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BrandonD 12-19-2012 06:12 PM

Replace gate valve on well
I want to do some plumbing work near my well.

- Install a valve between the pressure tank and the well.
- Replace the old main gate valve with a new ball valve.
- Re-plumb everything just past the gate valve. I'd like install a manifold and have the three lines coming off the well go into it and install three valves: one on the softened house line, one on the softened animal water line, and one on the raw irrigation line.

I have quite a bit of experience with this type of basic plumbing. My question comes from doing work between the main valve and the well pump. If I cut the power off to the well and open that spigot to drain as much as possible, will the water flow stop to the point where I can cut clean/prime/glue PVC (concerned about "natural" pressure causing small amounts of water to come up even with pump off, not sure if valid concern)? Also, do you recommend replacing the gate valve with a another brass ball valve over using a PVC ball valve?

Thanks :-)

Akpsdvan 12-19-2012 06:57 PM

It would be a good choice to change the gate to a ball brass valve for in the long run fewer problems with the brass ball than the pvc ball if the valve has to be closed and opened in the future.
Also while the pvc is open between the ball and the tank tee, put in a union so that you will not have to cut the pvc when pressure tank change is needed.

BrandonD 12-20-2012 07:42 AM

Good idea on the union.

Anything in regards to working past the valve? Is my concern about water still coming up from the well even with the pump off unfounded?

SeniorSitizen 12-20-2012 09:21 AM


Originally Posted by BrandonD (Post 1076597)
Good idea on the union.

Anything in regards to working past the valve? Is my concern about water still coming up from the well even with the pump off unfounded?

Most likely unfounded unless the well is artesian.

tylernt 12-20-2012 10:06 AM

I did the same thing on our well (only we didn't even have a gate valve to begin with). No problems with water seepage once the breaker was off and pressure tank drained.

And I definitely like brass valves better than PVC.

joecaption 12-20-2012 10:20 AM

A PVC ball valve will be very hard to even turn after a few years.
I'd get rid of all that old steel pipe, it's just a leak waiting to happen.
Get those wires in some flexable conduit.
It's also a good idea to have a drain where that pressure tank is so the pressure in the bladder can be checked with no water in the bottom of the tank.

BrandonD 12-20-2012 10:54 AM

Ok... definite no on the PVC ball valve, got that.

Old steel pipe? I'm assuming you're talking about the pipe coming right off well? Replace it with PVC all the way to that threaded female fitting on the well where the small 3" pipe connects to before it 90's down at a slant? Now we're talking about re-plumbing nearly everything... what's the fitting where the pressure switch screws into called? Same for the pressure gauge?

The wires are part of my planned electrical work next week. It's going to be rewired directly into the pressure switch in flexible conduit. Right now it's wired into a 120V receptacle first which I've discovered is not safe since the neutral ties into the 240V circuit ground. I'll be removing that receptacle.

Drain for the pressure tank? Like a spigot just off of it? So the new setup would look like: tank -> drain -> union -> valve -> main "trunk" pipe?

tylernt 12-20-2012 11:05 AM


Originally Posted by BrandonD (Post 1076738)
what's the fitting where the pressure switch screws into called? Same for the pressure gauge?

You can buy a single brass fitting called a "well tee" that has all that in one package. There's 3 large openings for the well, the tank, and house. There's two small openings for the pressure gauge and pressure switch. And there's sometimes another medium opening or two for an emergency pressure relief valve.

The "well tee" we bought when we re-did our well has a neat dual-thread on the big openings -- you can screw 1" male into it or 1 1/4" female onto it. The small openings are 1/4", and the medium opening for the relief was I think 3/4"?

joecaption 12-20-2012 11:09 AM

BrandonD 12-20-2012 08:14 PM

Well that's nifty. Thanks for that. I will have a look and see if I can't find that fitting. Some questions:

1. When connecting PVC to the brass valves and to the old steel pipe there's nothing special outside of using teflon tape on the threads, right?

2. I'm going to replace the old steel pipe as suggested with PVC, at least all the way to the tee that you can just make out beneath the blue box in the photo. There's minimal chance of damaging the threads in that tee, right? There's a small amount of discoloration on the threads but I think that's from the high iron raw water we have and not necessarily rust. I'll likely disconnect it from the low end 90 and just rotate the entire portion to get it out of the tee -- if I have enough ground clearance.

3. When going from that steel tee and down, do I have to follow the old slant or can I pretty much route the pipe in any direction at any angle?

4. Let's say Murphy is with me that day and I ruin the threads on that tee. Any idea how I'd replace that, or am I calling in a professional plumber then? I can get a photo of the tee if needed. The top portion of the tee has what looks like might be a pressure relief valve on it. The middle is where that pipe goes into. The bottom is literally sitting right on top of the metal top plate for the well housing -- I can't see what goes into it.

TheEplumber 12-20-2012 08:44 PM

199 Attachment(s)
If it was my project, I would leave the steel pipe. It looks to be in good shape

SeniorSitizen 12-21-2012 12:52 AM


Originally Posted by TheEplumber (Post 1077090)
If it was my project, I would leave the steel pipe. It looks to be in good shape


And, if at all possible, eliminate several ells by moving the pressure tank. Raise it and moving it to the left in the pic so that piping lines up with the first ell off of the well head. Also, from experience, I'd be avoiding any threaded female PVC fittings since they're prone to cracking from pipe thread swaging.

BrandonD 01-03-2013 02:02 PM

Finished this project last week and thought I'd post some followup pictures. No major problems and no leaks.

Removed the unsafe 120V receptacle wired on the 240V circuit for the pressure switch and routed the wires through water tight conduit. The neutral was tied to the ground. Also pictured is a new properly wired 120V GFCI receptacle on a new circuit:

Here's our progress up to the main shutoff. Everything's new past the galvanized pipe. Add a valve and union to the pressure tank as suggested so switching it out is a matter of disconnecting the union and unscrewing the threaded coupling on the tank nipple:

Here's the new valve box. Another goal of this project was to be able to isolate each system off the well. Working on other projects I've cracked the irrigation line between the well and valves at the front of the house. Before I had to cut the entire well off which left the house without water. Now I can cut off just the area I need. The third (middle) line is a future line out for fresh automatic water to the animals on the property:

And finally an overall shot of the changes:

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