How to prime the well pump & how to diagnose & fix repeated loss of well pump prime:
The spinning impeller inside of a typical jet pump requires a water-filled cavity in order to develop enough lift power to bring water up from the well. Loss of well prime means that the water inside an above-ground well pump has been lost along with water in the piping between the pump and the well. The air-bound pump can no longer lift water out of the well. Here we describe the common causes of this water loss and thus the loss of well pump prime.
Page top sketch courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates. The sketch shows how a foot valve works and where it is installed. Replacing a foot valve in the well requires that the well be opened and the well piping be pulled out to permit removal of the old valve and installation of a new one. This article series describes how to prime a water pump to restore water pressure to a building.
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Before we get into details about how to prime the well pump, or diagnosing why the well pump keeps losing its prime, let's make sure we're tackling the correct problem. If the diagnosis determines that you need to re-prime the water pump, the instructions are provided in this article.
If you have no water pressure, absolutely no water in the building water supply piping, and no water in the water pump, we've lost prime and the one line or two line jet pump may be unable to bring water back from the well.
Of course other problems can cause loss of water pressure, but if the problem is lost prime in the well pump, below is the procedure for restoring water pressure in the building. We discuss various causes of loss of water pressure at WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR.
But where a one line or two line jet pump is installed, you may have lost prime at the pump. The pump motor will run but no water is delivered. If this happens it is possible to re-prime the pump with water from another source.
Watch out: before proceeding, turn off electrical power to the well pump. If a jet pump is allowed to continue to run "dry" there is risk that you will damage the pump impeller assembly or the pump motor.
[Click to enlarge any image]
If your water pump is a one-line jet pump, like the system shown in our sketch above, it is sucking water from a shallow well; you probably don't want to do so yet (read more of this article first), but the instructions at WATER PUMP PRIMING PROCEDURE show how to prime the well pump and they should work equally well for either a one-line jet pump or a two line jet pump.
Details about one-line jet pumps and how they work are at WATER PUMP, ONE LINE JET.
If your water pump is a two-line jet pump (shown in our photograph below) and if it's running but there is no water delivered to the building, the problem could be that the water pump has lost its prime.
A two-line jet pump needs to send water down into the well (and through a special valve at the end of the water pickup-pipe in the well) in order to bring water back to the building. At the bottom of the well pipe the downcoming water squirts through a venturi device to send a larger quantity of water back up the larger-diameter pipe, through the pump assembly and into the water system.
If the jet pump pump impeller assembly is filled with air it has no pumping power. Details about how 2-line jet pumps work are at WATER PUMP, TWO LINE JET.
If your water pump is a submersible unit, the pump is located down in the well itself. In this case if you have not got water pressure, the problem may be with the pump or the well itself, but it's not a loss of prime - since they are normally always under-water, submersible water pumps are self-priming.
Details about submersible well pumps are at WATER PUMP, SUBMERSIBLE but what you need to know here is that a submersible well pump won't lose prime unless the water level in the well has dropped below the level of the pump itself. If that has happened, the problem is lack of water in the well, not a pump priming problem.
If your water pump keeps losing prime repeatedly, a shallow well jet pump well line could have a bad foot valve (in the well) and so be losing prime.
A leak in the well line can also lead to loss of prime. If priming the well water pump using one of our methods shown below seems to fix the problem but soon the well pump loses prime again, your plumber will want to check for a bad foot valve in the well or a leak in the well piping between the well and the building. If this is the case continue reading this article for diagnostic suggestions.
Check valves installed at the proper location at the pump and perhaps elsewhere can help prevent loss of prime on this system. (Other problems that can give the same symptom include internal damage to the water pump, a well that has run dry, or a piping leak between the well and the building it serves.)
Watch out: If your 2-line jet pump (or other above-ground well water pump) loses prime and cannot draw water from the well, don't let the well pump keep running as you may burn up the pump motor or damage the pump internal parts. Take the steps outlined next.
Before assuming that a water problem is due to the
see WATER PUMP REPAIR GUIDE an specific case which offers an example of diagnosis of loss of water pressure, loss of water, and analyzes the actual repair cost. sterile containers).
