Michigan well replacement troubles

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Adolphus

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Happy holiday. I'm replacing a 25 year old submersible in a 4" metal casing well. I ignored the depth, still don't know for sure.
I have one of those old Merrill pitless adapters seen in a thread in this forum which helped me immensely. Thanks Terry for hosting this treasure.
Using the info here, I was able to free the pitless adapter which was at 5' depth, with a self made tool and it loosened after a few hours of trying.
After freeing the pitless adapter, continued to pull and when the adapter was out, I ran into the fact I have a rigid 1.25" pvc pipe between the pitless and the pump.
So far, I've pulled about 5' above the pitless and a good 25' below and I think the pump just reached the bottom of the pitless' mouth and I'm very stuck.
My biggest problem is that I have a ton of piping dangling above that I wasn't ready for and it pains me to see it crack or bend. I needed this finished this weekend... I'll attach a photo of the setup.
I think my choices are, to cut the pvc pipe, but it worries me to drop the pump if there's not a bunch outside. I am 70 years old and have my wife that has helped immensely but I definitely think I'm in a pickle. I welcome your suggestions, criticism and encouragement. On a holiday, there's very few people you can call for help.
Thank you~!

Well replacement Michigan.jpg
 

Reach4

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If I understand correctly, you are not stuck, but you are worried that the PVC pipe will get stressed and break when you come out of the ground more?

This weekend puts a limit on things. With more time, I would be looking for a Grundfos SQ 3 inch pump rather than using a 4 inch pump down your steel casing. A new pump from Tractor Supply or Home Depot may be 3.9 inches OD. After many years, stuff gets onto the steel, and can cause a hangup.

Your old 4 inch pump may be a slimline/trimline pump that is 3.75 od, and your new pump may be bigger.

Anyway, I am thinking to keep lifting and let the pipe flex. As you lift, you need to cut the tape for the wires. It looks like your electrical wire is up pretty high, and that is not going to work. Use new tape when putting stuff back. Your drop pipe is probably one inch, which is 1.315 inches OD.

Are your PVC joints glued, or are there threaded couplings, which is the normal thing. Couplings can be stainless steel, or heavy PVC. So whatcha got?

With time, if you are going to do your own well work, you could make the drop pipe be SIDR polyethylene pipe. You should connect that to the pitless adapter with an extra long insert adapter that can accept 3 stainless worm gear clamps.

I am not a pro, and I have a pro do my well work.

One more thing... I presume you are doing this because the old pump failed. If there is a control box, the failure could have been the control box, including a failure of the start capacitor inside the box.

There is more than one kind of old Merrill pitless adapter. I have the Merrill SMCK pitless, which is the stainless steel version of the MCK pitless. Ideally you replace the o-ring on a pitless when you pull the pump.
 
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Adolphus

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Thank you for your reply Reach4,

I'm unclear if the O-ring on the pitless is still available for sale, however, it's in very good shape, supple and in one piece, If unavailable I was going to lube it with a food safe lube and put it back on.

Pump was still working but I was only getting 43lb and getting worse, I'm thinking it's just old and or, the check valve failed. But it was still running. I was hoping not to have to call a pro because of financial reasons, however, that is not ruled out if it gets to that.

There's a 1.33" OD 5' pvc section on top of the pitless, it's threaded and screwed into it. Below the pitless, it's 1.66" OD, I'm guessing,1.25" and 1.5" Inner respectively. However, this drop pipe has not shown any joints yet and there's probably a 25" length already out. If it breaks, I plan to get a flex pipe of the kind you suggested instead. For rigid you need a tripod or a tower. Already my ladder is insufficient with my constraints.

My new pump is 3-3/8" in diameter with a section where the wire protrudes in a casing where it's 3.5". I think in that respect, I'll be ok on the way back in.

