How to Install a Pump in an Artesian Well

John Landers

Many households in rural areas rely on artesian wells to meet their daily needs for fresh water. These wells draw water from an underground source called an aquifer, which consists of underground rock, sand, gravel and cemented shell or limestone.

An artesian well can be located anywhere from a few feet to hundreds of feet below ground.

Aquifers soak in the rainwater that flows from higher ground and pressure forces the water up.

  1. Consult with the local building inspector to learn the building codes for installing an artesian well pump, including the pump location, piping specifications and electrical requirements. Obtain a permit before beginning the installation project.

  2. Install the pump in a dry and accessible location. Do not place the pump in a location subjected to freezing temperatures. If you are installing the pump in a location prone to dampness, ventilate the area to prevent moisture damage to the pump’s electrical components.

  3. Excavate a trench leading from the pressure tank to the well’s pitless adapter. The depth of the trench depends on the local frost line. Drill a hole in the foundation wall large enough to run pipe and electrical cable from the pressure tank to the pitless adapter.

  4. Follow local building codes in choosing the type of piping material, which may include schedule 80 PVC, heavy-duty polyethylene or galvanized pipe. Measure and cut the lengths of pipe required for the connection. Clean scales from the piping and remove burrs from the reamed or cut ends with a wire brush. Check pipe edges and threads to ensure they are clean and free of damage. Run the pipe to the adapter and make the connections to the tank and to the adapter.

  5. Ensure that the slope of horizontal runs for the system’s suction pipe have a one-inch pitch for each ten feet of pipe, upward from the well. The pitch prevents air pockets, which will make it difficult to prime the pumping mechanism. Place the pump as close to the well as possible. Use a larger diameter horizontal pipe when installing the pump at a longer distance from the source.

  6. Shut off electrical power at the main distribution panel before beginning the electrical aspects of the installation. Use a voltage tester to ensure the electricity is off. Wire the pump using copper wire. Verify the wiring and fuse is of the proper size. Refer to the wiring diagram to wire the pump correctly. Install a separate disconnect box at the pump location. Install wires leading from the disconnect panel to the switch box.

  7. Run the wires from the switch box to the junction box located on the well and connect the wires to the terminal. Install a ground wire from the pump and motor to a ground rod driven eight feet into the ground. Test the pumping system. Seal the hole in the foundation wall with silicone caulk. Backfill the soil in the trench.

  8. Disconnect the pump discharge line from the pressure tank. Flush sand, mud and other debris from the system by allowing the water to drain. Allow the pump to operate until the water turns clear.