Removing a Submersible Pump


Read your manual for installation, operation, and safety information. This guide neither supplements nor replaces the Owner’s Manual.


How to Remove a Submersible Well Pump

Replacing a submersible well pump is not a complicated task if you understand the basics about a well system – such as the placement of the pump, how the submersible pump operates and how it is installed in a well casing. An advanced do-it-yourselfer with knowledge of electrical wiring and some basic plumbing skills is capable of replacing a submersible well pump.
This is not a step by step installation guide but rather a general overview to help you decide whether to do it yourself or to hire a contractor. The savings on the cost of labor, if you do it yourself, will be about 50 - 60% of the total price of a contractor doing the job.

Cost (0-5 scale): 2
Difficulty (0-5 scale): 5

Items Needed:
• Socket wrench and socket set
• Regular screwdriver
• Tee-handle pump removal tool
• Assistant
• 1/4 inch nylon rope
• Winch and derrick (for well deeper than 100 feet)
• Non-slip gloves and protective clothing
• Various hand and power tools

Step One – Equipment and site survey
Perform all the above-ground tests described in Troubleshooting to determine if the pump must be replaced. If it must be replaced, clear a 6’ to 8’ diameter area of shrubs and plants around the well casing so you have enough room to work.
Knowing the well depth, do you have a large enough lay down area to layout the pipe once you start pulling it out of the casing? You must be physically capable of continuously lifting the entire pipe and pump weight during the complete removal of pump to keep it from dropping back into the well.
The combined weight of the submersible pump, the pump wire and the water-filled pipe is often more than 120 pounds for a 100 foot depth and more than 300 pounds for a 500 foot depth. It is likely the water piping and wire will be very slippery due to iron or mineral deposits on those surfaces. You will need non-slip gloves to maintain your grip. You will also need at least one other person to help you pull out the pump and to guide the flexible poly discharge pipe away from the well as you are lifting it out.
If the pump is installed with rigid galvanized pipe, you will need a derrick and winch to lift the pipe assembly out of the well, and a method of securely holding the assembly suspended in the well casing while you unscrew and remove each 20’ length of pipe.
If the well is greater than 150 feet deep, it is advisable to offer the job to a contractor.

Step Two – Disconnect from power and remove the well cap
Turn off the circuit breaker or fuse supplying power to the submersible pump. Use a socket and wrench to loosen the well cap bolts. For an expansion type cap, slide the tip of a regular screwdriver between the bottom of the well cap and the top of the well casing. Twist the screwdriver handle to free the well cap. Pull the well cap away from the well casing.

Step Three - Loosen the pitless adapter
Slide the tee-handle pump removal tool into the well casing. Turn the tee-handle clockwise to thread the end of the tool onto the pitless adapter. When fully engaged in the pitless adapter, wrap electrical tape around the tee-handle shaft to mark the height of the pitless adapter below the top of the well casing. Lift the tee-handle pump removal tool with the help of an assistant to separate the pitless adapter components. Raise the tee-handle until the pitless adapter is just above the top of the well casing. Tie a 1/4 inch nylon safety rope to the water pipe with a secure knot so your assistant can hold on and tie off if needed. Some wells may have a leader rope or cable already attached from the original installation

Step Four – Remove pump from well
The person who will do the actual pulling should stand directly above the well to lift the discharge piping straight out of the casing and the other person should stay with the top end of water pipe and guide it to where it can lay down as you pull. Make sure that the person guiding the pipe has a good grip before you release to get another grip. Once you start pulling the pump assembly, you must continue the process until it is completely out of the casing.
After the pump is fully out of the well, place an inverted bucket over the top of the well casing to block objects from entering. Examine the pump for signs of damage and clean the inlet screen of any debris.


Hiring a pump installer

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions
One of the most important questions you can ask is about their experience. You want to know how long they have been in business and how knowledgeable they are. Ask for references. The more experienced and better the company is, the more expensive their services may be. Remember that each problem you may have with your well water system is going to cost you money, not only for the parts to fix it but also for the labor required. Having the job done right the first time will be worth the higher expense.

Ask what types of installation equipment they use to make sure that the job is done quickly and with minimal landscape damage. Ask what equipment they will install and how long the warranty is to insure they will use high quality, long lasting parts.

Local Codes and Regulations
Make sure your installer abides by local codes and regulations regarding private water systems and obtains all necessary applications, permits, and inspections.