Help with new jet pump purchase

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BobJackson

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Hi everyone,

I really appreciate any help that anyone with knowledge of well pump systems can offer, and hopefully there are some water pressure gurus on here that love calculating these things. We purchased our house a bit over a year ago and get our water from a very shallow well. We already have a jet pump in our well house that pumps water into a holding tank in the basement, where another jet pump is set up to provide the daily water usage. Floats in the basement water tank trigger the well pump to start and stop. Last year we ran about 150 feet of garden hose from the the taps on the house out to our garden, which already seemed a bit ridiculous but was our only option. At that point we immediately planned to install a separate pump solely for the garden. I figured there was no point pumping water from the well into the house, just to pump it back out of the house again. Since then we've installed a UV system in the basement for the household water, and running the garden water through that makes it even more ridiculous. The UV system does have bypass taps, but I'm not into turning those every time we want to water the garden, not to mention the water is being pumped twice.

With that bit of backstory done, our plan is to install a new, separate jet pump in the well house for garden and yard use only. I've done a fair bit of research on jet pumps and what might work for us, but this type of water system setup is still very new to me. I plan on running a larger water line from the pump house to a junction at the top of the hill (mostly level with our yard) that would split into 3 smaller lines to service the different parts of the yard.

First off, these are the measurements (close approximates from measuring with a tape measure) of what water lines we need to run. The pipe from the pump house up to the junction at yard level is around 100 feet, with an average uphill incline of 35-40 degrees (I plan a 2 inch line for this). I've used an online calculator to figure this is about a 75 foot vertical rise. From that point, we'd run a smaller line (maybe 1 & 1/4 or 1 & 1/2) out to 150 feet, with a gradual decline in elevation, for the garden taps. The second line from this junction would be about 125 feet, with about a 10 foot rise, for the single tap in the back yard. There will also be another output from this junction to water the central part of the yard, but that's really no distance and is basically a garden hose attachment for 50 feet of hose.

I won't ever be using more than one outlet at a time from this junction/splitter at yard level, so figuring out water needs for various hoses isn't needed. My main concern is the garden. To add to this, the final plan is to run the new garden jet pump inlet down to a somewhat nearby creek (need to figure the cost of water rights first), so I'm hoping to buy a pump now that will work for this longer water pull in a couple years. The distance from the pump house to the creek is about 225', with an estimated 20' drop. I understand that buying a jet pump to pull water up 4' from my current shallow well is likely a very different situation from buying a pump that will pull water a 225' distance at a 20' rise, but I wanted to mention it. With the vertical distance of 75' from the pump to the yard, combined with the future suction lift of 20', I figure this is 95' of total head. I read that jet pumps are only suited for lifts up to 25', and was wondering how strict those numbers are. It's pretty difficult for me to measure the exact vertical difference from the pump to the creek, so if my number is low that vertical lift could be over 25'. Would a jet pump just fail to pull anything from the creek if the suction lift was 30'? (plus the 225' distance of water line).

Back to the current water lines we'll be running and not the possible future line to the creek, I've done a bit of reading about friction loss and looked at charts, and figure this would be around .55 PSI for the 100' 2 inch pipe and 2.25 PSI for the 150' smaller pipe to the garden. I know that's the PSI the charts are talking about, but does that friction loss affect the total head? Will the water still pump to the same height but just leave the pipe at a lower pressure/volume?

I've been looking at a lot of pumps online, and one them that I keep coming back to is the Red Lion RJS-100-PREM ($500 CDN on Amazon). I see some from EcoFlo with slightly lower performance for half the price, but they're thermoplastic instead of cast iron. I hear Goulds are great, but they seem really hard to find in Canada. There's a place across the country that has a website with Goulds pumps, but no pricing. I haven't contacted them yet about it. Here's a link to the Red Lion spec page: Premium Cast Iron Shallow Well Jet Pump RJS-XX-PREM Series - Red Lion

I almost just went ahead a bought this pump, but figured I would try this stupidly long post about our water needs and see if someone more knowledgeable than me might stop me from making a bad purchase. I'm not looking to cheap out on this, but also don't want to buy something that's twice what I actually need. I keep coming back to 1HP pumps after looking at different charts, but maybe that size of pump is wrong for this setup.

A big thank you to anyone who has any opinions or info about what I might need for this setup.
 

BobJackson

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Hi JG. How do you figure 15ft of head, or maybe I misunderstood your post? I'm not questioning just actually wanting to know how you came to that number. I thought total head was suction plus lift. My vertical lift is somewhere around 75ft, plus a little bit more once up at yard level.

