Was the Well / Pump guy premature and telling me I had to buy a new pump?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by gsaunders, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. gsaunders

    gsaunders New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Virginia
    I believe the pump guy had me buy a new pump prematurely and now I may have to buy a second pump. I need your help in knowing if this is actually the case. Here are the details

    I have a well that is 200 feet deep with a static water level of 40 ft and the original pump was sitting at 180feet. For the 7 years I have been living here we have ran out of water probably once a month on a day where we did a LOT of laundry or had many guests up and many of us take showers in a short period of time.

    The representative of the well company (turns out he is the pump guy for the well company) said they recommend fracturing the well first for X price. If the facturing did not help then they would take half of X price and put it towards digging deeper or digging a new well.

    So they first measured my flow rate or refill rate... not sure which it is called, but basically they pumped water out with my pump and measured the well as it started filling up.

    He said I have 1/8th of a gallon per minute (VERY LOW). He also said the pump I had was a 1/2hp 6GPM pump and was undersized for the depth. Meaning as the water got low enough then the pump couldn't pump it out. He said they would fracture the well, but we needed to replace the pump with a new larger pump. This made sense so I said ok.

    They fractured the well and put in a 3/4HP (I think 6GPM) pump. I was then given an invoice for the pump and pump pull. The invoice was from the pump guy who was the representative of the well digging company although he had his own company. A little confusing as I didn't know another company was involved, but no big deal.

    He said he would come back in 3 days to check and see if the fracturing worked by measuring the flow rate. During the discussion something was said that made me think that if the facturing didn't work and we had to dig deeper then I may have to get a different sized pump then what he put in. So I questioned him and asked if we had to dig deeper is it possible that I would have to buy another pump. He said yes so I asked him if he was just going to swap out the pump and take the other back. He said no that I would have to buy a second pump.

    At this point red flags went up in my head and I was wondering why he replaced my existing pump at this point without knowing if the fracture worked or not. I didn't want to argue with the guy at that time as I wanted to do some checking on things before I confronted him on this.

    I then began educating myself on pumps, pump design, pump curve charts, friction loss, and so forth. And everything I have found leads me to the understanding that he should have NOT replaced my existing pump until we knew what the fracturing did... ESPECIALLY with the knowledge that we may have to simply replace the pump again after digging deeper.

    I agree that the 1/2 HP pump was undersized for the depth it was at (after studying pumps and so forth), but it was perfectly fine to use to test if the fracturing and for me to use the few days waiting for the test and the few days waiting for him to get out to dig deeper if necessary. Heck I have been using it for 7+ years this way.

    I have since dialoged with him to determine why he sold me a pump without him first determining what the fracturing did for the well. He got mad at me and simply said my pump was not seized properly. My point was that by doing this I may have to turn around and buy another pump once they dig the well deeper. If the well doesn't produce higher flow then my only choice will be to put a pump lower to gain access to the retained water and at that point I may have to go with a different pump.

    I have talked with pump manufacturers and another well / pump guy and they have all said they would have not replaced the pump (unless it was dead) until we know what the fracturing did under these circumstances.

    Am I correct? Should he have waited so we would know exactly what pump we would need depending on whether the fracturing worked or having to dig deeper????

    At this point I have not paid the pump guy yet and they have not dug it deeper yet.

    I would like 1 of 2 things to happen, but the pump guy won't even listen.

    I would like to drill deeper and then based on the results have the correct pump (which could be the one in there now) based on the results after drilling deeper. IF the pump has to be changed after doing the drilling and we have to go deeper or the flow rate changes drastically then I would simply like him to replace the pump with the correct one and I would pay for the new pump and he take the other back. I understand he can't re-sale that pump, but ultimately I believe it is his mistake. That would be my preference, BUT I am even willing to go with a second option.

    Even though I believe he has made a mistake... if we have to replace the pump again I am willing to pay for both pumps if he does NOT mark them up at all. He still gets his pump pull charges ($200) per pull (not sure if that is good or bad price), but at least I would not be paying for markup on 2 pumps. In the end I will still be spending more money than had he wait, but I wouldn't be paying what looks like a $200+ markup on the pump. He was charging $699 for this 2 wire 3/4hp pump and everything I have found was much cheeper. So if he would agree to just charging cost then I would pay and we get on with the show.

    BUT... he wouldn't even let me share the 2 options that I could live with. His last parting words were I am coming up to the house to pull the new pump and put your pump back in and we are done. Then he hung up on me. That's been a couple of days and haven't seen nor heard from him so now I am just waiting and trying to get in touch with him.

