Shallow well pump performance?

   / Shallow well pump performance? #1  

the old grind

Super Member
Jul 21, 2012
NH T-1520 HST, NH TC33DA HST, Case DX26 HST, .Terramite T5C, . NH L785
I'm not happy with the flow & pressure of my shallow well and pump. Where I notice the loss of flow and pressure is when hosing off a tractor or when filling the Maytag. I'm always good until the bladder tank is empty, and then flow slows to a trickle (my terms). Showering is not a problem, as my WH and/or pump can cycle on and off well ahead of the low-flow shower head I use. (often feel the water warming as I stand there ...) This has been the norm since I bought the place and after replacing pump & tank 10 yrs ago, WH <5 ago, so IMO it's the system and not any component that sets my limits.

Here's what I have:
Shallow well with crock/cistern ~50 ft from acres of pond, and nothing but sand anywhere near my former gravel pit property.
3/4" copper on all lines serving more than one fixture, and 1/2" to each per std practice.
Sta-Rite FNC-L 1/2 hp pump, 30-50 switch, in a 'pump room' indoors with pump on top of tank.
All 1 1/4" lines from pit to pump.
Bladder tank (~30 gal physical size, IIRC 12 gal draw down) pressure is checked yearly and hasn't needed topped-up more than a lb or two.
Whole house filter that when element is changed makes no obvious improvement in flow/pressure.
Low o'all demand in daily use, washer, kit sink, shower, and once in a while the hose to rinse a machine or fill a bucket.

What I like to have is 40-50 psi (regulated, metal 'indoor' CSV, or similar) and better flow o'all, but ... as I understand it a SW pump can't be counted on to put out much pressure regardless of head. (8'-12' max suction, <10' vert, <60' to furthest fixture)

I'm considering upgrading to a 3/4 hp pump, and not sure it wouldn't take 'forever', like my Sta-Rite, to deliver the last 10 psi to tank. I'd settle for 40psi constant if flow would keep up with anything besides the shower.

Right now I'm looking at a Hallmark (ebay) and a Red Lion (Amazon), both 3/4hp shallow well models. GPM claims are wide for these and others, and of course there's a trade-off between flow and pressure. Cost is of little matter, and flow demand won't be much more than current use. 'Quiet' would be a big plus, as my house is usually silent when the fridge isn't running or the HVAC making it's usual dim roar.

Please comment if you think I could get 2-3 gpm at 40 PSI with only a pump change (to 3/4hp, w/CSV) or if there's something I'm missing in planning the upgrade. As always, digression from topic is fine, esp if we learn something. Thanks, guys. tog
   / Shallow well pump performance? #2  
That pump has a max pressure of 69 PSI. So even from 8-12' of suction you should still be able to turn the pressure switch up to 40/60. It will take even longer to fill the pressure tank (3-5 minutes) but it will give you more pressure for the lower flow demands. It will sort of work like it has a CSV as when working that close to the max pressure the pump will not shut off when using more than 1-2 GPM. If hosing off the tractor or filling the Maytag uses more than 4 GPM the pressure will drop off quickly, as that is more than the 1/2HP can do. Only a larger pump can help with demands more than 4 GPM. A larger pump is when a CSV could help you as it will let you install as large of a pump as you need or think you need, and the CSV will make it work like a small pump when small amounts of water are being used.
   / Shallow well pump performance? #3  
Go with a jet pump system if you wish to keep pump in the present location.

Ideal would be submersible pump.
   / Shallow well pump performance?
  • Thread Starter
According to county records for the well drilled next door in '95, there's a 60' layer of impermeable clay that creates the high water table in our nabe. Pond is several acres, and when mined for sand the guys just moved aside when they hit clay. Of course my avg depth is ~6'. :laughing:

Shallow wells are no longer allowed in my county, but I have no fear of over-drawing the 'crock', ... not yet anyway. If I were to drill there would be a 1 1/2 hp or so submersible going in. (thanks, Egon!)

