Understanding your well system components

I am frequently asked to describe in greater detail what components are involved within a well system. Below I will provide details for the main components of a well. In some cases these items can vary slightly or be substituted with products alike.

Starting with the main component the Submersible well pump, we will work our way from the bottom of drilled water well to the surface/interior portion.

First off, the list of components below are common items for a Drilled Artesian Water Well also referred to as deep wells or rock wells. Point Wells and some Dug Wells utilize similar components although not quite the same as drilled wells, which we will get into greater detail within a separate post in order not to confuse.

Moving along to the Main component, the almighty Submersible Pump – Not often gazed upon this component spends its life in darkness in the depths of the earth for many years of great service delivering water into your home. Pump life expectancies average around 10-15 years typically, however properly designed systems combined with great water quality can help extend the life of a pump into greater than the average.

1.) Next component in line is the Check Valve- This component stops the water flow from going backwards and keeps the direction of flow in the forward direction for use within the home. Check valves keep the system primed and ready for use. It is suggested that check valves be located every 200’ of vertical piping within the shaft to assist in relieving stress of the pump and primary check valve.

2.) Above the check valve is the brass adapter/brass rope adapter- Brass adapters are used in most cases to transition the threaded connection to insert into polyethylene piping. If the piping is rigid piping that has a threaded connection brass adapter is not required. Brass Rope adapters are suggested to utilize a safety rope if one is desired. I personally along with many other well professionals do not utilize the rope. Safety rope can often cause more harm than good to a well pump.

3.) Clamps- All-stainless steel clamps for dependable connections between pipe and insert fittings or torque arrestors

4.) Heat Shrink Splice Kits- Waterproof electric cable splices in submersible pump installations.

5.) Torque Arrestor – Installed directly above Submersible Pump to protect pump and well components from starting torque damage.

6.) Safety Rope- A safety line from the top of the well to the pump. (Not recommended on most installs)

7.) Cable Tie/Tape – Fastens cable to drop pipe. Tape does a better job of holding the wire in place over the years of service.

8.) Cable Guard/ Wire Guides – Protects submersible pump cable wires from abrading against sides of well. Two styles: Self Clamping of Snap-In.

9.) Pitless Adapter – Provides a watertight, sanitary, removable connection between poly pipe thread of Pitless Adapter.

10.) Brass Insert Fitting – Provides connection between poly pipe and pipe thread.

11.) Watertight Well Cap – Inner gasket compresses to outside diameter of casing to provide a watertight seal. Top of cap removes easily to access well for service.

Note: If you have a well exposed above grade ensure it currently has a watertight well cap on not a slip on cover.

12.) Well Seal – Used in above ground installations to provide a positive seal inside the inside casing. Wells seals are commonly found in buried wells or wells within a well pit. If a well is below grade every effort should be made to expose well above grade for sanitary purposes and ease of service.

13.) Check Valve – on pump installations, a Check Valve installed near the tank inlet holds water in the tank when the pump is idle.

14.) Tank Tee – Connects water line from pump to pressure tank and service line from tank to house. Taps are provided to accept Pressure Switch, Pressure Gauge, Drain Valve, Relief Valve, Snifter valve, etc…

15.) Drain Valve – for easy draining of the system.

16.) Brass nipple – Male threads allow the attachment of the Pressure Switch to the Tank Tee.

17.) Relief Valve – Protects against pressure build up. Should be used on any system where the pump could develop greater pressure than the maximum rating of the system.

18.) Pressure Gauge – Measures water pressure in Pressure Tank.

19.) Pressure Switch – Signals the pump to start when the water system drops to a preset low pressure, and to stop when the high pressure mark is reached.

20.) Service Disconnect/Safety Switch – For electric control and distribution to the pump.

21.) Pump Saver(optional upgrade) – Adjustable, solid state control that monitors system load conditions to protect pump motor from dry well, loss of flow, rapid cycling, slow recovery, air lock, and locked rotor problems.

22.) Lightning Arrestor – Protects pump motor & controls from voltage surges caused by lightning, switching loads, and power line interference.

23.) Ball Valve – Acts as a shutoff valve on the supply line from the tank to the house.

24.) Water Filter – A point-of-entry, whole-house filter that removes rust particles, sand, etc. from supply water.

And of course a properly selected Water Well Holding Tank for optimal performance. Not mentioned in the list above also is the Submersible Pump cable as well, which is sized appropriately for the total distance and size motor being utilized.