Water well problems, suggestions?
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    Water well problems, suggestions?

    The scenario!

    A couple weeks ago I had a pretty good snow storm with strong winds and power was out for three days at my house. After power restoration I began having water issues.
    I live in a wetland area, even though my property somehow is not listed as such, but I am within spitting distance of "The Burton Wetlands".

    I have a 1/2 horsepower jet pump in my basement with built in pressure switch set at 30-50 psi. My pressure tank is in very clean condition and working fine. The pump is 13 years old and has only one hose feeding from the well, which from my investigation means if it was properly applied my well should be 30 feet or less deep. (Have I mentioned my property is usually wet and muddy?) This pump has worked fine for the two years I have been here.
    I suspect that possibly during the power outage the hose from the well may have froze and split? Where the hose enters my basement it is only about 30 inches below grade.

    The symptoms!

    I can hear the pump introducing air into the system along with the water. I get the subsequent spraying out of faucets off and on as I use the water. I can feel the air pass in the pump discharge hose with my hand. There is no evidence of water leaking from the pump as might be seen with an impeller shaft seal failure.
    As the air passes through my hot water tank and other lines I end up getting rusty patches of water that usually clears up shortly.
    When the pump satisfies the pressure switch it seems to jump hard when it shuts off, didn't used to do that.

    It doesn't seem to run out of water completely and doesn't seem to need to run any longer than it used to to satisfy the switch.
    Also the pump does turn on about every 1-1/2 -2 hours now even with no usage, never did before and no apparent leaks in the house.

    Actions thus far.

    I made up a clear section of hose to try and splice to the pump suction side to try and witness air coming from the well and differentiate whether the pump was the problem or not. Try as I might I could not break the bond of the plastic well pipe from the nipple on the pump. I need to bring home a hacksaw and a heat gun if I am going to get that on there.

    I contacted the largest and best equipped water well service company in my area. They sent out two youngsters who were nice enough but they immediately told me I needed my well rehabilitated, which this company was well equipped to perform. I described all the above to the yutes but this was their opinion. They tested nothing while they were there, only observed.

    I made arrangements with their boss for the well service for April 4th and had to coordinate with the power co to remove my overhead service and restore it later that day. The wires were three feet from the well head. I texted this guy quite a bit and even he began wondering about the foot valve or a cracked pipe. (wish they had checked SOMETHING when they were here) I told him I had a small backhoe but didn't have the supplies or experience to succeed in the short period of time I would have this time of year (still freezing up in here).

    Questions for my favorite crew!

    I was contemplating changing the pump to see if I get lucky. Do you think it could be introducing air even though it is not leaking externally?

    Chances are, if I try to excavate to the well to look for a leaking hose I will likely hook the dang thing with the hoe tooth. Is there anything special the pro's use to couple the hose where it enters the well casing?

    Do any of you agree with my thought that the well is able to keep up since I do not run out of water and air gets introduced right away and constantly even if I wait 24 or more hours before I use it again?

    If the well is slugded up wouldn't it suck dry and take time to recover?
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    Fozsey's Avatar
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    First question is what material is the line to the pump and how deep is it buried? We have had issues with the house in Maine in years where the snowcover didn't stay above the well line and had temps at or below zero for extended periods. I have a heated wire to put in the supply line but haven't yet. The line is plastic and has never ruptured but it will freeze solid.


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    more than likely, where the piping goes into the casing will be connected with what is called a pitless adapter. i'm assuming since you're using a jet pump you're not dealing with a deep well? then before excavating, i'd suggest checking out this: there should be a check valve before the jet pump, if the temperature got low enough, you may have damaged the check valve, allowing water to drain out of the pipe. if you can access the check valve in your home, that would be the place to start, IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fozsey View Post
    First question is what material is the line to the pump and how deep is it buried? We have had issues with the house in Maine in years where the snowcover didn't stay above the well line and had temps at or below zero for extended periods. I have a heated wire to put in the supply line but haven't yet. The line is plastic and has never ruptured but it will freeze solid.
    The line is a very hard thick plastic, black in color. Its is about 30 inches below grade where it enters the basement, not sure how deep at the casing.

    Quote Originally Posted by lewisc1985 View Post
    more than likely, where the piping goes into the casing will be connected with what is called a pitless adapter. i'm assuming since you're using a jet pump you're not dealing with a deep well? then before excavating, i'd suggest checking out this: there should be a check valve before the jet pump, if the temperature got low enough, you may have damaged the check valve, allowing water to drain out of the pipe. if you can access the check valve in your home, that would be the place to start, IMO.
    There is no obvious check valve inside the house. Not sure if one may be built into the pump housing? If I was just getting drainback wouldn't the air stop coming in after the pump ran long enough to evacuate the pipe?


