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Installing a "Simple Pump" Well Pump: Part One

by Tyler

Today, with the help of our new friends Jeremy & Hercilia, we're going to install a hand-powered Simple Pump in our well. This will be the first time any of us has ever worked on a well, and it will also be the first time I've ever read and followed all of the instructions for something while building it! The first step: removing the existing well-cover and confirming a clear line of sight to water.

Simple Pump Drop Pipes Well Cap Tyler & Jeremy Working on the Well Jeremy & Tyler Reading Simple Pump Instructions

According to the instructions, it's possible, on a sunny day, to see a reflection on water up to two hundred feet deep by using a mirror. I'm dubious, but some careful aiming with a cosmetic mirror we received on a free first-class flight from Iceland Air proves it's true. Down in the depths, we're able to see see a dimple on the surface of the water, located where the already-installed submersible pump's power wires pass through.

Tyler Sighting for Water

Now that we know there is a safe path for our new well pump to reach the water, it's time to start the installation. First, Jeremy and I mount a new well-cap, one with a hole in the top for the hand-pump to exit through. It doesn't look level in the photos below, but it is by the time we're finished.

Simple Pump Well Cap Installation Simple Pump Well Installation

Meanwhile, Tara and Hercilia busily prepare the drop pipes for installation. After Tara pushes a rag through each one to remove any debris, Hercilia expertly wraps the threads on the end with teflon tape. Pretty soon, we have a good assembly-line going. Doing this with our friends is so much more enjoyable than it would have been otherwise!

Simple Pump Drop Pipes on Truck Hercilia Getting Ready to Apply Teflon Tape Tara Cleaning Simple Pump Drop Pipes

We have 12 sections of 9-foot pipe to install, and inside each one there is a fiberglass "sucker rod" which is responsible for transferring the motion from the pump arm at the top of our well down to the pump at the bottom. When we're done, the total depth of the new pump cylinder will be roughly 108ft. This is only 28ft below our static level, but we shouldn't have any troubles with capacity, as the pump only pulls about 3 gallons per minute. If we need more on-demand in the future, we can always install a storage tank, or add a few more sections of drop pipe.

Simple Pump Drop Pipes on our Truck

Now that our sections of pipe are cleaned and taped, it's time to begin installing them. The first length includes the pump cylinder itself, mated to a sucker rod and PVC drop pipe.

Tyler Securing Simple Pump Sucker Rod Tyler Securing Simple Pump Sucker Rod Tyler & Jeremy Reading Simple Pump Instructions Tyler Hand-Tightening Simple Pump Drop Pipe

In order to prevent a catastrophe during the assembly, Simple Pump includes a "safety tool" which goes over the hole on their well cap. Each section of drop pipe has a flange on one end that is too large to pass through it, effectively preventing the entire works from dropping into the well, never to be seen again. As each pipe is installed, it rests on the safety tool so the next set of pipe and sucker rod can be attached.

Simple Pump Drop Pipe Safety Tool Tyler & Jeremy Lowering Simple Pump Drop Pipe Simple Pump Drop Pipe Resting on Safety Tool Simple Pump Sucker Rod Guide Joining Two Simple Pump Sucker Rods Joining Two Simple Pump Sucker Rods

After a few sections, we've mastered the simple process, and the rest of the work goes pretty quickly. All we have to do is repeat the same steps over and over again. Easy! Near the end, there is one special pipe to install, it's the same as all the others except it has a small weep hole drilled in the side. This lets any water in the pipes drain out below the frost line.

Jeremy Tightening Simple Pump Sucker Rods Jeremy & Hercilia Installing Simple Pump Drop Pipe Tara and Tyler Installing Simple Pump Drop Pipe Tara and Tyler Installing Simple Pump Drop Pipe Tara Hand-Tightening Simple Pump Drop Pipe Tara Hand-Tightening Simple Pump Drop Pipe Tyler Hand-Tightening Simple Pump Drop Pipe

By the time we get to the end of the drop pipes, everyone is famished and the sun has nearly set. As excited as we are about finishing the project, we decide to break for dinner and pick up where we left off in the morning.

Roscoe & Hercilia by the Fire