Things to consider when removing a faulty well pump

June 19, 2017

City dwellers may not pay much attention to how the water they use each day gets to their home. If you depend on a well in the countryside, however, the process is a little more involved.

When you have a well, your water supply is independent from your neighbours’, with each home having its own well from which to draw water. A well pump is the crucial component that keeps everything moving, and if it breaks down, it’ll have to be replaced. [Photo credit:]

Things to consider when removing a faulty well pump

Time: 1 hr.
Frequency: As required
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Tools: Socket, wrench, screwdriver, nylon rope, non-slip gloves.
Number of people: 2

Learn how to determine when your well pump needs to be replaced and the four simple steps you can follow to remove your faulty water well pump.

Signs you need a new well pump

The well pump transports drinking water to your home from the well. There are a few warning signs to alert you to a failing well pump:

  • Dirty water.
  • Loud or strange noises coming from the well.
  • Air that “spits” from the faucet.
  • Your electric bills have skyrocketed.
  • The pump may not turn off, indicating problems with the water pressure switch.

Types of well pumps available

If you need to replace your well pump, there are a variety of types available, including:
Deep well submersible pumps

  • Submersible pumps are most commonly used in homes.
  • They turn on automatically when the pressure within the home’s water system drops below a certain level.
  • You can expect long-lasting performance of up to 25 years.

Shallow well jet pump

  • This well pump sits above the ground and draws water out of one pipe, pushing it through another pipe.

Deep well jet pump

  • A single pipe comes up from the inside of the well into the home and connects to a pressure tank.

Good to know!

To determine the correct size well pump for your home, add one gallon per minute (GPM) capacity for every fixture you have along your line. Buying an oversized pump can increase costs and reduce performance because of energy inefficiencies.

Step 1: Checklist for well pump removal

Before you begin removing your well pump, make sure you’re prepared for the job.

  • Clear the area around the well of bushes and plants to ensure you have ample room to work.
  • Make sure you have non-slip gloves handy to maintain a good grip on the well pump.
  • Have a friend on hand to assist you in pulling out the old pump.

 Good to know!

If your well is more than 45.7 metres (150 feet) deep, it is advisable to get a contractor to help remove the pump.

Step 2: Turn off the power and remove the well cap

Before removing the well pump, it is important to turn off the power to the pump to avoid it accidentally turning on and pumping dry.

  • Use a socket and wrench to loosen the well cap bolts.
  • Free the well cap with a screwdriver.
  • Pull the well cap away from the casing.

Step 3: Loosen the pitless adapter

Now is a good time to call in reinforcements and have someone assist you in your project.

  • Slide the T-handle pump removal tool into the well casing. Turn the T-handle clockwise to thread the end of the tool onto the pitless adapter.
  • When fully engaged in the pitless adapter, wrap electrical tape around the T-handle shaft to mark the height of the pitless adapter below the top of the well casing.
  • Lift the T-handle pump removal tool with the help of a friend to separate the pitless adapter components.
  • Raise the T-handle until the pitless adapter is just above the top of the well casing.
  • Tie nylon safety rope to the water pipe with a secure knot so your plumbing assistant can hold on and tie off if needed.

Good to know!

Some wells may have a leader rope or cable already attached from the original installation.

Step 4: Remove the well pump

The person who will do the actual pulling should stand above the well to lift the discharge piping straight out of the casing, and the other person should stay with the top end of the water pipe and guide it to where it can lay down as you pull. Remember, it’s going to be very heavy, so ensure that the person guiding the pipe has a solid grip. It is a good idea to wear non-slip gloves.

  • Once you start pulling the pump assembly, you must continue the process until it is completely out of the casing.
  • After the pump is fully out of the well, place an inverted bucket over the top of the well casing to prevent objects from entering.
  • Observe the pump for signs of damage and clean the inlet screen of any debris.

Once you can recognize the signs of a failing well pump, you can act quickly to replace it and minimize the inconveniences that come from not being able to access clean water.

Some well pump installation requires electrical work. Not only is it dangerous, it may even be illegal in some provinces, such as Quebec, to do your own electrical wiring. Consider hiring a master electrician when installing a new well pump.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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