# Easier way to pull a well pump

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Justin Thyme, Nov 21, 2004.

1. ### Justin ThymeGuest

After wrecking my back and having a couple of days on the couch to think about it ,I came up with a humanly possible way of pulling a deep well pump without using a tractor ,winches ,tripods or anti-gravity gizmos .

At first I thought it was stuck downhole ,cuz no matter how hard I pulled ,it would only sort of stretch ,but not really come up .During one of those 'exertion - gas producing' yanks in the damp dark hole I admitted defeat after hearing a dull paralysis-inducing click in my back .

But by God ,I was born with opposable thumbs ,I was going to conquer this .

Why isnt it coming up ?

Because something is holding it down .

Either its stuck in rust/collapsed pipe/sand ,or its that stupid gravity thing again

do some quick math : (we do the metric thing up here,so bear with me )

3.14 x R squared x Length =
3.14 x 1.27^2 x about 40 Meters =
3.14 x 1.61 x 4000 cm = 20258 cc ,or about 200 Liters of water in that 120 feet of 1" PVC pipe

Since the stuff weighs 1Kg (about 2.2Lbs) a liter ,I have 200Kg ,or about 440 pounds of water sitting in that PVC pipe ,along with another 60 pounds of pipe/pump/wire .The 500 pound Lady had sung .

No wonder I couldnt lift it far ...

Step 2 : Defying Gravity

Disconnect pipe where it goes into the well so you could look straight down it if it wasnt so dark and scary.
I took an old very long (100') garden hose ,cut the ends off ,jammed it all the way into the PVC pipe with one hand (use both hands ,its easier) ,while with the other hand I figured that I'd need about 9.81x40M ,or 400kPa (or 56PSI) +10% pressure .
I connected to other end of the hose to an old 100L propane bottle that I'd filled up to 65PSI with air (Dont do this at home) at a local gas station ,and opened the valve .

At first nothing (at which point I looked into the hose ,StUpId Idea) ,then a faraway rumbling sound ,then Old faithful erupted ,and I finally got a nice cold shower after 2 days of no water ,most of that 400 punds of water was expectorated from the dark abyss .

Of course ,now that the whole clump only wheighed in at 75 pounds ,it was no more difficult than dragging a reluctant teenager 120 feet to do chores.

After a few victory gyrations I found the problem was a frayed wire (every time your pump starts ,it does an equal and opposite jerk in the opposite direction of rotation ,new pumps have soft start & dont do this) ,this had worn through the insulation ,and the hard water had taken care of the rest .
I re-made the connection (rosin-core solder and rubber splicing tape (not black tape)) ,made for a quick fix .

I can raise an eyebrow ,and wiggle both thumbs ,AND mean it ,too.

2. ### gobugWell-Known MemberSupporter

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Neat idea, Justin.

Why didn't the air just bubble up through the water?

My well is 200 feet deep. When I bought the property at the beginning of this year, the house had already burned down. The well testing guy said I was lucky because the wires leading to the pump under the lid weren't burned. Still he used his truck mounted pump to measure the well output.

I'm in the process of getting the electricity hooked up and hope to be able to pump water this coming spring. I may or may not need to replace the pump. I may need to use your idea to get the water out of the pipe.

Do you think I could put a 200 ft compressor hose down the pipe and accomplish the same feat?

3. ### fordyWell-Known Member

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..............Couple of q's Justin , (1) I'm assuming you pulled the pvc out by hand so You probably had either 10' or 20' long joints of pipe that were screwed together by galvanized pipe collars , then the wire(s) are usually Taped to the pipe with electrical tape . WHAT device did you utilize to HOLD the remaining pipe still in the well bore while you unscrewed each individual Joint of pipe? And , (2) Did you replace the Check valve that should have been screwed into the Top of the Pump then the Pvc pipe should have been screwed into the Top of the Check valve ???? , thanks , fordy...

4. ### JustinThymeActive Member

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Gobug ,I had a few hundred feet of 1/4inch plastic tubing that I tried first ,and it did exactly that ,just bubbled .I guess that having little space between the hose and PVC did the trick ,I put a 1/2inch ballvalve on the large propane tank so there was little restriction ,hence the shower .
I dont see why compresor hose wouldnt work ,unless you just cant get the sheer volume through it .For a 200 ft head ,you need close to 100PSI of pressure .(9.81kPa per meter ,6.685kPa to a PSI) Good Luck with the rebuild ,at least your services are there

Fordy ,it was just 1 length of PVC ,with the wires taped to it every few ft ,and a 3/8in nylon rope suspending the whole thing .If you have 20ft joints ,why not use 2 2x4s of adequate length ,lagbolt them togeter on the sides so the wide part (3.5") is facng up ,use a holesaw to drill a hole of the right size to clamp the PVC to .Then ,as youre pulling up the string (Im guessing they call it a tubing string) ,you could clamp the PVC in place .God Forbid you should ever lose it downhole ,definitely a 2 man job.
As far as the checkvalve goes ,it was still in good repair so I left it (it held the water column for 2 days) .Coincidentally ,my fathers pump crapped out just a few weeks ago ,so he replaced everything .Odd thing is he put the check at the top right by the pressure tank ,and it seems to work just fine .I could forsee a problem after years of service when the check starts to weep ,and the pump has to reestablish the head everytime it kicks in ,but then it would do the same thing wether it was at the top or down by the pump.

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This trick works best for holding steel pipe but should work to hold PVC as long as it isn't too brittle.

If you don't have an actual pipe jack you can use a simple pipe wrench to hold a section of pipe that is still in the well. The wrench will hold the pipe tight once it is cocked a little sideways. For added safety you can weld a simple latch on the jaws of the pipe wrench, the latch can swing up when you need to move the wrench or down to hold the pipe in the jaws. A couple pipe wrenches are also great for lifting pipe out of the hole. Make sure it is a good wrench if the weights are high. I don't know if I would trust a china wrench with too much weight.