I am stuck at the moment. It seems that the pump may have reached the pitless adapter mouth on the casing and it's hard to pull.
I think the position of the "mast" now influences everything. We're trying repositioning the top and then pulling.'
I've used a small jack and levers to pull this far, since even both of us cannot muster the strength to lift it clear.
I'm sure that if I had a couple strong guys show up, it would go easy.
Came in for a bite and cool off, hot day.
At this point, we have reserve water in the house for a couple days.
Thank you again for your advice and cautions.
 

Reach4

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I would use Molykote 111 or Dow #7 release compound for lube because I have them, but Danco https://www.danco.com/product/0-5-oz-silicone-faucet-grease/ . would be good.

My notes say "O ring" is MCKOR ... if that is the same thing!
https://www.dsgsupply.com/Product/Merrill-Manufacturing-MCKOR has some dimensions.
O ring is merrill part MCKOR
See page 59 and 54 of catalog. merrill_catalog2016

While you have access, what dimensions do you read on the O-ring?

Some O-rings are perfectly happy with petroleum jelly as the lube, but the silicone grease is good for everything including natural rubber.

Note the hanger bar would have had marks at the top of the casing to mark the orientation.
 
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Adolphus

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Thanks for your reply,
Well, it's out. It gave us fits going past the pitless mouth, mainly because our mast was bent but we yanked it with a big lever and a chain attached to an boat oar support ring I had in my shed. All in all yep it was tough about 8-10 hours of heavy work but spread along two days. Thank you for your support, it was priceless.
After it came out, we covered the well and we took rescue from the bugs. We'll be assembling the new pump to the pipe in the garage. Wiring it, taping the wire, etc. I'll be taking measurements and notes after a well deserved break. Will post to the end of the repair. Thanks Terry for hosting this forum!!
At 70, we still can :D

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Adolphus

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Thank you for your information regarding the O-ring, I just ordered one online for overnight delivery, let's see how it goes!
 

Reach4

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Take photos of both labels on the pump. One will be on the Franklin motor on the bottom, and the "wet end" above the motor. The motor will have a date code and the horsepower. The wet end will have a model number which indicates the GPM. I would guess 1/2 hp 7 gpm.

Measure the waterline mark on the drop pipe. That indicates your static water level. Looks to be about 4 ft below the pitless.

Measure how long the total pipe is.
Measure how far down the pitless is.

How are the PVC pieces coupled together. 20-ft long sticks of white schedule 80 PVC with couplers between sticks is the norm for a professional install today.

It will be lighter on the way down because the pipe will not be filled with water.
 

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You can bend that sch 80 pipe more than you think. Just don't bend it too much at the threads. You can even plumb everything together and tape the wire to the pipe laid out on the ground. I just stand in the back of a truck lowering the pump in the well as someone else helps push the pipe up over the cab and keep a big arch in it. I can set a 200' deep pump in less than 2 minutes this way.
 

Adolphus

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Hey Reach4, Valveman, thanks for your replies and your excellent advice.

As a mater of fact, when we broke through being stuck and it finally ascended, I had to release all my guy wire type supports above and it just arched over while I cringed and my wife closed her eyes. But it did not fail, break or bend anywhere. We moved the ladder to support the arch and yanked the thing out of the hole. It had a good arch going, I was amazed and grateful.
Wish I'd had an extra hand to take a few shots of that event.
The pipe was not full of water when we pulled it up we're just old and weak, lol. I rigged, levered and jacked all the way up. My guess before taking it apart, is that the spring on the built in check valve rusted or fatigued. After pitless was released, it came out smooth until the photo you saw with about 15" below it. Then it got stuck. It scraped some rust off the casing evident on the area of the inlet. The well has a Wells Inc. Cap they possibly drilled the well too. It appeared to have a lip where the pitless flipper was wedged. Or maybe that was surface rust. I had lowered a cheap endoscope for light and looking around when I saw that.

