How to Pull a Deep Well Submersible Pump

When your deep well pump stops working, who ya gonna call? The local well driller can pull it for you, but that could cost big bucks. This method just requires some muscle, although a vehicle can make it a lot easier. This article refers only to those installations with flexible pipe.


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    Turn off power to the pump. Even if it's a low-voltage installation, you don't want it turning on accidentally and pumping dry.
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    Mount a hand-crank winch in such a way as to lift the pump out partway. Make sure everything is good and strong; a mistake here can not only make your pump unsalvageable, it can cost you life or limb.
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    Hook the winch to the flange that connects flexible pipe to the storage or pressure tank.
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    Winch the pump so that there's a few feet of the flexible pipe outside the casing.
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    Put two pieces of two-by-six, with a piece of cardboard sandwiched between, together with C-clamps. Drill through the center of the "sandwich" with a wood bit the same as your pipe's outer diameter, so you end up with two half-moon-shaped cuts in each 2x6. Now drill at least 4 holes through both boards so that you have a "vise", or clamp, to hold the pipe.
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    Using bolts through the holes, tighten the clamp onto the flexible pipe just above the casing pipe.
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    Unhook the winch cable from the pump flange.
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    From here you can finish the job in one of several ways:
    • The relay method:

      1. Make another clamp the same as above, but drill two more holes in each clamp, put a loop of rope through the two holes, and tie a figure-eight knot in each end.
      2. Clipping the winch hook into the loop of rope in the clamp, winch the pump out a few more feet.
      3. Attach the other clamp, remove the upper clamp, and repeat until the pump is out.
    • The truck method:

      1. Place a 55 gallon (208.2 L) drum next to the casing pipe on the side with the longest run of road or open space. If possible, put a few loops of baling wire around to tie it to the casing pipe.
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      2. Fasten the flange onto the hitch ball of a car or truck, or to the rear bumper.
      3. Have the car move slowly forward until the pump is out. If the flexible pipe starts to heat up due to friction against the drum, slow the car, or pour soapy water onto the barrel as a cooling lubricant as it's being pulled.
    • Brute force method:

      1. Two or more muscular people take turns pulling. Once you start this method, there's no resting until the pump is all the way out, though it does get easier the closer you get to the end.
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    Stuff something into the pipe to prevent dust and contaminants from entering your well and the groundwater; you'll see the old (cleaned) blanket that was used in the photo at top. Likewise, be sure to sanitize the pump, pipe and electrical cabling before replacing it into the well.

Sources and Citations

  • This research was made possible, in part, by a land grant from the City of the Sun Foundation, though the specifics of the research were not coordinated nor endorsed by COSF.

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