Humans have sourced water from wells for millennia and will continue to do so for as long as water remains in the ground.
While the components of what make up a well system have developed and greatly improved functionality, the concept of drawing groundwater from an aquifer remains largely unchanged.
Modern wells require the assistance of a well pump to force water upwards and into a water system, and the requirements for the type of pump vary depending on the depth of the well.
This article will focus primarily on shallow well jet pumps and everything a well owner would need to know in obtaining and using one.
This article will discuss the following:
- Which are the Best Shallow Well Jet Pumps Available?
- Which are the Best Deep Well Jet Pumps Available?
- How a Jet Pump Works
- How to Prime a Shallow Well Jet Pump
- Maintenance and Troubleshooting FAQs
Editor's Choice for Best Shallow Well Jet Pump
- 1/2 HP
- 12 Month Warranty
The Goulds brand is recognized worldwide a s a leading well pump manufacturer. The J5S is one of their top shallow well jet pumps for small homes and rural cottages.
- Best Shallow Well Jet Pumps < 25ft.
- Best Deep Well Jet Pumps: 25 to 90 ft.
- Why Use a Shallow Well Jet Pump?
- How Does a Jet Pump Work?
- How to Prime a Well Pump
- Troubleshooting and Maintenance
Best Shallow Well Jet Pumps < 25ft.
Among the multitude of shallow well pump manufacturers, we've selected the most trusted names in the well pumping business. For well owners with depths of up to 25 feet, these jet pumps are the best reviewed for this particular type of application.
Each pump has their own horsepower rating and voltage so be sure to check with the manufacturer for the appropriate size for the well system.
Our Top Choice
- 1/2 HP
- Max GPM: 17.5
- 115/230 volt
- Max Temp: 140 degrees F
- Corrosion-resistant Cast Iron
- 12 Month Warranty
Goulds Water Technology has been a trusted brand in well pumping for over a century. Specializing in deep and shallow well jet pumps, convertible and multistage jet pumps, and submersible pumps, Goulds combines industry-standard manufacturing with excellent customer service.
The J5S shallow well jet pump is one of their most popular jet pumps for shallow wells. At 1/2 HP, the J5S is sufficient for an average 3-4 person home with shallow well depths up to 25 feet. At the max depth of 25 feet, the J5S can provide up to 8.7 GPM. At a depth of 5 feet, it can provide up to 17.5 GPM.
Built of corrosion-resistant cast iron and FDA-approved tubing. The back pull-out design allows for easy disassembly for cleaning and repair without disturbing piping. The Goulds J5s shallow well jet pump is well built for continuous pump with minimal maintenance and will withstand outdoor elements. At a max temp of 140 degrees, it has a high threshold for overheating.
The J5S shallow well jet pump by Goulds is excellent for rural homes, cottages, and applications with a high water table. Goulds offers a 1 year warranty for this jet pump.
- 1/2 HP
- 120/240 Volt
- Max GPM: 13.6
- 5.8 Gallon Pressure Tank
- 2 Year Warranty
Red Lion, now distributed by Franklin Electric, is another trusted brand within the well pumping industry and supplies pumps to well owners around the world. Along with their wide array of submersible pumps, Red Lion jet pumps are one of the more widely used brands available.
The RL-SWJ50 is a durable shallow well jet pump which features a pre-charged, 5.8 gallon pressure tank. Ideal for rural homes and cabins, the pump and tank combination allows for immediate and easy installation. The 1/2 HP motor is powerful enough for supplying water for 3-4 people with moderate water usage.
The pump is made of durable cast iron and comes with a 30/50 setting pressure switch. With a Max GPM of 13.6, the RL-SWJ50 is ideal for well depths of up to 25 feet.
The RL-SWJ50 is well designed, durable, and powerful shallow well jet pump from a trusted brand. This model comes with a 2 Year warranty.
- 3/4 HP
- Max GPM: 16.4
- 6.6 Gallon Pressure Tank
- 115/230 Volts
- Stainless Steel
- 2 Year Warranty
Burcam is Canadian well pump company which remains one of the leading distributors in North America. Formed in 1978, Burcam thrives on innovative ideas and qualified customer service. Known for quality and lasting durability, Burcam remains one of the leading pump manufacturers among well owners.
The pump and tank combination by Burcam is entirely composed of stainless steel which ensures high durability without the risk for corrosion or rust. At 3/4 HP and a max GPM of 16.4, the shallow well pump is capable of providing fresh water to a large home or cabin with well depths of up to 25 feet. Includes high performance impellers, built for continuous or intermittent use. Comes with 0-100 PSI pressure gauge.
