How to Pull a Well Pump

Reviewed by: James Layton
Updated on:
January 16, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • With the right tools and equipment, and this guide of course, you can save on professional service costs and add a useful skill to your wheelhouse.

So, roll up your sleeves, and let’s pull a submersible well pump!

Note: While this guide aims to empower homeowners, it’s crucial to prioritize safety and exercise caution throughout the process. If you’re unsure or uncomfortable with any step, it’s always wise to consult a professional well pump technician.

Pulling the Pump: Equipment and Tools

To pull a submersible well pump, you need certain tools and equipment. The specific tools needed may vary depending on the well pump model, well system configuration, and personal preferences.

Here are some essential tools and equipment commonly used in the process:

  • Hoist or pulley system: A hoist or pulley system is necessary to lift the pump out of the well casing. This can include equipment like a portable electric hoist, a manual chain hoist, or a pulley system with ropes or cables.
  • Pipe wrenches: Pipe wrenches are necessary for loosening and disconnecting plumbing connections. These wrenches have adjustable jaws and provide a secure grip on pipes and fittings.
  • Wire strippers: Wire strippers are used to remove insulation from electrical wires. They ensure proper wire connection and are essential when working with the electrical components of the pump. Get a pair here.
  • Multimeter or electrical testing equipment: A multimeter or other electrical testing equipment helps measure voltage, resistance, and continuity. This equipment is crucial for testing electrical connections, ensuring proper electrical function, and diagnosing any electrical issues. You can get one here.
  • Safety gear: It is essential to wear appropriate safety gear, such as gloves and goggles, to protect against potential hazards, like electrical shocks, water spills, or debris.
  • Labeling or marking materials: It can be helpful to use labels or markers to identify and mark electrical and plumbing connections before disconnecting them. This simplifies the reconnection process later.
  • Bucket or container: Have a bucket or container available to catch any water that may drain from the plumbing connections during the process. This helps prevent spills and keeps the work area clean.
  • Additional tools: Depending on the specific well system and pump, other tools, such as screwdrivers, pliers, or specific manufacturer-recommended tools may be needed.

How to Pull a Submersible Well Pump

Now that you have what you need to do the job, here’s a step-by-step guide outlining the general process of pulling a submersible well pump. 

Please note that well systems can vary, and it’s important to consult the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines specific to your pump and well configuration.

If you’re not confident performing these steps yourself, it’s strongly recommended to hire a professional well-pump technician.

1. Prepare for the task.

Gather the necessary tools and equipment including the hoist or pulley system, pipe wrenches, wire strippers, electrical testing equipment (such as a multimeter), safety gear like gloves and goggles, and any additional tools specified by the manufacturer. 

Ensure the electricity is switched off.

Locate the circuit breaker or disconnect switch that controls the power supply to the well pump. Switch it off to prevent electrical accidents and injury.

2. Disconnect electrical connections.

Locate the electrical connections.

The well pump will have a power cable and, possibly, control wires connected to it. These connections are typically located near the top of the well.

Depending on the wiring setup, you may need to unscrew or release connectors to disconnect the power cable from the well pump.

Carefully separate the wires. 

If there are control wires, such as those for a pressure switch or control box, disconnect them according to the manufacturer’s instructions or labeling.

3. Disconnect plumbing connections.

Depending on your well system setup, there may be pipes, fittings, or unions connected to the well pump.

Loosen and disconnect the plumbing connections using pipe wrenches or other appropriate tools.

Some water may drain from the system, so have a container or towels ready to catch any spills.

4. Attach hoist or pulley system.

Set up the hoist or pulley system according to its instructions.

It will be used to lift the pump, so ensure it is securely anchored or attached to a sturdy structure.

Connect the hoist or pulley system to the pump using appropriate hooks or attachments.

Ensure the connection is secure and capable of supporting the weight of the pump.

5. Lift the pump.

Depending on the specific equipment you’re using, follow the instructions to lift the pump.