A leak in the well line can also lead to loss of prime. If priming the well water pump using one of our methods shown below seems to fix the problem but soon the well pump loses prime again, your plumber will want to check for a bad foot valve in the well or a leak in the well piping between the well and the building.
For example, a leak in the well piping inside the well can permit water in the piping and well pump to siphon backwards out of the well pump (and even the water pressure tank) down into the well when the pump as stopped.
If we prime a pump and it seems to work fine but then loses prime again after sitting un-used over night or for a longer period, we'd ask our plumber to check for a foot valve problem or a leak in the well piping.
Don't aggravate your plumber: remember to listen to your plumber. If you are too "directive" in telling the plumber what to do, s/he may do exactly what you ask even though s/he has a better idea of where the problem lies. [When I was a boy my mom Teal used to sing this song to me Don't aggravate your mother or you'll wish that you were dead. Don't aggravate your mother or she'll smack you in the head. Smacks were less frequent than the song.]
Watch out: After pulling well piping out of the well for any purpose, such as for replacing the foot valve or repairing a leak in well piping, you should shock the well and well piping since you've probably contaminated it by laying your well piping and parts on the ground. Well piping, foot valves, tailpieces and other parts stored at the plumbing supplier are not kept in sanitary conditions either.
We explain how to shock a well
at WELL SHOCK / CHLORINATION PROCEDURE
5/25/2014 Reader G.V. wrote:
My water is pumped from the well in the adjoining canyon to the big, black storage tank level with the house.
Thence it is pumped into a smaller pressure tank which shoves it the house faucets and shower at an acceptable pressure. That pressure tank was the one I replaced after decades of use because its mechanism went bad.
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The new one is correctly installed, fittings and connections show no water leaks yet, when the pump turns on because we have used up about 15 gallons of water in house or garden. That water is replenished without any noticeable gap in the flow.
BUT: Even though we may not use use water for a while, water is lost which makes the pump come on needlessly. The mystery is that no water is actually lost because the level in the big storage tank is NOT lowered. That means, the new pressure tank may be faulty in that it signals that water has been taken out of the new pressure tank but was not really used and is looped BACK into the storage tank ad infinitum unless we turn on a faucet, do a wash, shower or do dishes.
That's the best way I can explain it. Have now posted this conundrum in shorter version to a forum where I found similar complaints. Thus I suspect the new pressure tank may not respond to any water being used, causing the pump to run because the water has mysteriously drained. required.
I don't know where else to look because the pump s working fine. Of course, I can have the local plumber come and look at it but for $ 50.- , which would be wasted if in fact I would need to get another tank under the warranty.
So in the meantime, we control the pump from our breaker box in the house. Every time that we need water, we kick the breaker on for a few minutes in the knowledge that another 15 gallons is available for about 5 minutes without the pump motor coming on because the unused portion of water has been siphoned back from the smaller pressure tank into the large storage tank.
I'll add that I have tried a possible solution by shutting down the water supply to the house, thus disconnecting the flow completely. That did not mitigate the loss of water pressure in the Flotec.
Shutting off water into the house eliminates a clandestine leak such as a running toilet. (we assume for now that's shutoff valves actually shut off fully).
That's why I suggest what means is a leak in well piping or a bad check valve at the pump or a bad foot valve in the well.
That is the only location I have not tested. Is there a way to see if the check valve allows a back flow into the storage tank?
The Craftsman manual shows the check valve as being screwed into the pump housing but it does not have groves or "wings" to use a tool to unscrew it. Also, how could it have gone bad? Movable parts? A spring?
Would it be easier to install a one-way valve in the 1-1/4 inch intake pipe just outside the pump body?
You pose an interesting question for which I don't have a good answer, though I suspect an experienced plumber might have something to say.
Check valves can fail due to wear but more often due to debris accumulation on the valve seat or on occasion mineral deposition.
I suspect that when in doubt the plumber just replaces the valve at the pump, as that's easier than testing it.
If you can get the valve off we could try (really you could try but I'm interested) inspecting it for obvious trouble, cleaning it and watching what happens.
I can't tell from your photo whether this is a 1-line or 2-line jet pump.
If you give me the pump model number we can look for its installation and service manual (or do you have it?) to see how the check valve is removed. Perhaps it unscrews using a pipe wrench (that'll leave some marks).
