Question? Just ask us!
Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair
InspectAPedia ® Home
WATER PUMPS, TANKS, TESTS, WELLS, REPAIRS
WATER CONSERVATION MEASURES
WATER CONTAMINANT LEVELS
WATER FILTERS, HOME USE
WATER HAMMER NOISE DIAGNOSE & CURE
WATER ODORS, CAUSE CURE
WATER PUMP REPAIR GUIDE
WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WATER TANK REPAIR PROCEDURES
WATER TANK: USES, TROUBLESHOOTING
WATER TESTS, CONTAMINANTS, TREATMENT
WATER TREATMENT EQUIPMENT CHOICES
WELLS CISTERNS & SPRINGS
WELL CHLORINATION & DISINFECTION
WELL FLOW RATE
WELL WATER PRESSURE DIAGNOSIS
WELL YIELD IMPROVEMENT
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
Submersible well pumps:
This article describes the components of a submersible well pump water system, how the pump, well and controls work, what the well pump components look like, and what they do. We give submersible well pump troubleshooting advice and invite questions.
We include definitions of water well and water well drilling terms, the typical capacity of drilled water well pumps, and we include descriptions of methods used to fish materials out of a water well if you've dropped the pipe, well pump, or tools down into the well casing.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2015 InspectApedia.com, All Rights Reserved.
Here we provide detail about the individual components and operating characteristics of drilled wells using a steel casing where a submersible water pump has been installed in the well to deliver water to the building.
Our photo (left) shows the process of pulling a well pipe and submersible pump.
[Click to enlarge any image]
We introduced the different types of drilled wells and bored wells
Rather than an in-well submersible water pump, other wells use a one line or two line jet pump (depending on well depth) - in those wells the pump is above ground rather than in the well. Those well types are discussed in more detail at
Refer to this rough sketch of a deep well with a submersible pump. This list and definition of water well parts and terms is organized from the top of the drawing towards its bottom and uses names that correspond to those shown in our drawing.
First we describe items listed on the right side of our sketch, second we describe items and terms listed on the left side of the sketch.
Definitions of well and water pump items shown on the sketch right side, top to bottom:
Here we see an illustration of the details of a submersible well pump at left, and at right additional details of a submersible pump well design, courtesy of Carson Dunlop's sketch. The letters at each definition are keyed to our rough deep well sketch higher on this article .
[Click to enlarge any image]
A submersible deep well water pump (the pump is physically inside the well and at or close to the bottom of the well piping) can typically raise water from depths of 30-feet to hundreds of feet, and at water delivery rates of 4 gpm 25 gpm depending on the variables that we list below. Submersible well pumps are typically offered in horsepower ratings of 1/2 HP, 3/4 HP, 1 HP, and 1 1/2 HP.
At WATER PUMP CAPACITIES TYPES RATES GPM we compare the pumping capacities of one line jet pumps, two line jet pumps, submersible well pumps, and other water pumping methods.
Rated water flow rates for pumps range (by horsepower and model) from a nominal 6 gpm to 35 gpm.
Watch out: installing a higher capacity well pump may indeed give faster water flow and higher water system pressure, but if the pump is not properly matched to the well's safe flow rate (by pump selection or pump controls) you can pump all of the water out of your well, run dry, damage the pump, etc.
A nice example table of Deep Well Submersible Well Pump Capacities is provided in the Water Ace 4-inch (diameter) Submersible Well Pump Installation Manual and excerpted below to illustrate the factors that determine well pump capacity. We have sharpened the text and provided a larger, more legible table (click to enlarge) than the original.
In selecting a well pump the well depth as well as water flow requirements must be considered. While jet pumps have a pickup placed typically 5-feet above the well bottom, when installing a submersible pump it is placed ten feet above the well bottom (maximum) or ten feet below the draw down limit for the well.
[Click to enlarge any image]
The Water Ace charts (shown in part above) make clear that the capacity of a deep well pump to deliver water at a given flow rate varies by these factors:
Permission requested, Water Ace Corp. Aug 2010 - Pentair Pump Group.
Water Ace asserts that a typical 3-4 bedroom home requires a water delivery rate of 8-12 GPM.
Watch out: the water delivery rate at plumbing fixtures is determined by the water pump as well as building water supply piping and controls. But it is a number independent of the ability of the well itself to deliver a sustained water flow - the well yield. The water delivery rate is also independent of the total quantity of water that can be run before you run out.
See WELL FLOW RATE
Watch out: Safety warnings are throughout any pump manufacturer's instructions. Because some pump models are capable of developing internal pressures of more than 100 psi, if your building piping, pressure relief valves, safety controls, wiring, and plumbing are not properly installed, very dangerous conditions including electrical shock, tank explosion, and leaks or floods can occur.
Continue reading at PUMP, SUBMERSIBLE OPERATION or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.
Suggested citation for this web page
Green link shows where you are in this article series.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: where can I hire a submersible pump in Australia?
Living in this Country for 30 years I cannot find an answer for this simple question - where to hire a submersible pump for a well described below. There is a 4" well 500' deep. Nothing is known regarding its output. I try to help my friend to get it going (it is in a pretty remote part of Sydney, on the outskirts of the city - Blue Mountains area) - but I cannot find a soul to help us, or trace of Australian company (in Sydney area!) to be willing to get involved in the subject.
