Water Well Pump Recommendations/Questions

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Bucky Plumber

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Hello all,

Looking into replacing my 17 year old submersible water well pump. (no problems with its current operation, but it is getting old)

Would like to ask for everyone's opinion on which well pump to purchase. I cannot find the specs for my current pump (HP, GPM), it is not in any of the paperwork that I have and is not written under the well cover.

Here is what I know about my water well/pump:
1. Depth: 60'
2. 3 wire electric supply
3. Pressure tank in the basement is precharged to 30 PSI (runs 40-60 for water PSI)
4. I think my pump is either 1/2 or 3/4 HP Fairbanks Morse Pentair (see below)

Not quite sure how to read the chart below but I think a 1/2 HP/ 5 GPM would be sufficient for my depth. Is this correct?

Also, which brand is the best? I have had no issues with the Fairbanks Morse Pentair so will probably go with them again.

Please let me know your recommendations or if I forgot any details.

Thank you!

Kevin

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sarg

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Just to mention >>> On item # 3 >>> Pressure tank should be set 2 pounds below switch kick on. ( or 38 psi ) Set with pump off & water pressure tank empty ... zero water pressure.
 

Valveman

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If it is a 3 wire motor there should be a control box on the wires before they go down the well. That control box will have a little tag on the bottom that will tell you the horsepower. At that depth I am guessing and hoping it is a 10 GPM in 1/2HP. I don't think you can get Fairbanks small submersibles anymore. Pentair just absorbed them and now uses the Pentair brand, which already comes in several other names.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it! You can't buy a pump as good as the old ones. Might easily get another 18 years or even longer. I have one I installed in 1982 I still use every day. The trick to making pumps last is to limit the on/off cycles. Never letting the air charge in the tank get low is important. While there is nothing a Cycle Stop Valve can do about all the abuse from cycling in the past, adding one now can greatly extend the life that it has left.

 

FishScreener

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the Wisconsin DNR should have the drillers log, for your well. From it you can find out what the capacity to deliver water for your well is, and the draw down level below the ground when the well was producing that water.

From the capacity and draw down depth information of your well, You determine the set depth, and delivery capacity for your pump. From the pump data, you determine how large of a pressure tank you need.
 

Bucky Plumber

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Just to mention >>> On item # 3 >>> Pressure tank should be set 2 pounds below switch kick on. ( or 38 psi ) Set with pump off & water pressure tank empty ... zero water pressure.
Thanks @sarg
I think I did completely drain the system and pump to 38 PSI about 2 years ago.
How does this relate to the chart I posted originally? Would my tank pressure be 40 PSI (empty pressure) or 50 PSI (average pressure)?

Edit: This was a dumb question. I was reading the original chart as the pumps being categorized with three different pressures (different model pumps in each pressure reading) not just showing the flow rate at three different pressures.
 
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Bucky Plumber

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If it is a 3 wire motor there should be a control box on the wires before they go down the well. That control box will have a little tag on the bottom that will tell you the horsepower. At that depth I am guessing and hoping it is a 10 GPM in 1/2HP. I don't think you can get Fairbanks small submersibles anymore. Pentair just absorbed them and now uses the Pentair brand, which already comes in several other names.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it! You can't buy a pump as good as the old ones. Might easily get another 18 years or even longer. I have one I installed in 1982 I still use every day. The trick to making pumps last is to limit the on/off cycles. Never letting the air charge in the tank get low is important. While there is nothing a Cycle Stop Valve can do about all the abuse from cycling in the past, adding one now can greatly extend the life that it has left.

Thanks @Valveman Thats a great animation video.

I found the control box and it is listed as a 1/2 HP (photo below). I should go with a 10 GPM? (Edit deleted information about the tank pressure, that was a dumb question by me)

I will follow your advice and not replace until it fails, but I want to know which pump to purchase when needed.

I am also having some vibration issues. When the pump is running can hear pretty loud on the first floor of home. The vibration seems to be coming from the pressure switch and running through the copper pipes to the wood support beams. Are these things known to cause vibration? If so is there anything that can be done to 'fix' my current one or would installing a new one help? (photos below)

Thanks in advance.

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Bucky Plumber

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the Wisconsin DNR should have the drillers log, for your well. From it you can find out what the capacity to deliver water for your well is, and the draw down level below the ground when the well was producing that water.

From the capacity and draw down depth information of your well, You determine the set depth, and delivery capacity for your pump. From the pump data, you determine how large of a pressure tank you need.
Thanks @FishScreener
I think I have that information from the state (see photo) and am keeping my current pressure tank. How do I translate that information into which pump I need?

well.jpg
 

sarg

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Thanks @sarg
I think I did completely drain the system and pump to 38 PSI about 2 years ago.
How does this relate to the chart I posted originally? Would my tank pressure be 40 PSI (empty pressure) or 50 PSI (average pressure)?
I just mentioned the tank setting because you stated it was at 30 psi in your first post.
I am not informed enough to know how it relates to the pump chart. The empty ( pump off - tank void of water ) setting on the pressure tank should a couple psi lower than the starting switch setting.
If your switch is still at the factory setting .... and you do not have a cycle stop valve .... your water pressure will cycle from 40 to 60 ( approx ) as you use water.
Valveman's video explains it better than I.
 
