Well Issues
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    sennister's Avatar
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    Well Issues

    I took the wife and kids to the airport today and get home and I was going to start some of my projects. First on the list was to descale the tankless water heater. Head down to the basement and I can hear the hum of the well pump running. I think to myself that this is odd because I just got home so no one is using water. I keep working and think to myself that the pump should have cut out by now even if it was low. Take a look at the gauge and it is sitting at 60PSI. We have a 40/60 switch so it should be cutting out.... I go over and flip the breaker and start looking into my new project for the day. As I look over things I look at my filters. They normally are changed every 3 months and I did it last month. The first is a spin down sediment pre-filter and I can see what looks like cotton or down on the outside of the filter and what I would say is the amount of sediment we would normally see in 3 month clean out. I have never seen these fibers before so I shutdown my valve and pull the filter. Here is a photo of the fibers.



    So the well pump is down about 160'. It comes into the house and there is a T that goes to the pressure switch and pressure tank. The other direction goes to the filters and on to the house. The fibers are on the well side of the filters so it has to be coming from well, well pump or pressure tank. I just cant think of anything that would have fibers in it like this. They feel like cotton. Not sure why they would have something like that in the pressure tank. Any ideas?



    I did some troubleshooting. When I drained the pressure tank I noticed that the pressure gauge should have dropped to 0 but it was still sitting at 60psi. Thinking the nipple going to the pressure switch. nipple and gauge could be plugged I replaced all three with new ones. Now the pump still runs non-stop but the pressure gauge reads 0psi all the time. I even ran the pump for a minute. Verified that there is water in the tank by opening my drain briefly. Then I pulled the pressure gauge, nothing came out of it. The odd thing is there is that the hole it screws into has something on the inside of it. It is hard like the plug on the end of the fitting. I tried opening up the pipe where everything attaches but I can't seem to be able to budge the end plug. Who knows how long it has been there. The house was built in the 60s but I replaced the pressure tank about 4 years ago. At that point I had everything disconnected from the union down to the tank. The rest of it could be original for all I know.



    My thoughts are these fibers are plugging up the passages to the pressure switch and pressure gauge. I am thinking I need to try and get this stuff apart to clean them out. However. If it is these fibers causing the issue, it is just a band-aid fix, I am still getting these fibers into the spindown filter and even if I clean this out, it will likely plug up again. Anyone ever see anything like this before or have an idea where they might be coming from. There is a section of rubber hose from where the copper pipe comes out of the ground to where it ties into copper pipes and make that T. For now I just run the pump for a bit when I need water and cut it off. It is just me in the house this week so I can get by. I go to the gym every morning so I shower and get ready for work there.


    JD Z950R 60" Deck with DFS Collection System

    JD X585, 54C deck,
    CTC Model X4750 F.E.L - Modified Imp Pressure Relief from 900 to 1175PSI, Power Flow and MC519 cart, 54-inch Quick-Hitch Front Blade, 47-inch Quick-Hitch Snow Blower, 3-pt hitch, HF Quick Hitch, Heavy Hitch, 48" box blade/rear blade, Dethacher, 3pt Sprayer

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    JD4044M's Avatar
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    Might be that rubber hose is breaking down on the inside and the fiber comes from it? Never saw man made fiber come out of a well in my life? Lots of sand, red iron bacteria, sulfur smell and dirt. The pressure gauge can get stuck and clogged up. Rust from the metal fittings will happen over time on reason I like Schedule 40 PVC/CPVC for my plumbing.
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    AlKozak's Avatar
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    Are you sure the bladder in the pressure tank didn't burst? If there is nothing between the well pump and that (there usually isn't), then man-made fibers can only come from the either well pump or the tank.

    Or maybe the drillers lost a tee-shirt down the well?

    Al
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    Herminator's Avatar
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    I suspect it might be the bladder as well, I hope so otherwise I would worry it is the pump impeller but if it was that I would think the check valve at the top of the pump would leak back.

