While there are many different types of pump systems, essentially there are only two common in our area. They are "JET PUMP SYSTEMS" and "SUBMERSIBLE PUMP SYSTEMS". Jet pumps are used almost exclusively on 2" and smaller diameter wells. The principals of operation, types, etc. can be found on the 2" Well Info Page. Here, we will define the advantages of these different systems and offer direction to the next step: Conventional or Constant Pressure (often referred to as Variable Speed).
Can I have my pump installed in my basement or crawl space to keep it from freezing?
Yes. Any buried suction line that connects the well to the pump must be enclosed within a pressurized conduit. That means you need concentric piping, or two pipes inside of each other. You will have a lot more noise every time the pump runs, though! See this page.
No, but it is not necessary, the pump is safe from freezing by being installed in the well. It is also much quieter at 3 AM when someone gets up to get a glass of water...
I don't have a basement or crawl space. Where does the pump go?
You will need a pump house. To meet code, it must have a hinged or removable roof and must be heated in freezing weather to keep pump from being damaged. It doesn't have to be pretty!
In the well.
I have been told that you can't install a submersible system in my area. Is this true?
No. There are extreme cases where it would be necessary to have a suction-based system, but not anywhere in our area of Wisconsin. For instance, if you have a very narrow formation of fresh water above salt water or oil bearing water (Michigan has areas like this), you may choose to install a system that "sips" the water from the top formation, instead of placing the well screen in the middle and extending the casing into the troublesome formation.
No. See left.
Which system is cheaper to run OVER TIME?
Figure your system produces an average of 5 (GPM) gallons of water per minute over the life of your well. That means that your 1/2 HP jet pump must run (i.e. using electricity) for about 12 seconds for each and every gallon of water it pumps. Each time you make a pot of coffee, wash your hands, take a shower, your pump runs for a longer period of time.
See chart below.
Figure your system produces an average of 12 (GPM) gallons of water per minute over the life of your well. That means that your 1/2 HP submersible pump must run for about 5 seconds for each and every gallon of water it pumps! Each time you make a pot of coffee, wash your hands, take a shower, your pump runs for a shorter period of time.
See chart below.
Size of Well
Do I have to prime my well pump any time it has been drained or winterized?
Yes! If your jet pump is run dry for only a short time, serious damage may occur to the pump.
No. The pump is always "primed" because it is always submersed in the well water.
I have heard that all I need is a 2" well. Will I have enough water?
What is "enough"? Will you be able to run more than one fixture at a time with a new, properly constructed 2" well? Sure. For awhile. Will you have as much volume and pressure as a 4" PVC well with the same horsepower submersible pump? No.
How much water do you want?
Will my well need to have a screen changed in the next decade and a half or so?
SUBMERSIBLE PUMPS are superior to jet pumps in virtually every category. They never need to be primed, because they are always immersed in water. They develop more pressure than a centrifugal or jet pump for the same rated horse power. The system is quieter than having the pump located in your basement or crawl space. The motor is cooled more efficiently by the cold well water than a jet pump is by the circulating air. The entire pump hook-up is less complicated and easier to maintain. The submersible pump is protected from freezing as it is down in the well. It is easier to push water than pull it. For the past 40-50 years, it has been the optimum way to supply your home with well water!
For many years, the primary reason people have had 2" wells installed in this area has been the low cost of a 2" well & pump system as opposed to that of a submersible system. People have become accustomed to settling for a 2" well & jet pump system because they did not want to have to spend more money. You do not have to "settle for less" any more.
IF YOU USE 50 GALLONS OF WATER PER DAY (multiply this by the number of people using the water):
The following list will give you an idea how long your pump system will run in order to pump the water you need (per person@50 Gal Per Day).
1 HOUR, 10 MINUTES
29 MINUTES, 10 SECONDS
60 HOURS, 49 MINUTES, 48 SECONDS (3,650 MINUTES)
25 HOURS, 20 MINUTES, 49 SECONDS (1,503.80 MINUTES)
912 HOURS, 30 MINUTES (54,750 MINUTES)
375 HOURS, 57 MINUTES (22,557 MINUTES)
Typical Jet Pump @ 5 Gallons Per Minute
Typical Standard Submersible Pump
@ 12 GPM
OK, THAT IS 537.5 HOURS less run time over the typical life of a 2" well! That means that during that time, your jet pump will run for OVER 22 DAYS LONGER! 24 hours per day for over 3 weeks longer. Just to pump the same amount of water! That is a lot of electricity!
50 gallons of water PER PERSON PER DAY is considered a base standard per person per day.
4 MINUTES, 10 SECONDS
In addition, you have to consider that the 2" well screen will need to be replaced in about 10-20 years at the average, if you intend to continue to support that 5 gallons per minute. That is typically a fairly expensive operation.