Here we look at and break down some of our picks for the best well pumps for residential and commercial applications. Before you buy a top-rated well pump you want to make sure you’re looking for the right type of pump for your type of installation.
Trying to install a shallow water jet pump in a deep well or vice versa may not work in your favor!
If you are replacing an existing well pump the best thing to do is take out the old pump and inspect it to determine the make, model and style of pump you need.
The best-rated well pumps will have:
- High-quality electric motors with a horsepower rating sufficient for the well depth and diameter.
- A flexible yet durable pump impeller for moving water when the pump is on.
- An emergency power switch for shutting the pump off to prevent overheating.
- A pressure valve and pressure relief valve to control well pressure levels.
Of course the easiest route would be to simply buy the same make and model of well pump that is currently in your existing water well. Unfortunately, this isn’t always an option because manufacturers often discontinue pump models as they become out dated and newer, more reliable versions are manufactured.
Best Shallow Well Pumps
The most popular type of shallow well pump is called the jet pump. In most installations, the jet pump is located above grade inside or outside adjacent to the well casing and usually the well pressure tank.
Most shallow well installations with jet pumps are limited to a depth of around 25 feet, depending on the elevation. Since shallow wells are dependent on the atmospheric pressure, the elevation can play a role in how much pressure is created inside the well water tube.
Jet pump motors usually incorporate an impeller which is enclosed in a plastic housing. The impeller puches water through a nozzle that is similar to the screw in type nozzles commonly used when watering a garden in order to make the water spray further and reach plants that are farther away.
The change in water pressure caused by water moving through the jet pump causes more water to be drawn up the well and into the home. In most cases a small backflow irrigation valve is installed in the water line to prevent water from flowing in reverse from the home and back into the well when the pump is not in use.
Most shallow water wells require priming of the pump prior to turning the pump on.
It’s important to realize that shallow water well jet pumps are powered by an electric motor that can be noisy. If you desire to cover the motor and pump assembly be sure to include vents in the cover to allow for airflow. Without the necessary airflow heat may build up under the well pump enclosure and cause the motor to overheat.
Excessive heat can cause the motor bearings to seize and also cause the brushes on the motor to become damaged.
The Best Rated Submersible Deep Well Pumps
Submersible well pumps are for deeper well applications where the water table is further down and the well requires more drilling and a longer encasement. While submersible well pump installations tend to be more costly due to the labor and materials, they also tend to be much quieter than shallow well installations because the actual pump motor is located far underground.
Most residential submersible deep wells pumps are powered by electricity. Suction pumps that work using electricity are usually in-line electric motors. These motors allow them to operate in deep wells and shallow streams that can go several miles without stopping. If the power fails, the motors shut off and then resume when the power comes on again.
There are three common types of submersible well pumps: rotary screw, counter-rotating screw, and inline piston pumps. A rotary screw pump has a screw-like housing with a rotor attached to the housing. When the motor is turned on, the rotation of the screw forces a shaft into the water. This shaft pumps energy into the aquifer and raises the water pressure to the desired level.
The counter-rotating screw submersible well pump is similar to a screw pump except it has a counter-rotating screw that doubles as a suction pipe. The water pressure is then doubled as the impeller rotates. Unlike a rotary screw pump, this unit does not have to be connected to a source of power. The solenoid valve on the tank connects the pump to the house to raise the water pressure.
The third type of deep well pumps is an inline piston pump. These units have a piston that rotates and is attached to a cylinder. The cylinder is similar to a car engine in that it must be revved up to operate. This type of pump is most commonly found in gas and oil well applications.
Solar Well Pumps
With solar panels becoming increasingly efficient some well pumps are able to utilize battery power with the solar panels recharging the battery during daylight hours.
The electric well pump motors used with solar installations are usually smaller and designed to run very efficiently, using as little electricity as possible. Brushless electric motors are also being rolled out into these types of applications because brushless motors are extremely efficient and long-lasting.
A solar well pump isn’t something a family of four running 3 bathrooms and 3 showers is going to want to invest in. Heavy consistent use would probably run the battery down quickly. But for smaller cabins and off-the-grid types of installations solar water wells can be a great option. Just remember to go with a deep solar well in climates experiencing freezing temperatures that will cause pipes exposed above ground to freeze and possibly break.
Emergency Hand Pumps And Pitcher Pumps
Sometimes the most reliable type of water pump is the one operated by arm muscles! The achillies heel of most modern well pumps is that they all require electricity in order to pump the water up and into the home.
In emergency situations where the grid goes down and there is no backup generator to create electricity a homeowner could be looking at a situation where freshwater is right out in the back yard well, with no way of pumping it out!
An off-grid deep well water pump can be a real lifesaver in these types of emergency situations. Such pumps allow the user to install the device and fasten it to the top of the well shaft. A simple hand lever is moved up and down to create suction that moves the water up from the well. Unlike sewage grinder pumps which need electricity to function, well pumps can run on old fashion muscle power!
The best overall take away in finding the best well pump for your particular situation is to try to find the exact make and model of your existing shallow or deep water well.
If the exact model is no longer available for sale you’ll want to write down the specs of your current pump and match them as best you can. You want to make sure the well pump you buy has sufficient power to pump water from your well. If you purchase a well pump that is smaller than the pump you currently have it may not provide enough power for your well.
If you are replacing a deep well submersible pump also pay close attention to the diameter of the pump itself. Buying a deep water well pump that is too wide to fit in the well casing is not going to pump much water!
And always remember to vent any well pump enclosure placed over an exterior shallow well pump with the pump motor running above grade. The electric motors in shallow water jet pumps can generate a lot of heat and require adequate airflow to prevent the motors internal parts and bearings from overheating and failing.