The 6.6 Gallon pressure tank comes with an internal butyl bladder, eliminating the waterlogging problem.
Burcam provides a 2-year warranty for the pump and tank. Unit is factory assembled for easy installation.
Wayne pumps are assembled in the US and distributed worldwide. Specializing in well pumps for residential use, Wayne offers a variety of pumps for various applications.
The SWS100 shallow well jet pump is a powerful pump at 1 HP and can supply a large household with fresh water at depths of up to 25 feet. With a cast iron build, this pump is very durable and perfect for rural settings.
The motor can pump 420 gallons of water per hour and runs quietly. The cast iron design adds for extra durability.
- 1/2 HP
- Max GPM: 8
- Corrosion-Resistant Thermoplastic
- 1 Year Warranty
Flotec, a brand of water pump manufacturing giant Pentair, is a leader in well pump manufacturing around the world.
The thermoplastic design of the FP4012-10 allows for the highest-corrosion resistance among well pumps. With a stainless steel shaft, insulated motor windings, and dust proof cover, the FP4012 is ideal for outdoor placement for rural homes and cottages.
At 1/2 HP and max GPM of 8, the FP4012 can provide clean water for a small home with a well depth of up to 25 feet. The lightweight build allows it for easy transportation and installation, and its dust-proof cover protects it from outside elements.
Best Deep Well Jet Pumps: 25 to 90 ft.
Convertible jet pumps pump water at depths between 25 and 90 feet, while some multistage deep well jet pumps can reach even further depths. These jet pumps are suitable for well owners whose depths exceed 25 feet, but don't quite meet the need for a submersible pump.
Our Top Choice
- 1/2 HP
- Max Temp: 140 F
- Cast Iron Build
The J5 deep well convertible jet pump is a powerful pump for well depths between 25 and 90 feet. The 1/2 HP motor is ideal for a small home or cottage in a rural setting.
Goulds traditionally manufactures their pumps with corrosion-resistant cast iron to ensure optimum durability. Robustly designed to perform continuously without damage, the FDA-compliant impellers allow for optimum performance. The protected mechanical seal ensures leak protection.
Max temperature of 140 degrees allows for overheating resistance. Goulds is a staple name in pump manufacturing and their convertible deep well jet pump is the top of the line.
- 1 HP
- 115/230 Volts
- Max Temp: 140 F
For well deeper than 90 feet, a multistage deep well jet pump would provide enough power to lift water from such depths. Gould's SJ10 vertical deep well pump reaches depths of up to 200 feet, rivaling the strength of most submersible pumps.
Built of cast iron as all of the other models in the Goulds line, the SJ10 vertical jet pump is durable and corrosion-resistant.
- 1 HP
- 115/230 Volts
- 30/50 Pressure Switch
- Max GPM: 20
- Cast Iron Build
Red Lion's convertible jet pump is powerful enough to provide a maximum flow rate of 20 GPM for large homes and cottages. The convertible jet design allows for well depths between 25 and 90 feet.
Red Lion's name is well known among well pump owners as they've been a leading manufacturer in the industry for decades. The glass-filled thermoplastic impellers allow for maximum efficiency in pumping.
Wayne's CWS75 convertible jet pump is a durable, cast-iron built pump designed to lift water from depths between 25 and 90 feet. The 3/4 HP motor is ideal for medium sized homes and cottages in rural areas.
Wayne pumps are leading manufacturer in the US and distribute pumps and parts to consumers worldwide. The CWS75 pump is self-priming, eliminating the need to prime manually.
- 1 HP
- 230 Volts
- Max GPM: 20.7
- Thermoplastic Design
Simer's 3310P deep well jet pump features a max flow rate of 20.7, sufficient to provide large homes with fresh well water. Its thermoplastic build allows for the highest corrosion resistant material, making it safe for outdoor use if necessary.
Depths of 25 to 90 feet are ideal for the 1 HP motor convertible pump.
- 3/4 HP
- 115/230 Volts
- 2 Stages
- Single Phase
Goulds' HSJ07N is a powerful multistage convertible jet pump designed for homes, cottages, and rural settings where well depths might exceed 90 feet. The high-capacity, multistage pump is specifically designed for continuous operation. Includes pressure switch, pressure gauge, and fittings.
Thermoplastic impellers ensure corrosion resistance and lightweight, efficient movement. Includes twin pipe assembly for both shallow and deep well application.
