What can you tell me about my well pit?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by Reach4, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,112
    Location:
    IL
    What do I have in my well pit? The flange is about 4 or 5 inches off of the floor. One of the bolt holes of the flange is being used to run the two wires to the Sta-rite 170 ft down in a 190ft 4-inch casing. The well used to have a 3-wire pump, but it was replaced with a 2-wire.

    I think that the steel pipe through the pit wall was turned into a conduit to pass the blue pipe into the basement.

    What is under the flange, do you think? Is that flange carrying the weight of the pump etc, or is just covering something else? White stuff at base of flange is some remaining soap. I washed things from up top before the picture. I am reaching in through the 18.5 inch square opening at maybe 1/2 inch above ground level.

    I think the bolts are 7/16-20. I know that is a standard size. I measured by threading a 7/16 dowel into a bolt hole, and examining the marks. The flange says "LA GRANGE IL, USA" on the right part of the flange as viewed in the picture. I have not identified other writing on the rusty flange.

    There was a fragment of the blue plastic piping on the floor of the pit. I don't remember where I put it, but it will show up.

    I understand a well pit could not be built today. If I were to get mine changed out to a pitless with the casing extended 12 inches above ground, and if the basement is 18 feet away, what would I budget for that job, do you think? If I did it, I expect I would wait until I had other well work needed.

    huge_well2.jpg
  2. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    891
    Location:
    ct
    That flange is actually a well seal. That bolt hole isn't really a bolt hole, it's a threaded hole for a vent so the well can breathe.

    The well seal is designed to be strong enough to hold the weight of the drop pipe, wire and pump. I have seen 6" well seals holding 600' of 1" steel pipe.

    Around here the cost to extend 6" casing runs between $750-$1250 depending on how much pipe is used, how long it takes to pull the seal and pump etc.

    If you have 4" casing, you're not going to be able to use a standard B10x type pitless unless you use a 3" Grundfos pump.
  3. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,112
    Location:
    IL
    Thanks.
    1. How would you do a cold area well with a 4-inch casing? Would you use the 3" Grundfos pump usually, or is there another way to keep the pipes below the frost line while extending the casing a foot out of the ground?

    2. On that threaded hole... does 7/16-20 (UNF) sound right, and is there some kind of standard vent extension made to screw into that hole?
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,112
    Location:
    IL
    It looks like a device like this could allow the clearance for a more conventional pump into a 4-inch casing. Is this a non-standard pitless? I guess it would be a little trickier to use. huge5.jpg
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,919
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    The pitless on my well has no visible protrusion inside the casing. Mind you, my casing is 6" so that in itself is moot. Around here, 6" casing is the norm.

    I suppose one could use larger diameter casing to extend above the current 4".
  6. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    891
    Location:
    ct
    I can tell you that working through an 18" hole is a pain in the ass.

    You could use one of those blind hole pitless adapters, but it will be a serious pain to install. You have to put the hole in the casing and then the receiver clamps on from the outside. Not much room to work and it has to be perfectly aligned.

    You could have someone machine and weld up an adapter to go from 4" to 6" casing, but that will be expensive.

    From a service/installer point of view, I'd use a B10x type and a 3" pump.

    That hole where the wire comes through is NOT 7/16 UNC, it is pipe thread, more than likely 3/4 or 1" NPT
  7. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,112
    Location:
    IL
    The hole at the top is the one that is open, and I guess serves as a vent. I should re-measure thread somehow, but I am confident that the ID is very close to 3/8 inch. And I was able to screw a 7/16 dowel into the hole. huge_well1a.jpg
  8. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    891
    Location:
    ct
    Well that's a different pic than was shown originally.....

    It looks like there is a broken off 1/2" nipple in there
  9. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,425
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Yeah there should be a 1/2" female pipe thread in that hole.
  10. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,112
    Location:
    IL
    huge_well4a.jpg Here is a different snap.
  11. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,425
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    There must have been a tall vent pipe that broke off.

    If you can get down there to weld it, a weld on pitless, or maybe a clamp on pitless will leave room for a 4" pump.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  12. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,112
    Location:
    IL
    I took more pictures today, concentrating on that hole. huge_well7a.jpg The fibers are from the wet 7/16 poplar dowel rod I used the other day to try to make an impression of the inside. It was not so durable.
    I also tried using a cheap bore hole camera today, but it focuses too far away to be of use for this..
  13. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    891
    Location:
    ct
    Clearly there is a broken nipple in there.

    If I were to try to remove it, I would use a small, sharp chisel and drive it in in such a way as to slice that nipple from top to bottom. After it is cut, drive the chisel in around he edges to pull it away from the threads. Chase the threads with a tap and put in a piece of copper tubing for a vent.

