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Selecting The Right Pump

Selecting the best pump for your needs will save you substantial time and money in both down time and energy costs. Plan for the future when determining your usage requirements. Are you going to irrigate a large garden, build another house on the property or acquire a herd of cows? These things will all require water. Putting in a pump much bigger than you need probably is a waste of money since pump life is as much related to starts and stops as it is running time.

Special Installation Tools For Threaded Pipe

The worst thing that can happen during a pump repair job is dropping the pump down the well. The skillet and bail are installation tools we recommend using to reduce the risk considerably. A skillet is a steel plate larger than the well diameter with a slot cut into it. The slot should be just big enough so that the drop pipe will slide through but the pipe coupling will not. A bail is a short pipe nipple with a steel loop welded onto one end. You will also need two 24" pipe wrenches, these also can be used to elevate the drop pipe in the absence of a skillet.

You will also need a heat source to shrink the submersible splice shrink tube. A propane torch or heat gun are ideal, a cigarette lighter will work.

Required Installation Materials

You will need waterproof tape, Teflon pipe joint compound, and a submersible splice kit.

Pre-Installation Preparation

Record well and pump data, include well depth, well diameter, static water level and who drilled the well. Record the pump make and model or serial number along with all the nameplate data on both the motor and pump. BE SURE TO CHECK THAT YOU RECEIVED THE PUMP YOU ORDERED! Make sure the motor and control box are the same voltage by looking on the manufacturers data which is usually stamped right on each componant.

Electrical Preparation
  1. Determine how much submersible pump cable you need. Include the distance from the motor through the well seal and to the control box.
  2. Splice the wires using a submersible splice kit. First, slip a shrink tube over each wire. Second, match each pump cable to each power cable by color and crimp the connectors.

This must be done with a crimping tool designed for the purpose. Cutter type pliers will often result in broken wires inside the connector where they can’t be seen. After crimping, grab both ends of each wire and tug sharply. You should not be able to pull them apart. Next slide the shrink tube over the crimp connection and apply heat until sealant flows from both ends of the shrink tubes.

Installing The Control Box

Three wire submersible motors require a control box. Control boxes contain a starting relay, starting capacitors and in some cases overload protectors. Two wire submersible motors have these components built into them and do not require a control box.

One benefit of using a three wire motor with a control box is that some of the components that are subject to failure are located above ground where you can get to them without pulling the pump.

Control boxes should never be mounted in direct sunlight or in locations that are extremely hot, this causes the capacitor life to be shortened and can cause nuisance overload trips. Do not mount the control box in a humid location such as a damp well pit since voltage breakdown and corrosion will accelerate component failure in this condition.

Control boxes are designed for vertical, upright mounting only. Any other position will affect the operation of voltage sensing relays in larger sizes and may result in water leakage.

Wiring It In

Inside your control box there will be six connections you have to make. The "L1" and "L2" terminals are where the hot wires from your pressure switch go. The R, B, and Y terminals are where you attach the Red, Black and Yellow wires that go to the pump. There are also grounding lugs located in the pressure switch and in the control box which are green in color and should be connected to a suitable ground such as metal well casing or a grounding rod.

The control box lid must be replaced after mounting for the pump to work an all 1 Hp. and smaller sizes.

Common Mistakes

Grounding the pump to the system ground is required by the National Electric code. It does improve the ability of the pump to withstand voltage spikes. It may also be the best ground around and may carry fault current from sources other than the pump so treat it like a live wire after installation.

  3. Grounding your submersible motor is recommended to reduce the possibility of severe electrical shock or death. This is required by the National Electrical Code. This is accomplished by running a copper conductor from the green pigtail motor lead to the main electrical system ground. The grounding wire must be the same size as the power conductor wires. Connect the top end of the ground wire to the grounding lug in the control box. On a two wire motor, connect the ground wire to the grounding screw on the pressure switch.

The risk of electrocution is greatest if you are very thin and are in the well and holding the pump when it is running or are dumb enough to run it on the surface while touching it.

Lowering The Pump

It is possible to install small pumps without any heavy equipment. However, you will probably need (or wish you had) two strong people helping depending on what size and type of pipe and wire you use. For example, a foot of 1.5" diameter schedule 40 galvanized pipe weighs 2.72 pounds. The same diameter plastic pipe weighs .673 pounds per foot. Steel pipe is going to be more than four times the weight of plastic pipe.

Install the torque arrestor. Torque arrestor are recommended for all installations where plastic pipe is used. When the motor starts, it produces starting torque which tends to make the pump twist and rub against the well casing. The torque arrestor goes on the first section of drop pipe right next to the pump.

Thread the first piece of drop pipe into the top of the pump. Teflon pipe thread compound is recommended because is does not soften plastic pipe threads and it is non toxic.

If you are using plastic coiled pipe with the special stainless inserts to couple the pipe and motor together it is easier to screw the insert into the pump first and then wrestle the pipe onto it.

Tape the power cables to the drop pipe with waterproof tape at every joint. Two or three wraps is enough. Pull the cable snug first. This is just to keep the wire from sagging and rubbing. Be sure there is a pipe coupling on the top of the first pipe joint before lowering the pump and the first joint down the well. The coupling can be held with a pipe wrench when the next joint is screwed into it. Pull the slack out of the wire and tape it to the pipe at least every 20 feet. If you do not have a bladder type tank, you will need to install air volume controls in the system including a bleeder valve on the drop pipe, below the well seal. The normal location for the bleeder valve, more commonly known as a Morrison bleeder valve, is at the bottom of the first length of drop pipe below the well seal.