Distance between the pitless and the support bar is 56" Between the pitless and the pump which has a built in check valve with the eyelets for rope support it's 22' It is a single length of pipe and it's joined at the pitless and the pump with threads. They look good. The water line is 4'6" below the pitless. It's not perfectly marked, but I pulled an average between the full red and where it had barely any. It is a single length of pipe.
Re: the old pump, I could've sworn I had a 1hp down there but it's a 1/2. You know your stuff! The bottom does not have a label, it looks solid like one of those designed to sit at a bottom. I hope I'm not that close from a bottom, since I'm adding around 12" to my total length between the length of the new pump and my added bushing and external check valve called by the pump label.
The inlets did not have a mesh anymore if they ever did. Again, I've yet to put it on the bench and clean it up. Since it still works, I'm going to find an easier job for it around here.
It has a date code of 21/08/73 apparently. I didn't meet my wife until the Summer of '79 and we've been married since. If that's the date, it's a great product.

Thank you!!
Photos of old pump and new pump attached.

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Adolphus

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The water from this well is absolutely fantastic. I'm on the edge of a very large hunting reserve in the middle of the woods. I use this water as is for everything. Tastes fantastic, been drinking it for years. I use it for aquariums, directly without any chemistry and shrimp and tropical fish love it. My dogs and my plants as well. We are truly blessed. This new pump is, in all likelihood not as good as the Franklin Electric but I just don't have 400 for a pump. I'm testing it today before anything else and I'm very aware that this may have to be done again in less than it took with the old one. Globalization wrecked the world, now even globalists are dumping it. Time to rebuild local family enterprises and cooperatives.
 

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Going from a 10 GPM, 1/2HP pump to a 33 GPM, 1HP......cycling will be your problem. You can make that pump work like a 1/2HP pump without hurting it by using a CSV1A. Without the CSV you need at least a 119 gallon size pressure tank that holds about 30 gallons of water. Those 230V Hallmark pumps seem to be holding up fairly well so far. I have heard of problems with the 115V ones.
 

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Hi Valveman,
Thanks for taking the time to warn me! There is already a pressure tank installed, quite big and I always considered it overkill for the pressure we got since we got this place 3.5 years ago. It has never been higher than 50-52. Even then, we watered half acre of vegetables and flowers with it every year. This year it became either or. Nothing above 42. I'm attaching a photo of the label for the pressure tank, please let me know if it will suffice for this pump.

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Adolphus

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The new pump has a label that states that it has an internal check valve with a weep and mandate an external one. Also it reads, it may need a 1/8" weep hole in the external check valve pump side. What are your thoughts to this regard.
 

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Hi Valveman,
Thanks for taking the time to warn me! There is already a pressure tank installed, quite big and I always considered it overkill for the pressure we got since we got this place 3.5 years ago. It has never been higher than 50-52. Even then, we watered half acre of vegetables and flowers with it every year. This year it became either or. Nothing above 42. I'm attaching a photo of the label for the pressure tank, please let me know if it will suffice for this pump.
Looking up that number HB30T shows to only be a 26 gallon size tank? If so, it only holds about 6-7 gallons of water. Your new 33 GPM pump will fill that tank in less than 15 seconds. Without a CSV the tank needs to be large enough for the pump to run for at least 1 minute, 2 minutes is better, and longer runs times are even better for the motor. Four of those tanks would be a minimum without a CSV.

With a CSV that single tank is 4 times larger than you need, but will work fine.
 

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The new pump has a label that states that it has an internal check valve with a weep and mandate an external one. Also it reads, it may need a 1/8" weep hole in the external check valve pump side. What are your thoughts to this regard.
Now that's funny! Check valves are not supposed to "weep". The people at Hallmark are very nice and I have talked to them. They admit the internal check valve is not a good one and recommend an additional check valve on the pump discharge. But no check valve should "weep" or it is not checking.

With irrigation pumps sometimes people drill a hole in the flapper of the check so the water will drain back when the pump is manually turned off to keep the lines from freezing. But that doesn't work with a pressure tank system.
 