I am reluctant to add additional check valves without more research. Some pump systems specifically advise against multiple check valves (that can lead to operating troubles) while in other installations I see that they're in use: at the pump and of course in the well at the foot valve.
Per Google it seems that there are "universal" check valves on the market literally for a song while the Sears one is almost $ 50.- shipped.
I had been waiting for your reply before disconnecting the pipe from the pump housing and unscrewing part 12A (circled in blue) but don't know if that will show me anything. I spent much of last night reading everything you have written about mine and other people's problems my head is spinning :-) .
I have very soft well water and use one filter at the well pump and a second one on the storage tank and a third one in the fridge for drinking water. Everything is clean and dirt clogging is not present.
The tire pressure gauge reads 38 lbs. on the new pressure tank, pump kicks in at 28 and cut-out is 44. Tell me if that is within bounds.
Yes, I read too that one should not have any more valves than one but thought that an additional one-way outside the pump would be OK since the internal (12A) doesn't seem to be doing its job. I don't mind scratching the part that my finger is indicating. It has no grooves and thus I thought it's not removable, but the schematic seems to show that it is.
And - yes - it is a ONE LINE installation, typical shallow well, since it sits right next to the water source (the well and its pump is about 200 feet away and is in perfect condition). I control it from a timed switch outside the front door. The well itself is only about 7 feet deep and sits partly in a small creek which runs about 9 months of the year. The shallow aquifer is in the bottom of a canyon.
Will await your further opinion.
Sorry about spinning your head (makes me think of those horrible horror movies). I would welcome any suggestions about how to make our information more clear, easy to find, navigable.
Typically the well repair company will observe loss of prime, replace the above-ground at-pump check valve, and if prime is still lost they'll next pull the well piping and replace the foot valve.
If problems persist people start looking for a leak in the well piping anywhere along its route, tackling the more accessible areas first of course.
To do some detective work on your own first try these steps:
You should be able to unscrew and inspect the check valve. Look for
What I've been thinking about without the thrill of a perfect solution is how one can tell the difference between a leaky check valve at the pump above ground and a leaky foot valve or a leak in well piping.
A leak in well piping sometimes can be heard if it's in the well (not if it's in the buried segment),
and sometimes gives itself away by the admission of air or debris into the water supply.
But not necessarily.
Where it's troublesome to inspect the well piping entirely, which is usually the case, I might try this:
This is a bit of a crude approach but might work.
Air leaks INTO the well piping can also make the pump lose prime if the leak is significant. For example, re-using ABS water pipes and elbows can leave clandestine air leaks into the piping at those joints. I've spotted this problem by looking at the clear plastic surrounding a water filter installed at the well pump. When I see air bubbles entering the filter I know there is an air source somewhere.
I've on occasion fixed the problem by tightening hose clamps on the pipe joints and by adding a second hose clamp on either side of the joint. Plumbers don't like to re-use these connections for just this problem, but since generally we don't have lots of slack in well piping that re-use is common.
Keep me posted. DF
I may have confused you by bringing up my well pump installation but it serves only to supply water to the storage tank and my problems arise from that part of my system.
The well merely fills the tank near the house and works flawlessly. Its foot valve is only 7 feet down and is unobstructed.
Thus the storage tank and the new pressure tank located together are really the source of my water since I may just as well have a water truck come to my piece of land and pump water into the large 2500 ga. tank.
... we have reliable water which for the past 35 years we have had without interruption. So she puts up with having to flip the breaker whenever we need running water in the house. I have a line running to the garden directly from the well so in that regard we're OK but it's not filtered and is not as pressurized as water out of the tank near the house.
OK so if we are confident that there is no hidden well piping leak (which I grant as a temporary assumption) we're left with returning to the question of accurate problem diagnosis.
We are talking about intermittent well pump cycling on when you don't expect it to, and we assumed a problem with a check valve or piping because you were sure that no water was being draw from the system on the "house" side of the pump and tank.
Are we sure the well is losing prime?
Alternatively if the well pump was left running for a long time it would be no surprise if it's impeller assembly was damaged. If that occurred the pump would run but not deliver water at proper pressure.
I have two pumps, but it's not the well pump we're discussing but the one next to the storage tank.
