feet down, could I feed a light down into it to see more?

    Thank you
  10. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Yes it got stuck a few times an that says it could get stuck again before it came out.

    I've never heard of cable being in conduit going down a well, I wouldn't do that but I suppose someone did to 'protect' the cable/wires.

    If you pull real hard on the cable/wires, they may come out as any tape and the water proof splices and crimp connectors pull apart.

    You could find a driller or pump guy with a underwater camera to see what it is stuck on. Or you may be able to get a flashlight down to see better.

    If you pull hard enough, the plastic water line might come off the insert fitting.
  11. upper

    upper DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    154
    Location:
    Fresno, CA
    How about connecting 60 feet of the biggest galvinized pipe down the well.Put a loop on the top piece for a rope,and pound down that sucker.I will bet after about 6 feet it will fall.Do what you have to do to get it back down.Now you are on square one.....Easy deal..Upper
  12. btpaints

    btpaints New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Strathmore Alberta
    That was kind of what I was thinking, the issue is the pipe that is left on the pump, not sure how much of it is still on there, got a few ideas to explore in the next couple days but I need a solution by the end of the month as I am not paying another $1200.00 to rent a cistern for another month, I could build the same cistern setup for $1200.00 or so. Which I have looked into as my plan b for the winter.
  13. upper

    upper DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    154
    Location:
    Fresno, CA
    Why would you not know how much is left on there?......Upper
Similar Threads: Pump Stuck
Forum Title Date
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Well pump stuck 1" poly, not doing a thing, yet pump checks out okay?? Jun 19, 2014
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Well Pump Stuck on PVC Pipe Sep 20, 2013
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Stuck!! LITERALLY replacing submersible pump Nov 28, 2012
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Stuck jet pump nozzle Jun 27, 2011
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog submersible pump stuck Apr 9, 2011

Share This Page