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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.
 

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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #5
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.

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.

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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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
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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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.
 

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Concerned about the fiber ,,could it just be a bad filter cartridge ..:dunno:


Now the reason why pump won't shut off, clogged pressure switch. , thinking it needs replaced.

Pressure gauge probably defective (clogged) .


:dunno:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Sort of looks like fiberglass. Do you have a fiberglass tank?
Not fiberglass. When I rub it between my fingers it is a cotton or nylon type material. Haven't tried to burn any to see if it melts first like a nylon vs just burn like cotton not that it matters much. The pressure tank is steel.

I will still test the pressure tank tonight. Thigh the more I think about it, I can't imagine they would use a rubber with fiber reinforcement like that. They use it in a rubber hose to keep it from ballooning up under pressure. With the pressure tank, you want it to flex like that.
 

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Our pressure switch got gunked up like CT & Gizmo's and needed to be replaced. Before it was gunked up enough to need replacement i was able to clean it up to get it working again. Part of the cleaning included the bladder part CT mentioned because some scale had built up on it and kept it from flexing.
 

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Concerned about the fiber ,,could it just be a bad filter cartridge ..:dunno:


Now the reason why pump won't shut off, clogged pressure switch. , thinking it needs replaced.

Pressure gauge probably defective (clogged) .


:dunno:
I agree - sure looks like filter media.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
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.
Concerned about the fiber ,,could it just be a bad filter cartridge ..:dunno:


Now the reason why pump won't shut off, clogged pressure switch. , thinking it needs replaced.

Pressure gauge probably defective (clogged) .


:dunno:
As I mentioned in my first post, I also suspected the pressure switch and or clogged nipple. Both were replaced yesterday along with the pressure gauge while I was at it as my first steps. The fibers I suspect are clogging one of the passages to the nipple. I could clean it out but need to find the source of the fibers or it will just clog up again.

I have two filters in my water system not counting the RO drinking water stuff. The one that trapped these fibers is my first filter which is the sediment trap. If you go back to the first post it is the one on the left. They were in the outside of the filter so they were trapped going into the filter from the pump/ pressure tank side. As you can also see in that photo the other filter is a charcoal filter not one of those cloth filters. That is my secondary filter. If there are any filters before the sediment filter it would be 165' down in the bottom of the well, that should just be a plastic or steel screen type sediment filter on the bottom of the pump. I can't imagine there is any cloth type filter anywhere else and they wouldn't put anything like that down at the bottom of the well since it couldn't be changed without pulling the pump.

Right now I am thinking the rubber hose that connects to the copper pipe as it comes out of the ground. There is about a 2' section of hose which is pretty old. My game plan for now is to drain the pressure tank and verify that it is good. Then get a parts list going for replacing everything from where the copper pipe comes out of the ground to where I tie into the filters and pressure tank. I may also move my sediment filter to go between the pressure switch and pressure tank/rest of house. That work might have to wait until this weekend unless I can take a day off this week. My Wednesday is pretty wide open at the moment.
 

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How old is the well? If the well is older, is there any trees or landscaping around it? I have seen this exact scenario of the well not kicking off and the fibers that looked very similar to those you have shown in the pic turned out to be root/wood fibers from how they grew into the line going down the well. I was 100% betting against the fibers being wood but I was soon proven to be wrong. Perhaps not your case but your situation is so close to what I experienced I wanted to ask. The tree that resulted in a massive about of work for me was a mimosa tree about 15' away from the well. The line going from the house to/down the well was old black pipe I believe the plumbers said was polyethylene? Anyways, with age that stuff became horribly fragile and the tree grew roots right into it resulting in fibers very similar to your pic.

When I pulled the top off the well (concrete lined well dug in late 50's) the pump was running and water was spraying right at ground level and simply falling back into well. I thought I had a easy fix but I was wrong!
 

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The Bladder is made out of rubber with out fibers. Took to many apart in the past just to see inside what went wrong. Most were because of a leak and rust getting in the air chamber and wearing the bladder out real quick as it rubs on the surface expanding and contracting as it works. I have seen black and yellow colored bladders. The yellow ones got real stiff over time and seemed to just blow out? Most tanks have a bolted on bottom so the bladder can be put inside the steel tank. PS I just changed out a pressure switch for a neibor that was defective being clogged up a damaged Pressure Gauge damaged due to freezing. The pressure switches are cheap enough to just replace due to they can stick on when bad also and I just don't chance cleaning them for like $30.00 verses what can happen if they stick at the wrong time on or off. Looking at your pictures it appears the cartrige filters are after the pressure switch? Here is a picture of the internal hose breaking down maybe showing fibers like what your dealing with? hose.png A article on it I found.https://www.researchgate.net/figure/View-a-shows-the-fracture-surface-of-Section-1-see-Fig-3-and-the-fracture-origin_fig4_259172858 When you replace this hose to see, split it with a razor knife and take a look inside it and see if it was the cause. I have a pressure blow off valve on my system incase the switch sticks as my 13 stage pump can put out 400 PSI lifting water 350 ft up and if it stuck I could have a mess. The relief valve is connected to a pipe going outside the pump house.
 

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How old is the well? If the well is older, is there any trees or landscaping around it? I have seen this exact scenario of the well not kicking off and the fibers that looked very similar to those you have shown in the pic turned out to be root/wood fibers from how they grew into the line going down the well. I was 100% betting against the fibers being wood but I was soon proven to be wrong. Perhaps not your case but your situation is so close to what I experienced I wanted to ask. The tree that resulted in a massive about of work for me was a mimosa tree about 15' away from the well. The line going from the house to/down the well was old black pipe I believe the plumbers said was polyethylene? Anyways, with age that stuff became horribly fragile and the tree grew roots right into it resulting in fibers very similar to your pic.

