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Union on well pump

bignozzle
bignozzle Member Posts: 16
I was thinking about putting a union on the 2 pipes going into a 1/2 hp jet pump to make it easier to replace. I’ve never seen it done, does anyone see a problem with that?
Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 3,341
    Mine has 2 unions. 

  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 619
    bignozzle said:

    I was thinking about putting a union on the 2 pipes going into a 1/2 hp jet pump to make it easier to replace. I’ve never seen it done, does anyone see a problem with that?
    Thanks in advance.

    =================================================================

    Is it assembled with Copper or Galvanized pipe??

    Is the Jet pump a vertical jet pump mounted on the well head or a horizontal jet pump attached to a horizontal pressure tank that can be moved a short distance?

    Does your well have a 2 pipe sanitary seal or a 2 pipe well casing plug?

    If the jet pump cannot be moved to allow installing the short nipples and unions it is going to take more work and you may need two sets of union pipe joints.

    Is the well in the basement of the home or a pump house??

    There is no problem in doing this. You have to be very sure that the pipe threads are good, clean and the
    they do not suck air or leak water if there is room to move the pump and tank.
    You need to use a spritzer to spray soapy water on the threads to make sure they do are not sucking air when everything is put back together.

    If you do not have a pipe tap and die set you should rent one to use to clean up/chase the new and old threads.

    If you are using galvanized pipe the pipe nipples you should chase the threads with the taps and dies and then soak the unions and pipe nipples in Dawn Dish Soap for a minute or two to clean the thread oil off of them, rinse them with very hot water and let them dry out or use a heat gun to dry them before you tape and assemble the pipe.
    Another option would be to use D+L hand cleaner and a new wire brush along with the taps and dies.

    Plan on having 20 gallons of water on hand before you start this to prime the pump and pipes if it is a deep well jet pump.

    If you have black poly pipe or blue drop pipe connection's there is less work of course.

    If you are going to do it may be worth your time to pull the drop pipe and clean the foot valve and strainer too.

    If you have a simple well cap on your well it would be a good time to invest in a 2 piece gasketed well cap that uses compression to seal the casing at the surface.


  • bignozzle
    bignozzle Member Posts: 16
    It’s a it’s a horizontal pump separate from the tank in the basement attached to poly pipe, I’m not sure what you mean by a sanitary seal. There isn’t a lot of poly sticking through the basement wall so I was thinking of taking off the hose clamps and loosening the brass barb fittings in place. The well cap is 5’ down in 3’ concrete pipe. A couple of the bolts holding the cap are stripped, existing, and it’s a hell of a spot to work. Thanks for your help and any further advice would be appreciated.
  • bignozzle
    bignozzle Member Posts: 16
    Oh as far as the unions, they can suck air without leaking water?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,968
    bignozzle said:

    Oh as far as the unions, they can suck air without leaking water?

    They sure can. And often do. It doesn't take much of an air leak to make priming a problem.

    Is it one single poly pipe going out to the well and down? Then you have a shallow well jet pump, and those unions need to be really good.

    I know you didn't ask about it, but... I really truly don't like the type of installation you describe, with a cap down in a concrete pit, although it's common enough. It is far too easy for surface water, which is almost always contaminated, to get down into the pit one way or another and, if that seal with the bolts stripped isn't really tight to get on down into the well. Not that there is much you can do about it which is even remotely easy -- other than making sure that that seal on the well casing is secure, and that the ground around your concrete pipe is graded away from it -- and that whatever is at the bottom of the concrete pipe is reasonably free draining, and that there is a secure and at least water resistant cover on the top of the concrete pipe.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 619
    edited August 9
    OK, here is where wander down the water well path.

    AS Jamie has so kindly said "you got big problems that you have to fix with that well".

    You need to thread in 2 different lengths of pipe nipples so that you will have room to rotate the nuts on the unions without having the upper or lower unions interfering with each other when using pipe wrenchs.

    You need a pair of bronze barbed pipe pipe fittings with female threads to attach to the pipe nipples.

    The casing has to be extended to a foot or two above the surface grade to be clear of any surface water entering the well casing.

    This can be done easily with a length of steel well casing that is butted up on the existing well casing and sealed with a steel banded rubber gasketed pipe clamp.

    You can purchase these pipe clamps from a large plumbing supply distributor and also obtain the pipe for the well casing extension. You need to find out if the 6-inch water pipe is the same outside diameter as
    the well casing for the clamp to seal properly.

    Just so you know what you need to look for I have attached a picture image of (1) the large pipe clamp,
    (2) sanitary well cap, and (3) a lead free 2 pipe pitless adapter, (4) brass barbed pipe fitting.

    NOW;

    If your well has a six inch well casing you should call around to local well drillers and ask if they have a short length of well casing to sell and ask them if they can smooth cut it on both ends to the length you need; otherwise you will need to rent a 6 inch pipe cutter or hire a plumber with a large pipe cutter to cut the pipe and install it for you.