Use the hoist or pulley system to lift the pump slowly and steadily out of the well casing.

If necessary, guide and support the pump during the lifting process to prevent it from hitting the sides of the well casing or otherwise sustaining damage.

6. Inspect the pump.

Once the pump is out of the well, visually inspect it for any signs of damage, wear, or malfunction.

Check the impeller, motor, electrical connections, and other components for issues like corrosion, cracks, or excessive wear. 

Make note of any observations or concerns you have during the inspection. This information will help determine if repairs are necessary or if a replacement is required.

7. Determine repair or replacement.

Based on the inspection, determine if the pump can be repaired or if it needs to be replaced.

Some issues, such as a damaged motor or impeller, may require a replacement, while others can be repaired with replacement parts.

Review the manufacturer’s instructions or consult a well-pump professional to determine the appropriate course of action based on your observations. 

8. Reinstall or replace the pump.

If repairs are possible, follow the manufacturer’s instructions or consult a professional to perform the necessary repairs.

If replacement is necessary, acquire a new pump that matches the specifications of your well system.

9. Lower the pump into the well.

Use the hoist or pulley system to lower the repaired or replacement pump back into the well casing.

Ensure the pump aligns properly with the well casing to avoid any damage to the pump or surrounding components.

10. Reconnect plumbing and electrical connections.

Align the pump with the discharge pipes or fittings and securely tighten the connections.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions or consult a professional to ensure proper sealing and alignment.

Connect the power cable and any control wires according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Double-check the wiring connections and ensure they’re secure and properly insulated.

11. Test the system.

Restore the power supply to the well pump by switching on the circuit breaker or reconnecting the power source.

Turn on a faucet or fixture connected to the well system and observe the water flow.

Check for any leaks, abnormal noises, or irregularities in water pressure or steady flow.

Monitor the system for a sufficient period to ensure it operates properly without any issues.

Signs Your Submersible Pump Is Due for Maintenance

Most private well owners prefer submersible pumps compared to other systems, such as shallow well jet pumps, due to their efficiency, space-spacing design, quiet operation, protection from the elements, and self-priming capability.

Sadly, despite the benefits of a submersible pump, it just won’t last as long as a jet pump.

Maintenance is necessary to keep it in tip-top condition, and to diagnose problems and conduct maintenance, you’ll need to pull your water pump out of the ground. 

When dealing with submersible well pumps, here are some common signs that indicate it may be time to consider replacing or repairing the pump:

  • Decreased water pressure: If you notice a significant decrease in water pressure throughout your plumbing system, it could be a sign of a failing well pump. This can occur due to issues like worn-out impellers, clogged pipes, or a failing motor.
  • Frequent cycling: If your well pump frequently turns on and off, a phenomenon known as short cycling, it may indicate a problem with the pump. This could be caused by a malfunctioning pressure switch, a damaged pump motor, or a waterlogged pressure tank.
  • No water or insufficient flow: If your taps suddenly run dry or the water flow becomes weak and inconsistent, it may signal a problem with the well pump. Issues like a broken motor, a clogged pump intake, or a damaged impeller can disrupt water flow.
  • Strange noises: Unusual noises coming from the well pump, such as grinding, screeching, or rattling sounds, are often indications of mechanical problems. These could be caused by worn-out bearings, loose parts, or damage to the impeller.
  • Constantly running pump: If the well pump keeps running continuously, even when no water is being used, it might be a sign of a faulty air pressure switch or a leak in the foot valve, seal, or other component. This can cause excessive wear on the pump and may necessitate repair or replacement.
  • Rapidly rising electricity bills: A sudden increase in your electricity bills without a corresponding change in water usage could be a result of an inefficient or failing well pump. If the pump is struggling to function properly, it may consume more energy, leading to higher energy costs.
  • Age of the pump: Submersible pumps have a typical lifespan of around 10–15 years, depending on usage and maintenance. If your pump is approaching or exceeding this lifespan, it may be more prone to failure and may require replacement.