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Bucky Plumber

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I just mentioned the tank setting because you stated it was at 30 psi in your first post.
I am not informed enough to know how it relaters to the pump chart. The empty ( pump off - tank void of water ) setting on the pressure tank should a couple psi lower than the starting switch setting.
If your switch is still at the factory setting .... and you do not have a cycle stop valve .... your water pressure will cycle from 40 to 60 ( approx ) as you use water.
Valveman's video explains it better than I.
I should have been more clear. My tank says it was pre charged to 30 PSI, which now seems like an irrelevant point.
 

sarg

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I like the guidance that Valveman provided .............. if your current pump is holding pressure and all is functioning .... I would not exchange it just cause it's 17 years in the hole. I replaced mine a month ago because the check valve in the pump was leaking down slowly and would make the system cycle about once per hour. The replaced Franklin pump was in the well 28 years. It is true they don't make em like they used too.
 
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RS

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If you think you might need more than about 10gpm fairly frequently then you could go with a 3/4 hp, otherwise a 1/2 hp is fine, that's what most normal households use. I can barely hear our pump when it's running, if yours is annoying you maybe have a vibration problem that you could fix with some padding or pipe insulation. Regardless, whether or not you buy a new pump you need to verify all your pressure settings.
 

FishScreener

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The well data shows that the well had a 12 ft drop in the water surface at a pump rate of 25-GPM. So, you could pull a 2-hp or higher pump, depending on how much water you want to use.

On setting pressure tanks. Amtrol has the instructions on how to size tanks, on their web site, which is based on the discharge rate of the pump. And how long of a minimum run time you want the pump to run for. Too frequent of starts is damaging to the pump. So you want it to run for at least three or four minutes when it comes on.

The pre-charge should be 2-psi below the pump cut in pressure. That will give you the maximum tank fill, and tailor it to your pump. At two psi below the cut in pressure the bladder will never get completely extended before the pump comes back on.
 

Bucky Plumber

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Thank you everyone for the feedback.

I am gathering that the consensus is a 1/2 HP, 10 GPM.

I am going to start a new thread with my vibration issues...
 

FishScreener

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Ok, reading the whole thread, plus the two on vibration issues.

The pressure switch is a 40-60, and the tank precharge was not set to 38-psi, and left at the factory 30. I would look at the pressure tank as the cause of your problems. With the precharge set too low the bladder will fail prematurely. And, I expect a twenty to twenty-five year life on a pressure tank. So, failure at 17 years with the wrong precharge pressure is expected.

Usually I find out the pressure tank is bad, because it being bad has caused the pump to short cycle, and burned out the pump. The instructions for shutting things down for the winter include checking the tank precharge. But, folks decide it isn’t important and we don’t find the failed tank until it has caused the pump to fail.

We go out to replace the pump, and discover that we also need a new pressure tank.

At this point you need to turn off the pump, open a faucet to relieve the pressure in the lines, and check the precharge pressure in your tank. Set it to 38-psi, (the pump cut in pressure minus 2-psi), and then leave everything off, wait half an hour and check the pressure. If it has dropped, the bladder in the tank is bad, and you need to replace it.
 

sarg

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Just to mention ......... my old pressure tank would hold pressure ...... but the bladder was bad. When I pulled the old tank out it had water that would slosh around ....... I assume from above the bladder. I was told that older tanks could develop a split in the bladder and water would be forced through it when under water pressure ......... all of which causes the system to act erratically.
 

Bucky Plumber

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Ok, reading the whole thread, plus the two on vibration issues.

The pressure switch is a 40-60, and the tank precharge was not set to 38-psi, and left at the factory 30. I would look at the pressure tank as the cause of your problems. With the precharge set too low the bladder will fail prematurely. And, I expect a twenty to twenty-five year life on a pressure tank. So, failure at 17 years with the wrong precharge pressure is expected.

Usually I find out the pressure tank is bad, because it being bad has caused the pump to short cycle, and burned out the pump. The instructions for shutting things down for the winter include checking the tank precharge. But, folks decide it isn’t important and we don’t find the failed tank until it has caused the pump to fail.

We go out to replace the pump, and discover that we also need a new pressure tank.

At this point you need to turn off the pump, open a faucet to relieve the pressure in the lines, and check the precharge pressure in your tank. Set it to 38-psi, (the pump cut in pressure minus 2-psi), and then leave everything off, wait half an hour and check the pressure. If it has dropped, the bladder in the tank is bad, and you need to replace it.
I should NOT have stated the pre-charged 30 PSI, it was irrelevant information. I dont think it was left at this setting and I shut the system off several years ago and recharged it to 35-40 PSI.

Good idea to leave the pressure tank for 30 minutes and recheck to ensure bladder is okay, I will definitely try that.
 

Bucky Plumber

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One last question...

What is the best brand of well pump for when I have to replace? Red Lion, Flotec, Everbilt?
 

Valveman

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One last question...

What is the best brand of well pump for when I have to replace? Red Lion, Flotec, Everbilt?
Can we have more choices? All those are about the same. Grundfos pump with a Franklin motor still best in my opinion.
 
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