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Hey Cary, thanks for your advice,
I understand, they're probably covering their bases for people who use it as a pressurized system or for irrigation. So I will install a check, but not weeps!

Regarding the cycle stop valve. I just don't have another $200 this month. I will plan to add one soon for safety and longer lasting pump life. When the pump is not being used for irrigation, the pressure tank at 60 lb provides water for the house for many hours, it's just me all day and my wife at night. While I'm able to buy and install a CSV, I'm going to turn it off to prevent it from running when there's no demand, as I have been due to it running constantly because I chose not to adjust the pressure switch which I had set to stop at 60 lb.
However, when we're watering our vegetables and lawns, I can use it's whole capacity with very few breaks. When I finally looked at the old pump and I saw that it only was 1/2 hp, my first thought was to expand irrigation :D Anyway, I will pick one up as soon as I am able.
 

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Using a pump with such low max head the CSV125 will work fine and is only 89 bucks. But you can make it work with what you have if you are careful to irrigate with max pump flow and use very little water in the house. You should not have to turn off the pump to prevent it from running, just don't open any taps and the pressure switch will not start the pump.

As a work around, because that pump builds so little head, you can turn up the pressure switch to make it work like a smaller pump. With your static water level being only 5' down and having a pump that builds 207' of head max, it can also only pump 10 GPM at 184' of head which is the same as 79 PSI. Subtract your 5' water level and that pump can only do 10 GPM at 77 PSI. So, if you turn up the pressure switch to 57/77 it will act like and fill the tank like it is a 10 GPM pump instead of a 33 GPM pump.

That way your sprinkler zones only have to be 10 GPM to keep the pump from cycling. Although that doesn't mean you can't still use 30 GPM when you want, the pressure will only be 28 PSI because that is all the pump can produce at 30 GPM. In this way you stop the pump from cycling as long as you are using more than 10 GPM. And even using less than 10 GPM will not cycle the pump as fast. Most pumps build too much head to do this, but that one works as long as you don't go over 82 PSI for shut off.

Now that you know what causes cycling and how bad it is for your pump, you won't be able to hear it click on and off or listen to it fill the tank in just 15 seconds without cringing. There are some steps you can make with the pressure switch that will help as I mentioned, and being careful how you use water will reduce cycling. But if you want to be able to use water anyway you want without cycling the pump or worrying about it a Cycle Stop Valve is your best option.
 

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Hey Cary went and checked out the animation in your website, I couldn't make it clear in my mind how it would work and I actually thought we could end up with less pressure than we had. Now I understand exactly how a CSV works by just limiting the flow to a preset PSI. I will most definitely budget one, probably next month. I want to save money so I'm interested in the CSV125. However, I don't want to install it inside the well for a variety or reasons having to do with re-positioning my pitless adapter where it needs to go. My dimension from pitless to support bar has not changed, my flipper key is in place, operational and ready to tighten. I still have nightmares about positioning the thing in the right spot and sealing it. First well job for me, you know. But I've always been a good amateur plumber and pipefitter, mainly because I work clean and meticulous, trying not to break stuff you're fixing.

So does the CSV125 leak a lot? Can it be routed to an air conditioner water removal pump nearby? I would like to install it inside the house by the pressure tank. I would love to have a constant 60 lb pressure everywhere at all time. I read that it's set at the pressure from factory and cannot be changed or do you set them before you ship them out?

Do these install at a T junction above the pressure tank or inline anywhere before the pressure tank?
I'm shipping a picture of what my pressure tank area looks like so you can suggest a location.

Thanks for all your help!

