Before you start the installation process, make sure you have everything you need to complete it, bearing in mind that, while some types of pumps come with the correct piping included, with other models, you’ll need to purchase this separately.
To install a shallow well pump, you’ll need the following components:
- Jet pump
- Pressure Tank
- Pump to tank fittings
- Pipe clamps
- Suction piping (usually 1¼”)
- Thread tape or pipe cement for sealing the joints
- Foot or check valve
You may also need some type of filter and these basic tools:
- Wire cutters
- Wire strippers
- Pipe wrench
Before installing your pump, check the water in your well is clean, as any dirt or debris could block the foot valve. Also, make sure you turn off the power supply before proceeding.
How To Install A Shallow-Well Jet Pump
#1. Attach the foot valve making sure the spring-loaded poppet component is operating smoothly. Install the check valve vertically with the arrow pointing upwards and no deeper than 25 feet from the pump inlet. The foot valve should be suspended around 4 feet from the bottom of the well to prevent sediment from being drawn into the system.
#2. Using either a winch or good old muscle power, lower the foot valve and attached pipe into the well, joining additional pipes until you reach the desired depth. Make sure your joins are watertight, using thread tape to seal if necessary.
#3. Connect the suction pipe – a clean 1¼” pipe – to the pump. If you’re installing the shallow water pump some distance from the well itself, use a 1 ½” pipe instead. Seal the threads at the suction opening and tighten securely but without over-tightening, as this could break the fitting.
#4. Connect the outlet pipe as you did the suction pipe.
#5. Install the pump in its pump housing, making sure it is adequately ventilated and protected. Ideally, the pump should be bolted to a solid foundation, like concrete, and as close to the well as possible to reduce friction in the suction pipe.
#6. To prime most types of jet well pumps, you must first unscrew the priming cap, then fill the pump chamber and suction pipe with water from a hose or bucket. If the type of pump you’re using doesn’t have a priming cap, use the water outlet socket instead. Once the pump chamber is full, attach the pipe to the water outlet socket.
#7. Connect the pump to your pressure tank by installing the correct piping connections, non-return valve, pressure gauge, and pressure relief valve.
#8. Connect outlet feed from pressure tank and pump to the household supply, including a shut-off valve so that you can turn the water off to the house for maintenance without losing pressure in your tank or pump system.
#9. Complete your pump installation by connecting the pump motor to your chosen power supply, ensuring the voltage is the same.
#10. Once running, check the system for leaks, ensuring all your pipe joints are watertight. If you detect any leakages, turn the system off and tighten the leaky connections, or patch them using pipe cement or glue.
If you prefer visual instruction, this video should be helpful:
Common Pump Types
The most common type of pump for a shallow well is a jet pump used both in a drilled well and to access groundwater in a drive well.
Rather than being housed inside the well itself, a water jet pump is mounted above it, usually under some kind of pump house or cover.
Centrifugal pumps are also sometimes used for shallow wells, although they’re not as effective as the jet models when it comes to suctioning water up.
A shallow water pump uses water to create suction, driving it through a narrow pipe, creating a partial vacuum that sucks up additional water from the well and discharges it into the plumbing system.
Most water jet pumps work together with a pressure tank. This combination reduces the pressure on the pump system and lengthens the operational lifespan of the pump motor.
A tankless pump will cycle much more frequently, coming on every time you turn on a tap. The problem with this system is that a slight drip will make your pump kick in around 8,000 times a day, which will probably mean you’ll need a replacement within a year or two.
How To Avoid Common Shallow Well Installation Problems
How Deep Is Your Well?
Knowing the depth of your well is critical when it comes to choosing the right type of pump. Submersed pumps are more commonly used in deep wells of more than 25 feet deep, whereas jet and centrifugal pumps are more suitable for shallow wells.
The depth of your well will also tell you how much pipe you need, bearing in mind that the drop pipe of a jet well pump should hang a few feet above the bottom of the well.
What Horsepower Do I Need?
Depending on how much water you need on average per hour will dictate whether a 1/2 or 3/4 horsepower motor is required. A pump with a horsepower rating of 3/4 HP pump will produce around 950 gallons per hour (GPH), whereas one with a horsepower average of 1/2 will only generate around 390 GPH.
Does a Shallow Well Pump Need a Check Valve?
While not every pump requires a check valve, most jet and centrifugal pumps are not self-priming and therefore need a check valve to keep water in the pipes.
Do You Have To Prime a Shallow Well Pump?
Yes, even self-priming models need to be primed before you use them, although deep, well, submersible pumps don’t. Priming removes air from the suction line and pump, which will otherwise prevent water flow into the pump, causing it to break down.
Read more about how to prime a well pump
What Type of Pipes Are Best For a Shallow Well?
Galvanised steel piping is the most durable and performs the best in high-pressure scenarios, making it the most suitable for the drive pipe. PVC is rust-proof and easy to install, but if exposed to sunlight, may become brittle, making quick pump repairs virtually impossible.
How Long Does a Shallow Well Pump Last?
The standard above-ground jet pump has a lifespan of around 10 years, whereas a modern submersible pump can keep going for up to 15 years if properly maintained.
How Much Is A Shallow Well Pump?
If you’re entirely reliant on water from your well, you should invest in a quality pump and lessen the chances of pump malfunctions and the inconvenience of pump repair costs.
When budgeting for your water pump costs, don’t forget to include the piping, connectors, and any additional valves or gauges you might require. A jet well pump will set you back around $150 to $400, but with all the other components, the total installation price could be double that.
Check out our other related posts for more information:
Although we’ve chosen to focus on installing a shallow well jet pump, centrifugal pumps are also suitable for shallow wells, if not quite as powerful. Submersible pumps are recommended for deeper wells of 25 feet deep or more.
Regardless of the type or model of pump you opt for, it will come with a detailed pump installation guide which will give you step-by-step instructions on how to install that specific type of pump.
While it’s not a complicated process, it’s vital that all the plumbing and electrical work meets national and local regulations. If you have any concerns, consult a pump professional to assist with the installation.
Ensuring the initial installation is done correctly will extend your system’s service life and save you the expense and inconvenience of expensive repairs.