A well is a very useful invention that has paved the path for many people who are living in most rural areas for them to be able to get safe and clean water for their daily needs. Back in the earlier days, most wells are used by getting water by scooping it with a bucket, but technology has made it easier in the modern time.
Wells nowadays are being installed in both rural and urban areas as they aid in keeping utility bills low, and are also environment-friendly compared to the process it takes to get city water in the residents’ homes. Because wells have been improved to provide water for more people, well pumps are made so that it will be possible to get water directly supplied in the faucets of your home, building, or property. Although well pumps are very convenient and help in making water wells more accessible, there is one caveat, and that is they are often not able to function without electricity.
How does a well pump work?
Well pumps are considered the heart of a well. This means that they mainly do their function just like a human heart does: while a heart pumps blood, well pumps pump water. The process of getting water into your faucets from your water wells is usually done using the following process:
- Water gets taken from aquifers
Aquifers, also called water-bearing rocks, are layers of rocks that are found underneath the surface, which can be deep or shallow depending on the location of the well. Most wells get their water from aquifers, which get moisture from various sources such as snow, rain, and other water sources and then absorb it into its pores. Water from these aquifers gets tapped into by the well’s casing, which is often made with a plastic or metal tube.
It is absolutely crucial to have the case sealed with a cap so that it will not be contaminated by surface water. Once water is ready to be taken, it will pass through the well screen so that it will be filtered and separated from sediments and dirt.
- Water gets transported to your faucets by the well pump
Depending on how your well was dug or drilled and the aquifers present in your location, there are some types of well pumps that would work best for your well type. The most common types of well pumps are the jet and submersible pumps. To know what works best for your well, you will need to take several factors into consideration, such as the depth of your well, the demand for water in your household, and how many faucets are in your home or building.
Jet Pumps for wells
Where it is installed: Jet pumps are often installed above wells that are shallow. Shallow wells are often made when the aquifer in the area is located near the surface of the ground, as there are no other layers under to get water from. Jet pumps are often the best choice for wells that are less than 25 feet deep.
How it works: Jet pumps need water before they can function, and they fulfill their purpose of getting water into the faucets of your household by using an impeller (a motor used to move water at a high speed) and letting the vacuum suck the water in order to pump into the pipes and water system that will be transported to your home or building.
Does it need electricity? Yes, jet pumps need electricity as its motors will not be able to function when it is not powered by one. Compared to other well pumps, jet pumps use more amount of electricity and are more expensive to install.
Submersible Pumps for wells
Where it is installed: A submersible pump is usually installed in wells that are deep, as this type of pump requires it to be fully submerged down the well for it to function properly. Jet pumps are often the best choice for wells that are more than 25 to around 400 feet deep.
How it works: Submersible pumps often employ a pressure tank for them to be able to get the water into the pipe system into the faucets of your home using impellers to drive the water up.
Does it need electricity? Unfortunately, using a submersible well pump will absolutely need electricity, as its motors will need power in order for its impellers to work. Compared to other well pumps, submersible pumps are seen as more reliable as it can take many years before it will need to be replaced, and it also needs less electricity to operate, which would mean that they are cheaper for long-term use.
What happens to a well when there is a power outage?
Now that it is established that well pumps need electricity in order for them to function, the question that needs to be answered is what exactly would happen if there is a power outage? Will you be able to use your well pump when there is no electricity? The answer to this is no. Unless you have a backup generator, your well pump will not work. However, this does not mean that you will not be able to get water once there is a power interruption.
When there is no electricity, most well owners will still be able to get water that is located on its storage or is already into the pipe system. It is important to remember to use it sparingly though, as it will run out if you use too much, as the well pump is not functional at the moment. When well pumps are not able to run, your well will not be able to get the water that is deep under the storage, as it is not capable of pumping it without electricity.
If there is no more water coming out of your faucets, this means that you have already exhausted your well’s supply. However, it is still possible to get water for your household if there is an outage (and if you have no generator) using the following methods:
- Using a bucket
If you really need to get water and can no longer wait until the electricity is back, it may be time to use the old-fashioned way by getting a bucket to scoop water from your shallow well.
- Using a hand pump
If your area is prone to power outages, it would be best to prepare for the event by purchasing a hand pump before it happens again. Hand pumps are also called manual pumps that are usually made of iron, though they can only be used in shallow wells.
- Using an emergency pump
Emergency pumps are often made using PVC pipes and there are several designs of this type of emergency pump that will fit the type of well that you have. In order for you to have a properly installed one, it would be best to call for a contractor, as long it by yourself increases the risk of contaminating your well water.