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Photograph of  a modern steel well casing and cap extending properly above grade level and properly capped. You can see from
the gray plastic conduit that electrical wires enter the well, informing you that this well is served by an in-well submersible well pump.Water, Wells, Pumps & Water Test FAQs #2
Q&A on how to fix water supply systems, wells, tanks, pumps, pressure, contaminants

  • WATER SUPPLY SYSTEM FAQs-2 - CONTENTS: set #2 of frequently-asked questions & answers help diagnose trouble with water pressure, water flow, water pumps, water tanks, wells, well piping, well & pump controls
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Water System Questions & Answers - FAQs #2

These questions & answers were posted originally at WATER PUMPS, TANKS, TESTS, WELLS, REPAIRS

On 2017-06-04 by (mod) re: no water but there is power to the wellhead

Your guess makes sense, though there can be other problems too. If the pump ran dry that could kill it from overheating;

Other possibilities:

- open or broken wire inside the well - watch out about getting killed by shock: be sure power is off when pulling pump or wiring.

- a burst well pipe in the sell

On 2017-06-04 by phillip

Have an old Myers (House was built in 1983) well with submersible pump. Was running water into a kids inflatable pool and washing clothes. Water stopped pressure dropped to zero and pump will not come on, Have swapped breakers inside at fuse panel. Have power from panel to pressure switch and from pressure switch to top of well cap. Have not taken cap off to check wring further. I'm thinking pump is gone or well is dry.What else could be the problem?

On 2017-05-31 by (mod) re: irritation well pump stopped giving water until pressure changed to zero

Dave

Please take a look at the diagnostics for loss of water pressure starting at

http://inspectapedia.com/water/Private_Well_Pressure_Diagnosis.php

I suspect a debris clogged sensor tube conducting water pressure to the control switch

And let me know if that works for yorr situation

On 2017-05-31 00:00:58.895203 by Dave

My irrigation remained on the well.

I was on a well for water and irrigation until city water was installed. This summer my irrigation would come on but the pressure gauge dropped to zero. This is even after I changed the pressure switch (40-60) , located. between the gauge and the pressure tank. I manually test a zone and irrigation runs until pressure is gone, not turning back on at about 40 psi. After 3 minutes the pressure comes back up. I repressurized the tank to about 37 psi but still can't solve the delay in pressure return.

On 2017-05-28 by John

Hi there,

I just did install a brand new 'GRUNDFOS JP07S-CI' jet pump after my 'JACUZZI' started to have problems after 17 years of service.

The new pump runs quiet and sufficient the way it looks to me and goes from 30 up to 50 lbs (I do have two pressure
tanks, set at ~ 35 lbs) just fine.

As soon as it reaches the upper mark, it does turn 'OFF & ON' constantly without shutting to run the way it should.

Even though I do not like to 'play' with the factory settings, I did turn the smaller (shut off) bolt up & down about
1.25 turns and did turn it back to where it was after not noticing any changes - the pressure pump kept kicking
IN and OUT constantly.

Would you be able to tell me what I have to do to bring the pump to the status of operating normally?

I am looking to hear (via email) from you soon and remain with best regards,

John

On 2017-05-05 by (mod) re: why do I have to keep replacing the air volume control?

Kandee

That sounds wrong to me, too; typically an air volume control (AVC) lasts for many years; I'd check to see if there is sediment in your water that's clogging the device and also that the proper AVC type has been chosen for your application.

On 2017-05-05 by Kandee

Why do I have to replace air volume control often?

On 2017-04-29 16:02:05.143857 by (mod) re: replaced footvalve, but water still drains back into well

JG

I hate to say pull the well pipe again but it sounds as if there is

- a bad (new) FOOT valve
or
- a leak anywhere in the well piping between house and well bottom

On 2017-04-29 11:36:41.835323 by JG

artesian well 40psi jet pump fills tank when it shuts off tank drains back to well replaced foot valve still dont work

On 2017-04-26 by (mod) re: well cap blew off of our well: methane gas? Artesian water?

Connie,

Well that's one I've not heard before, thanks for asking.

The cost to fix depends on just what is the problem. Just replacing a well cap is trivial - less than $50. if you're in the U.S.

But depending on where you live and just what happened there are other concerns to be figured out first.

1. If methane gas is present in your water supply there could have been a methane gas explosion in the well, ignited by a spark in submersible pump wiring

2. If the well is an artesian water source an internal well spool intended to keep water below a proper height in the well casing could have failed.

3. If there is a submersible pump in the well and its pressure control is defective it could have overpressurized the system bursting a pipe or connector - this is unsafe as an exploding pressure tank or pipe in a building can injure someone.

Call your well plumber and ask her to take a look. Do keep me informed about what you're told and I may be able to suggest other questions or repair alternatives.