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Why Use a Shallow Well Jet Pump?
The two most widely used types of pumps for well systems are jet pumps and submersible pumps. The submersible pump design is a relatively newer concept which submerges the pump beneath the water line, pushing water upwards and into the pressure tank. Jet pumps have been used as a standard for well systems for much longer and pull water upwards from the surface rather than pushing from underneath.
As the name suggests, shallow well jet pumps are designed to be used with shallow wells – up to 25 feet in depth. Submersible pumps are used for deeper wells – 90 feet and deeper.
Convertible jet pumps are much more versatile in design and allow for depths between 25 and 90 feet deep. Like shallow well jet pumps, convertible jet pumps operate on the ground level and pull water upwards.
For those whose water level is less than 25 feet, a shallow well jet pump may be the most practical application for the well system and will save a lot of time and expense in installation. Since the jet pump sits on the ground surface, the diameter of the well didn’t be as wide as a well with a submersible pump.
Shallow well pumps are typically more durable due to their build material and straight-forward design in comparison to the complexity of submersible pumps and also require less maintenance. They can also be easily relocated in case of emergency. In addition, should there be any need for servicing or repairs, an above ground jet pump is much easier to access than a submersible pump.
How Does a Jet Pump Work?
The concept behind the mechanics of a jet pump is relatively simple. Whereas a submersible pump uses force to push water up toward the ground level, jet pumps create a vacuum to pull water upwards from underground.
The idea of a straw or siphon being used to suck water from one source to another illustrates the mechanics behind a jet pump. The longer the distance between the two sources, the stringer the suction needed to move water. This is precisely why shallow well jet pumps can move water at a maximum depth of about 25 feet.
In order to create a powerful enough vacuum to suck water upwards against the force of gravity, jet pumps use rapidly spinning impellers which are driven by an electric motor, creating centrifugal force to draw water up.
The pump is attached to a single narrow pipe which drops down into the groundwater and through which water travels up. The pump then forces water into the pressure tank which provides the entire system with water.
Double Drop / Convertible / Deep Well Jet Pumps
In order to exceed the 25-foot depth limit of most shallow well jet pumps, double-drop pumps, also known as convertible or deep well pumps, reach depths of up to 90 feet.
Convertible jet pumps work similarly to shallow well pumps in that they operate above ground and use impellers to create centrifugal force to suck water up from the well. But rather than having one drop pipe, convertible jet pumps have two drop pipes running down the well.
One of the drop pipes draws water upward just as with a shallow well pump, the other drop pipe, known as the drive line, pushes water downward back into the well in order to create additional pressure. The drive line typically extends into the well at 10 to 20 feet deeper than the suction line.
Because of the extra water pressure created by the drive line, convertible jet pumps are able to draw water from depths up to 90 feet.
Multistage Jet Pump
For well depths greater than 90 feet, a multistage jet pump may be more suitable in providing the required amount of pressure to draw water from the well. Multistage jet pumps include multiple impellers which allow for more powerful draw and thus greater water pressure.
Among the above-ground jet pumps, multistage jet pumps reach the greatest depths for well water pumping.
Things to Consider
Jet pumps are typically housed in a cast iron or stainless-steel casing to protect it from corrosion and damage. The impellers can be made of either bronze or thermoplastic material.
While bronze is much more expensive, it is much more durable and powerful in its performance and more resistant to corrosion. Thermoplastic, while also durable, is much more lightweight and therefore requires much less energy to operate.
In order to determine the motor size of the jet pump needed for the household, the demand for water must first be calculated.
In a typical residence, demand can be calculated by the number of fixtures in the household, which includes all showers, faucets, appliances, and outdoor fixtures. This number is roughly equivalent to the required water usage measured in gallons per minute (GPM). For example, a household with a total of 12 fixtures will have a demand of 12 gallons per minute. Thus, a jet pump capable of providing a flow rate equal or greater to 12 GPM should be considered.
It is important to consider that the more powerful the well pump, the more energy will be required to power it. A pump’s horsepower is also directly related to the flow rate in GPM. A pump capable of providing a higher flow rate will typically have a higher HP rating to support it.
Shallow well pumps will typically have lower HP, while convertible and deep well jet pumps will require higher HP in order to compensate for the greater depth the water needs to travel.
When selecting a well pump, it is important to note that the max GPM rating doesn't necessarily indicate that the pump will provide that high of a flow rate at all times. The actual flow rate the pump will provide will be dependent on the depth of the well and the pressure setting. Flow rate can also fluctuate as the pressure within the tank rises and drops.
