In 2020, approximately 15% of people in the US used private wells as their primary source for drinking water – according to USGS. That percentage is equivalent to around 43 million people!
And where there’s a lot of demand to tap into private water sources, there’s going to be a competitive industry providing water well pump technology. So if you don’t shop around, you might miss out on some of the best deals.
But if you don’t know anything about the subject, it can be confusing which water well pump will work best for you. Without any research, you could end up choosing the wrong type of pump for your well.
Don’t worry – we have you covered. Let’s first explore the types of water well pumps available, how they work, and then which might work for you best.
Water Well Pump Types
There are two kinds of water well pumps that are commonly used for domestic wells.
You can either choose a submersible pump or a jet pump – both function a little differently and are suited for different needs.
As the name suggests, these pumps won’t work unless they are fully submerged below water. They use an above-ground power source that is connected to a pump motor. The pump motor is situated at the lower part of the submerged and cylinder-shaped pump.
So when you switch the motor on, the pump’s impellers push water up a pipe and into your above-ground storage tank. Then, you have an adapter linked to a storage tank to regulate the water properly throughout your home’s plumbing. Voila! You have water.
As a whole, this piece of kit typically includes a water pump, pump motor, and check valve. They don’t always come with a pressure tank.
Lastly, it’s important to note that submersible pumps push the water – meaning less energy is required to get the water to the surface.
Motorized jet pumps utilize water and suction from the surface to draw up your water. Therefore, before you can use one, it will need to be actually filled with what’s called drive water. And, apart from the piping going into the well, the whole process happens above ground.
Like submersible pumps, jet pumps use impellers, but they are above ground and create pressure. This pressure forces the drive water we mentioned through a narrow channel inside the pump.
When the drive water’s speed increases, it creates a jet, and this jet power is what sucks up your precious well water. The well water eventually comes in contact with the drive water, and you’ve made a continuous suction.
A pressure tank is commonly used with these types of pumps to regulate the pressure in your home.
We should note that jet pumps pull the water up from the well – more energy is required to do this than submersible pumps.
Which to Choose – Jet Pump or Submersible?
There are many varied designs within the jet pump and submersible pump categories to work for different needs. For example, some pumps are specialized for increasing water pressure, and others can distill your water.
However, a good starting point is to consider the depth and diameter of your well.
Remember we said that submersible pumps push water up? Since pushing water takes less energy, these types of pumps are suited for deeper wells – where more power is needed to thrust the water to your storage tank.
On the other hand, if you live in an area with a shallow water table and there’s a consistent water supply near the surface, a jet pump will serve your needs nicely.
As a general rule, you could follow these depth guidelines:
- Shallow well jet pump – for wells less than 25 feet
- Deep-well jet pumps/submersible pumps – for wells 25 feet to 110 feet
- Submersible pumps – for wells 25 feet to 400 feet
Yet ultimately, there is now a lot going for modern submersible pumps for wells above 25 feet. They use a lot less energy than jet versions to pump the same amount of water. Plus, they tend to be cheaper and easier to install too. The only issue is they might require more regular water well pump repair in the long term.
Although, for wells below 25 feet, a single drop jet pump with one-way check valves is a preferred choice. This type of pump is straightforward in its design, and so the real draw with these is that very little well pump maintenance is needed.
Water Well Pump Sizes
Once you’ve settled on the type of pump you want, you’ll then have to determine the right pump size to serve your home adequately.
Specifically, you should check a pump’s gallons per minute (GPM) rating. If the GPM falls short of your home’s water needs, you won’t get enough supply for your home. If you overestimate the GPM, you’ll be wasting energy pump water at a rate that’s not needed.
You really have to estimate the peak demand for water in your home – a good starting point is 5 GPM. Larger households may require GPM or more.
We mean by peak demand is how much water you will need when everyone in your home uses water at its most during a particular day. For example, there could be a time when one person showers, another person is washing, and someone else is watering the garden.
Other Well Pump Types
Before we finish up, we should mention that other pumps types include:
- Manual well pumps
- Solar power well pumps
- Pneumatic well pumps
- Kinetic water ram pumps
- Sump pumps
Excuse the pun, but you might be feeling a little under pressure about which water well pump will fit your water supply and home’s needs best.
The last thing you want is to spend time and money to find out that you’re not getting the right amount of water you need.
If in doubt, it’s always a sensible idea to consult our well pump experts to help you determine what’s needed.