20220531_161028.jpg
 
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Valveman

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Hey Cory went and checked out the animation in your website, I couldn't make it clear in my mind how it would work and I actually thought we could end up with less pressure than we had. Now I understand exactly how a CSV works by just limiting the flow to a preset PSI. I will most definitely budget one, probably next month. I want to save money so I'm interested in the CSV125. However, I don't want to install it inside the well for a variety or reasons having to do with re-positioning my pitless adapter where it needs to go. My dimension from pitless to support bar has not changed, my flipper key is in place, operational and ready to tighten. I still have nightmares about positioning the thing in the right spot and sealing it. First well job for me, you know. But I've always been a good amateur plumber and pipefitter, mainly because I work clean and meticulous, trying not to break stuff you're fixing.

So does the CSV125 leak a lot? Can it be routed to an air conditioner water removal pump nearby? I would like to install it inside the house by the pressure tank. I would love to have a constant 60 lb pressure everywhere at all time. I read that it's set at the pressure from factory and cannot be changed or do you set them before you ship them out?

Do these install at a T junction above the pressure tank or inline anywhere before the pressure tank?
I'm shipping a picture of what my pressure tank area looks like so you can suggest a location.

Thanks for all your help!

View attachment 83955

Yeah to be such a simple little valve the Cycle Stop Valve has a complicated explanation. But with a little understanding you get a multitude of benefits. Most of our customers are the ones who have had a lot of trouble with their well or booster pump over the years. Shelling out the Benjamin's to replace pumps and tanks on a regular basis causes people to start learning about pumps quickly. Our best customers are the ones who have tried everything else before finding the Cycle Stop Valve, as they have educated themselves the hard way, and really appreciate how the CSV solved their problems so easily and inexpensively.

The CSV125 is easy to install below the pitless. Just put it a couple feet below the pitless and it won't be in the way of anything. You can install the CSV125 outside the well also. But in Michigan the depth of a valve box is prohibitive. Installing the CSV in the well is usually much easier. If installed outside the well it needs to be before the tee to the irrigation or any hydrants.

Your picture shows only one pipe coming to the pressure tank, which means the CSV would need to be installed on the line coming from outside before it tees off to the house or irrigation. That tee could also just be up higher than the picture shows, but the CSV needs to go before any tee. Putting it in the well removes the worry about where the water lines tee off.

The CSV125 only leaks if you have sediment or something slimy like iron in the water. When it does start leaking it is normally just a drip. But if/when it becomes enough to need to be channeled away, the valve should be replaced. The CSV125 comes in 40, 50, or 60 PSI, and are not adjustable. With such a low head pump you need the -3 feature. To get 60 PSI constant that would be a CSV125-3 in 60 PSI and use a 50/70 pressure switch setting. The strong constant 60 PSI will save even more as you will no longer even need soap in the shower. Lol!
 

Adolphus

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Hi Cary thanks for your post.
Well, let me catch you up on this well. After testing the pump and building the pole stack, I lowered the pump, to find out that my pump, which is a bit longer than the 1/2 hp, hit bottom .8" short of my support bar :( I thought, just bury it in the silt, however, there was no such luck. Ended up cutting the drop pipe 5" below the pitless and shortened it by 2". Added some tube clamps over rubber tape with a good polypropylene rope for safety. Went down, set perfectly on the support bar, positioned it. Turned the pump on, and while it was gushing, I tightened the pitless key until there was only a little hiss. Tightened carefully couple more turns and hissing stopped. I had previously, while I had the pitless mouth hanging over the well pipe, ran the pump until water came clear. Then closed all my faucets except the garden hose and let it run. I have running water in the house!
My pressure, though is low for some reason. I have all kinds of problems to fix, from a possibly clogged sediment filter to air in pipes, to a possibly low pressure in the pressure tank. I wish I had the cash to pick up that $200 csv and pop it on there. It will come.
Meanwhile, I will clean filter, drain system, check air pressure and drain and clean all faucet screens. Water inside the house is good and any single faucet works with good pressure, but it goes away fast. Recovers soon. Pump seldom runs.

Any advice is welcome. Thanks for all your help!
 
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