Deep Well vs. Shallow Well Pump Systems

The reason the Static Water Level is so important is that it dictates the type of pump options that are available for a particular well set up, Shallow well (Suction) pump or Deep Well (Lift) pump.

Static Water Level 25 Feet or Less

When this is the case then either pump system will work. In many cases a shallow well pump will be recommended for this water level however Total Vertical Lift is the limiting measurement for this type of pump. In addition, this type of pump can freeze, therefore the environment where it will be installed is a factor. Review Shallow Well Pump Basics for details.

The suction pump only requires a drop pipe, no rod, to reach from the pump head to the water level. Therefore, the “pipe” can be flexible hose which gives the end user many more mounting options. The suction pump, our Model 1900, can be mounted directly onto the casing, on a kitchen counter or anywhere else within 200-300 feet horizontally depending on the mounting location elevation, etc. This is due to the high-quality piston system utilized in the shallow well pump. This allows some customers to run pipe from a well, cistern, lake, pond, river or other water source to their mounting location.

When static water levels are 25 feet or less a Deep Well pump can still be the best option, though a little more expensive up front. If you want the pump to be installed outside in the elements where freezing is a possibility, then a deep well system will be recommended. The system would be identical to a deep well set up only the amount of pipe and rod is greatly reduced. You will get slightly more water output from the deep well system due to the larger cylinder size.

Static Water Level Greater Than 25 Feet

Only Deep Well Pump Systems can be used for wells with this water level depth. Since we cannot rely on suction to draw water up, we must “lift” water up from the bottom and push it to the top of the pump head. Review Lift Pump for details on how these pumps function.

The Bison Pumps Deep Well pump system is freeze proof and is able to pull water from depths up to 300 feet. It must be mounted on the well casing at the water source. It can be installed in a well casing that has an existing electric submersible pump provided there is sufficient space inside the well casing. That makes the size of the well casing and the electric pump components critical when making those determinations.

All Bison Pumps can pressurize a water tank or pump uphill. In some cases the Model 1900 can be installed in a basement near the well water system. This provides a great opportunity to have Pressurized back up water without leaving the home. When that is not an option the deep well systems can be used for the same purpose only must be pumped at the well site.

Shallow Well Pump compared to a Deep Well Pump System

Pros of Shallow Well Pump

There are a few things about the shallow well pump that make it superior to a deep well pump system. The first is cost. Since a shallow well pump does not require any pipe/rod that cost is eliminated from the system. However, some type of pipe or flexible hose will be required to connect the pump to the water source.

Mounting Location
The shallow well pump, because it uses a vacuum to draw the water up rather than lift the water, can use a flexible hose connection to the water source. This means the pump can be located within a 200-300 foot radius of the well or other water source. The actual distance is determined based on the incline, if any, from the water source to the pump location and overall total vertical lift of the water to the pump. Naturally, the closer to the water source that the pump is installed the better the performance of the pump will be.

Water Sources
Another benefit is being able to use multiple water sources instead of just a water well. Many people use shallow well pumps to draw water from tanks (or rain water cisterns), ponds or creeks.

Cons of Shallow Well Pump

Total Vertical Lift
The downside of a shallow well pump is the limitation on the Total Vertical Lift of the pump. With a 25 foot limit one must consider all elevation changes and water level changes in the configuration of the design of the system. If the water level falls below this limit there is no water available to the pump. Deep well pump systems properly equipped can lift water from 300 foot static water levels.

Obviously the other downside is that the pump will freeze which is not an issue with deep well pump systems.