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    Sounds like you may have a pin hole in the pipe coming from the well pump inside the casing that is letting air in or your water table dropped and your sucking air? If you get a pin hole you will lose the prim over a period of time with a real small hole. You need a foot valve at the pump intake inside the well under water at the bottom of the pipe with a shallow well pump having only one pipe going down the casing and the well pump above ground. With out one hard to keep a prim if any air gets in the system it will flow the water back out the end of the wells intake pipe. Foot Valves get dirty after a period of time and will leak down too. Took me a while to find a pin hole in my pipe it was right at the top of the well head out of the water on a galvanized pipe holding up my 1 1/4" Sch 160 black poly pipe going to the well pump 350 ft below. Your pump is not over 30 ft down with a single line going down to the water. I have 2 one direction only flow valves in my system one at the top of my casing after my pressure switch and one at my bladder tank 100+ feet away in a building. I have large pipes so water hammer is a issue when the pump stops and the flow valves help and a little 30 gal tank at the well head to absorbed shock to the pressure switch. I also meter the water to the switch to a small orifice using a little ball valve to slow the water flow to it. That stops shock caused rapid cycle on the pump motor because of surging water in a 2" pipe to the house from the well going up hill another 20 ft in height leaving the well house. I do not use a pit less adapter so it is easier to pull my pump by hand. Done it twice in 22 years. My static water level goes to 19 ft so it helps take the weight floating in water to pull it by hand. I do have a pulley for the rope so another can give me a break holding the load with the rope. I pull it using the 1 1/4" pipe to hang onto. You should see it all laid out when you pull 350 ft in one LONG Poly Pipe.
    Last edited by JD4044M; 03-20-2018 at 09:13 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD4044M View Post
    If your getting air in the system you should be seeing little bubbles in your glasses of water. I may have missed this but do you have a Hand Dug or Driven Steel Casing for a well? Is the pump below or above the ground. If you have a well pump hanging off a white nylon rope fibers could come from it too but boy I think I would check that hose before pulling the pump to check the rope. It should be a Poly Type Well Rope approved for under water use.
    There is a steel casing protruding above the ground about 15 inches, which is located about 8 feet outside the house wall.
    The pump is inside the house basement.
    The water does look white when drawn into a glass, then clears as the tiny bubbles rise. I am getting brown water off and on, not sure if it is from the air disrupting sediments in my pipes or if I am drawing mud from the well.

    I am not the nylon fiber thread, there are two of us with well problems going on right now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff B View Post
    There is a steel casing protruding above the ground about 15 inches, which is located about 8 feet outside the house wall.
    The pump is inside the house basement.
    The water does look white when drawn into a glass, then clears as the tiny bubbles rise. I am getting brown water off and on, not sure if it is from the air disrupting sediments in my pipes or if I am drawing mud from the well.

    I am not the nylon fiber thread, there are two of us with well problems going on right now.
    I bet you have a pin hole in the pipe inside the casing. I never had problems with PVC or Poly Pipe it was always the galvanized steel pipe or fittings rusting thru the wall over time. All single pipe well set ups 99.9% use a foot valve on the bottom of the well pipe if it is not a 2 pipe jet pump with a injector at the bottom the 2 pipes hook to. They have mid rage pumps with the injector jet right at the pump and some are true centrifugal only pumps shallow use only not much head pressure to stop flow. True Jet Pumps use water pumped into a jet injection system to case a better vacuum for a deeper draw to get the water from deep wells 120 ft or so. Once the water gets too deep you have to move the pumping part below/in the water and have several stages to keep making it higher pressure till it can over come the head against it and add PSI to use it in the home. My home pump has 13 stages to it for a 350 ft Plus deep well head if needed during a fire drawing the well all the way down and still having good PSI at the hose.
    Last edited by JD4044M; 03-20-2018 at 11:30 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff B View Post
    My pressure tank is in very clean condition and working fine.

    When the pump satisfies the pressure switch it seems to jump hard when it shuts off, didn't used to do that.

    It doesn't seem to run out of water completely and doesn't seem to need to run any longer than it used to to satisfy the switch.
    Also the pump does turn on about every 1-1/2 -2 hours now even with no usage, never did before and no apparent leaks in the house.
    I would really look at your fresh water pressure tank. Remember, air compresses, water doesn't at 50psi.
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    My guess is the foot valve is going bad.

    Once the system is pressurized and the pump satisfys the foot valve is slowly leaking off. This causes the water to retract from the pump somewhat but not enough that it is loosing its prime. Then when the pump starts again it is sucking air for a bit until the water reaches the pump again thus introducing air into the system.
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    Quote Originally Posted by coaltrain View Post
    My guess is the foot valve is going bad.

    Once the system is pressurized and the pump satisfys the foot valve is slowly leaking off. This causes the water to retract from the pump somewhat but not enough that it is loosing its prime. Then when the pump starts again it is sucking air for a bit until the water reaches the pump again thus introducing air into the system.
    i would have to agree-as our old well was poor in producing water almost all the time before we drilled a new one.

    my uncles well made muddy water if it rained hard for a couple of days in a row.

    i think ur foot valve could have a piece of sand , rock, etc, stuck in it, letting ur water drain back into the well, that's why ur getting air in the water.

    jeff. -what did them two fellas want to do-sit a drill rigg over top of ur well, and blow air and water down it, to say clean it out?
    i have heard talk of this but never witnessed it. good luck. just sounds like ur gonna half to pull the line up-oh.
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