    Any advice would be appreciated. And the lesson learned so far is to EDUCATE myself before every letting someone do this kind of work or any work at my home.

    Thanks for your time and help.

    G.
  2. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    I would have bought a 800$ storage tank, a booster pump and put a pumtek on the existing pump, with a flow restrictor.

    You can work with a well above ground 'honestly' wheras the 'fraccers' can be a bunch of fokkers.
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,140
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    You say that the static water level is 40 feet. Fracturing shouldn't change it. Drilling deeper probably wouldn't change it.

    The "work" the pump has to do is based on the static water level and the draw-down/recovery rate. If the recovery rate is fast enough, there is little to no draw-down so the pump only needs to lift 40 feet regardless of how far down the well the pump is.

    If you don't improve the recovery rate, the larger HP pump just means you run out of water faster. The pump is somewhat self regulating, with the GPM dropping off as the water level drops. The only problem with that is when the GPM drops off so much that you don't have enough cooling flow past the motor.

    The size of the casing will determine the storage capacity of the well. A 6 inch casing holds about 1.5 gallons per foot of water. The size of the casing along with the GPM draw and recovery rate determines the cooling flow. When the well storage is being drawn down, or the water is entering from above, the water flows over the pump, not over the motor, so a shroud may need to be placed over the pump motor. The shroud forces the water to flow past the motor and also concentrates the flow closer to the motor to aid cooling.
  4. gsaunders

    gsaunders New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Virginia
    I think I forgot to say that after fracturing it jumped from 1/8 GPM to 3/4 GPM.

    I did think about a storage tank, but I am not sure I have room in my water closet area to fit one. But I am not thinking that is what I should be doing.

    You didn't say, but did he prematurely put me into a new tank and should have waited for the fracture results?

    Can you expand a bit more on your post?

    Like what does a pumptek do and why a flow restrictor on existing pump?

    Thanks
  5. gsaunders

    gsaunders New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Virginia
    Understood... they were hoping fracturing would produce more flow. It only went from 1/8th GPM to 3/4 GPM. Now the option is to drill deeper and hope to hit more water. (Of course we could do above ground storage as ballvalve pointed out. Will investigate since nothing is being done at the moment)

    We have a 6 inch casing. My main concern was if we dug deeper and didn't get any more flow then my only gain is how much water is retained in the well so we could put a pump lower to have access to more retained / stored water. If this happens then my understanding is how much water do I need / want access to based on our peak usage and then calculate the pump size needed to work. I understand their are electrical issues to be concerned with as I only have 2 wire 12 gauge so I can only go but so low. My house is 100ft from well so that limits how far I could put a pump down before having to change electrical.

    One of the many questions I ultimately have is did this fellow have me prematurely buy a pump instead of just waiting to see if the fracture worked... and if it didn't then I can't see how he could size the pump without drilling the well to the agreed upon depth and testing.

    I guess this leads to a couple of other additional questions... I create another post for those.

    Thanks.
  6. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    A 3000 gallon tank outside. restrict flow to 1GPM. pumptek shuts off pump when water goes low. restarts automatically as set. tank stays full.

    Id still do that with .75 per min.
  7. gsaunders

    gsaunders New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Virginia
    I take it the tank would be insulated some how against freezing? Or is it buried in the ground? I can do some google searching on this... don't want to take too much of your time.
  8. gsaunders

    gsaunders New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Virginia
    I am not sure where I could put an underground or above ground tank as I am in mountainous area and not a lot of places to do this. At least no place convenient or close due to the way things are laid out.

    I do see they make some that will fit in house through doorway. Found a Norwesco 500 gallon tank for $590 that would fit in my basement room where the water comes in... nothing bigger could get into the house... at least nothing I could find through some quick searches.

    Of course I can't pursue any of this until the well guy makes his decision on whether he wants to finish the job or not. His pump guy blew up and wants to pull the new pump and call it quits so the well guy may follow. Actually the well guy said the same thing, but he then said he would call me back... but so far can't get him in the past 3 days so I don't know what the deal is.

    I made a verbal agreement and I would like to follow it through if I could get some communication going and work something out with the pump guy if the pump has to be replaced right after he said put one in.
  9. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Around here you can get a 2500 gallon green tank for about 6 or 700 bucks. That amount of water doesnt freeze for me, and I am on the side of a mountain at 3,000 feet with a few months with quite cold weather. Its only 8' in diameter, just superinsulate the feed pipes. your booster pump can be inside.
  10. gsaunders

    gsaunders New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Virginia
    Thank you for your feedback.
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