All about well pump drop pipes

Your drop pipe is your lifeline to your well pump. A poorly chosen or installed drop pipe may ruin your well or the water you rely on! Mike’s here to help you make an informed decision when choosing a material for your drop pipe: be it polypipe, PEX, PVC, or galvanized steel.

00:00 – Intro

03:40 – Polypipe

08:34 – PEX

10:14 – PVC

13:10 – Galvanized Steel

Our Turnkey Kit comes with a pre-cut length of polypipe to suit your well depth. RPS Solar Pump Systems are for people that appreciate quality and value. Designed to aerospace standards, yet affordable. Easy to install. Zero maintenance. Zero energy costs. Quality you can trust for years and years to come. To learn more about wells, solar pumping and off grid systems visit our education center:​ To shop solar pumps: Just wanna talk? Give us a call at (888) 637-4493. We’re a friendly bunch. Shoot the breeze about your property, well or cattle, or get sized for a pump by our specialists at any time! To shop solar pumps: Just wanna talk? Give us a call at (888) 637-4493. We’re a friendly bunch. Shoot the breeze about your property, well or cattle, or get sized for a pump by our specialists at any time!

Read the transcript here

hi this is mike with rps solar pumps we’ve quickly become america’s number one solar pump company due to our diy easy to install kits and our transparent sizing process to get a system in your hands one of the most common questions we get with the new installer is what type of drop pipe do i want to use for our pump today i’m going to go over the various types of drop pipe that’s the pipe that runs from the pump up to the surface tell you the pros and cons of each and make a couple of recommendations based on your specific application for which one you should use so first let’s go over a couple of basics when it comes to drop pipe drop pipe is what transfers the water from the pump up to the surface there’s four main types of drop pipe available today there’s poly pipe there’s steel pipe there’s pvc and there’s what’s called pex which isn’t very commonly used the drop pipe also carries the weight of the pump while it’s hanging in the well so you may have a safety rope you’ll have your wire there but what’s holding the weight of the pump and the water is the drop pipe that’s supported by your well seal at the top or if you’re in a cold environment your pit-less adapter the main driving factor for the type of drop pipe you’re going to need for your installation is the total pumping head that’s from where the pump is all the way up to where your tank or wherever you’re pumping to is located in vertical feet anywhere up to 300 feet we recommend using black poly pipe which comes in various pressure ratings from 100 psi up to 250 psi past 300 feet in general we’re going to switch over to pvc pipe pvc pipe comes in different schedules and that is the wall thickness schedule 40 is the thinnest and it goes all the way up to schedule 120 for much deeper installation so if you’re going to around 750 feet you can get away with doing pvc pipe past 750 feet or depending on the exact weight of your pump at that point we’re probably going to switch over to steel pipe when we go to steel pipe in general we’ll use galvanized pipe because it’s much more corrosion resistant than just a common iron pipe a fourth and much less common type of drop pipe would be pex pex is much more common used in household walls to transfer the water around your house and not so much for drop pipes we’ll go over that in more detail later when you’re picking out your pipe if this is for a drinking water application you do want nsf approved pipe that means it’s lead free and safe for drinking water one of the reasons we recommend using poly pipe up to 300 feet is due to the weight it’s able to install by hand so with a couple of people you can easily attach your pump and lower it down by the poly pipe and it doesn’t get too heavy where you’re going to risk dropping it or scraping the pipe and the wire against the well casing when you get to deeper and heavier installations and you’re trying to do those by hand it’s much more common to try to rest the pipe against the casing what that’s going to do is it possibly is going to kink your pipe and damage it or you’re going to scrape the wire and damage the insulation on it or you’re much more risk of dropping it and it’s really difficult to fish something like that out of a well casing so you’re possibly going to destroy your well and have to drill a new one so when you go past 300 feet that’s when we start to think about switching over to rigid pipe pvc and you’re going to want some sort of mechanical help there i’ve seen people use skid steers forklifts excavators or if they have a friend with a boom truck that’s the best because you can bring that out you can handle the 20 foot sections of pvc pipe and make the installation much simpler and much safer for everybody involved let’s talk about poly pipe so over here we have our roll of black poly pipe this one’s 160 psi and about a hundred foot in length poly pipe comes in various lengths usually 100 foot 200 foot or 300 foot sections it also sometimes comes in thousand foot rolls so if you’re doing a long installation say you want to go underground and then run a long pipe maybe you can find yourself a long roll like i mentioned this is 160 psi which you normally see in your home and garden store is 50 psi or 100 psi in general we don’t use that for the installations unless you have a very shallow well with 160 psi like i mentioned we’re good to 300 feet if you really want to push it and go a little bit further than 300 feet they do make 200 psi and 250 psi but the longer rolls like i said can be more difficult to find poly pipe comes in two different styles what’s called cts and ips cts is copper tubing standard as a tube it’s measured by the outside diameter so that means a standard one inch barb won’t fit in it because the inside diameter is much actually closer to around three quarters of an inch what we carry is called ips iron pipe standard this is a pipe we’re measuring the inside diameter so if we say it’s a one inch poly pipe that means the