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Country Discussion Topics
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Well problems
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Stephanie    Posted 04-28-2003 at 19:50:38       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Our pump has been going on and off for about a several weeks, then Sunday it just stopped working. It is an above ground shallow well converted into a deep well pump. We cannot get it to prime back up. It is old but right now we need a quick fix. Does anyone have an idea that we might can use.

Grace    Posted 04-30-2003 at 22:39:29       [Reply]  [Send Email]
The most common cause of a pump cycling is a waterlogged pressure tank. A pump cycling is one that cuts on and off a lot when the water is on.
Water can not be compressed to build pressure, only the air pad (or gap) at the top of the tank can be pressurised. This air pressure provides the "drive" to push the water into the lines. Each time the water level goes down in the pressure tank a tiny bit of this air is lost. There is a little gadget that should be on the side of your tank that is called a air porportion valve. Some are located in other spots. The purpose is to replace the lost air. These things are mixed blessings and curses.
An honest well man will be able to help you in this regard. These are getting difficult to find.
To test to see if this is it..
For a non bladder type tank:
Close the valve betwen the pump and the tank (if there isnt one install one asap).
Turn the power to the pump off.
Open the lowest port (valve) on the pressure tank. This will drain the water.
Look for a plug or valve way up the side of the tank or right at the top, opening this will allow air in to the tank so that all of the water can be drained. If there are no other ports , remove the air porportion valve, this will allow air into the tank.
Once you have all the water out you should have a tank full of air. Close up the ports you opened, top first.
Turn the power back on to the pump. It should come on for just a second and kick out.
Open the valve between the well and the tank. The pump should kick back on and water should fill the tank and as it fills the air pad at the top of the tank will be compressed restoring normal function. If the air porportion valve is faulty it will loose the air again pretty quickly. It will be a pain to keep doing this so fix the valve.
The issue of the pump not taking a prime is another problem entirely and I suspect the foot valve. This means pulling the well. You do not say how deep the well is or what the static water level is or the type of pipe but all of these things make the job different.
Should you have to pull the well one thing you do not want to do is accidently drop the pipe.
Assuming you have metal pipe:
You will need at least 3 pipe wrenches big enough to use on your size pipe. At no time remove all the pipe wrenches from the pipe, specifically the one on the pipe below the coupling and above the casing.
Never remove the coupling from the lower pipe, instead remove the upper pipe from the coupling leaving the coupling on the pipe that is still in the caseing.
Make sure you have a pipe wrench on the pipe below the coupling and that it is snug enough to stop the coupling should the pipe fall. Retrieving the pipe is an experience you will not want to relive.
If you have metal pipe look for holes in the pipe near the static water level. Look for a faulty foot valve.
If you do manage to get the whole thing out, do change out the foot valve, it would be foolish not to.
The static water level is how far down the hole the water is when you have removed all mechanical influences ie the pipe and pump. The distance from the bottom of the pump to the static water level is the distance you are actually "Lifting water" and the pump should be sized accordingly.
Feel free to email me if you need to.
Grace, TX

CountryMaritimer    Posted 04-29-2003 at 06:37:19       [Reply]  [No Email]
I grew up with a jet pump in the basement. We had a shallow well so it worked fine but we ran dry of water nearly every week and if someone drilled a new well up the hill from us we would lose our water for several days until the water table rebounded, it eventually got so low that it never came back. Dad ended up drilling deeper and installing a submersible pump. I burned up in a year as it was too close the bottom and sucking sand and mud so the replacement was kept up off the bottom a ways. I moved into a farm house and just replaced the tank with a new bladder type and the submersible seems to work fine out there. I think they are the way to go although a little pricey at first but much more reliable. Also you should should everybody practice good water conservation in your household and you'll save your water, reduce wear and tear on pump and save win win!! Good luck.

Hal/WA    Posted 04-28-2003 at 22:51:55       [Reply]  [No Email]
I assume that the shallow well pump was converted to a deep well jet. If so, your foot valve on the jet at the bottom of the piping down the well may have stuck open or the jet has just worn out. Hopefully your piping is plastic, as it is lots easier to pull.

We had a jet pump when I was a kid and I remember helping my Dad prime it by removing a fitting and pouring water down the pipe. Originally the jet pump had steel pipe, which developed lots of pinhole leaks. Those leaks caused it to cycle over and over and as they got worse, it became impossible to get it to prime. Replacing the metal pipe with plastic solved that problem, but we still had to pull the jet every couple of years for one reason or another, although usually the repair didn't cost much. Finally my Dad got tired of fooling with the jet pump. Replacement of the jet pump with a 3/4 horse submersible pump and adding a bladder tank took care of all the problems with the system. It also provided much more water volume and decreased electric use. The only thing I ever had to do with the new system was thaw out the pump house a couple of times after we lost power when it was extremely cold.

Everything wears out sooner or later. If you cannot easily fix your current pump system, I suggest that you check out whether submersible pumps work well in your area. I understand that they are not good for use in sandy wells. But they sure are the least trouble of the several types I have worked on around here. Good luck!

Honeybee    Posted 04-30-2003 at 09:29:20       [Reply]  [Send Email]
We had the same problem with one of our wells... old steal pipe leaking and causing the pump cycle over and over. That was a hard one to find.

Some pump stores will rebuild the older/broken units they replace and then re-sell them. You might want to look into that to see if you can find an affordable replacement.

Sid    Posted 04-28-2003 at 20:12:24       [Reply]  [No Email]
If it is like the Goulds pump I used to have there is a valve contraption that when it goes bad causes that to happen. It was located on the upper third of the pressure tank

Yankee    Posted 04-29-2003 at 19:28:05       [Reply]  [No Email]
Our well is 85 ft deep.Last year we lost water and burned up our pump.I replaced it with the same kind,gould 3/4 hp submersable.Last month we started to p/up a little fine sand and instaled a inline sand trap with filter and a new tank.So far it has helped alot.Submersables are expensive about 400.00 here in oklahoma and new tank about 120.00.They are the way to go.

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