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Water Well Pump Types and Maintenance Needs

Four generations of experience installing, maintaining and
repairing wells throughout Utah and Wyoming.
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For those who own a private water well of any kind, one of the single most important components in its regular operations will be the well pump. Responsible for pulling water from the well itself and moving it to the areas of your home or property where it’s needed, the well pump plays a vital role – but depending on the sort of well you’re setting up, a few different types of well pumps might be utilized.

At Mike Zimmerman Well Service LLC, we’re happy to assist with a wide range of services for water well pumps, from selecting the ideal pump for a new well installation to helping you maintain and/or repair your existing pump. What are some of the most common water well pump types you’ll generally have available to you if you’re drilling a new well, and what are the basics on these that will not only help you decide between them, but will also dictate some of the long-term maintenance needs they have? Here’s a primer, including some tips on said maintenance and how to avoid any pressure concerns in your well.

water well pump types maintenance

Submersible Well Pumps

For the deepest wells out there, plus those that are being built for the long-haul and expected to last decades without major issues, the most common option will be the submersible well pump. Made up of a cylindrical setup that sits about five feet above the very bottom of your well, this pump type uses a motor to draw well water up and through the system.

Because the motor sits in an area where water is present, it is sealed and will generally be completely waterproof. It works by pushing water up through the well, rather than pulling – the latter is a bit more common, but the motor function allows for this simpler method. Because of this and the general lack of too many moving parts, a submersible water well pump will often go 20-25 years at a time without requiring any major repairs. All you’ll need to do is provide very simple maintenance, something our team is happy to help with, and which we’ll go over in further detail later.

Jet Well Pumps

Jet pumps, on the other hand, work using a suction format rather than a pushing format. They involve the use of pipes to move water around, and actually have two variations:

  • Shallow jet pumps: The type that sits above the ground, using a pipe to draw water out from the well. This type is only suitable for wells that are 25 or fewer feet deep; at the same time, they tend to require less maintenance than deeper pumps.
  • Deep jet pumps: Using increased suction power that moves water faster and further, the deep jet pump can be used for wells 50-100 feet in depth, depending on certain other factors. This format uses two pipes: One that moves water through suction, and the other operating jets inside the well borehole.

Centrifugal Well Pumps

Finally, for the shallowest wells you might be considering, those under 25 feet and typically even shallower, a centrifugal well pump will sometimes be used. This type also uses suction and a pipe setup, but unlike the jet pump, it only requires a single pipe – this pipe goes into the borehole and water column of the well, pulling out water without taking up much space.

Centrifugal pumps are attractive to many well owners because they’re both affordable and relatively compact. In addition, they require very little maintenance due to the fact that they don’t go very deep into the ground. For this reason, they tend to be the top choice for shallower wells.

Importance of Maintenance

While it’s true that the different well pump options we’ve just gone over come with varying levels of required maintenance, this area remains vital for each and every one of them. Even with centrifugal well pumps, which probably require the least maintenance of all due to their shallower depth, issues can and will arise if you neglect maintenance altogether – components may wear down, pipes may become cracked or otherwise damaged, and more.

And in reality, many of the maintenance elements for well pumps are very simple and easy to perform. One of them is regular cleaning, particularly of the pump’s cooling fans – these are in place to help cool down the motors that pull water up, but you need to ensure they’re free of dust or cobweb buildup, which could encourage overheating. In addition, having your pump inspected yearly by our team of water well professionals will allow us to identify any loose or damaged parts, plus repair them for low or no cost rather than allowing them to get worse over time.

Pressure Concerns

Finally, a quick note on one potential well pump issue that no one wants to see: A sudden drop in pressure. There are a couple areas to check (either on your own or with the assistance of our professionals) if this happens:

  • Sediment filter: Your well has a sediment filter in place to catch and filter out various debris and contaminants, but this filter may have become clogged if it hasn’t been changed or cleaned. Be sure to check this first.
  • Air bladder: Within your water well tank, there’s a component called the air bladder, which puts force on the water and increases water pressure in the tank to assist the pump. However, if the bladder loses its inflation, it may drop your water pressure. If you think this is what’s happening, call our water well professionals for assistance.

For more on water well pump types and how to manage them, or to learn about any of our water well drilling or rehabilitation services, speak to the staff at Mike Zimmerman Well Service LLC today.