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The Pump

Above Ground Water Pumps contain an electric motor and a pumping chamber. The pumping chamber uses a single impeller to draw water from the well and build pressure. The water is sucked into the center of the impeller and then "thrown" out the topside of the pumping chamber into the pressure tank.

Priming the above ground water pump requires a single tool and clean water. Shut off the electrical power to the water pump. Please remember that electricity and water mixes into a deadly combination.

Remove the square neck plug, located either on the top of the pumping chamber or on the suction pipe itself.  Fit the jaws of the of the channel locks or crescent wrench over the square neck plug. Turn the plug in a counterclockwise direction. Pull the plug from the plumbing fitting.

Fill the pumping chamber and the suction pipe with clean water. It may take several gallons of water to completely fill the void. If the suction pipe and pumping chamber fail to fill up after five-gallons of water has been added, the foot-valve may be stuck open. 

If the pumping chamber and suction pipe fill with water, replace the square neck plug tightly into the plumbing fitting. Re-apply the electricity and start the pump. The water pressure should build up after a couple of minutes.

If the suction pipe fails to hold the priming water you will have to pull the suction line from the well and inspect the foot-valve. Often the foot-valve may have a piece of gravel inside -- holding the valve open or the main spring may be broken. Generally the stainless steel spring is easy to replace on the brass foot-valve. There should also be a small stainless steel screen that surrounds the valve to keep debris from entering the mechanism. If your model of valve does not have a screen, replace it with one that does. It will keep you from having to pull the suction pipe on a future date.

Submersible Water Pumps sit under the water level. The unit contains two-parts, the electric motor and the stackable impeller blades. In many cases, the stackable impeller blades consist of 20 to 45 small plastic disc impellers that fit on an octagonal stainless steel shaft that is directly connected to the electric motor.

A small screen sits at the base of the pump, keeping large debris such as gravel from entering the pumping chamber. The water is pushed through another chamber that surrounds the electric motor. A check valve is generally is placed just above the pump to retain water inside the long delivery pipe.

In many cases, the stackable impellers are readily available from most pump service centers and take about an hour to replace once the pump is pulled from the well. The electric motor on the other hand is not serviceable. If the motor is bad, scrap it. It is too difficult to reach the interior of the motor and in most cases the copper windings are fried anyway. Do not kid yourself, you cannot rewind any electric motor and make it work again.

Winding an electrical motor takes a special coil winding machine and a lot of time. This was a project we had to do when I went through electrical school in the late 70's. The process, even with the equipment, still took four days. One day for baking and burning the windings out, Another day for winding and inserting the coils. The third day for varnishing and re-baking. The fourth day for assembling the motor and testing.  Fun for a required electrical school project, but for practical purposes, go buy a new motor.