Use the page top or bottom CONTACT link to send me photos of the well and its situation if you can.

On 2017-04-26 by Connie

We have a deep well and this morning when I was in the shower, I heard a loud boom. I noticed the water pressure began to be less. We looked out by the well cap and it was blown off. What has happened? What will it coat to be fixed?

On 2017-04-08 by (mod) re: well pump won't stop running and pressure doesn't go over 30

See WATER PUMP WONT STOP RUNNING - http://inspectapedia.com/plumbing/Pump_Runs_On.php for diagnosis and repair of this trouble.

I found that article address by searching in the search box above, looking for "pump won't stop running"

I suspect low well water or a damaged impeller. A piping leak could also be the trouble.

On 2017-04-08 by Matt

I have a shallow well with a 2 line 1 HP jet pump that will not build pressure over 30 psi and will not stop running. I've inspected the pipes and have not found a leak and i don't seem to lose pressure in the house. The pressure switch was just replaced a month ago 30/50psi.

But i have it set to 20/30psi BC of my pressure problem, it was working for an a week but now the pump continuously runs, BUT if i shut it off manually it will stay off and hold at 30psi until the pressure drops to 20 then it will continuously build to 30psi and hold at 30 and stay on.

On 2017-04-03 by (mod) re: pump kicks on and off quickly

Christian

What you describe might be caused by a pressure tank that is nearly fully-water-logged. That would mean that once you stop running water the tank comes up to full cut-off pressure very quickly. That condition is not normal and means that a water-logged pressure tank needs draining or repair. Search InspectApedia for WATER TANK AIR, HOW TO ADD -

What you describe - water pump turns off quickly when we stop using water - can be normal if the water usage rate in the building was so much that the pump was running continuously during that usage time. In that case the pressure tank could be nearly-full but never reaches cutoff pressure until you stop using water.

Check for a waterlogged pressure tank.

On 2017-04-03 by Christian Hampton

Water pressure is good. When water is running, pump kicks on/off quickly. Is this normal?

On 2017-03-31 by (mod) re: water from a lake, need a check valve

It sounds to me from your description as if the Upper Hill pump and tank needs a check valve. Otherwise the uphill tank is going to be essentially trying to grow water or suck water from the lower system which is backwards from the design that you describe. There's also a risk that the pump loses Prime and could be damaged

On 2017-03-31 by Joey

Hi, I work at a resort where we pull our water from the lake. we have two supply lines that leave our pump house/treatment house one feeds the cabins and lodge next to the waterfront the other runs up hill to our employee housing. this question pertains to the water supply to the employee housing. It is pumped up to one building via a pump/pressure tank setup down at our pump house. the building its pumped up to has a shallow well pump and another pressure tank setup to keep adequate pressure to the employee housing.

The problem is that when the shallow well pump up the hill senses a loss in water pressure it kicks one runs till the off pressure turns off and then bleeds the water back down to the pump house. There is no check valve on this line between the building and pump house. to my knowledge there wasn't a check valve installed. Is it possible they set the lower pressure tanks on pressure higher then the upper pressure tanks off pressure to hold water up the hill via positive water pressure from below???

On 2017-03-24 by (mod) re: signs of a bad foot valve

MOst likely there is a failed check valve or foot valve in the well

On 2017-03-24 by Robert Winfrey

I put a new forty gall.blatter tank and pump in six years ago and now these problem are killing me.

This well is about sixy five years old at the time it had sixty galls.of water coming in its always had water.

I loose my prime sometimes four times a day then the prime will stay for a day or two. Help

On 2017-03-12 by (mod) re: newpump but can't get past 20 psi

Turner

If the well pump is new and you're sure that its impeller is not damaged, that it's got proper voltage supply, and that there are no piping leaks, there could still be a problem with: low water level or low flow rate in the well or a too-high lift required of the pump.

Search InspectApedia.com using the search box just above, look for "WELL PUMP WON'T STOP RUNNING" to see a list of causes and cures.

On 2017-03-12 by Turner

We bought new well pump pressure pump switch everything we could think you could be doing the pump will not go past 20 and up to 40 where it should be and cut off like it should it will stay running and it cuts off at 20

On 2017-02-24 by Clyde Plaza

I agree with this post

On 2017-02-07 by Kevin Kaminski

Water holding areater tank does not fill. I can fill it by opening bypass on round plastics switch. Is float or switch bad?

On 2017-01-23 by (mod) re: water from spring is not constant

Tricia

Yes certainly water flow into a spring varies quite a bit seasonally. Typically in Vermont spring inflow may be less in the driest parts of July and August and might slow again when the ground is frozen.

Check also for frozen piping where water exits the spring into your cistern.