Sir! - Any suggestions? - We would be really grateful for for a help. You might have some "french connections" in this "little" country. Many thanks and regards from Down-Under Mark
Reply: Contact a local well driller for assistance. Or purchase a submersible pump - that is probably less costly than hiring (renting) a unit for any longer period
I am not familiar with the hiring of submersible pumps as in my experience, the pump is an item that people purchase and install for longer term use. One would not hire such a unit given its comparatively low purchase cost of a submersible pump compared with the much greater cost of actually installing the pump, piping, controls, etc. to provide a working water supply system.
An exception, and the one that appears to be your case, is the need to test a well flow rate capacity before attempting to connect it to a building's water supply system. Well drillers often employ a temporary pump unit that is used during the well drilling process and at the completion of well drilling to confirm the flow rate of the well.
There also are companies who specialise in well testing services using a portable, and completely self-contained well testing services, though we find these employed principally in the oil and gas industry not the water well industry. And there are manufacturers who supply pre-packaged well stimulation and testing equipment "off the shelf". These are normally purchased by well drillers, but may be available for rental from a manufacturer or supplier in Australia.
For that purpose the driller has purchased a pump and necessary piping and controls, all of which are temporarily connected above ground just to test the well water flow, and are not connected to the building water supply piping.
If this is the sort of application that you need, you might be able to obtain that service for hire by contacting a well driller in your area. But even in this case, unless your need for a hired pump (we say "rented" in the U.S.), is needed for just 24- hours, it will still, most likely, be less costly to buy and assemble what's needed.
A more sophisticated version of a well-proving pump used to test flow rate involves a submersible pump installation whose pumping rate can be adjusted. A well driller uses this approach to find the actual rate of water in-flow into the well at different depths or to find the overall number. If I have misunderstood your application, please clarify and we can try again to be of assistance.
For determining the well flow rate using a temporary submersible pump, you will need:
All of these are equipment that a well driller has on hand and regularly employs.
Our article WELL FLOW RATE may also be of assistance - a true well flow rate needs to be measured over a longer time period - usually 24-hours. You will also want to read WELL YIELD DEFINITION and since the properties of the well you are exploring will vary at different depths, take a look at Drill Stem Testing.
If I have misunderstood your application, please clarify and we can try again to be of assistance. Please keep me posted on how things progress in your own application, and send along photos or other details of what you are trying to do and of your well equipment if you can. Such added details can help us understand what's happening and often permit some useful further comment. What we both learn may help me help someone else.
Question: pipe sizes for well piping
(Mar 21, 2014) siva said:
kindly sugggest me how to select the pvc pipe grade for 2 hp texmo submersible pump . deep 600feet. ( how i can choose thickness of pipe & pressure range of pipe & wire thick for poer conection.
Siva, standard ABS or PVC well piping sizes (diameters) are stocked by your local plumbing supplier and are chosen based on distance and needed flow rate; typically for residential piping we see 1 to 2 inch diameter. Well piping in residential ranges is not provided with varying pipe wall thickness.
Question: what is "rapid" well pump cycling & what does it mean?
(June 23, 2014) Dave dow said:
IF you are running about 3 gpm then in 3.33 minutes you're using about 9-10 gallons of water, which is not an unreasonable draw-down cycle for a typical home pump and tank system.
IF more fixtures are running you'll see the pump run more often, and if you begin to draw water faster than the pump and well can deliver it then the pump will run continuously during that time.
More useful might be to keep an eye (or ear) on the pump cycle frequency to see if it increases. If the pump begins to "short cycle" - turn on and off more and more often, you probably will need to add air to the pressure tank OR find another problem to fix.
Question: pipe diameter vs flow rate vs head vs pump horsepower
(June 24, 2014) Mike T. said:
I agree that the head pressure in an uphill pumping system can be significant. That's why you may need a check valve on the line to avoid loss of prime when the pump stops.
The pumping rate of various well pumps is indeed given in more detail by a table or chart that shows the pump's output capacity as a function of the head or "lift" that the pump has to overcome. Other key factors are the horsepower of the motor, voltage levels, and possibly piping constrictions.
Question: limits of height of water column above a submersible well pump?
(Sept 23, 2014) N.S.Sreenivasan said:
The pump rated lift capacity is the vertical distance from the pump bottom or entry point or water pick-up point and the highest point in the well piping between pump and building's water pressure tank or point of use.
That distance is given regardless of the height of the water column or static head in the well at least in part because it's the water inside the well pipe that the pump has to lift or push up - almost always a higher point than the water column in the well casing
Question: humming well pump, spurting water
(Oct 1, 2014) Anonymous said:
Sounds like a failing pump, or dropped water level in the well, or a leak in well piping.
Question: well pump comments & questions
Rose Henderson said:
I'm getting a new pump soon, and I'm trying to learn more about it before I make any decisions. All I know is the pressure on my current pump is pretty pathetic, and I've been told I should just replace the system because that would be more cost effective. I'm still a bit lost as to what I need to do, but at least I have this to refer to if I need it. Thank you!
(Dec 24, 2014) Anonymous said:
2 Jan 2015 Anonymous said:
Water Well Question
I have a 1HP submerged water pump. I am getting full 240 volts to the control box. I replaced control box considering capacitor or relay may not be working.
Check the resistance with the wires disconnected from the control (and power off)
Question: Water pressure goes from fine to a trickle before pump cuts on
4 Jan 2015 Miriam Johnston said:
Check for a clogged pump pressure control switch sensor port or clogged tube conducting water pressure to the pressure switch.
Re-posting Jim Furgeson's comment without link (security)
Jim Furgeson said:
Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
Search the InspectApedia website
HTML Comment Box is loading comments...
Technical Reviewers & References