I would feel more comfortable with the wood block idea on PVC however.

6. ### agmantooagmantooSupporter

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Fordy, to hold the pipe remaining in the well as you remove the joints I use a pair of modified vise grips. I have two short 6 inch long pieces of angle iron welded to the jaws. I carefully set the pliers to where they just grip the pipe. I remove the joint above the coupling therefore if the pipe does slide downward it will catch on the coupling. I also have an old motorcylce rim and spindle with forks that I can mount to the casing with the rim centered on the casing hole. I have a poly rope connected to the pump and I run this rope over the rim and turn from vertical to horizontal with the rope which I then attach to whatever is available that can pull (4 wheeler, tractor, truck). above this rig I have a length of 3/4" metal pipe about 12 feet long with a looped rod welded to the end. As I pull the rope over the wheel fixture with the vehicle the water pipe rises from the casing and I guide the water pipe into the loop to hold it vertical while I clamp on the vise grips and use pipe wrenches to remove the joint. Works fairly good for one person working and another supervising (guiding pipe and hollaring when to stop pulling). The supervisor is usually my elderly neighbor, a good man, that can help in that capacity.

7. ### AstralBearActive Member

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I pulled up my pump to replace it just a few weeks ago .I had 200 ft of 1-1/4 in PVC pipe . I wish I knew about pumping air into the pipe to get the water out .
I had my teenage son do most of the pipe pulling . No wonder he doesn't live here anymore . We'd pull out about 20 ft at a time and then while he held it I'd hack saw the pipe .

Since he didn't come back to put in the new pump , I made a tripod from pine poles and bought a 3 dollar pully wheel to put it in . I wrapped the rope around one of the tri pod legs about 6 times close together and would unwind the rope on the tri pod leg and the pump and attached pipe would go down smoothly . As the rope is unwound on the pump side , the remainder of the rope would wind itself around the leg .

When I got to the end of the pipe and needed to add another section , I'd tie the rope to the tri pod leg , glue , wait a few minutes than lower it down .

Instead of taping the wires to the pipe I use plastic zip ties .

I'm now buying PVC pipes to collect so the next time the pump goes out , I'm gonna hook up to a spring and get gravity fed water . I don't like depending on things that break and are expensive or time consuming to fix .Not to mention the electric cost to run a 220 appliance that doesn't work when there's a power outage .

8. ### Windy in KansasGuest

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Around here they don't use PVC to mount submersible pumps on, they use black polyethylene tubing. Hence one long chuck with no joints to take apart. You just lay the end over and keep pulling.

Hm, I'll they they can't do that in some areas as the wells are deeper and the poly probably couldn't take the weight.

Speaking of weight, our old hand dug wells on the family farm were around 80-90 feet deep. Both used 1Ã‚Â¼ inch galvanized pipe in them with the sucker rod inside. The well cylinder itself was cast iron as was the check valve. Yes, some weight with all of that. We used a block and tackle with good condition rope.

9. ### AstralBearActive Member

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There is a rubber bumper bushing type thing that goes on the pipe with clamps just about a foot higher than the pump . It is ajustable so it can have a tight fit in the 8'' in. well casing and pervents the pump from jeking so much where it pulls on the wires.I didn't know if you use one or not ?

10. ### JustinThymeActive Member

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There was nothing like that on it .maybe if I feel industrious next spring I'll put one on ... I think the casing is only 4 or 5"

11. ### BobKWell-Known Member

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The rubber bushing thingy that Astral mentioned is cheap insurance against frayed wires. I would also recommend putting two on; one immediately above the pump and another about 15-20 feet up to keep the pump centered and from whipping around on each starts.

12. ### agmantooagmantooSupporter

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thingy > torque arrestor

13. ### rosana45New Member

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When you put the water hose in the pipe which pipe are you referring to? The PVC water pipe or the 4" casing?

14. ### Harry ChickpeaWell-Known MemberSupporter

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FWIW, what you made is a variation of a trompe. Nicely done.

15. ### agmantooagmantooSupporter

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rosana45

the air pipe would go inside the PVC water pipe. Having a blast of air from a large storage tank and releasing the air into the down pipe via a ball valve would be preferred by me. You want a lot of air delivered quickly.

As far as wearing the power wires on the side of the casing there are a lot of wells that the casing is not true plumb and the pump is not centered in the pipe as a consequence

16. ### Energy RebelWell-Known Member

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That's what I use.
A pair of welders vise grip clamps with a piece of split pipe, one welded on each face, the same diameter (or close) to the pipe I'm pulling.

17. ### HermitJohnWell-Known Member

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I've helped few people do this over the years. Seen it done pvc, black poly, and good ole rusty galvanized pipe. Always used a tractor and boom pole or tractor with front loader. Once used a wood wire spool as pulley up above well and pulled the black poly pipe with tractor. Its one piece and pretty strong. Even then its not a job for the faint hearted.

Never tried using air. Sounds like good idea.

18. ### GrillLimberLostNew Member

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Justin,

Thank you for the ideas and effort behind this.

I've been reviewing your math for 10 years, and although I wanted to wait until the 10th Anniversary of your post, I am so bustin with pride at having worked through it, that I cannot wait.

If 1 liter = 1000 cc, then 20258 cc should be about 20.258 liter, not almost 200 liters.

With this information you may find it easier to leave the water in it than to find where you put all the stuff to blow the water out from the last time.

Cheers!

19. ### Unregistered 1427921752Guest

I think he put 1 too many 4's in that weight .