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Well pump problem
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Judy in NC    Posted 07-28-2004 at 10:51:10       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I have been following the replies to "water pump troubles" below.

I was wondering if you folks might have any suggestion for me...

I am on a municipal supply for my house, but several times a year we are out of water for an extended period as the company has major repairs in their line to make. Most recently was last week and it was off for about 14 hours. This gets to be a little troublesome for a family of 11 that is home all day. I do have a well on my property that we can usually switch over to, but last week I could not get it to pump. It gets used seldom, but has kept its prime very well, even when it goes as much as a year without use.

This last time, the pump motor seemed to be running fine. I opened the plug for checking the prime and I had water there. I checked the air in the tank, and it was only showing about 10 #, whereas the label said it should be 30. I aired it up with my compressor to 30 #.

I really don't know a thing about wells, but when I called a repairman he told me it would be $90 an hour for him to come out. I do most all the repairs around our home - elec., plumbing, etc., so I think with some studying/advice I can figure this out. The repairman I talked to on the phone said it sounded like an air lock?

The pump just keeps running non-stop (though I didn't let it run too long for fear it would burn something up). I do apparently need to replace the pressure gauge, as it shows 20# at all times - running or not.

If I need to drain my tank, I would need instructions as I've never done that.

Thanks to anyone who might be able to guide me at all. I appreciate this site so much.

Judy in NC

Mike in tn    Posted 07-29-2004 at 07:15:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
sounds to me like the small pipe just below your pressure switch is stopped up if the pressure doesn't change when it is running.

Todd Shippen    Posted 07-28-2004 at 21:27:18       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I have the same problem and I have installed into where the plug was a 6" nipple with a ball valve. Ask your local hardware dealer about it. This will allow you to prime the pump much easier, instead of fighting with the plug when water is rushing out you open or close a valve. I drain my system once a month, I open all facuets and turn the pump off. I wait about 30 minutes so the tank runs dry and then I start the priming process. Turn the pump on and open and close valve as needed to get prime.

TB    Posted 07-28-2004 at 11:48:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
try rechecking the prime. If it lost its prime you may have to refill the prime water several times.

Someone else will probibly be around later with better knowlage and instructions.

Judy in NC    Posted 07-28-2004 at 15:44:26       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thanks for the suggestion - this was also something the well man suggested - keep the prime nut off while I ran the pump - he said sometimes it will look like it's primed and then when you run the pump - it works out an air bubble (or something like that). I did try this, with no luck.

toolman    Posted 07-28-2004 at 17:07:37       [Reply]  [No Email]
just loosen it off an hold it close so all the water don,t blow out turn on the pump and see it it primes if not add water untill it is full sometimes you have to do it over and over to get it running right.

toolman    Posted 07-28-2004 at 17:11:02       [Reply]  [No Email]
also when you air up your tank, first shut the pump off drain any water in the tank close the drain valve and air it up to in your case 30lbs, then turn on the pump and let it fill up again, i think you have lost prime and will have to get it primed again, even when you aren,t using it maybe you should run it once a month or so just to keep it primed and then you,ll know it will be ready to go when you need it, best of luck.

Judy in NC    Posted 07-28-2004 at 17:46:35       [Reply]  [Send Email]
With proper pressure in the tank, should it drain the tank simply by turning on a faucet anywhere on the line? Or do I need to open a valve/bolt/etc. on the tank itself?

toolman    Posted 07-28-2004 at 18:03:50       [Reply]  [No Email]
are you talking about recharging your tank(airing it up)? on my tank where the water line comes out to feed the house i have a tap i shut that down disconnect the house line, turn the tap back on let all the water out , then add some air untill all the water is out and it starts spitting air out , i then close the tap air up the tank to the right pressure hook up the water line again and turn the pump on and let it fill up the tank with the right amount of water to acheive the right pressure.

toolman    Posted 07-28-2004 at 18:10:08       [Reply]  [No Email]
remember be careful don,t take anything off the tank, yes turn a tap on somewhere as close to the tank as possible to let the pressure off, then add some air to force the left over water out and try that, you might get a little air in your lines this way but it will just spit a little when you use the taps and will come right out. remember let off the pressure because if you just pull something off that tank it wil be pressurized and the only thing that you should ever disconnect from the tank in the water line , unless it,s unhooked and depressurized, DON, T go unscrewing the valve where you put the air in or anything like that k.

