This list has been compiled by members of the Pumps and Tanks Forum. Many thanks to JeffGr, Lkoops and Snake for their help.
Air Control: A device that screws into a galvanized tank (sometimes into the actual tank of a pump in a few instances) and has a copper or plastic tube connected to it which is also connected to a suction port on a pump which actuates it. The suction created by a water pump pulls a rubber diaphragm back pulling air into the body which is later pushed into the tank with a spring to keep the tank from becoming waterlogged. These devices did not work very well with deep well systems due to the lack of vacuum produced in a system with backpressure.
Air Release Valve: A device that screws into the side of a galvanized pneumatic tank to keep air/water at a desired level. The device has a float that moves up and down depending on water level in the tank. Most air releases have a 1/4″ female pipe tap in the top to accept a gauge, pressure switch or plug. This device is also called an Air Control which shouldn’t be confused with the above Air Control.
Amp rating: The amp rating of a pump motor is expressed in two ways. Amp draw and max amp draw. The amp draw is the amperage drawn by a motor of a given horsepower. With max amps, the amp draw will be greater since the service factor of a motor may be greater than 1.
Bladder Tank: A metal or fiberglass tank with a rubber or plastic bag, bladder or diaphragm which is intended to never waterlog.
Bleeder Orifice: A small 1/2″ or 3/4″ device inserted into the droppipe in a well which is intended to drain the pipe down to a certain level while letting air take it’s place.
Bleeder Valve: Same as above.
Bremer Check: A check valve with a bail on the top. The bail is used to make removal easy with a tool called a check grab. The Bremer is a check valve used mostly in two inch wells. Its purpose is to seal off the 1-1/4″ coupling on top of an 1-1/4″ well point at the bottom of a two inch well and keep the casing full of water. It is a seal and a check valve all in one.
Casing: Casing is either steel or plastic pipe used in the drilling of a well. It starts at one inch and goes up from there. Casing can be driven, washed in or pushed down a rotored hole. Submersible pumps are dropped down into the casing.
Centrifugal Pump: A close coupled centrifugal is generally used for boosting water pressure. A self priming centrifugal is used mostly for watering/sprinkling applications.
Centrifugal Switch: A centrifugal switch is found in the back of a pump motor (and many others) and is needed to disconnect the start capacitor and start winding from the circuit in the motor once the motor comes up near its normal RPM’s.
Check Valve: A check valve is a one way valve. Its function is to keep water and pressure in the tank and plumbing once the pump reaches its set pressure and turns off.
Constant pressure valve: A constant pressure valve is used to keep a pump motor running while a minimum amount of water is being used (usually around 2 gpm in domestic systems) which saves a lot of wear and tear on the pump, motor and tank and as a bonus gives constant pressure in the entire system.
CPV: Same as above.
Diffuser: On all jet pumps and centrifugals (except Goulds) the diffuser is the housing surrounding the impeller. It directs the water in the pump tank body toward the outlet.
Drive Shoe: A drive shoe is a heavy duty coupling that goes on the first stick of casing to be driven into the ground. It protects the end of the pipe and directs the cuttings into the casing.
Droppipe: Spell checks hate the two words being together. This pipe is what your submersible pump or jet is hanging on in the well. Droppipe can be PVC, Poly or Galvanized pipe.
Ejector: And ejector is a body of cast iron or brass that houses a nozzle and venturi which aids in the lifting of water. Ejectors are usually called jets. There are two pipe jets, single pipe jets and shallow well jets. The two pipe and single pipe jets go into the well casing. The shallow well jets go on or in the pump.
Float Switch: A float switch is usually found on a Sump Pump and is used to turn on/off a pump according to the level of water. They are used in other applications.
Footvalve: Also hated by spell checks. These one way valves are used in wells either on the bottom of a two pipe or single pipe jet. In the case of a shallow well system, they are used on the bottom of 30 foot of droppipe.
Galvanized Tank: A galvanized tank is a pneumatic tank that has two taps near the bottom, one approximately two thirds of the way up toward the top and one top dead center in the top. They are primarily used to store water and pressure in a pumping system. They can also be used for mixing chlorine with water etc.
Gauge: The most popular gauge in water well systems is the 100 #’er. It’s inexpensive, is handy for the serviceman to set up the system then usually goes haywire in a few months. If you’re getting erratic readings from your gauge, it probably needs to be replaced. There are good gauges out there, but nobody buys them.