The former is far away from the latter and transports water to the storage tank with its own, separate system, which is where I have the problem.
I'd double check that you can successfully fully turn off water to your building.
Then watch the pump for intermittent cycling. If it cycles on there's a leak to be found.
Reader Question: I have found your web site to be very good and straight forward on problems and solutions but haven't found a solution to my problem yet. Let me explain our problem.
We have a ranch in south Texas that has two storage tanks (about 3000 gals each) that feed a single pump that supplies water to the house. The house is about a 1/2 mile from the pump. The storage tanks and the pump are at about the same elevation as the house but the 2" line runs down through a valley that is roughly 75' below the house.
The pump setup is a single pump with two pressure tanks (about the size of a swimming pool filter) located on the 2" discharge line via a cross and then the 2" line runs to the house. The pressure regulator on the pump is the same one as shown on your web site. The problem is during the day the system works just fine but every morning when we get up there is zero water at the house.
If you go down to the pump and look at the pressure gauge it is reading right at 41 psi. The regulator is set to come on right at that pressure and go off at ~51 psi. Don't really understand why this is happening. When you open the valve at the house that should relieve the pressure on the line unless the head pressure is to great to allow the pump to come on?
This same system has worked great in the past but has developed this problem. We have changed the regulator out a couple of times thinking that was the problem but it wasn't. I just today changed the set pressure so the pump to where it comes on around 48 psi and shuts off at 60 psi. If you have any ideas I sure would like to know. - C.D. 8/4/2014
When you changed the pressure control switch, did you check for evidence of debris in the water supply that might have clogged the switch sensor port or the tube that conducts the water pressure to the bottom of the pressure switch?
When you go down to the pump in the AM when there is no water pressure at the house, if you "tap" on the switch box itself will that turn on the pump?
[I asked these questions because it doesn't add-up for there to be good pressure at the water tank but no pressure in the building unless there is a blockage or total loss of connection between the pressure tank and the building - Ed. ]
There was nothing in the line looked clean. Haven't tried tapping on the switch to see if that would kick the pump on. Always just manually close contacts.
Also, some controls include a circuit that shuts off the pump if the well is running low.
But probably diagnostic is that you see water pressure in the pressure tank -
If this is an internal bladder tank, its possible that the bladder is burst and sticking to itself or not letting water in the tank or out of it. OTOH if you see tank pressure varying then I'm wrong in that guess. IF the gauge is on the tank that'd tell us something.
[The "due to no water in the well" was a clue here. I should have added "due to lost prime" - Ed. ]
We can't have a well running low problem because we have two big storage tanks ~6000 gals the pump is feed from. A complete separate pump system is filling the storage tanks. I can't answer the question about pressure on the pressure tanks because we don't have a gauge on them. But to test the system we have a block valve just down stream of the pressure tanks before the line heads to the house and in the discharge line we have a 3/4 hose bib. So all I have to do to test the pressure tanks is close the block valve and use the hose bib to bleed water of the pressure tanks and they seen to have plenty of pressure. If that makes sense to you.- C.D.
OK so we see how confused I can get by e-text.
Yes the bleed-to-confirm water pressure makes sense. IF you are getting water out of the tanks they're not blocked. Besides for large tanks such as yours there would not be an internal bladder design. But you might encounter such a problem if you had a pump and bladder type pressure tank at the house end of the system.
Water at house is only going through a water softener. So there are no bladders there.
or there is a leak
[I was thinking of a leak in the well piping, but I should have considered a leaky foot valve (loss of prime) or a leak elsewhere - Ed.]
I will let you know if raising the pressure has any effect on the problem. If the water pressure is off at the house the ranch foreman will check the gage to see if there is pressure and then he is going to open the hose bib and see if the pump comes on then.
Thanks for trying to help me fix this problem.
I believe we have determined the problem or in this case a couple of problems. What we found was the pump case actually had a small crack that during periods of none use (overnight) would allow the pump case to drain and then the pump would lose prime. The system has a sensor on the pump to shutoff the pump in case the pump looses prime so that was why the pump would appear not to start only after sitting overnight. Also the pressure gage was faulty and would not read less than 41 lbs, oddly enough that was the pressure where the pump should have started. So all those problems together was making it appear to be something else and that kept us looking in the wrong places.