When I pulled the top off the well (concrete lined well dug in late 50's) the pump was running and water was spraying right at ground level and simply falling back into well. I thought I had a easy fix but I was wrong!
The well is about 8' from the point of entry at the house. I would assume it was dug when the house was built which would be in the 1962-63 timeframe depending on if they did the well before (most likely) or after the house.

As far as trees and landscaping. We are in Minnesota so there is a pitless adapter down about 7-10' then the water line comes off of that and under and up through the floor of the basement. The only landscaping directly around the well head and house is Hostas. They don't have a root system nearly that deep. There are some ash trees. The closest would be 20' away so I guess it is possible that their root structure could extend that far as they are big. I am going to hope for rubber hose or pressure tank issue. We still have a foot of snow out there and more coming Tuesday and at the end of the week.
 

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The well is about 8' from the point of entry at the house. I would assume it was dug when the house was built which would be in the 1962-63 timeframe depending on if they did the well before (most likely) or after the house.

As far as trees and landscaping. We are in Minnesota so there is a pitless adapter down about 7-10' then the water line comes off of that and under and up through the floor of the basement. The only landscaping directly around the well head and house is Hostas. They don't have a root system nearly that deep. There are some ash trees. The closest would be 20' away so I guess it is possible that their root structure could extend that far as they are big. I am going to hope for rubber hose or pressure tank issue. We still have a foot of snow out there and more coming Tuesday and at the end of the week.
Our pipes and lines are usually right around 18-20". No needed for deeper here so doubtful my thoughts is your issue. For a good 2 years our well would kick on randomly and we knew we had a leak but we couldn't find it. Eventually when the well wouldn't stop running we discovered the tree issue. The fibers from those roots sure didn't feel like anything I would have thought and did look extremely similar to your issue. I suspect your issue is going to be the rubber hose.
 

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The Bladder is made out of rubber with out fibers. Took to many apart in the past just to see inside what went wrong. Most were because of a leak and rust getting in the air chamber and wearing the bladder out real quick as it rubs on the surface expanding and contracting as it works. I have seen black and yellow colored bladders. The yellow ones got real stiff over time and seemed to just blow out? Most tanks have a bolted on bottom so the bladder can be put inside the steel tank. PS I just changed out a pressure switch for a neibor that was defective being clogged up a damaged Pressure Gauge damaged due to freezing. The pressure switches are cheap enough to just replace due to they can stick on when bad also and I just don't chance cleaning them for like $30.00 verses what can happen if they stick at the wrong time on or off. Looking at your pictures it appears the cartrige filters are after the pressure switch? Here is a picture of the internal hose breaking down maybe showing fibers like what your dealing with? View attachment 573609 A article on it I found.https://www.researchgate.net/figure/View-a-shows-the-fracture-surface-of-Section-1-see-Fig-3-and-the-fracture-origin_fig4_259172858 When you replace this hose to see, split it with a razor knife and take a look inside it and see if it was the cause. I have a pressure blow off valve on my system incase the switch sticks as my 13 stage pump can put out 400 PSI lifting water 350 ft up and if it stuck I could have a mess. The relief valve is connected to a pipe going outside the pump house.
Interesting photo. That does kind of look like the fibers that I am seeing. Like I said, I will be doing a pressure tank test I might hold off until Wednesday as I have been cleared to have that day off. So I can work on it all day and have access to stores that are actually open. For now it is only me at home so not a big deal to just leave the circuit breaker to the well off. I run it for a bit if I need water and my pressure tank seems to be working fine in that I have plenty of water if I wanted to take a shower. I normally do this at the gym though during the week.

Yeah, I agree pressure switches are cheap. I think it was $28 for a new Square D 40/60 switch when I bought it on Sunday. Another couple bucks for the 1/4 x 4" nipple and a couple for the pressure gauge. I have plenty of teflon tape at home so it was a $35 trip to the store to replace all that stuff. Though I knew this was a band-aid attempt at a fix, the fibers are the issue.

Yes the filters are after the pressure switch. Water comes up through the slab in a copper pipe. 1 1/4 or so. Then it is the rubber hose which I am suspect of. If you go back to that photo in the first post you can see it in the background. It is a dark red color. The transition from copper from the ground to rubber is just behind the pressure gauge. It runs up the wall a bit and switches back to copper where there is a T. You can see in that same photo where the copper pipe then comes back down, makes a 90 turn and comes into that steel pipe where there is the drain faucet, pressure gauge and pressure switch. From there it tuns down, a union and a T going to the pressure tank and another drain line I added to be able to flush out the pressure tank. If you go back to the first T when it transitioned from rubber back to copper. The other run goes to the spin down sediment filter then the cartridge carbon filter then on to the rest of the house. That is one of the other photos. The reason for all the ball valves around the spin down filter is so I can reverse the flow of water through the spin down sediment filter, blowing out the sediment. There is a trap down at the bottom with a ball valve that I can open with a bucket there to clean that filter out without removing it. This filter is just a plastic screen. The real filtration on this comes from the cyclone effect that pulls the sediment to the outside while the water is flowing and once it stops it will drop down into the trap. It will pick up some smaller sediment on the screen but the reverse flow trick blows it out and down the ball valve on the bottom into the bucket.

We don't have a pressure relief in this part but I would imagine it might trip the pressure relief at the tankless water heater if it went crazy. That won't work though if that rubber hose blew on me. Once I pull that rubber hose it is my plan to dissect it and see if it might be the source of my issue.
 
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