Well pumps are the heart of your well system, supplying the power needed to get the water to the inside of your home or water tank. As a part of the well that’s working daily, the pump is prone to breakdowns. To help prepare for a well pump replacement, it’s important to know the warning signs of a damaged pump, as well as the type of well pump your system needs.
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Signs That a Well Pump Needs To Be Replaced
While it can be difficult to diagnose a problem without the help of a professional, there are a couple of warning signs that point to a broken well pump.
A Dry or Low Well
When your home or storage tank needs water, a signal is sent to the pump to pull water out of the well. If your well is dry or severely low on water, the well pump will attempt to pull water out of the well, causing it to overheat and burn out.
If your faucets are spitting water, it could be a sign of a damaged well pump. When the well pump is damaged, it’s unable to properly pull water out of the well and send it into your home. If the water pump appears operational, check for breaks in the water pipe above the well. A hole in the water pipe adds unnecessary air to the system, causing water to sputter out of the faucets.
Discolored water could be a sign of a broken water pump. Well pumps aren’t designed to pump water with high amounts of sand and other sediment, so if silt gets into a submersible water pump, the wear and tear can cause damage.
High Electric Bill
A high electric bill could signal that your well pump is running nonstop. This can be caused by dirt and other sediment clogging the pump, requiring it to run for longer periods of time. Additionally, the well water could be running low, causing the pump motor to continuously run.
Types of Well Pumps
Typically, well pumps can be broken down into two categories: jet pumps and submersible pumps. Each design is built to fit the needs of various well sizes and conditions.
There are two major types of jet pumps: shallow well jet pumps and deep well jet pumps.
Shallow well jet pump
Most shallow well pumps are found in wells that are less than 25 feet deep and in areas with a high water table. These pumps have few running parts and require little maintenance.
This type of pump is located above the ground, typically just inside the well house, and generates high pressure to pull the water from the well and into the home using an inlet pipe. A tank or well booster pump is recommended to accompany this type of well pump to increase water pressure to the home.
Deep well jet pump
Unlike its shallow counterpart, a deep well jet pump is located within the well, though its motor stays in the well house. This pump uses two pipes: one for drawing water out of the well and another for directing the water to the home. Deep well jet pumps are typically used in wells that are 110 feet deep.
A deep well submersible pump sits at the bottom of the well directly in the water. Using its motor, the pump draws water from the bottom and pushes it out of the well into your home’s water lines. These pumps can be used in wells up to 300 feet deep. The pumps work similar to sump pumps, which draw water and pump it out.
Read More: How to Install a Sump Pump
Replacing Your Well Pump
Although professional well pump replacement comes with high pump installation costs, you may have no choice but to call a professional depending on the well pump you have. Certain pumps, like deep well submersible pumps, require special equipment to get them out without damaging components or wiring. In addition to the fragility of the well’s components, removing a well pump can be very labor intensive, with some pumps weighing more than 100 pounds.
Even if you’re considering replacing your well pump on your own, call a plumber to confirm that the well pump is the issue with your system before removing it. This will prevent any unneeded work or unintentional damage to your well system.
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Well Pump Replacement Cost
The cost of replacing your well pump will depend on factors such as well size and pump type. For example, a stainless-steel submersible well pump will cost more than a shallow well jet pump that’s only capable of pumping one gallon per minute. Typically, a well pump costs between $200–$500, not including the cost of installation. Here’s a breakdown of the cost for each type of pump and installation:
- Shallow well jet pumps—Since shallow well pumps sit directly within the well house, this pump replacement is generally the most affordable at around $200. Additional protection and features such as wrapping exposed pipes and installing an insulated bag will increase the price.
- Deep well jet pumps—Deep well jet pumps are more expensive than their shallow counterparts, with a cost of around $300. Generally, jet pumps are more affordable than submersible models but are considered less reliable.
- Deep well submersible well pumps—The cost of a submersible well pump varies depending on the horsepower selected. Lower horsepower motors run around $400, while more powerful motors may cost over $500. Additional components, such as check valves that prevent backflow into the pump, are considered standard for submersible models and will increase the replacement cost.
- Installation—Installation costs can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on various factors, such as the depth of the well, the type of pump, your location, the equipment needed, and even the terrain of your yard. Reaching out to a contractor for a quote is the best way to get accurate pricing details.
Well Pump FAQs
How long can you run a well pump?
The amount of time your well pump runs depends on the volume of your pressure tank. An average pressure tank will normally run anywhere between 30 seconds and two minutes to fill back up and get to normal pressure levels. If you’re using large amounts of water, the time it takes for your tank to replenish increases.
Can I replace a well pump by myself?
Due to the amount of labor and specialized equipment needed to remove and replace a well pump, it isn’t recommended to replace a well pump on your own. If you’re thinking about replacing or repairing your own tank, consult with a professional.
How much does it cost to replace a well pump?
The average cost of replacing a well pump is between $900 and $2,500. The cost varies based on the well size, materials used, and installation required. For example, replacing a shallow well pump will cost less than a deep well submersible pump.
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