How To Retrieve A Submersible Well Pump?

How To Retrieve A Submersible Well Pump?

Has your submersible well pump broken off inside the well? If yes, you must retrieve and repair or replace the pump. So, how to retrieve a submersible well pump? Can you retrieve it yourself?

Yes, it’s possible. What if you don’t have a submersible well pump retrieval tool? No worries, you can make one yourself at home. Thread up the deep well pump retrieval tool with the pipe’s top and just pull it up.

Are you up for an in-depth discussion? Let’s get into it!

What To Check Before Retrieving A Submersible Pump?

Before you get to retrieve the submersible well pump, try to consider the following factors.

Weight Of The Submersible Well Pump

A deep well pump with galvanized pipe generally weighs up to 300 lbs. The more your pump weighs, the tougher it will be to retrieve it alone. So, remember to call the professionals if you sense any probability of damaging the pump.

Where Does The Pump Sit?

Submersible pumps typically sit around 50 feet (15.24 m) to 300 feet (91.44 m) below ground level.

A 100 lb (45.36 kg) pump will sit at least 100 feet (30.48 m) deep inside the well. You can retrieve it with the help of a hand tool alone. In contrast, a heavy-weight well pump will sit up to 300 feet (91.44 m) deep from the ground. So, you might even require a truck or crane for assistance.

Are you unaware of the exact depth where your previous pump was installed? Go to the local building department and look for your property records.

Safety Precautions to Get First

Be aware to take the following precautions before you go to retrieve your deep well pump.

  • Don’t forget to shut off the breaker before retrieving the pump. Otherwise, you will end up injuring yourself.
  • Clean up at least an area of 10 m radius around the pump.
  • Wear hand gloves, thick pants, work boots, and safety glasses for further protection.

How To Retrieve A Submersible Well Pump?

If the pump isn’t so heavy (below 100 lbs), you can retrieve it yourself with a hand tool. What if the submersible pump weighs more than 300 lbs? Of course, it is nearly impossible to retrieve without professional assistance. You can also rent a pump retrieval machine instead.

Retrieve The Submersible Pump By Hand

Retrieving the good pump just with a t-handle tool is a tiring job. So, if you are not up for professional retrieval, gather your friends for assistance.

Step 1

  • Unscrew the nuts from the casing top by a ¾ inches socket and ratchet.
  • Take a flathead screwdriver and slide it just below the cap.
  • Sometimes, the casing might be too tightly attached to the cap. So, slowly and carefully pry off the cap from the casing.

Step 2

  • Select a T-handle pipe as a submersible well pump removal tool.
  • Connect the T-handle tool with the pipe and move it clockwise.
  • Establish a secure connection between the handle and the pipe.
  • Is your pipe corroded? Just line up the T-handle tool along with the pipe. Tap on the tool gently with a hammer, and it will effectively thread the hand tool with the pipe.

Step 3

  • Now tie a ¾-inches thick safety rope around the pipe just below the T-handle.
  • This rope will save the pump from falling deep into the well.
  • Stick out the rope properly from the well cap. Thus, it will be easy to grab.

Step 4

  • Now pull the T-handle with your whole strength.
  • Never twist the pipe to avoid any accidental tear.
  • Ask your friend to hold the safety rope tightly.
  • Continue to move backward and pull the pump outside the well.

How To Make A T-Handle Puller At Home Easily

Do you want to make a t-handle well pump removal tool at home? Get the following tools from Lowes or any local hardware store before you get to the job.

A large Pipe$100
A small pipe (24-inches)
Three Way Fittings$4 to $5
  • Firstly, remove the caps from both pipes.
  • Cut the small pipe into two equal pieces with a Sawzall.
  • Connect those two pieces of pipes with the two ends of the 3-way fittings.
  • This small pipe will act as the T-handle.
  • Connect the top of the large pipe with the other end of the 3-way fittings. Now the large pipe is your pitiless wrench adapter.

So, your T-handle puller is ready to retrieve the submersible well pump.

Retrieve The Submersible Pump By Machine

If you have around $200, rent a hydraulic pump-pulling machine. It can grab and pull out the pipe upwards in just 15 minutes. Pulley system machines are a bit cheap. However, they are not as efficient as hydraulic ones.

Step 1

  • Take your wrench to loosen up the nuts and bolts from the cap’s top.
  • Separate the cap from the well pump.

Step 2

  • Set up the hydraulic pump pulling machine and attach it to the pipe’s top.
  • Once the machine is on the pipe’s top, turn 360° clockwise.
  • New models of hydraulic machines can rotate both clockwise & counterclockwise for threading.

Step 3

  • Twist the nozzles and adhere to the hydraulic connections from the base to the machine’s top.
  • You need to adhere to at least 2 or 3 nozzles for proper hook-up.

Step 4

  • Turn on the machine.
  • The rubber wheels will eventually rotate to grab the pipe upwards.
  • Walk backward while pulling to avoid unnecessary tangles.
  • Turn off the machine when the pump is at ground level.

Video of Retrieving A Submersible Well Pump

Here’s a detailed video tutorial on retrieving the deep well pump without hassle.


How long does a submersible pump last?

You can expect your well pump to survive around 10 to 15 years in a 3-wire residential setup. In the case of 2-wire residential submersible pumps, life expectancy will be at least 8 to 13 years.

Why does a submersible pump fail?

The most common cause of submersible well pump failure is overheating. It can also malfunction for the following causes –

  • Hydraulic shock.
  • Valve corrosion.
  • Motor failure due to the shattered thrust bearing.
  • Reduced or excess voltage supply.

How much does it cost to replace a submersible well pump?

To replace your submersible well pump, you must have a budget of around $1000 to $2619. You might also require an additional $250 to $2500 for extra piping.

Final Words

Once your well pump broke off well, there is no choice but to retrieve it. Of course, you won’t let the broken pump rest under the water, will you? We believe our detailed guidelines on ‘How to retrieve a submersible well pump?’ helped you in this regard.

So, what do you think? Are you ready to give it a try? If yes, get your wrench, ratchet, screwdriver, and pump-pulling assist tool and jump in!

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