    Or put on a new seal
  14. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,112
    Location:
    IL
    I did a bunch of work trying to seal things up. Applying pressure through the fitting I had glued into the hole, I had bubbling not only from the wires, which I had applied sealant to, but also from the edges of the central fitting.

    It is not allowed for a well installer here to replace a seal in a pit. I expect an installer I am meeting with to remove the pit lid, and two walls of the 4. Then weld on an adapter to the existing 4 inch casing. Then to attach a piece of 5 inch steel casing out of the ground (I presume welded also). The 5 inch piece will have a pitless, but I don't know what the design will be. The pitless will have to be low in the 5 inch casing to stay at the frost line. It will have to not restrict clearance to allow a pump down the 4 inch casing. It will have to extend the drop pipe fitting enough to fit the 4 inch casing. I am thinking of something like the B10x, but it seems to me that it would have to have a slightly extended arm to bring it over the 4 inch casing.

    This pump man has done several such conversions. I plan to keep the old Trim-line pump for now, although if it fails in a few months I will be sorry. He would like to put in a new 3-inch Grundfos with controller.
  15. wondering

    wondering New Member

    Messages:
    105
    My well seal has a threaded bolt(plastic) in it which has to be a vent but it is screwed down in there. If it is screwed down how does it vent? Does it matter that it is like that or should I unscrew it some or remove it? I figured it was to keep bugs out. Is there a replacement with screen?
  16. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    891
    Location:
    ct
    This so freaking easy to convert I can't believe it.

    Pull the pump and wire out, install the pitless in the casing that is already sticking up in the pit, clean up the top of the casing with a grinder then weld on a coupling then your extension, extend the conduit for your wire and drop in an SQE Grundfos.

    You don't need a B10x, why spend twice as much when an import pitless will do the same job and support the same weight for 1/2 the money?
  17. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,112
    Location:
    IL
    What is an "import pitless"? I presume you are not referring to a Chinese knockoff. A B10x is less than $100.

    The 4 inch casing extends 4 or 5 inches out of the floor of the pit. Just extending the 4 inch casing with 4 inch casing would seem to have some limitiations:
    1.I might be limited to the Grundfos SQ/SQE pumps if the pitless was not a clearway type , which may or may not be a problem.
    2. The welder could not climb out of the access port with the extension casing in place. Maybe there is technology to allow the extension to be added while working above ground?
    3. I was told there is a regulation requiring demolishing of the pit (top plus at least 2 walls) for any work where the seal is replaced. I don't have independent citation for that.

    A Grundfos 10SQE07-240 plus controller pretty expensive including large parts markup (80%?) from installer. Do you feel that the electronic pumps are as reliable as the more traditional pumps? I see statements of average life of 7 years for electronic and I expect 14 or more years from conventional. I read people saying that the SWE pumps go bad with reports of a power spike when other things in the home had no problem. Maybe that is due to people having a tendency to make a report when things go wrong but not when they keep working for 20 years.
  18. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,425
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    I believe the SQE with the VFD “controller” have only been in existence for 14 years. During that time they have made many changes trying to solve some of the problems. I believe they are now in “generation 7”. Which means they have been redesigned 7 times in 14 years. Surely they have made them a little better than the first models that came out. However, the company still hasn’t admitted that most of the problems of varying the pump speed are caused by limitations of the laws of physics and can never really be solved.

    The ruse is that variable speed pumps save energy. The reality is they are moneymakers because they cost more and don’t last as long as conventional pumps. The “controller” is called a CU301. You should Google “CU301 problems” before making a decision. It is more likely that many have paid for a second or third controller without complaining, as people just expect problems from electronic controllers the same way they expect problems from any computer.

    When you finally realize VFD’s do not save energy, regularly throwing down $800 for a new controller is an exercise in futility. If you don’t let them cycle repeatedly, conventional pumps will last many times longer than anything with a computer.
  19. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    891
    Location:
    ct
    A B10x is about $100, while a Boshart is like $48 and the B10x isn't significantly any stronger. You would never know the difference except in your wallet.

    4-5" above the floor of the pit is plenty of room for a pitless

    You can use a B10x knockoff with a 4" well if you use a 3" pump.

    Technology available? Weld the coupling on the inside surface to the existing casing and then screw a piece of pipe into the coupling to complete the entension.

    We fill the pits with sand after we do the job.

    If you have doubts about the SQE you can always use the SQ series. We pulled one a few weeks ago that lasted 18 years in a steel cased 4" well.
  20. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,425
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Craig, are you sure about that 18 year old SQ? The oldest catalog I have with an SQ or SQE is from 2000, which would be 14 years. The 1998 catalog I have still has the “Jet-Sub”, which was the predecessor of the SQ or SQE if you remember that nightmare. I think I remember the first SQ type pumps came out in 1999, which would only be 15 years, if I am adding right.
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