Reading this question, I suspect we have a bad check valve. How can we tell and how do I replace it? I have a submersible pump in a 100ft deep well and a pressure tank in my basement with a single PVC line coming from the well. Bill

  • You (or a company you hire) pull the submersible pump up from the bottom of the well. Your question/problem description leaves much to be desired in therms of whether that is your problem or not - no idea what "this question" is, and no actual description of your actual prolems symptoms other that "air in cold water line from well" which is not particularly a sign of a bad check valve lacking further details. Could be you are overdrawing your well and pulling air in, could be you have an air injector intended to keep an old-school pressure tank from waterlogging. More detail, pease.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 16:29

1 Answer 1


You may want to call in a professional. To get to the check valve, also called a foot valve, you need to pull the pump up by its connecting pipe, which takes a strong back and/or special equipment, and is VERY easy to mess up and drop the pump down into the well which is a big ($$$) problem!

But if you really want to try it, you'll need to rig up something so that you can hold the pipe as you reset your hands to make the next pull. You will definitely need an assistant. Just disconnect the electric wires, pull the pitless adapter release, and pull up on the pipe. It will be HEAVY! Be VERY careful not to let go once it releases from the pitless or down it will go. Note that the well may be 100' deep but chances are the pump itself will be considerably less deep than that.

After you get some pipe above the top of the casing, most pros I've seen use a special tool that clamps the pipe to keep it from dropping down but some use a pipe wrench. This is where it gets tricky as you need to unscrew sections of the pipe as you go to avoid trying to hoist 50' or more of pipe above your head. Eventually it will bend and possibly break.

Once you get to where the pump is, you should be able to pull it out, remove the foot valve, and reverse the process to re-install the pump.

DISCLAIMER: This answer assumes that your well is installed using steel or rigid plastic pipe which is probably the most common in most areas until recently. Note, however, that it may be installed differently as noted in the comment below.

  • Depends a LOT on the actual installation. i.e. your answer assumes rigid threaded pipe in the well, which is odd as heck in this area, where flexible black poly is the de facto standard well pipe, in part because all you need to do is give it some space on the ground when you pull it out, rather than unscrew sections as you pull it.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 16:33
  • I updated the answer to cover that case. Thanks.
    – jwh20
    Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 16:46
  • Has anyone asked WHY the OP thinks it's a bad check valve (foot valve)? A bad foot valve would allow water to flow backward into the well, resulting in frequent pump cycling. I'm more worried about the water level in his well and if he's "sucking air". At least he should do draw down measurements to help diagnose the problem. Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 16:51
  • Either way a well professional would be able to diagnose and recommend the proper solution.
    – jwh20
    Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 16:52
  • My pump was installed with flexible black poly. It is not "sucking air" we have a very high water table this spring. The pump does not cycle unless we run water, The hissing of air from the faucets only occurs after all night and then clears up in a few minutes of running. It's been going on for 2 years. Is there a cause to explore that will not require pulling up the pump? Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 18:56

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