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How Do I Release a Pitless Adapter in a PVC Deep Well Pipe?

Mike Schoonveld

A pitless adapter is inserted into a well casing to divert the water pumped from the well. It's diverted into a pipe located below the frost line leading into your house, to where the pressure tank and water distribution system begins. If you need to remove the submersible pump from your well for repairs, the first step is to dislodge the pitless adapter. Then start pulling up the pipe between the adapter at the top and the pump far below.

Pitless adapters are commonly used inside PVC well casings.

Step 1

Remove the cap on the well casing where it protrudes from the ground. Depending on the style of cap, it may be bolted on or threaded onto the well casing.

Step 2

Tighten a 1-inch tee fitting to the end of a 6-foot length of steel pipe, threaded on each end. Either black pipe or galvanized pipe will work.

Step 3

Insert the end of the pipe down into the well casing, and thread it snugly into the female threads on the top of the pitless adapter. Shine a flashlight down the well casing, to help align the pipe threads with the female threads, if necessary.

Step 4

Grasp the tee fitting and pull straight up, to see if the pitless adapter and the well pipe below it will release and start coming out of the well casing. It’s held in place only by gravity and friction. PVC well casings are most often used in relatively shallow wells, and pulling the adapter, well pipe and pump by hand is often possible. But in some cases, the friction holds the adapter so tightly that it's almost impossible to move by hand. And the amount of well pipe below the adapter, along with the pump, adds weight. Sometimes it’s possible to use a high-lift jack chained to the pipe to break the adapter loose, after which it can be pulled by hand. In other cases -- especially very deep wells with heavy pipe below -- you must use a front loader on a tractor to raise the adapter, well pipe and pump.

Step 5

Continue lifting, by whichever method, until the pitless adapter pulls out of the well casing.