For example, a pump with a max GPM of 15 may only be able to provide that high of a flow rate at a pressure setting of around 50 PSI and at a well depth of about 10 feet (example). Should the pressure setting be at 30 PSI, and the depth of the well at 25 feet, the flow rate of the pump might be at 8 to 10 GPM. The max GPM rating of a pump only indicates its maximum potential given the optimum conditions.
How to Prime a Well Pump
The centrifugal force generated by a jet pump relies on water pressure, not air pressure. Because of this, water must first be present within the system in order for the pump to create enough suctioning force to draw more water upwards. The process of preparing a jet pump by adding water to the system is known as priming.
The purpose of priming a jet pump is to introduce water into the pump system and remove any traces of air. About two gallons of water is required for priming and if the well system is being started for the first time, an outside source of water may be needed.
- First, shut off all electrical power to the pump to avoid accidental start-ups.
- Be sure to momentarily open a household fixture to drain the system of any excess water.
- Locate and remove the prime plug with a wrench and use a funnel to pour water into the priming hole. Be sure to fill it completely until it overflows. Replace the priming plug once enough water has been poured in.
- Turn on the power supply and allow the pump to run through a normal cycle. A properly primed pump should cause the pressure gauge to climb and the dry sputtering sounds should subside as all the air exits the system.
- Open a tap in the house to check if the system is working correctly. If water pressure is weak or intermittent, try priming the pump again until water flow is consistent.
Video: How to Prime a Jet Pump
Watch this great step-by-step video by RC Worst on how to prime a jet pump.
Troubleshooting and Maintenance
How to Winterize a Jet Pump
Ideally, a jet pump should operate indoors, preferably in a basement, with the water line extending out into the well. And while a cast iron jet pump is designed to withstand outdoor operation, indoor placement would save the pump from extreme weather conditions.
With that said, should there be a need to keep the pump outdoors, it is best to drain the pump completely during winter seasons so as to avoid freezing. Allowing water to remain in the water lines and jet pumps can cause damage and should be avoided.
The Pump is Running But No Water is Coming Out
A pump which continues to run but fails to produce any water flow may be an indicator of a pump which has lost prime. In this case, it would be necessary to prime the jet pump again.
Shut off the power supply, add water to the pump via the prime plug, turn the pump back on and repeat the steps as necessary until the pump has reached prime once again.
Pump is Short Cycling
If the jet pump turns on and off too often, a problem known as "short cycling", it may be an indicator of several factors. It may indicate that the pressure tank is waterlogged, or that a valve is leaking, or that the pressure switch needs to be adjusted.
- Be sure to inspect all valves for leaks and replace them as necessary.
- Inspect the pressure tank for waterlogging. Shut off the system, empty the tank, and restart the pump. Be sure to check the tank for air leaks. If the bladder is ruptured, the tank will need to be replaced.
- If the pressure switch setting is too high or low for the well system, adjust it as necessary and restart the pump. Be sure that the differential between the cut-in and cut-out pressure setting is about 20 PSI.
Pump Won't Shut Off
If the pump continues to deliver water but won't shut off, the system's pressure isn't reaching the cut-off value. This may be because the pressure setting is too high, or because of a clog in the system which is keeping the pressure too low.
Be sure to check and expel any debris in the pump, especially in the impellers. If necessary, lower the pressure setting to a level more suitable for the system.
In regions where the water table isn't as deep as to require a submersible pump, deep and shallow well jet pumps may be the appropriate application for the well system. Shallow well jet pumps are typically used for wells at depths of 25 feet or less, while deep and convertible jet pumps reach 90 feet and beyond. The type jet pump necessary for the well system would depend on the depth of the well and the flow rate required to meet the household's demand.
Other considerations for choosing a jet pump include the build material, horsepower, and maximum GPM that the jet pump can provide.
Jet pumps use centrifugal force to pull water upwards as opposed to submersible pumps which push water from underneath. Unlike submersible pumps, jet pumps need to be primed in order to function properly. Priming a jet pump involves filling it with enough water prior to pump operation.
Deep and shallow well jet pumps may be the perfect application for well owners with slightly higher water tables and for those who prefer to have easy access to their pump.
Thank you for taking the time to read our article on the best deep and shallow well jet pumps. We'd love to hear your feedback in the comments section below. If you've found this article to be useful and are interested in learning more, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.
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