Impeller :The impeller in any pump is what moves the water. All water well pumps turn 3450 RPM’s and the impeller does too. It creates a vacuum by throwing water away from itself pulling more water in through the “EYE” (center front of the impeller). Some pumps have more than one impeller and submersible pumps can have impellers in the double digits.
Jars: Jars are a tool used by Well Drillers. They are a device that have two pieces and can be used to hammer something up and down in a well casing. Simply pulling on something lodged in a well usually isn’t effective where hammering on it can save the well.
Jet: The jet was explained above under the heading of Ejector.
Jet Pump: The jet pump can be either deep well or shallow well depending on the water level in the well. If the water is more than 25 feet below the pump, a shallow well jet pump will no longer work and the jet is then put into the well at or near the water level.
Line Check: Same as Check Valve above.
Pneumatic Tank: Same as Galvanized Tank above.
Point: A point (sometimes called a Well Point) is usually 1-1/4″ or 2″ in diameter and usually beat into the ground into a shallow aquifer. That shallow aquifer is normally no deeper than 35 feet. The pipe used to get the point that far into the ground is galvanized pipe and is generally in 5′ sections.
Points: There are points in a pressure switch and there are points in the back end of a pump motor. There are points in a potential relay in a submersible pump control box. They are an electrical switch. When both points are touching, there is a circuit, when they are not touching, the circuit is open.
Pressure Gauge: Same as Gauge above.
Pressure Relief Valve: A pressure relief valve will blow off at a set pressure to protect a water system
Pressure Switch: A pressure switch is used to turn on and off a water pump. The popular switch settings are 20/40, 30/50 and 40/60.
Pressure Switch Tubing: This tubing can be either copper, plastic or a direct connection from the pressure switch to the plumbing so it can see what pressure is in the system so it can turn on/off the pump.
Pumping Level: This is the level of the water in a well while the well is being pumped at a steady gallon rate per minute
Schrader Valve: A Schrader valve is very similar to the valve on your car tire. It can be used to air up a tank, or is sometimes used in an air maker system.
Screen: A screen is very similar to a well point as described above under point.
Snifter Valve: Snifter valve is a schrader valve with a lighter spring tension used in air maker systems.
Start Points: Start points are found in the rear of a pump motor. They are used in conjunction with the centrifugal switch (mentioned above) to energize/de-energize the start capacitor and start winding of the motor.
Static Water Level: The static water level is the actual level of water in the well casing measured from ground level.
Sub Cable: Sub cable is the wire used to power a submersible pump. It comes in twisted, flat and jacketed.
Submersible Pump: A submersible pump goes into the well casing deep enough into the water so to stay wet under all conditions. Submersible pumps can push water which is much easier than lifting water like jet pumps do. They are far more efficient than a jet pump.
Sump: A pit usually in a basement floor that is tied into the edge drain around a home. A Sump Pump is lowered into the sump and detects and evacuates water from the sump when necessary.
Sump Pump: See above.
Tail Pipe: A tail pipe is generally 30 feet long with a footvalve on the bottom. It goes below the jet in a deep well system. It prevents the jet from seeing any possible air that could be present while pumping water.
Voltage Drop: Voltage drop occurs when a pump first starts up and can also occur if the wire size or electrical service is too small for the motor being used.
Voltage Rating: Voltage rating is what the motor is designed to operate within. For instance: 115/230 volt single phase, 230/460 volt three phase etc.
Walking Beam: A device on a drill rig or pump hoist that moves the cable or rope on the Derik up and down at approximately 60 times per minute to either drive pipe into the ground, drill out a well or to operate “jars” (as mentioned above).
Waterlog: Waterlogging occurs when a pneumatic tank or even a bad bladder tank fills with water. When this happens the pump turns on and off very quickly which can and does burn out motors, starting components and damage mechanical parts of the pump and motor. This is the main reason for a tank, to protect the pump and motor. Once waterlogged or anywhere between the totally non waterlogged state and getting close to being waterlogged is detrimental to the pumps health.
Well Diameter: This measurement is simply the inside diameter of your well casing. Most popular from the good old days up till now are: 1-1/4″, 2″, 2.5″ 3″ 4″, 5″ and 6″.
Well Depth: This is the total depth of the well including the casing and screen or open hole below the casing. Top to bottom.