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To add your comments to this topic, click on one of the 'Reply' links below.

Reviving a well
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Mark    Posted 05-30-2002 at 12:36:01       [Reply]  [Send Email]

Hi folks, I've been reading some but this is my first post.

We found a well in our yard. it is a 6" pipe that goes down an unknown depth. There are 2 separate houses that were once setup to feed off of it. The water level is currently in the range of 10-20'.

The first one has a plastic pipe, about 1.25" that runs down into the well, it has a cap where it comes to the top of the well.. about 10' down it Tees off into a pipe that goes into the basement. There is a 1hp motor with a Goulds pump, that I just had rebuilt with a new seal and some other parts. I took the cap off the top of the pipe, filled it with water, capped it, then started the pump. With the faucet closed, it didn't build up any pressure. With the faucet open, the water would come out in spurts, like it is sucking a lot of air. I shut it off in fear of burning up the pump.

The other pump is a submersible. It has a metal pipe that runs from the top of the well all the way down to the pump, and it also Tees off about 10' down and runs into the other house. I wired it up in the house but it seems to be dead. I don't think I can pull it out- the joint where the pipes connect 10' down doesnt look like a pitless adapter, but I've never seen one. Is it most likely a pitless adapter, and I can pull the pipe up with a come-a-long?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I would hate to have the well go to waste, especially after paying for the Goulds pump and motor to be serviced.



Nathan(GA)    Posted 05-30-2002 at 19:22:18       [Reply]  [Send Email]
OK Mark, the picture helps alot. Nice drawing BTW. I think Mark H nailed the problem with the goulds pump. The output should be restricted somewhat, if not hooked to the system. I have a 1/2hp jet pump running like that now. I'm trying to let it clean itself as much as possible before hooking to the tank. It's an old well and nobody lives in the house. If I turn it on with just the hose end open, it does exactly as you describe, spurt. I put a regular spray nozzle on the end of the hose, wired it open and it primed right up.

Do like Salmoneye says and let someone listen at the copper pipe when you turn the submersible on.

Do you know how deep most wells in the area are? It's not hard to pull a 66ft like we have here. But we don't have pitless adapters.

Good Luck

Mark Hendershot    Posted 05-30-2002 at 19:32:29       [Reply]  [No Email]
You need to put a false head against the pump to start the prime and most high pressure pumps need back presure to stop cavitating in the pump chamber. That is why your pump works better when the nozzle is on the hose.
I pull my 350 ft one by hand but the pipe is not metal either. If the water level is high it is not so bad just a good work out to do, the rope comes in handy for a break doing it. I put a pulley on a beam at the top of mine that way another person can support the weight while I lift it up. It is also handy to have some one walk out the wire, rope and pipe because 350 ft is a lot to just pile up. When you see in all spread out it makes it a deep looking hole with all the pipe!! Mark H.

Nathan(GA)    Posted 05-30-2002 at 19:38:44       [Reply]  [No Email]
Mark, I would hate to have to do 350ft. This 66ft is enough weight.

I got a question about a well, but I'll post it above to not distract from this thread. If you can, tell me what you think.

Mark Hendershot    Posted 05-30-2002 at 19:45:12       [Reply]  [No Email]
I learned a lot about wells after 2-dry holes and 12,000.00 later. I figured I better learn because I don't want to do that again. They also wanted 1,200.00 to drop the pump in plus parts!! What a joke!! Mark H.

Mark Hendershot    Posted 05-30-2002 at 18:37:42       [Reply]  [No Email]
If I understand your picture right it looks like you can prime the Gould Pump by removing the cap and filling the pipe up. The pump needs to get all the air out of the pipe to pump right. If that cap leaks a little you will lose or not even get a prime on the pump. If you fill the pipe it should fill to the top and stay there if your foot valve is working on the bottom of the pipe down in the well. Somes times you can get crud in the valve and it will not seal then you have to pull it to clean or replace. Once you prime the pipe wrap some teflon tape on the threads to make it air tight. Then turn the pump on and open the valve a little to let any air out and the water to get it going. Sometimes you have to open and close the valve to get it to take. You won't hurt the pump if it has some water in the chamber to keep the bearing cool on the impeller. Don't open the valve all the way just a tiny bit till the pump takes off and builds pressure up. You will here the pump do this when it takes. You need a blader tank with the pump to make it work right and a pressure switch to control it. A presure gauge is also nice to see how much pressure you have. The priming process should take around a minuit or less to do, if not add more water or find out where the leak is stopping the prime. Good Luck, Mark H.

Mark    Posted 05-30-2002 at 18:54:14       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thanks Mark H. and others.

I found a fitting on the input side of the Goulds pump that leaked a little bit, I will replace it. Then I will again try to fill the top pipe with water and prime and get that pump going. The advice about opening the valve only a little bit is good, I hadn't tried that. The cap on the top of the pipe is plastic, so I don't think it needs teflon tape.

Thanks, I will work on this more tomorrow and Saturday, and then post with the results


Mark Hendershot    Posted 05-30-2002 at 19:23:09       [Reply]  [No Email]
If the cap is plastic on metal you should and plastic on plastic coud use some too. This way you don't have to realy tighten it to the point it gets hard to remove later. Plumers dope on the threads works good too. Mark H.