We can sleep tonight :-) and again thanks for helping me try to figure out the problem and yes we did learn something.
That bad gauge threw us off the scent.
I'm was also confused that you said you opened a valve at the storage tanks and had plenty of water, BUT depending on the tank and piping arrangement, that might be true at those storage tanks even when water pressure in the tanks was not sufficient to push water uphill to the point of use.
Continue reading at PRIME the PUMP using a GARDEN HOSE or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.
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Besides the Q&A's below, please see the pump priming questions and answers at WATER PUMP PRIMING DIAGNOSTIC FAQs
This was very helpful and describes exactly what my problem is. One question tho. Could I forgo the foot valve and put in a check valve to save money? - Frank Hobbs 6/22/11
Frank experts recommend replacing the foot valve but indeed I've occasionally seen people limp along for years without pulling the well piping to replace the foot valve by instead installing a check valve at the pump. I THINK that the chances of this repair working are better if your well is not deep.
In other words, your idea might work, but there is a reason that people use foot valves at the bottom end of well piping - the valve in that location is more reliable at preserving well prime.
And watch out - don't install multiple check valves.
i have replaced a footvalve and a blown-out nipple at my pitless adapter. ( the well was not pitless - I dug a serious pit to do this! I have replaced the jet pump and pressure tank during the process. I checked for leaking toilets and piping leaks. The well suction line holds pressure now which was the origonal problem but now I can't get the jet pump to pressure up past 40 psi?
The pressure control switch cut outs on this system are 30 [pump on] and 50 psi [pump off] Any ideas would sure help! - Greg 4/10/12
When a pump keeps running and we don't think that the problem is loss of water in the well itself, I suspect that during the prior well problem the pump itself was damaged - a bushing, bearing, or impeller; on occasion low voltage or bad pump motor will leave a pump running but weak.
However, a second possibility is a leak in well piping large enough that the pump just can't reach cut-off pressure. However if yours is a one-line jet pump, if there were a leak in the well piping or a bad foot valve, the system would not hold pressure when the pump was off. Therefore my first guess is the more likely explanation.
I have cut the two lines to a well pump and need to know how to get prime back. - Danny 7/18/12
Sure Danny, please just scroll down to the article links at the end of these comments and you'll see where to start - with the article titled WATER PUMP PRIMING PROCEDURE
We give several means for getting water back into the pump, tank, and piping. For a 2 line jet pump, once you have repaired the two cut lines you can usually do all of this quite easily right at the pump.
I have a shallow well with F&W 2hp pump. The pump switch is set at 25-45. The pump shuts off at 45 but when it drops to 25, it turns on but does not rise. I have installed a new air tank (broken bladder), pump switch, and pressure gauge. My plumber replaced all piping on the pull side of the pump including a new check valve and eliminated an elbow. All ports on the pump are taped. House side seems secure.
Each time it cycles down I found I can get the pressure to rise by cutting the power to the pump by going through 4-5 cycles of an on/off sequence of 5 sec on- 5 sec off (assisting prime ???) Is there something else I might try before I turn to the well-foot valve etc ? Thank you - Dick 9/6/2012
If the pump turns on at the proper time (as yours does) AND provided that the pump is actually delivering water, the we suspect the gauge may be stuck or defective or debris clogged;
If the pump "turns on" but in fact no water is being delivered, there is a different problem to find and fix - a pump that is not operating, a well that has lost water level or flow rate, or a leak somewhere in the well piping.
Check first for dirt or debris clogging at the pump pressure control switch and gauge. Also see Life Expectancy of Water Pumps - Well Pumps: how long should a water pump last? What affects pump life?.
The comment [above] from Sept 6, 2012 sounds extremely similar to our situation. Shallow well that is legally grandfathered to exist, but no professional plumber can legally service it. Pump switch is set at 30-50 and correctly shuts off at 50. Anecdotally, it seems that if water is used soon after (within the next hour or two), the pump will correctly cycle back to 50.
However, if the water is unused for an extended period (overnight, say), the pressure runs down to 30 with water use and then the pump motor runs continuously and simply hovers at around 28-30. The fix for this behavior is to kill power to the pump at the breaker. Upon restart, the pump cycles right back up to 50 without issue.
