There are two basic types of electric well pump; jet or submersible. A jet pump is surface mounted. If you have a well pump in your basement, that’s a jet pump. Jet pumps pull water from a well. Submersible pumps are set inside the well, 10 to 20 feet from the bottom. Submersible pumps push water from a well. Pushing is easier than pulling, making a submersible pump the more efficient choice.

Water lines, to avoid freezing, run from house to well below the frost line. The frost line is the possible depth the ground will freeze. A surface kept clear of an insulating layer, be that sod or snow, will freeze deeper than an insulated layer. Five feet is a good depth for water lines here.

Water lines for jet pumps commonly entered the top of the well casing through a well seal. The well casing was terminated five feet below grade. The water line for submersible pumps passes through the side of the well casing with a fitting called a pitless adaptor. The well casing continues a foot or so above grade. The pipe you see coming down from a well cap isn’t a water line. That pipe is a conduit for the pump’s electrical wires.

My current building site had an existing well, last used for a submersible pump. The well casing above grade, or what at first glance looked like well casing, was actually 6" PVC pipe. At some point the pump was changed from jet to submersible. That entailed extending the well casing above grade. The way to do this is to thread or weld a coupling to the top of the existing well casing, then thread or weld a length of well casing to that, bringing you above grade. Instead, they had used a neoprene gasket on top of the existing well casing and pushed in a length of 6" PVC to extend the well. A creative yet awful idea. This doesn’t work. Frost will move the PVC and that motion will cause the neoprene gasket to fail. When it does, the well is wide open to ground water and the ensuing contamination. We correctly extended the well, shocked it once the work was done and have a safe source of drinking water again.