One thing I didn't mention in my first post was that I'm looking to ideally run 2 oscillating sprinklers at the same time in the garden. I'm having trouble finding GPM rating for these sprinklers. I hear average garden hoses only deliver around 6 GPM, and last year our pressure was fine running 150' of garden hose and running 1 sprinkler, but from the taps on the house, which are slightly uphill from the garden. So in a perfect world I'd have 12 GPM at around 40 PSI delivered to the garden after all that lift and water line. If I can only run one sprinkler at a time, or both at reduced capacity it's not a huge deal, but as I said ideally they could run together at full capacity.
 

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Those little oscillating sprinklers only do 1-2 GPM each. If you are pumping from two different sources, then you need two separate pump systems. But there is no reason you can't do everything you need with just one pump. Tee off before the UV system and after. 75' of vertical lift will take 30 PSI to overcome. It will be almost impossible to lift 20' vertical and 225' horizontally with a jet pump. It would be best to put a submersible at the bottom because you can push/pump water to the moon, but you can only suck from a max of 24' because of barometric pressure.

Submersible or jet pump, the trick is to prevent cycling from destroying the pump. With a 12 GPM pump every sprinkler zone needs to be 12 GPM to keep the pump from cycling to death. OR, you can use a Cycle Stop Valve and water anyway you want from 1 GPM to 12 GPM without cycling the pump.

 

JG plumbing

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The number that I gave you is the friction loss due to piping. Your total head is different. In hydronics there's a simple formula for figuring piping fiction loss. It's not exact, but it's a good tool. So your piping takes 15' of head plus elevation. Sorry for not being clear. I thought you were asking for the friction loss. I didn't read your question /questions very well.
 

BobJackson

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I had read a bit into pump cycling, but not much yet. I'll have a look at that video, and it sounds like I'll definitely be getting a cycle stop valve.

As far as splitting the current line before the UV system, I'm not sure it could work due to the setup of our household water system. We have an indoor water holding tank with 2 floats in it, that trigger the well pump down the hill to start/stop when the indoor tank runs low/full. There is no pressure switch on the well pump because I suppose it's just set at 1 pressure to run at whenever the float tells it to run. I believe the well pump is only 1/2HP, and it doesn't fill the indoor tank very fast. That could either be that it just can't, or the pressure is set low (if that's even a thing when it doesn't have a pressure switch). I figured it's just been running at max pressure this whole time.

There are of course valves in the basement to stop the flow of water from the well to the indoor tank, but they look like crap and need to be redone I'm sure. We already had one unused gate valve start to leak last year, and I've been wanting to replace all these old valves with ball valves. Last year I thought about splitting the line somewhere between the well and the house, and whenever I wanted to do some significant watering outside I would have to go to the basement, turn the valve to the holding tank off, and then manually trip the low-water float to start the well pump. This would technically work I'm sure, but is far from ideal when you just want to use the hose for a few minutes in the garden. I would love to get this done with only one pump for the well, but this float system in the holding tank seems to be what I'm getting stuck on. In any case even if there is a 1 pump solution I'll be buying a new pump soon. Last year the foot valve got clogged with tiny roots and the pump lost prime, and ran dry for maybe an entire day. I can't believe it still works. Then entire shallow well setup and pump house need to be completely rebuilt as they were done as cheap as humanly possible when the house was built, but that's for another year.

Anyways, if there is a single pump solution for this I would gladly go that route. Thank you again for the tips and comments.
 

Valveman

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When using a float switch to control the well pump you really can't use it for garden hoses as well.
LOW YIELD WELL_ CENTRIFUGAL_PK1A.jpg
 

Valveman

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Since you have a storage tank the well may not be strong enough to pump from directly anyway. If the well is strong enough to pump from, you would need a pressure tank pressure switch on the well pump to make it come on automatically when you open a faucet. Then you would need a solenoid valve controlled by the float switch to fill the storage tank when needed.

LOW YIELD WELL_and storage with two PK1A one pipe.jpg
 

BobJackson

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Valveman, I just went to the website in your signature and it has a ton of great info. I'm surprised I haven't come across it already. I will be spending some time reading on there for sure. You're correct that the well is not strong. When I was planning on getting this new pump and running lines for the garden I had planned on measuring the time it took to run the well dry, and do that a few times and take an average reading. I'd set a timer for that duration and shut the sprinklers off when the time ran out. It's also not an ideal situation, but we plan on completely redoing the water system in 3-5 years, so I'd be willing to put up with it for that long.