    Perhaps you know but the pressure tank should be pressurized to 2 psi below the kick in setting on the switch. In your case 38 psi. It is easy to check for the bladder, just unhook the pipe to the tank and put air to the bladder. If it leaks down it has failed, just like an inner tube.

    I wish you the best.
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    sennister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD4044M View Post
    Might be that rubber hose is breaking down on the inside and the fiber comes from it? Never saw man made fiber come out of a well in my life? Lots of sand, red iron bacteria, sulfur smell and dirt. The pressure gauge can get stuck and clogged up. Rust from the metal fittings will happen over time on reason I like Schedule 40 PVC/CPVC for my plumbing.
    Yeah the sand is normal and why we have the spin down pre-filter. A couple years ago I ripped out all the copper and other metal plumbing in the house other than this one area by the pressure tank. As you can see in the photo of the filters, everything from them on is PEX now.

    It is possible that rubber hose is the source. I would imagine it has fibers like that. If it is, the hose is at risk of blowing out. I imagine I should replace it either way. I will have to look and see if I have any 1" PEX left over from the last project. I just find it confusing as to where it is coming from. I can't think of anything like that coming from the pump or anything in the well.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlKozak View Post
    Are you sure the bladder in the pressure tank didn't burst? If there is nothing between the well pump and that (there usually isn't), then man-made fibers can only come from the either well pump or the tank.

    Or maybe the drillers lost a tee-shirt down the well?

    Al
    It is possible but I didn't think a bladder would have all those fibers. I always thought of it as little more than a rubber liner. We had a bladder rupture before I can drain everything again and see if I get water out of the schrader valve. That is the normal test for a ruptured bladder. The only reason I don't think it is that is that if I run the pump for a while, which I did when I was testing the pressure switch, I get a lot of water out of it. It maintains pressure until the tank is empty and I know it is because it moves easily. When my last tank ruptured I was getting a short cycling of the well pump and it was completely waterlogged.

    Quote Originally Posted by Herminator View Post
    I suspect it might be the bladder as well, I hope so otherwise I would worry it is the pump impeller but if it was that I would think the check valve at the top of the pump would leak back.

    Perhaps you know but the pressure tank should be pressurized to 2 psi below the kick in setting on the switch. In your case 38 psi. It is easy to check for the bladder, just unhook the pipe to the tank and put air to the bladder. If it leaks down it has failed, just like an inner tube.

    I wish you the best.
    Yeah I should check the pressure again but I need to drain the tank first. I had installed this tank a few years back and set it to 38psi due to the 40/60 switch. I just filled it up again. Being I have filled and drained it a few times today and it is getting late I think I will wait a day. I want to let our septic system catch up as I have been running a lot of water down the drain.
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    JD Z950R 60" Deck with DFS Collection System

    JD X585, 54C deck,
    CTC Model X4750 F.E.L - Modified Imp Pressure Relief from 900 to 1175PSI, Power Flow and MC519 cart, 54-inch Quick-Hitch Front Blade, 47-inch Quick-Hitch Snow Blower, 3-pt hitch, HF Quick Hitch, Heavy Hitch, 48" box blade/rear blade, Dethacher, 3pt Sprayer

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    JD4044M's Avatar
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    You mentioned sand and I have the same problem as my well is 350' deep thru all rock after 19 feet of soil. I have replaced a pump in 10 yrs because of wear to the impellers. Sand will wear on anything rubber including the pressure tank rubber bladder. Easy to check the pressure bladder tank by just seeing if water comes out letting some air out and then letting the system go to no water pressure then test tank at air fill and set to 38 PSI if your start is 40 PSI. I would try to put a extra sediment filter before the pressure tank(Right off the well output) to keep the sediments from going into the tank bladder. It will last a lot longer this way.
    Last edited by JD4044M; 03-19-2018 at 01:16 AM.

