How Does Well Pump Work

If you live in the countryside or a rural area, chances are your house is already equipped with an incoming water source. In such a case, a well-pump can come in handy. It ensures that the entire water delivery system runs efficiently and optimally.

A well pump can guarantee a nearly infinite supply of clean water. The well-pump extracts the water from deep underground and stores it in a pressurized tank. From here, you can easily use the water by simply turning on your faucet.

The science behind a well pump can intimidate a first-timer. So, we’re here to break down all the essentials and make it more digestible for you.

Types of Well Pump

The depth of the underground water table is different for different places. Therefore, depending on the distance between the ground and the water table, there are different types of pumps.

  • Shallow well-pump- A shallow well pump can extract water from a depth of under 25 feet
  • Deep well pump- It can draw water from a depth of 25- 100 feet.
  • Submersible pump- A submersible pump can withdraw water from 400 feet underground.

How Does a Submersible Well Pump Work?

The submersible well pump is a centrifugal pump. Like the sump pump, the entire pumping unit must be completely submerged underwater to work. It typically raises water from several hundred feet underground and stores it in a pressurized reservoir. Aside from pumping underground water, it can be used for other applications, either for increasing the water pressure or as a part of the supply unit in the distillation process.

There are two types of submersible well pumps: a two-wire pump with a set of built-in controls and a three-wire pump with a separate control box.

Components of submersible well pump:

  • Pump impeller
  • Non-return valve
  • Delivery pipe
  • Strainer
  • Electric motor with sealing


A submersible pump has a cylindrical body with the motor hermetically sealed to prevent water from seeping in. The engine is closely coupled with the pump, which is connected to an external power source. The impellers, without any effort, draw the water in without any cavitation. Its rotational force drives the water upwards through the delivery pipe. The water can be routed into the house’s plumbing via an adapter that connects it to the casing of the well.


  1. Unlike other ground well pumps, the submersible pump does not have to be primed.
  2. It is energy-efficient
  3. Since it is submerged, there are no chances of cavitation occurring when the water enters the impellers.


  1. Since the casing of the motor is exposed to water, oxidation can occur on the sealing after an extended period.

How Does a Deep Well Jet Pump Work?

Jet pumps are popular in areas with warmer climates and have a high-water table. However, you can also use them for pumping water out of a deep well too. Typically, they are used in residential purposes and also for light commercial irrigation water supply. The jet pump increases the pressure of the water that is being uplifted from the underground.

A shallow well jet pump can lift water from up to 25 feet while deep well jet pumps can lift water from over 160 feet.

Crucial components of a jet pump

  • Centrifugal pump
  • Nozzle
  • Venturi
  • Impeller


Before you begin using a deep well jet pump, you need to completely prime the pipes. It includes the pump casing, the suction, and the drive lines as well. Once the system has been primed, and the pump has been switched on, a centrifugal pump that is attached to the side starts pushing water outside. As the water is being pushed continuously, some of it is discharged, while the rest is recirculated into the driveline.

The portion of that water enters the nozzle, is then forced to flow through the venturi. It creates a vacuum that draws the water up from the well through the base’s foot valve. As the water passes through the venturi tube and into the suction line, the pressure increases sufficiently to force the water back into the pump impeller.

The foot valve is a crucial part of the system. It is mounted below the pump, which is located at the bottom of the well. It is the first mechanical component to contact the water in the well and performs several crucial functions.

  • It receives water into the system and feeds the pump.
  • It filters the sediment and debris out of the well and keeps it away from the pump.
  • It maintains the pump prime and prevents the pump from running dry.
  • Also, it prevents the backflow of the water from the system back into the well.


  1. The centrifugal force of the pump increases the water pressure exponentially
  2. Withdraws water by suction method


  1. The pump has to be primed before being used.

How Does a Deep Well Pump Work?

The deep well pump is a multistage centrifugal pump in which many impellers are connected in series. An average pump has roughly four to five impellers. It works on the reverse action of the turbine. Thus, it is called a turbine pump. On a general basis, it can draw water from over a depth of 17 feet from underground.

Components of a deep well pump:

  • Suction pipe
  • Strainer with foot valve
  • Impellers
  • Rising shaft
  • Electric motor


In the deep well pump, the suction pipe, along with the foot valve, is inserted into the ground. At the bottom of the foot valve, a filter is attached to keep the debris from entering the pump.

When the pump is switched on, the water enters the suction pipe through the filter. The electrical motor that is placed above the ground drives the impellers to create a centrifugal force. As the water passes through the series of impellers, its speed increases exponentially. It causes it to rise through the long rising shaft and then finally exit through the delivery pipe.


  1. Since the electric motor is located outside the deep well pump, it does not need to be sealed.
  2. Also, you can repair the damaged parts of the engine seamlessly.
  3. The motor becomes resistant to corrosion or oxidation.


  1. The pump requires a very long vertical rising shaft.

How Does a Shallow Well Pump Work?

A shallow well pump can lift water from a depth 25 feet below ground level or less. The motor of the pump is not submersible and has to be installed over the ground.

Components of a shallow well pump:

  • Suction pipe
  • Foot valve
  • Strainer


The shallow well pump is simple in construction and has no critical fitting. Since no friction can overcome the pumping action, it does not need much maintenance. While the electrical parts are placed above ground, the suction pipe, along with the foot valve, is inserted into the ground.

The strainer is attached to the foot valve. It prevents any debris from entering the pump. In order to avoid any surrounding water from entering the shaft and contaminating the well, a watertight seal has to be placed on it.

Whenever the pump isn’t being used, the foot valve at the bottom automatically closes. Thus, stopping the water from draining back into the well. Therefore, the pump does not have to be primed every time it is switched on.


  1. No complex construction and does not need extra maintenance
  2. Does not need to be primed


  1. Lackluster Power

How Does a Hand Pump Well Work?

A hand pump is a manually operated device that is used to draw water out. Because they don’t require any electricity for operation, they are especially useful in areas that experience massive power outages.

Depending on the range of depth, there are different hand pumps, such as suction pumps, low lift pumps, direct action pumps, intermediate lift pumps, and high lift pumps. You can either install them over boreholes or can dig them in wells manually.

Components of a hand pump well:

  • A lever or handle
  • Piston
  • Two non-return valves
  • Foot valve
  • Shaft


The mechanism behind the working of the different types of hand pump well is the same. When the handle or the lever is pushed downwards, the piston connected to the bar moves upwards. During this cycle, the piston valve closes, and the foot valve opens.

It creates a vacuum below the piston valve. The vacuum causes the water to move upwards and fill the void. When the handle is again pulled up, the piston valve opens, and the water is drawn above the piston.

At the same time, the foot valve closes, which prevents water from returning to the well. In the next cycle, as the lever is pushed down again, the piston pours the water out through the outlet.


  1. They are lightweight and easily affordable
  2. Does not require electricity to function
  3. Can be easily removed


  1. Requires a lot of physical labor


While it is convenient to have an efficient home plumbing system, it is also essential to know the type of pump suitable for your area. Deep knowledge about the machine you own will help you understand the associated problems as well.

So, we’ve covered all the basics that come with a well pump. You don’t have to be a master of all the well pumps out there. Having a working knowledge of the pump you have would suffice. We hope our take on how does a well pump work has helped you understand your pump better. Have a good day ahead.

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