Letter Re: Water Well

Hugh and JWR,

I want to comment on the topic of well pumps. I also had some issues finding answers to questions regarding the subject. The Internet, YouTube, and my closest library (second largest in the state) didn’t have all the answers I needed. I was able to find out some information from a third generation well driller and by driving an hour away to speak with an Amish man that deals with windmills and water pumps. Here are a couple of things I learned along the way that might help your readers:

Tip # 1- You need a deep well pump if your water is over 25 ft down. The old way of connecting the pump body to the pump cylinder was threaded galvanized steel pipe. This gets very HEAVY very quick. With the first well I only needed 60 feet of pipe to make it 15 feet below my static water level. It took my dad, two neighbors, and I everything we had to lower and pull it out of the ground. That was the last time I used the galvanized pipe. I bought threaded PVC from a well guy and haven’t looked back. Sure, the galvanized pipe might last longer, but the weight of the pipe and the rust that accumulates in the pipes over time does not make it worth it for me. I’d rather have some extra PVC pipe in the shed and know I can pull the pump by myself, if needed. Just make sure you drill a 1/16 inch hole in the pipe about five feet down, so water leaks out and it doesn’t freeze in winter.

Tip # 2- Static water level is the distance between the ground and your water table. This level fluctuates from year to year. I was told to make sure your pump cylinder is at least 15 feet below your water table. This is where money can be saved. When my well driller told me that we could have crystal clear water at 100 feet, my mind started adding up how many sucker rods and threaded PVC pipes I needed to go 100 feet. I, like most newbies, thought that the pump cylinder had to go to the bottom of the well. This isn’t true, and knowing where your static water level can save you money.

My cost to have everything done:

  • $1,500 for a well driller to come out on the weekend (He gave me a discount for paying with cash and .223 bullets.)
  • $180 for hand pump well from eBay
  • $150 to have well pump power coated. (I didn’t have mine repainted the traditional red, because it stands out like a sore thumb. When people need water, you don’t want them thinking about where they saw that nice red water pump!)
  • $200 for brass pump cylinder and sucker rods
  • $20 to pour concrete pad myself to mount well pump on.

I’m a little over $2000 for peace of mind! Well, I’ve spent $2,200, if you count the Big Berkey I pour it into! – P.H.