Mark Hendershot    Posted 05-30-2002 at 16:02:46       [Reply]  [No Email]
A pitless adapter is a fitting that goes through the side of the well casing. The part that goes down to the pump will slide up out of a tapperd slip joint with a gasket that forms the seal between the to parts. There is a treaded part on top of the pitless adapter you can screw a pipe into to pull the fitting up along with the pipe hooked to it below. You should be able to see the adapter from the surface with a flash light it will be around 2 inches accross and have a lock nut treaded around it clamping it to the casing and be curved to fit the side of the casing. The slip joint will be somewhat square looking. Be carefull when you lift it that you do not drop the pump into the bottom of the well. Take a look and let us know what you see. Mark H.

Salmoneye    Posted 05-30-2002 at 16:42:08       [Reply]  [Send Email]
If you indeed have a pitless in there, MarkH's advice of not dropping it is dead on.
I am betting that is what the pipe with the threaded cap is for. There should be a T-Handle that threads on to the pipe after the cap is removed. The T will be a greater length than the diameter of the casing so you can NOT drop the whole pump and pipe down the well.
I have seen alot of 6 inch wells and have never seen anything like the copper pipe you drew.
If that has no pitless, then I am stumped.
Never saw a submersible without one here, but we have a deep frostline.
I have never seen a submersible that needed priming either. The very act of submersing it primes it. Have someone stick their ear next to the copper pipe when you turn on the power to the submersible. At that shallow depth you should easily be able to hear the pump if it is running.

The Goulds I know nothing about...

PS    Posted 05-30-2002 at 16:46:33       [Reply]  [No Email]
Find the oldest well driller (retired or not) you can find and offer him $50 to come look and tell you what you have there...

TB    Posted 05-30-2002 at 14:04:30       [Reply]  [No Email]
Are you sure there two pumps? The old well here has two pipes in it but that was a deep well jet pump that actualy sent water down the well to the foot valve to spray up the other pipe to give grater lift. so when you lost the prime you had to fill pump, tank every thing. It's been a long time sence we used it but that is the way I think it worked. Other than that I am with the others.

Nathan(GA)    Posted 05-30-2002 at 13:27:44       [Reply]  [No Email]
I don't understand exactly what you got there. If the pipe is 6", I guess it's possible to have a submersible pump in the well and also a pipe for the jet pump. I've never dealt with a pitless adapter, so can't help there.

Is the cap you speak of airtight? If not, I don't see how the jet pump could work.

My question is how did they tee off 10' down the casing, if I'm understanding correctly?

A picture is worth a 1000 words. I don't know what being there is worth, but it'd help a bunch.

Mark    Posted 05-30-2002 at 13:56:00       [Reply]  [Send Email]

Sorry, 10' was way off.

I took measurements. The "T"s of the pipes are about 3.5' down from the top of the 6" pipe, one of them is a couple inches higher than the other. The distance from the ground to the top of the 6" pipe is 18".

Here is a picture I drew. thanks

DeadCarp    Posted 05-30-2002 at 14:53:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
I have a surface pump (Goulds i think) and they seem to have to be primed til you're past giving up. Once all the bubbles are out, they run fine. Fill it up, run til it spurts and then shut it off and re-prime. This can be done thru a garden hose (by lifting the far end and draining it into the pump body) to save unscrewing everything. It took me 2 hours to get water to climb 2 feet, but now that the line is charged .... :)
Mine runs thru black pipe to a plastic sandpoint underwater at the lake dock, and we water the lawn & garden with it.

Mark    Posted 05-30-2002 at 16:04:23       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Deadcarp, can you tell me where you are using the garden hose to prime? Also, I think mine may be a bit different, since there is still that big pipe that sticks up to the top of the well.

I think I have to prime it by pouring water into that pipe?


DeadCarp    Posted 05-30-2002 at 21:42:57       [Reply]  [No Email]
Yeah, you have to add water wherever you want it to come out. Regardless of water outside the pump, the idea is to get all the air out of the pump itself. Once it's "charged" with water, i'ts up to ball valve(s) to keep it primed.
I have a real compact setup, with a little pressure tank right on top of the pump, so i run garden hose from there. If i was pumping uphill and there's still some priming water in the hose, i just raise the hose slowly and walk it back to the pump to let it drain thru the spigot back into the tank and subsequently the pump fills up.
Don't know if that helps in your case, but something like it should work.

DeadCarp - sterliizing    Posted 05-30-2002 at 14:57:36       [Reply]  [No Email]
Forgot to mention cleaning the well. Once everything's running good, one evening pour a whole gallon of household bleach down there and let it set overnite. Flush the whole system out for a couple hours or until you can't smell bleach, and your water will be safe & taste way fresher.

Ludwig    Posted 05-30-2002 at 13:36:29       [Reply]  [No Email]
I guess I'm on with you on this one... 10 feet
down is a danged long way, well before freeze
depth anywhere but the arctic, and if it was that
deep you'd have to ask yourself how did it get
there? Somebody with very long, very skinny arms?
Or did they put the last 10 feet on after the
rest? In that case it'd be danged hard to seal
I suspect something else entirely is going on
here, but I don't have the slightest idea. At this
point I'd probably call somebody who does alot
with wells. Post here once you get her figured out
I'm pretty curious.

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