inside diameter is one inch so to transition from our pump to our poly pipe or from our poly pipe to above ground piping we’re going to use what’s called a bar fitting the barb fitting fits inside of the pipe it’s a nice tight fit and you’re going to want to get it all the way in and then use multiple hose clamps in order to clamp it onto the barb here this is actually an extended barb it’s made for deep wells and it can take a lot of weight so nothing falls apart down in your well if you do end up with cts it’s gonna be a little bit harder to find your fittings with cts if you have one inch cts the inside diameter is going to be around three quarters so you might get lucky with a three quarter inch bar fitting in it it’s still probably gonna be tight and you might have to take a hot air gun to heat up the section of pipe in order to slide in your poly pipe that’s not the best practice it actually causes a weak spot on the pipe but it’s doable and if you don’t have a really deep well it’s going to be just fine so that’s the basics of poly pipe let’s go over some pros and cons when we’re considering applying our poly pipe to our well installation first of all it’s one continuous section so we don’t have various joints throughout the drop pipe that could possibly fail that’s a huge benefit it makes installation so much simpler to have a single piece of pipe we can lower down and when we need to pick it up we can simply pull it out of the well it’s flexible we can lay it out on the ground and it’s much easier to work with in pvc pipe where you might have 10 foot or 20 foot sections the other benefit is it’s plastic so it’s non-corrosive you don’t have to worry about rusting of your drop pipe in your well casing and putting flakes that get sucked up into your well pump you don’t have to worry about iron entering your well and causing additional corrosion it’s just much simpler one of the challenges of poly pipe is you do want to find one continuous section so it’s always best to avoid joining the pipes together using couplers while it’s doable and for long installations you might have to put one in there but we really don’t recommend doing any joining of the pipe together if you do have to do one that’s all right but it is going to create another weaker and possible failure point where the pipe could break one of the other challenges when working with the poly pipe is in cold environments under cold environments the pipe can get a little stiff to work with and since it ships in a coil if you are in a cold environment you want to take that in account and possibly stretch out the pipe as much as possible say the day before to try to get it to strain out a bit before you drop it down you’re well casing we’ve heard some stories in cold weather where the installer actually had to push the pipe down in order to get down their casing usually that becomes less of a problem as you get deeper because the weight of the pump and the weight of the pipe helps straighten everything out poly pipe is also going to stretch around one to two percent for your installation so you need to take that in account when you’re doing your taping of your drop wir
e and your rope to your poly pipe to secure it in a nice bundle that doesn’t sound like much but when you’re doing a hundred foot installation that pipe can stretch around one foot to two feet if you’re doing a 300 foot insulation that can be three to six feet of additional length as everything settles out and the pipe stretches a little bit so you want to take that in count with your wire to leave enough slack to account for that stretching of the pipe other than that we love poly pipe and it’s a great easy to install diy solution for your solar well pump which is why we sell it with all of our turnkey kits so if you need drop pipe you should consider our turnkey kit which will make installation day much simpler so as i mentioned it’s not very common to use pecs for your installation it’s cts copper tubing standard so that means it’s measured from the outside diameter this is actually one inch pex and if you see i take our one inch barb and it’s not going to fit in here that’s because the barbs are outside diameter one inch you have a couple of different options here if you’re forced to use pecks one is you can use a three quarter inch barb and heat up this section and most likely it’ll fit in there in order to make your connection to the barb there are also pex fittings that are designed to go inside of the pex pipe and then attach with clamps but as you can see this fitting is only about an inch long compared to the three and a half inches we use for our deep well installations so you’re not getting a lot of grip there and so you have a risk for deeper installations of this falling off in your pump or your pump and your drop pipe ending up at the bottom of your well so if at all possible we recommend going at the poly pipe but i do understand this can be hard to find in rural environments so if you have to go with the pecs i’d recommend for shallower wells and really make sure you’re securing all your connections tight to prevent anything from falling off with pex tubing can also be much more difficult to find the pipe rated for higher pressures we picked this up at the local store and it was 100 psi so that would be good to around 200 foot of installation be a little cautious with going that deep or much deeper than that so all that being said if you can’t find your poly pipe and you need to go with pecks just be careful about the sizing of the pipe whether you’re doing three quarter inch one inch or larger and the pressure rating of the pecs to make sure it’s appropriate for your installation depth so next let’s talk about pvc pipe so if you just can’t find poly pipe or you don’t like poly pipe and don’t want to work with it then pvc pipe is perfectly fine to use so pvc pipe is low cost and highly available but there’s a couple of considerations when we’re going to use it first is the wall thickness or the schedule of the pipe pvc pipe comes in schedule 40 80 and 120 and that’s the wall thickness and burst pressure which is going to relate to your installation depth the next is going to