The goal in the end is to rebuild the pump house and and stick our current indoor holding tank in there (200 gallons) to use as the well. Then buy a new, bigger tank (I'd have to calculate the water flow into the well and the refill rate from the well tank into the holding tank) and bury that in the yard. I'm not keen on having 150 gallons of water sitting in my basement, with a pump that will turn on and keep filling the basement with water if the tank ever failed. I know there are water-sensitive shutoffs than can be installed, and right now we at least have a wireless leak detector in the there, but still. That's a much bigger job though that I won't be tackling by myself.

Now that I realize it I keep calling this a well but it's really just an above-ground spring that empties into a cement basin in the pump house. I completely understand that our current well setup is far from ideal when it comes to water on demand, which is why there is a holding tank in the house. I've watched the well run down as it refilled into the house, and although it's likely pumping slower than if it was going straight to the garden with a more powerful pump, it takes about 30 minutes to get close to running low. And there's a decent amount of sediment in the bottom that will likely give it another 10 minutes of water once it's removed. With the end goal of an entirely new water system in mind, I'll have to really think about what is best for the stop-gap garden solution. I don't know if I want to get into multiple pressure tanks and solenoids for a system that will be redone in a few years, although most of that would be reused I suppose.

With all this new info I'm wondering if it's best to just continue with the equipment I have and deal with shutting certain valves on and off whenever watering the lawn or garden, and then doing the entire thing (new household and garden system) all at once, but maybe a year sooner. I have a feeling that if I make any less-than-the-bare-minimum changes right now, that I'll regret it later when the big water system project happens, and end up redoing or undoing more than would have been necessary.

I'll have to keep thinking about it, but the info I've got from here has been quite helpful, especially those 2 diagrams. Were those from the Cyclestopvalves website? I haven't really looked through it much yet. Thanks again to everyone.
 

Valveman

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Those drawings and many more are on our web site. If you can run for 30 minutes or so before pumping dry, you can stagger the irrigation and time to make that work. Just in case you get it wrong you can install a Cycle Sensor to protect the pump. It is looking for dry running 24 hours a day and will catch a dry run and shut the pump off before there is a problem. It even has a timer that will restart the pump in 1 minute to 5 hours to let the spring catch up.

 

BobJackson

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Valveman I finally watched that video for the cycle sensor, and it's a really interesting product. If I planned on sticking with my current well setup I'd probably order one right now, just because the flow is so slow and the well so small. I'll see how things play out with the new well project and bigger holding tank, but will keep this in mind. The cost to get it to Canada isn't low, but that peace of mind knowing things will shut down when needed is valuable in itself. Thanks again for the info.

Just because I've already got the timing calculated for the well to refill and for the indoor tank to empty from full, I'm now leaning towards toughing it out with my current, yet annoying setup. I think I will return to the plan and diagram you posted with the solenoid valve and double PK1As. It looks like exactly what will get my system running how I'd like, with just one pump.

When the time comes (definitely not that soon) and I redo my entire water system I think I'll post some before and after stuff on here, just in case anyone can gain anything from it. I know for me that stuff is always interesting even if it's not something I'll ever be doing.
 

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OK thanks. Yeah the US lets every other country in the world screw us with unfair trade practices. We can purchase from anywhere in the world except NK, but the tariffs and fees other countries charge to import a US product is unbelievable. We can't even sell to Canada without it costing several times more than it should. Our government puts all other countries before it's own citizens, so the US businesses and tax payers are getting screwed everyday.
 

BobJackson

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I hear you Valveman. Although I don't have a full understanding as someone running a business in the US would have, I do know that the trade and tariff regulations are quite ridiculous. I need to get my passport renewed, because I live only an hour from the border in BC, and a lot of people around here just order stuff from the US to a parcel center on the border (I don't actually know if I need a passport for this, but it's handy nonetheless). They only charge something like 5 bucks for the service. I ship to their US address and pick it up in Canada. When we redo our water system I'll look again at your site, and will likely order at least the cycle sensor.
 

Valveman

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Yeah a lot of people drive across the Canadian border to pick up stuff. In some countries they have to bribe or grease the palms of the customs officials to get anything shipped in from the US. I can't help but be angry at our politicians who allow such unfair trade to and from the US. We sell a few things to other countries but it is very limited. We can only compete in the US market because other countries impose high customs fees and tariffs that more than double the cost of US products and keeps us from being able to compete in the world market.
 
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