Judy in NC    Posted 07-28-2004 at 18:38:56       [Reply]  [Send Email]
In my ignorance, this doesn't sound like the sort of problem that could be caused by a "control switch"?

This would be an easy thing to replace if it could possibly be a cause.

Judy in NC

Judy in NC    Posted 07-28-2004 at 18:29:33       [Reply]  [Send Email]
So, the air and water mix in the tank? I thought there would be an air bladder or something to keep the air and water separate? (I apologize for my ignorance.)

I still wonder if my problem is more likely an air pocket in my line coming up from the well. I kept the prime cap off, turned on the pump and it didn't shoot water out or change the water level where I had tried to pour some in for priming it.

Also how much of a problem is the fact that my pressure gauge doesn't work anymore - it just sits at 20# whether the pump is running or not. Is it a simple matter of just unscrewing the old gauge and screwing a new one back in?

Thanks for all the help.

Judy in NC

toolman    Posted 07-28-2004 at 20:04:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
no the air and water don,t mix, you should have a bladder in the tank to separate the two,tap that gauge and it should move up to the correct reading, you can change it just watch as you unscrew it remember it is under pressure, even though it is only 20 or 30 lbs it pays to take it easy also when when you put the new one in wrap some of the tape arounrd the threads to keep it from leaking,did the water move when you had the plug out of the pump and it was running right,? should of at least been able to see the water move, sometimes it will splash out as the pump impleers turn, you can also put your hand on it and take it off , do this to try and get it sucking, if it gets down on water keep filling it could check your control switch , if the contacts look pitted or burned then they are a problem, becareful and make sure the power is off, i wish i could be more help, i fix things by looking , checking and doing , im not much help by doin it this way im sure.hope i helped some , if you have anymore questions feel free to ask, maybe if i can find willy n later on i,ll see if he can be more help.

Judy in NC    Posted 07-28-2004 at 21:01:05       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I REALLY do appreciate your efforts to help.

When I had the plug off there was no movement of water at all - it doesn't seem to be drawing, yet there is water right up to the plug (where you prime)I think that's why the repairman guessed over the phone that I had an air lock?

I'm guessing if I go to replace that pressure gauge it would be good to release all the air through the schrader valve first?

I've been doing searches on the internet for discussion groups related directly to well pump repair, but I'm not finding any.

Judy in NC

toolman    Posted 07-28-2004 at 21:13:39       [Reply]  [No Email]
i wondering if it is pumping anything at all, i wonder if the impellers are turning, how old is it, when you have it running again with the plug out put the hub of your hand by your thumb over the whole and plug the hole tight with your hand and see if it is sucking at all.sometimes when you do that and let off and do it again over an over it will also prime and start up.

Judy in NC    Posted 07-28-2004 at 22:11:44       [Reply]  [Send Email]
That's what I'm beginning to wonder too - if the impellers are turning. Is there an easy way to check for this?

I will be giving it another try in the morning.

toolman    Posted 07-28-2004 at 23:25:24       [Reply]  [No Email]
judy you should be able to look in the plug hole , use a flashligh if you have to ,i don,t think you,ll see the water roaring or anything like that but you should be able to see some movement, the other thing you could do is disconnect your pump from the tank and see if it is pumping water out of it, then you,ll know one way or the other if its your pump, and needs fixin or primed, and if it is pumpin then you can start on the tank .

toolman    Posted 07-28-2004 at 20:35:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
judy ,willy is on a fire now, but if you have anymore questions i,ll be glad to try and help and hope i don,t confuse you.

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