be the length of the pipe you’re installing when you go to the hardware store the most common length is going to be a 10 foot length of pvc pipe it’s also going to have just bare ends so that means you’re going to need to glue on couplers in order to screw the sections together as you lower it down your well casing i don’t recommend using flared pvc in gluing it as you go down your well casing because if you ever need to pull it you’re going to have to cut the sections as you pull it and then re-put on fittings and re-glue it when you put back down now when you do the gluing and put a bunch of threaded fittings on here you’re creating a lot of failure points so every 10-foot section is going to have the threaded section and it’s also going to have two glued fittings if any single one of those glued fittings fails over that whole section of install the pipe can fall and you’re going to have problems getting it out you’re going to have to reply on your safety rope or your wire to pull it out at that point and if either of those two break then it’s going to follow the bottom of your well and you’re going to have a lot of trouble fishing it out and possibly damage your well so if you have to do it i would tend to go towards shallower welds where you do the glued fittings with your pvc pipe if you’re doing a deep installation past the 300 foot we recommend for the poly pipe then you probably want to get actual drop pipe which is threaded on both ends so with real drop pipe it comes in 20 foot sections and both ends are threaded with those threaded ends we can use a stainless steel coupler to thread the sections together that makes no glued fittings in your entire drop pipe run and only the threaded fittings which are much more reliable and being stainless steel they’re not going to corrode over time there is a newer technology out there with the newer technology they actually eliminate the stainless steel fittings by flaring the end of one side of the drop pipe your pvc pipe and threading the inside of it so that eliminates the stainless steel coupler and the pipe threads together in 20-foot sections minimizing the amount of possible fairy locations the other great thing about pvc pipe is it’s non-corrosive in your well so you don’t have to worry about rusting and any other rust flaking off like you do with iron pipe it’s also much lighter than iron pipe so it’s easier to lower down your well but you do want to be careful when you come out of the well because it does degrade in uv sunlight and become chalky and that can cause issues down the line over several years with advances in polypipe and advances in pvc pipe galvanized steel pipe installs are getting much less common for residential and other shallower wells but there are some cases when you’re going really deep we’re talking our thousand foot installations or a really large pump and we’re pumping hundreds of gallons a minute with a nice heavy pump hanging at the bottom we may need to go with steel pipe right here i have some one inch steel pipe it’s much more common that we’re gonna do inch and a quarter or larger depending on our flow rates and the distance we need to pump the water so some of the downsides of using steel pipe is it can corrode over time and rust so if you have harsher well water you might end up rusting getting flakes of rust and particles down your wells sucked up by your pump and into the filter into your house or into your stock tank and settling down at the bottom causing rust stains in that brown type of water the other downside is as it corrodes you can get pin holes in your pipe that can cause cycling your pump and loss of water flow if it’s dripping back down and it’s especially important in a pressurized system that we don’t develop pin holes because you’re going to lose all your pressure back down through that pinhole that being said based on the depth of your install there are going to be some cases where you’re just going to have to go with the galvanized pipe so we’ve gone over a lot of different options here with regards to pipe another factor we want to bring in is cost of the different installations so poly pipe is going to be your lowest cost installation it’s going to run around a dollar per foot for your pipe pvc pipe is also a very low cost option but you’re going to have to add the extra fittings that are going to add up on a deep installation so steel pipe is going to be your most expensive option just the other day we called around to some local suppliers we got a quote of around three dollars per foot for inch and a half drop pipe so for an 800 foot installation that was going to run us around 2200 in order to do that but if you’re going to that depth you might not have a choice and you’ll just have to spend the money for the galvanized steel pipe so even though you might get some corrosion and rusting with your galvanized steel pipe it’s been used for years and you’re probably going to get 20 to 25 year life span out of it so just be prepared down the line you’re going to need to replace your pipe so that’s a summary of all the different types of drop
pipes you can use in your installation the great news is for installs less than 300 feet we take out all of the guesswork for you with our turnkey kit it comes with 160 psi black poly pipe it also comes with the bar fittings and all of the connections you need to make all the way up to your well head so if you’re just not quite sure i would definitely recommend going with the turnkey kit if you’re going deeper than 300 feet then we might need to consider some of these other options we have pump sizing experts standing by ready to help answer all your questions about the various pipe options and the various fittings you’re going to need for installation so feel free give us a call at 888-637-4493 or visit us at we also have in the description below a complete installation video showing you step by step how to install your solar pump using our turnkey kit our mounts our panels and our solar pumps if you want to put the sun to work and start pumping water with the power of the sun give us a call and get your system today

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