On The Job with Innis Well Drilling
Underreaming in a Nutshell
In unstable formations, standard drilling techniques are insufficient for keeping the hole from caving in. In these situations, we use our underreamer system, which drives the casing and drills at the same time. This ensures a clean hole and a properly sealed well. It employs a more expensive casing crown and is a bit more time consuming than standard drilling techniques.
Welding the Casing Crown
The first step when using the underreamer system is to weld the special crown to the casing so that it may drill down the hole by turning independant of the casing. Notice the buttons covering the leading edge of the drive shoe? These are carbides, the same super-hard drilling surfaces that cover the drill bit.
Loading the Drill Rod
After welding the casing crown we load the drill rod into the casing. On the end of the rod, we have a special drill bit which locks into the drive shoe, allowing the drillbit and the drive shoe to turn simultaneously, drilling the rod and the casing at the same time. This simultaneous drilling technique is critical in formations which tend to cave in before the casing is put in the hole.
Attaching the Diverter
After loading the drill rod, we must attach the diverter to the casing. The diverter slides over the top of the rod and casing, creating a seal around it and diverting the drillings away from the drilling rig. Underreaming would get pretty messy if we didn't have the diverter!
Hooking the Hose to the Diverter
The diverter channels the drillings away from the drilling rig through a heavy-duty hose, able to handle the volume and pressure of the material exiting through it. Before drilling, we must attach the hose to the diverter.
Monitoring the Hose
By keeping an eye on the material coming out of the hose, we can see exactly what kind of formation we are in; sand, clay, bedrock, etc. In addition, we observe the speed of drilling, the sound, and other factors to determine when the casing is securely in bedrock and underreaming is no longer necessary.
The pump system is the mechanism that delivers water from the well to the house. Water is sucked into the submersible pump, pushed up the pipe in the well, through the pitless adapter, along the underground waterline and into the pressure tank. When the water pressure inside the pipe reaches a certain level (usually 60 PSI) the pressure switch shuts the pump off, and water in the tank is stored for household use. When the tank is depleted and water pressure drops to a certain level (usually 40 PSI) the pump turns back on and the process starts over again. It is this complex system that allows the homeowner to have a constant, pre-pressurized supply of water available at all times. Read on for a breakdown of how Innis Well Drilling, LLC installs pump systems.
Installing the Pump
Connecting the Pump to the Drop Pipe
The first step in installing the submersible pump is connecting the pump to the drop pipe. Typically, we use a 1 by 1 1/4 inch barbed adapter and two 1 inch clamps to connect the pump to the pipe. Thread sealant is used to seal the threads on the pump, and the clamps are installed in opposing directions to ensure a good grip on the pipe. The clamps are then covered with electrical tape to protect the pump wire from chaffing.
Splicing the Pump Wire to the Pump
Next, we use a splice kit to join the motor lead on the pump to the pump wire. The ground and two 110 volt wires are each connected with butt connectors. The connection is then sealed from water intrusion using a torch and heat shrinks.
Protecting the Splice
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and on our length of wire, it is important to protect the splice we have just made. For this reason, we coil the wire around the splice to give it a buffer in case the wire tightens when it is put into the well. Next, we cover the connection with plenty of electrical tape to protect against chaffing.
Sizing Up the Torque Arrestor
The torque arrestor keeps the pump, pipe, and wire from rubbing on the sides of the well when the pump kicks on, ensuring the longevity of your pump system. To install the torque arrestor, we place it on the pipe just above the pump and clamp the side closest to the pump. This allows us to expand it slightly larger than the diameter of the well (typically 6 inches) using a set of calipers as a guide. Once set at the right diameter, we clamp the other side of the torque arrestor in place.
Taping the Wire to the Pipe
In order to keep the remaining pump wire away from the sides of the well, we must secure it to the pipe. To do this, we start at the torque arrestor and tape the wire to the pipe at 3 to 5 foot increments. Although State of Maine Guidelines allow for 10 foot increments, we feel that 3 to 5 feet is a safer bet. In addition to taping the wire, wire guards are be placed around the pipe at 50 foot increments to prevent it from chaffing.
Putting the Pump in the Well
After taping the wire to the pump, we put the pump down the well using a special wheel. It is a good idea during this time to wipe off any dirt or debris that have accumulated on the pipe, as this could contaminate the water in the well. Before reaching the end of the pipe we put a clamp on it so that the pitless adapter can be installed.
Attaching the Pitless Adapter
Before connecting the male half of the pitless adapter to the pipe, we screw it onto the T-Bar so that it may be lowered into the well. Next we connect the two using a 1 inch barbed adapter and two 1 inch clamps. As with the pump, we use thread sealant and install the clamps in opposite directions for the best grip. The clamps are covered in tape and the wire is taped to the back of the pitless adapter.
Hooking Up to the Feed Wire
After securing the pitless adapter in the well and removing the T-Bar, the last step in installing the pump is to connect the pump wire in the well to the feed wire in the conduit. Under normal circumstances we use wing nut connectors to connect the wires, but if the static water level in the well is high we use a waterproof splice kit. Additionally, the ground wire is attached to the casing for safety purposes. The well is then chlorinated to 50 PPM for 24 hours as required by state rules.