For those who live too far outside a city to make use of its municipal water supply, a reliable well is of the utmost importance. For the most part, one well system looks a lot like the next, aside from superficial differences. Yet one key difference exists in the type of pump used to deliver water from your well to your home.
Two main types of well pumps exist today: jet pumps and submersible pumps. These differ primarily in their location. Jet pumps can be found above ground, usually inside of your home. A submersible pump, on the other hand, resides inside of the well itself.
Neither of these pumps has an inherent advantage over the other. Rather, you must consider the particular circumstances in order to select the most appropriate option. This article will help to make this decision making process clearer by discussing two key factors that will dictate which type of pump you should select.
1. Well Depth
Water depth varies greatly from one well to another. Even on the same property, the depth a well has to descent to reach water can alter to a surprising degree. Generally speaking, the higher the water table, the easier it will be to provide your home with water. The water simply won't have to travel as far.
Wells fall into two main categories depending on the depth of the water. Shallow wells have a depth of 25 feet or less. Deep wells, on the other hand, have depths greater than 25 feet. Jet pumps excel at delivering water out of shallow wells. The mechanical simplicity of a jet pump makes it the most attractive option for this type of well.
As water depth increases into deep well territory, submersible pumps become more and more attractive. Yet that still doesn't mean that they're the only choice. Wells between 25 and 110 feet deep can still be accessed by a jet pump. However, the mechanics of the pump system change somewhat and require a more involved well pipe.
For depths greater than 100 feet, a submersible well becomes the only reasonable choice. Instead of having to lift the water, the pump can instead push it up to your home. This fundamental mechanical difference tends to require a lot less energy since the pump will no longer have to fight the force of gravity in quite the same way.
2. Potential Problems
Each type of well pump faces certain problems all its own. When something goes wrong with a submersible pump, it must be hauled all the way up from the bottom of the well in order for a technician to perform repairs. For deep wells, this can be a laborious and difficult process - one that makes it nearly impossible for homeowners to troubleshoot basic issues on their own.
Jet pumps provide much easier access, thanks to their above-ground location. Yet this location can also be the source of problems, specifically when it comes to keeping your well pump primed. As you probably know, well pumps don't run constantly. When a jet pump is in its off configuration, it is vital that the well pipe remains full of water.
That way, when the pump comes back on, it can instantly resume drawing water into your home. If the water escapes from the well pipe - say through a leaky foot valve - then when the pump comes on, it will only draw in air. The pump simply doesn't have the strength to resume the flow of water all the way from the bottom of the well.
Unless reprimed, this issue will quickly lead to overheating and potentially burn out the pump motor. Submersible pumps don't have to worry about loss of prime. Their underwater location means that the pump will remain permanently primed, ensuring few interruptions to your home's water supply.
For more information about which type of pump would be best suited for your home's well, please contact North Carolina's experts at Clyde Sawyers & Son Well Pump.