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    sennister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD4044M View Post
    You mentioned sand and I have the same problem as my well is 350' deep thru all rock after 19 feet of soil. I have replaced a pump in 10 yrs because of wear to the impellers. Sand will wear on anything rubber including the pressure tank rubber bladder. Easy to check the pressure bladder tank by just seeing if water comes out letting some air out and then letting the system go to no water pressure then test tank at air fill and set to 38 PSI if your start is 40 PSI. I would try to put a extra sediment filter before the pressure tank(Right off the well output) to keep the sediments from going into the tank bladder. It will last a lot longer this way.
    Yeah testing the bladder is on my task list the next time I drain the tank. Do you thing there might be fibers like what I am getting in the filter in the pressure tank bladder? I guess it is possible as I have never cut a tank apart. For the same reasons you mentioned, I think I am going to replace that rubber hose. I don't get a lot of sand but it would be in direct contact with the hose as it comes out of the ground and it is a lot older than the tank. I replaced the tank a few years back but we have been in the house 12 years and that hose predates or ownership by quite a bit. That would have fibers like I am seeing. I never liked that hose there. Just had a thought in the back of my mind that if it blew, when no one was home, out wouk completely flood the basement as nothing would be there to stop it unless the pump gave out.

    I guess I could add another sediment filter before the tank. The problem is that the pipe for the tank is down on the ground. I could elevate the tank but water goes both in and out of that pipe so not sure how well that would work. I could place the filter before the T where it comes out of the ground. The problem with that is that I have read that you don't want to put a filter between the pump and pressure switch unless I changed how that is routed. I guess the reasoning is that if the filter would get clogged due to lack of maintenance, the pump may not be able to provide enough pressure to shut off the pressure switch.

    Something where it comes out of the ground, an elbow with the fittings for the pressure switch and gauge. Then the sediment filter followed by the T where it branches to go to the filters and house or the pressure tank. If I did that, I could just move my sediment filter. I wouldn't have to order a new one. So that would leave just my whole house charcoal filter between the pressure tank and house since sediment would be trapped up steam from the tank. Also I wouldn't have a filter between the pump and pressure tank. That could work.

    I should also mention that I don't get a lot of sand. Now I get that I probably have much more in the pressure tank because out is a low point but on my once every three month replacement schedule for the charcoal filter, I flush the sediment filter and get less than a teaspoon of sand out. I put in that flush valve for the tank but don't did it as much as I should. I flushed out what was probably 2 x 40 gallon tanks and got maybe 3/4 cup of sand.
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    JD Z950R 60" Deck with DFS Collection System

    JD X585, 54C deck,
    CTC Model X4750 F.E.L - Modified Imp Pressure Relief from 900 to 1175PSI, Power Flow and MC519 cart, 54-inch Quick-Hitch Front Blade, 47-inch Quick-Hitch Snow Blower, 3-pt hitch, HF Quick Hitch, Heavy Hitch, 48" box blade/rear blade, Dethacher, 3pt Sprayer

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    Senior GTT Super Slacker Gizmo2's Avatar
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    Sort of looks like fiberglass. Do you have a fiberglass tank?
    Keith

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    Senior GTT Super Slacker Gizmo2's Avatar
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    I had to change out our pressure switch in 2016...

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    Keith

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    coaltrain's Avatar
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    As far as a quick band-aid fix -

    I have a spring and a jet pump. Over time some sediment gets into the system. Also my pump is really old.

    About every 2-3 months I have to clean the pressure switch. It gets gunk built up in it. There is a little bladder in the switch.

    Easy enough to clean - remove the switch and rinse it out at the water port. Might need a little tool to help but don’t use something like a piece of wire so you don’t puncture the bladder.

    This should keep your pump working properly until you can get to the real issue.

    Edit to add - gizmo posted the same time I did - his pictures tell my story also.
    ~Stan~
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