Cheaply drawing water from a shallow well

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Old 05-04-16, 07:33 AM
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Cheaply drawing water from a shallow well

I need a good cheap way to draw water from a shallow well (other than a bucket).

I have a shallow well... 17 feet deep, 36" diameter, which usually has around 3 feet of water in it. What's a good cheap way to pump some of the surface water out for watering my garden? I have one of these, but can't get it to pull water up that far, despite its stated 43' maximum lift.

I'm considering this. I'd leave it at the bottom of the well and apply power when I needed water. 1" pvc to the surface, then a hose to the garden.

Think that would work? Is a cheap pump like that suitable for continual submersion?

Money is tight so I need a low cost solution.

Thanks.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 08:40 AM
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The pump you have may work at that depth if you put a cheap foot valve on the end of a PVC pipe down into the well, and you prime it by filling the pipe with water before attaching the pump. It won't self prime at that depth and the garden hose on the suction side will probably collapse under the suction.

The submersible pump you link to will probably work fine, but you will have to keep it off the bottom somehow as it will suck in a lot of gunk. Also, with either of these first two solutions you can't close off the outlet for more than a very short time or the pump won't like it, so using a typical garden hose nozzle could be a problem. Sprinkler would be ok although the pump you have now probably won't generate enough flow at pressure to run much of a sprinkler.

I use one of these: 1 HP Shallow Well Pump with Stainless Steel Housing 920 GPH to irrigate from my farm pond. It requires a foot valve at the end of the inlet pipe and initial priming, but then works well. Because it has a small tank and a pressure switch it doesn't care if you shut the outlet off. It generates enough pressure and flow to run a decent oscillating sprinkler.

Whatever type pump you use, you will need a filter cartridge after the pump or you will constantly be clogging your nozzle or sprinkler with debris in the water. A cheap 20 micron string cartridge is fine.

Good luck with your project!
 
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Old 05-04-16, 10:05 AM
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Thanks.

I've tried the flo tec pump with and without a check valve, and with 1" and 3/4" intake pipes... but just can't get it to work, no matter how I prime it.

The submersible is really a sump pump, not a well pump.

The 1hp pump with the small tank is probably the way to go.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 10:26 AM
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The submersible is really a sump pump, not a well pump.
Correct but will work fine for your application.

That Flotec pump can't lift water from 17'. If you put the pump at the bottom of the well it could push up the 17' but that wouldn't be practical.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 10:27 AM
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The small dewatering pump you linked can only self prime sucking water up 10 feet. Your pump can PUSH water uphill up to 43' above the pump but that's it's absolute maximum and it will have minimal flow volume doing that. The addition of a foot valve will not help your pumps ability to suck water uphill on the intake side.

The submersible pump you linked would work but I don't think you would be happy. It is a high volume low pressure pump. So, while it may get the water up and out of the well it will not provide much pressure for running sprinklers or a sprayer nozzle. Another submersible pump that is capable of generating more head pressure would be a better choice.

The pump CarbideTipped linked would be a good choice if you must stick with something from Harbor Freight. Make sure to protect it and it's electrical connections from rain.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 10:37 AM
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What is a better submersible pump that would generate more head pressure?

I'm open to suggestions, but budget considerations make the Harbor Freight stuff attractive.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 01:47 PM
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All pumps are limited in their ability to suck water uphill. It's basic physics and it's limited by the air pressure on planet Earth. No pump can suck water up more than about 33 1/2 feet. The higher a pump must suck water up the more work/energy it takes and it's a steep penalty. The difference in a suction height of 10 feet can make a huge difference in the pumps output while most pumps can handle an extra 10 feet of head pressure on their outlet side without much trouble.

Any pump can generate "more head pressure". It just depends on the pump you choose. Submersible is generally the most efficient since it doesn't have to suck water up but with the pump down in the well things like wiring and servicing the pump come into consideration. A pump above ground will almost always be easier to wire-up and service if something breaks.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 02:32 PM
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When I lived in fla I had a 110' 2" well with the foot valve for the above ground jet pump at 80' It was trouble free [other than replacing the regulator] for the dozen or so years I lived there after the well was put it. I'd check around with your local well drillers and maybe they can set you up with a used or rebuilt pump at a price you can handle.
 
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Old 05-05-16, 03:10 PM
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Thanks for all the replies.

I have a 3/4 hp Goulds jet pump and 20 gallon steel tank collecting dust in the garage, and could use them, but I'm keeping the Goulds in reserve for when the main pump for household water needs replacing.

So... looks like I'll be buying the cheap Harbor Freight pump and tank.

It'll be nice to draw the stagnant surface water out of the well... The house gets water from the same well, but from a point buried 6 feet lower.
 
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Old 05-05-16, 04:56 PM
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It'll be nice to draw the stagnant surface water out of the well... The house gets water from the same well
I'm always a little leery about a shallow well supplying domestic water as it's susceptible to ground water contamination. Be sure to get it routinely tested for quality.
 
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Old 05-05-16, 05:12 PM
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We have reverse osmosis for the drinking water.

The untreated water from my shallow well smells and tastes way better than the water from my neighbors' deeper wells.

They make you go down 400 feet here for a new well these days. Crazy.
 
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