Most wells around here are drilled to 170' or so and submersible pumps typically set at ~ 1/2 that depth. My previous 180' well and jet pump, !/2 mi down the road, had a static level at 6'-8' with jet, screen, foot valve at 65' down (I changed 'point' once), and single-hose pitless adapter. btw Jet pump ran out of pressure when the tank emptied there too. (Craftsman 3/4hp, FRP housing, 30-50 sw)

With a 30-50 switch on the Sta-Rite I'm pretty ok until the tank empties, so I might be happy with 40-45 PSI from the regulator or CSV if flow keeps up. Looks like the 'CSV1A' would be my pick if I go that way. (will probably try it)

I'm ready to go for the pump, and I like reviews of the 3/4 hp Hallmark that say it's 'quiet'. The same is said about the 3/4 hp Red Lion, so I only have to toss that coin. Cost is secondary to compliments, so can anyone give a good reason to go with the lower priced Hallmark. The Red Lion is a top rated pump with most suppliers and looks like a sure winner.

Thanks for the help, guys! Further comments are welcome, so chime in as you wish. tog
   / Shallow well pump performance? #5  
Submersible pump designed for shallow application and a constant pressure variable frequency drive.
   / Shallow well pump performance?
  • Thread Starter
Thanks! Don't know how to tap whichever source I'm working from, either point or other setup as is probable here. I'd need help with a new well to be sure, and I won't ask a pro to do what's banned by county code.

I should mention that drilling deep and using a submersible is not far away, just not this year .. and for time's sake above other considerations. So I hear ya guys, loud and clear on what's best. :) There's plenty of room to get a rig in here when the time comes. Oh, also .. IMO it'll take a lot longer to choose a 'best' submersible pump/brand/model, and that has spawned this alternative quest in the first place.

Now, I'm pondering whether a supposedly 12GPM or 16GPM ('shallow well') to cover heads and frictional losses is better. Say I want 4GPM steady and set my controls for 45 PSI. The pumps I'm considering have TEFC motors vs the ODP style of my current Sta-Rite. If I understand the fluid dynamics right the pump should unload when stalled and not overheat. At worst, am I only wasting electricity to go bigger?

Red Lion RJS-75-PREM 6(y)7 Premium Cast Iron Shallow Well Jet Pump - -
   / Shallow well pump performance? #7  
Different size pumps have about the same efficiency. You just get more water faster with the larger pump. But when using a larger pump to do a smaller job it will be a little less efficient. It won't make much difference and certainly doesn't override the convenience of being able to do so.
   / Shallow well pump performance? #8  
Using a submersible pump designed for 600feet in a 25foot well will waste power due to the extra pump stages.
   / Shallow well pump performance? #9  
Using a submersible pump designed for 600feet in a 25foot well will waste power due to the extra pump stages.

Sorry for the confusion. I was talking about a larger volume pump not a higher head pump. No you would not want a high head pump in a low head well. But you can have different volume pumps from any depth. Pumps come in 5,7,10,15,20,25 GPM and so on. You can get a 25 GPM pump and use it at 5 GPM, but you cannot make a 5 GPM pump deliver 25 GPM.
   / Shallow well pump performance?
  • Thread Starter
Well, I ordered the 3/4hp Red Lion based on reviews and seller recommendations. (RJS-75-PREM 602207, service/warranty by Franklin)

There are others (Goulds, Meyer, Sta-Rite) that promise higher pressure outputs and/or GPM, but I can replace this if it doesn't work out.

I won't be happy with pressure in the low 30's so some kind of pressure regulation would be nice. Are there other options I don't know about, or is CSV the best starting point? I'm sure that v-man would say so, but lets hear from whoever has experience with with shallow wells. Otherwise, it's just a matter of choosing the right valve for this setup.

Trust me to come screaming in here if it doesn't work as promised. ;) t o g