On 2017-01-23 by pk88@juno.com. Tricia

We share a cistern with another home on our street in Vermont. Both of our homes are 2nd homes. Our neighbors had a very old toilet that apparently ran continuously for a week and drained our spring's cistern dry. It has yet to recover. I. Wondering if it could be struggling to refill because the temps have been below freezing.

Is there anything that can be done to assist in its recovery? This has been an active spring for over 50 years supplying these two houses as well as a third full timer ( they dug a well for their water after a drought 3 + years ago ) the spring bounced back from the summer drought and has been fine till now. Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks

Question: debris suspected in erratic well pump or pressure gauge or pressure switch observations

Angela Green said:

I know very little about the actual well components I have. I do know that we have a shallow (57 ft) well that may also be low yielding. Our well pump is less than a year old and we have two sediment filters, a ph balance tank and water softner attached to our pressure tank. This is the issue. Over the last few months we've been losing water pressure.

We figured out that our filters were getting clogged. So, we would change the main sediment filter and backwash the big one and it cleared everything up and we would have pretty good pressure again for a week at a time. Over the last 3 weeks our pressure tank has been dropping to zero, for no apparant reason and with no warning. I replaced the pressure switch (40/60 which was there before) and everything seemed to work ok for about three days.

Then, the pressure started to drop completely to zero again. Now, when we need water, we have to turn on a faucet, almost like we're "calling" the water.

we shut it the faucet back off, and wait about 15-30 minutes. When we turn the faucet back on, we get water but it's only enough to fill a bath tub and a little air sputters from the pipes, right before the water comes through. Does this sound like a pressure tank issue, or is our well running out of water? Thank you in advance for the help! If you prefer to talk about the issue via email, I can be reached at: ang.green@ymail.com

Reply:

Angela, before we start speculating all over the place, check this old sore point: if your water system suffers from a lot of debris or sediment, often the crud will clog the tiny opening in the bottom of a pump pressure control switch, the small diameter tubing that conducts water (and pressure) to the switch, or both. It may also clog the sensor port in the bottom of a pressure gauge.

Replace those, and keep the old ones so that together we can do some exploring for clogging. And let me know if that works.

Question: running out of water, who's to blame, what to do

(Nov 30, 2011) Brenda Gray said:

On 11-14-2011 my neighbor came over and stated "Because your husband runs the water in your house for long periods of time we do not have water in our house"! Is it possible for this to happen? Both homes have well water. I called a plumber and a well repair company and I was told that it was not very likely to happen. Also our water pump was bad and replaced. The well repair man also check the neighbor's water problem and stated " The pressure switch and nipple was bad". I would like to know if you can clear up this question.

Reply:

Brenda, there are several possible explanations of your neighbor's complaint of inadequate water supply, and not all of them indicate that your home and water usage affects the neighbor's water supply:

- If the plumber's comment that the neighbor's system had a bad pressure switch and nipple - that is if plumber is talking about neighbor's water supply system, then what s/he described would be a problem with water supply that would have nothing to do with your home, well, piping, nor water use. (The "nipple" may refer to a mounting pipe for the pressure switch, a small diameter pipe that may easily be clogged by debris, causing the pressure switch to malfunction)

How might one home's water use affect a neighbor?

- If the homes share a common water supply well, pump, tank, and controls and in particular if the shared well has limited capacity or flow rate

- if the homes have separate wells and water systems but the wells tap a common aquifer. Sometimes a second well drilled in an area can drop the water table accessed by a pre-existing well. Ask local well drillers about the local aquifer; check the distance between the wells, and compare their depths.

If the plumber was describing the neighbor's well and water supply system defects, and/or the homes are on independent wells that do not affect one another's water supply then your water usage is not affecting your neighbor.

Question: low flow rate well now runs out of water

[delete] (Jan 12, 2012) ScottO said:

I having some weird water pressure issues coming from our well system (artisian, 325ft, 2GPM refill rate....yes I know, very bad). Yesterday morning, we were getting trickle, I went in the basement and saw our gauge down to almost 10 PSI. When the water was turned off, it climbed to 20 PSI and stopped. I did this several times with the same result.

I shut the breaker off and had a pump and filter company come out to the house. Three hours later, they showed up and we fired up the pump and had good amperage. The tank climbed immediatley to 60 PSI and goes down to 30 (I thought the bottom rate was 40?) at use and kicks back on to 60 with water off within 30 seconds. We've always had bad water pressure, but this morning me and my wife noticed that the pressure was better than normal in all fixtures.

I'm wondering if my water softner regenerated and threw the system out of wack and drained the well, and with no low pressure cut off switch, it just kept bottoming out. Anyhow, the pump company suggested fracking my well (roll of the dice) or drilling a new well, which I find a little excessive on a system that's less than 10 years old. Was this just a fluke? Why would my pressure be better all of a sudden? BTW great site, very informative.