    You need to have a T bar on hand as well to pull the pipe and foot valve. you make this T bar by using two one inch pipe nipples, a one inch Tee and an 8-10 foot length of one inch pipe.

    The Tee bar is threaded into the top of the sanitary seal to aid in pulling the pipe string out of the well.

    This is very important, does your well casing have a one pipe(one hole) or two pipe(2 hole) compression cap that squeezes against the inside diameter of the casing or a solid cap to seal it?

    If it has a solid cap the 2-pipe sanitary seal is below the frost line and is attached to the well casing.

    I want to help you with this as this well needs to be properly repaired to bring it up to national plumbing code.







    I am unable to upload an image of a brass female threaded barbed pipe fitting for drinking water but a
    plumbing supply distributor will know what they are and you need two of them for your two pipe jet pump well system.


  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,576
    edited August 9

    bignozzle said:

    Oh as far as the unions, they can suck air without leaking water?

    They sure can. And often do. It doesn't take much of an air leak to make priming a problem.

    Is it one single poly pipe going out to the well and down? Then you have a shallow well jet pump, and those unions need to be really good.

    I know you didn't ask about it, but... I really truly don't like the type of installation you describe, with a cap down in a concrete pit, although it's common enough. It is far too easy for surface water, which is almost always contaminated, to get down into the pit one way or another and, if that seal with the bolts stripped isn't really tight to get on down into the well. Not that there is much you can do about it which is even remotely easy -- other than making sure that that seal on the well casing is secure, and that the ground around your concrete pipe is graded away from it -- and that whatever is at the bottom of the concrete pipe is reasonably free draining, and that there is a secure and at least water resistant cover on the top of the concrete pipe.

    Isn't there a foot valve to keep the system from draining when off? That would hold the water right at the pump even if there was a tiny air leak no?

    That said.....why not use PVC unions with an O ring seal? Those with a little silicone lube would likely give a very good seal every time. You could get them with NPT threading and adapt to whatever you need. They even sell PVC threaded nipples.










    On McMaster I found them under plastic pipe fittings.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 619
    edited August 9
    This would work too but he has to have the well repaired by extending the well casing above the surface grade and pouring a wide down sloping concrete apron around the casing and below the grade first.

    Preferably filling the pit with concrete and vibrating the concrete as it settles is the normal way to do it after the casing is extended.

    Installing a new 2 pipe jet pump pitless adapter with the casing extension and then filling the pit with crushed bank run gravel and then pouring the apron on top of the tamped crushed bank run gravel would be ideal.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,576
    leonz said:

    This would work too but he has to have the well repaired by extending the well casing above the surface grade and pouring a wide down sloping concrete apron around the casing and below the grade first.

    Preferably filling the pit with concrete and vibrating the concrete as it settles is the normal way to do it after the casing is extended.

    Installing a new 2 pipe jet pump pitless adapter with the casing extension and then filling the pit with crushed bank run gravel and then pouring the apron on top of the tamped crushed bank run gravel would be ideal.


    Why does all of that need to be done?
    Apparently the well is fine and has not been tampered with, the OP just wants it easier to replace pumps.

    Or, is there something going on that is causing the pumps to fail that the above work will repair?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 619
    If the house is sold the well will have to be worked on/upgraded before it is sold as it will not be up to code.
    ChrisJ
  • bignozzle
    bignozzle Member Posts: 16
    The well is at my sons house which he bought in 2019. The old pump works fine but it’s close to 30 years old so he thought it would be a good idea to replace it before it craps out. The inside of the well pit looks okay and it is a 2 pipe system and the pipes both enter through the top of the well cap, no pitiless Adaptor. The pvc unions sound good, but I was wondering if they would hold up long term due to the vibration from the pump. I know pvc is pretty tough and seems to last forever.
    thank you to everyone for all the advice.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,576
    bignozzle said:

    The well is at my sons house which he bought in 2019. The old pump works fine but it’s close to 30 years old so he thought it would be a good idea to replace it before it craps out. The inside of the well pit looks okay and it is a 2 pipe system and the pipes both enter through the top of the well cap, no pitiless Adaptor. The pvc unions sound good, but I was wondering if they would hold up long term due to the vibration from the pump. I know pvc is pretty tough and seems to last forever.
    thank you to everyone for all the advice.

    I think they would hold up excellent.
    they're the same material that the grey plastic barbed fittings for the black plastic pipe are usually made from. At least the grey heavy wall ones from McMaster are.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,968
    If there are two pipes going into the well, @bignozzle , it's a two pipe system, with the actual jet down at the bottom. Which is a Very Good Thing. So long as the foot valve holds, they are much easier to prime -- and much less likely to lose prime. The best part is that both pipes are under pressure, not suction, and so the only thing you have to worry about is leakage -- which, if the unions are good, shouldn't happen.

    And yes, as I implied, and @leonz said, if and when the house is sold that casing will need to brought up above ground level. Your local health department will not be happy with the arrangement you have. That said, if you make sure, as I noted, to have the ground around the pit graded away, and keep the pit clean, and have a water proof cover on it, I honestly wouldn't worry that much about it.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England