If you observe any of these signs, it’s best to consult a professional well-pump technician or a qualified plumber to diagnose the issue accurately.

They can assess the condition of the pump, identify the underlying problem, and recommend appropriate repair or replacement options based on their findings.

Should You Hire a Professional?

When deciding to pull your own well pump or hire a professional, you should consider cost, safety, warranty, and more.


The cost of hiring a certified professional to pull a submersible well pump can vary depending on several factors, including the region, complexity of the job, depth of the well, and any additional repairs or services needed.

It’s important to note that the following estimates are general and can vary significantly:

  • Diagnostic fee: Some professionals may charge a diagnostic fee, which can range from $100 to $250, to assess the issue and determine the best course of action.

  • Labor costs: The labor costs for pulling a submersible well pump typically range from $200 to $500, but this can vary depending on factors like the depth of the well and the accessibility of the pump.

  • Equipment and materials: If specialized equipment, such as a hoist or pulley system, is required to remove the pump, there may be additional charges for equipment rental or usage, typically ranging from $100 to $300.

  • Replacement parts: If any components of the pump need to be replaced, such as the motor, impeller, electrical connections, or the pump itself, the cost of these parts will be additional and can vary depending on the specific requirements of the pump.

It’s important to obtain multiple quotes from different well-pump professionals in your area to get a more accurate estimate.

Factors like local market rates and the reputation and experience of the professionals can influence the pricing.

Additionally, if there are any unforeseen complications during the process, such as a stuck or damaged pump, the costs may increase.

Pulling a submersible pump can be a complicated procedure, even for seasoned handypeople. Despite the cost, hiring a professional might be the way to go if you’re out of your depth.


Working with submersible well pumps involves electrical components, heavy equipment, and potentially hazardous conditions.

Certified professionals have the knowledge, training, and experience to handle these tasks safely.

They understand the proper safety protocols, including shutting off power, handling wiring correctly, and taking precautions to prevent accidents or injuries.

Expertise and experience

Well-pump professionals have specialized knowledge of well systems and submersible pumps.

They understand the intricacies of different pump models, electrical connections, and plumbing configurations.

Their experience allows them to efficiently diagnose problems, troubleshoot issues, and perform the necessary repairs or replacements accurately.

Proper tools and equipment

Pulling a submersible well pump requires specific tools and equipment, such as a hoist, pulley system, or pipe wrenches.

Professionals have access to these tools and know how to use them effectively. They also have the necessary equipment to handle heavy lifting and ensure the pump is removed and installed correctly.

Diagnosis of underlying issues 

Sometimes, the symptoms you observe may not directly indicate a pump failure, but rather an underlying problem within the well system.

Professionals can assess the situation wholistically, diagnose the root cause of the issue, and recommend the appropriate course of action.

They can identify if the problem lies with the pump itself, the well casing, the electrical connections, or other components.

Warranty considerations 

If your submersible well pump is still under warranty, attempting to pull or repair it yourself may void the warranty.

Professional well-pump technicians are familiar with manufacturer warranties and can ensure that any work performed is compliant with warranty conditions.

Time and convenience

Hiring a professional saves you time and effort.

A professional can efficiently handle the job, including diagnosing the problem, obtaining the necessary parts, and completing the repair or replacement.

This allows you to focus on other tasks and ensures the job is done promptly and correctly.

Final Thoughts

Whether it’s to diagnose a problem, perform repairs, or upgrade your well pump, you can confidently take charge of your water system’s maintenance.

Remember, safety should always be your top priority.

Take the necessary precautions, wear your safety gear, and never hesitate to seek professional help if you’re unsure or uncomfortable at any point.

Your well-being and the longevity of your well pump are paramount.

If you seek a more thorough understanding of well water pumps, and wells in general, here are some extra resources that offer comprehensive and detailed information:

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