Installing a submersible pump is not as daunting a project as it may sound. A deep-well pump set at 500 feet goes in exactly the same way as one set at 50 feet, with the exception that very deep wells need stronger pipe, usually galvanized. The same basic methods apply when wiring or setting it, however.
Find the Right Pump
Make sure your well casing is wide enough to accommodate a 4-inch submersible pump.
The depth of your well and the length of the water line from the well to the house will determine how big your pump needs to be. If you do not know the depth of your well, drop a heavy weight on a string at least 400 to 500 feet long down the well until it hits bottom, then mark the string with tape at ground level.
Subtract 10 feet from your well depth to keep the pump clear of sediment at the bottom of the well, then check the various pump ratings to find a pump that is rated for this depth.
If you are pumping uphill to the house or over a long distance, you may need an even larger pump. Call a pump expert for help if needed.
When you have decided on the correct pump, buy a pump control box of the same rating. If your pump is 1 1/2 horsepower, you will need a 1 1/2 horsepower pump controller.
Assemble Pump and Pipe
With the pipe and pump on the ground beside the well, wrap the threads of the 1 1/4-inch male barbed adapter with thread tape and thread it into the top of the pump.
Slide two hose clamps over the fitting. If you are using a torque arrester, also slide the two clamps for the arrester over the fitting.
Work the end of your PVC pipe into the barbed adapter. You will need at least 12 feet of Schedule 80 1 1/4-inch PVC pipe to attach to the pump. If you are running PVC all the way up the well, this step applies to either one.
Use the two hose clamps to clamp the hose to the fitting. The entire system must be watertight, or the pump will not work.
Clamp the torque arrester to the PVC pipe about 4 inches above the fitting. Wrap electrical tape around the pipe above and below the torque arrester to keep it from sliding up or down the pipe while the pump is being lowered into the well.
When buying your pipe, determine whether you will use a pitless adapter in the well casing or some other type of fitting to attach the well pipe to the discharge pipe at the top of the casing. You will need to install these before inserting the pump into the well.
Electrical Hookup (Pump)
The size wire you run from the pump controller to the well must match the manufacturer's specifications, as too-small wires cause low starting voltage, inducing unnecessary wear and tear on the pump and possibly voiding the warranty.
If you are uncertain how to proceed with wiring, you should call a qualified electrician.
The wire leads from the pump are color-coded black, yellow, red and green (ground). You need to splice these to the corresponding wire leads from the control box in the pump house. These likely run underground or overhead to your well.
Slide one of the black shrink-fit tubing connectors over each pigtail coming from the pump. This includes the green ground wire, which should be wired to the ground wire from the control box.
Use the crimp connections to crimp each wire color to its mate.
Slide the black shrink fit connectors over the exposed, crimped wires, and use the propane torch to shrink the tubes. Do not let the tubes touch during heating, and do not over-shrink. This could put holes in the tubes or cause them to become brittle.
Use a bucket of water and an ohmmeter to test for continuity. Submerge the splices completely, leaving the bare ends running to the pump controller out of the bucket.
Set the ohmmeter to zero.
Submerge one of the ohmmeter's leads in the water and touch the other to the bare ends of each wire, one after the other. If the meter reads infinity, the splices are good.
If the ohmmeter needle shifts to zero on any wire, the splice is not watertight. To find out where the problem lies, pull the wire slowly out of the bucket, leaving the ohmmeter lead still touching the bare end. When the needle flips to infinity, you have found where the splice is bad.
Repair the connection with a splice kit and test again.
Secure the wires running down the well to the pipe, using electrical tape or cable ties every few feet. Do not stretch the wire tightly; it needs some give. Protect the exposed splices with electrical tape to keep them from scraping the well casing or the pipe.
Setting the Pump
Before beginning to set the pump, have your safety rope in place. The safety rope is a thin, strong rope as long as the depth of the well. Tie one end to the safety eyelet at the top of the pump and the other to the fitting inside the well cap. Because this is your insurance against losing the pump down the well, do not skimp on the quality of the rope, and test your knots.
For shallower wells using PVC pipe, you can likely do the job with three or four people: one to guide the pump down the well and the others to steady and feed the pipe into the well casing.
For deep wells, especially if galvanized pipe is used, you will need something to steady the weight of the pipe, usually a tripod supporting a block and tackle, which supports the pump on its safety rope. For detailed instructions on how to build a tripod and foot clamp, see Resources.
Use the block and tackle to lower the pipe assembly into the well and hold it while you assemble each section.
Do not lower the pump all the way to the bottom of the well, as it will quickly clog and burn out. Set it at least 10 feet above the bottom.
At the top of the well, attach the pipe to the preinstalled pitless adapter, if you are using one, or attach the pipe to the discharge pipe above the well seal.
At the Pump House
The long ends of wire running from the well feed into the pump controller, which must match your pump in horsepower rating, or it will not work properly.
The studs inside the control box are labeled to correspond to the pump wires (L1, L2, R, Y, B). If you are at all uncertain about wiring the pump yourself, call a certified electrician; otherwise, thread the wires into the appropriate connections and tighten the screws.
Ground the green wire to the system ground or the panel box ground bar.
How your control box fits into the rest of your water system will depend on whether the pump is discharging straight into a cistern or running through a pressure tank. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on the pressure tank, or call an electrician to help you determine the best way to incorporate your pump controller into your particular system.