We'll check for dirt and debris at the pump pressure control switch and gauge. After that, do you have any other advice for our situation or should we turn our attention to the foot valve and pipe leaks. Thanks for any advice you can provide. - Dan 11/7/2012
Dan the suggestions right on this page are a good place to start, beginning with check for a bad foot valve
Most often when a well and pump are capable of delivering good water pressure and flow, but prime is lost when the well sits unused, there is either a bad foot valve (or some one line jet pumps use a check valve right on the pump), or there is a leak in the well piping.
I have an almost identical problem as Dan...shallow well nobody will work on and will pump fine for days if I let a trickle of water flow in the tub so the pump has to come on every half hour or so. If I don't have water flowing for a couple of hours the pressure stays constant (even for days) but just cycling the pump doesn't get it to work. I have to open up the pump prime fill nut a slight bit to let the air excape then tighten it and turn on the pump, then repeat this 5-8 times until enough air has been purged out to get water to flow. There is a check valve in the pipe on the suction side of the pump and I've tried to test for air getting in at one of the hose clamps. I don't understand how air can be getting into the system at the foot valve...isn't it like a straw where you hold your finger over the top and the water can't flow out of the bottom, so air must be getting in somewhere where the line is above the water level?
Any help with how to test for air being pulled into the line would be greatly appreciated. Also, the 1" black poly line goes down through a concrete floor so pulling out the line to replace the foot valve is going to be a problem (it's an old lake cottage with a utility/pump room) - David - 12/4/2012
I agree that having to keep water running and thus the pump running is most likely avoiding loss of prime.
What's odd is that the pressure stays constant, but you're having to purge air to get water flowing again.
I don't think air is likely to be entering at a foot valve as it's under-water (unless water level in your well drops completely below the valve);
Air can leak into (or water out of) plastic well piping at connectors secured with hose clamps, even though such leaks may not be immediately obvious. At a shallow well served by a one-line jet pump I installed a water filter that used a clear plastic canister. When the pump would run I could see air bubbles appearing inside the filter canister.
Experimentally I added a second hose clamp at each of the above-ground well piping connectors that I could easily access. One of them turned out to be the culprit. As soon as I made a better connection there the air bubbles stopped.
This problem is a reason that well pipe fitters don't like to re-use plastic pipe connectors (elbows, unions etc) that have been disassembled. Every time we heat-up the plastic pipe to re-insert the connecting fitting we are stretching the plastic slightly. The connection may be leaky but look fine.
So if there is enough slack to do so (often not) we will cut off the previously-used end of well piping, re-heat the pipe, then insert a new connector, when restoring or repairing plastic well pipes.
From your description it sounds as if you have a one line jet pump.
On a one line jet pump the air-leak in to the system can be at any connector above water, as when the pump is running it is "sucking" on the well pipe between the pump and well bottom.
On a two-line jet pump the air leak is more likely to be discovered on the suction line, as the pressure line, sending water down into the well and then back up through the venturi-operated water pick-up is under pressure - a leak in the "down" line will squirt water out, not draw air in, when the pump is running.
(Dec 4, 2012) David said:
You've given me what I hope is a good idea...if I heat the poly as I tighten the hose clamp it may conform better and seal off any air from getting sucked into the line which allows the water the line to fall back into the well. I think the reason the system pressure doesn't drop is that the check valve near the pump inlet is keeping water under pressure from getting back through the pump and back to the well, so the air leak is probably on the well side of the check valve (I wondered if the check valve brass casting might be porous and allowing air in).
I will try to improve the hose clamp seal (there are two clamps at each hose connection) and report back the results.
I have once or twice found a cast-brass valve or check valve with a defect or leak, others of course can be cracked by mis-handling or freezing. And we found one with a "hidden" pinhole leak in the casting of a new check valve.
If you don't have extra length to cut and re-make the plastic well line fittings, try adding a 2nd hose clamp at those fittings.
(Dec 13, 2012) jason said:
i had a similar problem. with bad water pressure. it was the screen at the bottom of the well. i used a car jack and chain to jack the well up out of the ground and put a new screen on. sledge hammered it back in the ground.
Thanks for the comment; indeed a clogged well screen will result in reduced or loss of water flow - a problem that might me mistaken for loss of pump prime. The difference would generally be that if there is a loss of pump prime there will be no water provided by the pump at all - as if the well has run dry. Typically when a well screen is clogging, that clog does not go from no-clog to full-clog in one instant; rather water flow declines constantly over time.
(Mar 7, 2014) Sandra kelly said:
Hi there we are at our wits end 2 plumbers and no fixes we have a single line pressure system at our home well approx 25 ft deep newer flex lite pressure tank 22 gal @ 38 psi new pump put on I woke up from a nap in the afternoon and no water but seemed fine in the morning although dogs water dish showed rust in it later on installed a new 1/2 horse pump all lines checked up top but will not take a prime water up to the top of the pipe from well but it will not fill the pressure tank. Jumps to 40 psi on pressure gauge then drops. Could it be the foot valve or a leak in the well line? Any advice would be appreciated we are desperate thank you
Sounds like a well piping leak or a bad foot valve.
(Mar 10, 2014) Sandra said:
Thank you I was going to take the line apart up top and try to put a snake down just to check for freezing at the point where the line exits. The cabin but I will have to do that tomorrow my tools have disappear ed into someone else's told box once I tsee iif that is the issue the next step will be digging down to the well unit sealed non accessible unit which is now going to be changed for future access we'll pull the line and replace it
I love your site absolutely outstanding thanks for the advice. Greatly appreciated
Thanks for the follow-up and the kind words. Your questions or comments help us see where to work on the website.
4/23/14 baremau said:
someone says that we can get water from the well without using the water pump
only the pvc vaccum pipe
That would be true if the well were an artesian well - that is a well that delivers water to the surface by its own hydrostatic pressure.
See ARTESIAN WELLS, Well Spools - for details.
(June 14, 2014) Ken from Lakefield Ont. said:
I lost the prime on my pump and tried everything to correct the problem when a neighbor suggested I may have debris in the IMPELLER CHAMBER.I scoffed but went ahead and took the CHAMBER apart.. Sure enough I found about 7 small pebbles at the bottom that stopped the impeller to spin freely and create the pressure needed. Reassembled the chamber and like magic the water pressure zoomed to the normal range. Apparently I had cleaned the well and diturbed the small pea gravel on the bottom and it sucked the unwanted debris into the system. Just my 2 cents.
Thanks for posting such a helpful tip.
Next time you have reason to pull the well piping, check the screen on the foot valve to stop admitting debris into the pump impeller.
(June 23, 2014) Anonymous said:
I have a shallow well, it is 18 feet. I have replaced everything but the pressure gauge on the well pump. my problem is I plug in my pump and it wont build pressure. When you unplug it to reprime the pump is full and sprays water out when you unscreew the plug for priming. I have replace the pump, the bladder tank the foot valve and the line going into my well. I know I have plenty of water in my well. When you unhook the line to the well from the pump it stays full of water, could i have gotten a bad foot valve
A bad foot valve would be losing prime or would be preventing water from entering the piping system when the pump runs. Your case sounds more as if water is not entering the pressure tank. Perhaps the bladder is stuck to itself?
(June 25, 2016) Jeremy said:
I have original 1 1/4". straight pipe in the ground for a shallow well ( no casing, just a pipe). Actual water level is 7.5 ft from the top of the pipe. Have a reducer from top of pipe for a 1" connected to a shut-off then connected to a foot valve, reduced again to a 3/4" PEX line to the pump.
The pump is brand new, changed it out with a 1/3 hp to a 1/2 hp that actually shuts on and off as supposed to,(not to mention my electric bill has gone done). From the pump 3/4" PEX line to tank (new) and from there 3/4" into the house( trailer).
All lines are new within the past year to replace old and broken black 3/4 line. Line from pump to inside house is actually above ground well protected and insulated, checked frequently, no leaks. Many times during the day ( if the water has not been used- uasually in the morning) turn on the water and we get water from the tank ( good pressure) the pump kicks on and we lose water for a few sec. then all is good. Need to know why this happens and what can be done, tired of nickel and dimeing this for the past year.
Sounds like you're using a driven point well; Perhaps its intake screen is clogged.
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