Reply: how to increase well water yield

Scott O

When your starting well water flow rate is very low, it doesn't take much to lose even that - it's common for well flow rate (recovery rate) to deteriorate over time as minerals clog the rock fissures through which water enters most wells.

It's possible that the three hour wait for the plumber gave your well time to recover, so the next time the pump was turned on it had sufficient water available to reach the pressure control switch 60 psi cutoff point.

And yes, if the water softener got stuck in regen cycle you could have temporarily exhausted the well.

Approaches to improving water supply for a case like this include
- installing a large water storage tank and controls at the pump and in the well to assure that the pump takes water out of the well no faster than the well recovery rate - you get your water volume back at night when no one is running water in the building

- hydro-fracking the well to try increasing its yield

Reader follow-up: running toilet can exhaust a well?

(Jan 24, 2012) ScottO said:

Thanks for the reply Dan. My pressure is still up and running fine. I do have to sayI have a very high iron reading in my water, hence the softner. Somebody suggested I start simple and change out my square D box. Others have said that I probably had some gunk that broke free (either at the pump, or maybe the diaphram in my well mate) and just watch it before taking extreme costly measures.

The well people say I might have had a toliet running (which we checked, and seemed ok) or a leaking sill cock. He shut the supplies off to the sills since we don't use them in the winter (they are the self syphoning anti-freeze models) I do have a large well mate tank and have at the system has recencently gone through two regen cycles on the softner since the incident. I'm keeping an eye on it in the mean time and trying not to stress the system. Do you think the whole episode could have been a possible fluke? Thanks again.

Reply:

Scott, if the problem with water pressure is nor recurring and if the water softener is no longer sticking in regen mode I suspect the well had been drained. If the problem was debris clogging the pressure control switch usually that symptom, while it may be intermittent, won't go away on it's own. I agree with the wait and see approach for now.

Question: we are not satisfied with water pressure and flow from our well

I'm a "newbie" when it comes to water pumps, so I've been looking over your website to try and educate myself. However, I still have some questions - and also need some advice.

The outside water feed pipe from the public system to my house is almost 90 years old. The feed pipe is 7/8" and there is no pressure regulator (at least not inside the house.) Plus, the outside feed pipe runs uphill for about 40 feet at roughly a 50% grade (20 degrees). So, I'm pretty sure this is the reason why the water pressure to my house is not great. (My current pressure provides only 1-1/3 GPM. I'd prefer - at a minimum - 2.0 GPM. More would be better.) I don't doubt that there might be a kink somewhere in the feed pipe, but I'm sure there is no leak.

As I can't (as of now) afford to have a new outdoor feed pipe installed, I was looking into a water pressure booster pump and tank system. My questions are:

(1) Would a new outdoor feed pipe installation (which I can't afford right now) solve my problem?

(2) In the interim, would a water pressure booster pump and tank system solve my problem?

(3) Finally, what type of system and components should I get? (The system would have to be electric, and would - at a minimum - provide 2.0 GPM of pressure. More would be better. We are a family of five with a house that has two full baths.)

Any info and advice you can give would be appreciated. Thanks much! - F.B. 8/2/12

Reply:

(1) Would a new outdoor feed pipe installation (which I can't afford right now) solve my problem?

Probably not. The problem you describe is a well with limited flow rate or water supply capacity. Adding a larger diameter pipe beyond 1" nominal ID is not likely to improve water pressure. Adding a larger diameter pipe can improve the flow rate in a plumbing system. But in most homes poor water flow within the home is due to in-home piping, controls, valves, combined with a low starting pressure at the in-home water pressure tank.

(2) In the interim, would a water pressure booster pump and tank system solve my problem?

Possibly, especially if your booster pump were combined with an in-home water pressure tank

or a more powerful well pump at the starting end, but

Watch out: installing a more powerful pump often makes the inadequacy of the well's flow rate immediately apparent - you can pump water faster or to a higher pressure but if the well inflow rate doesn't keep up you just run out of water sooner

(3) Finally, what type of system and components should I get? (The system would have to be electric, and would - at a minimum - provide 2.0 GPM of pressure.  More would be better.  We are a family of five with a house that has two full baths.)

A higher HP well pump can improve pressure and better overcome the head or lift between your well and building. But I'd check and confirm the well flow rate.

If the well flow rate is inadequate there are steps you can take to increase well yield or to add water storage (discussed here as well)

Question: water flow stops dead after 20-30 minutes - is this a pressure switch problem?

(June 28, 2012) michele said:

I have a submersible well pump with a holding tank above ground (in the basement). When I use the cold water such as the hose it will run great for about 20-30 minutes and then just stop. I go immediately to the basement and manually flip the start switch on the pump and the water comes right back on at full pressure. Does this sound like a pressure control switch problem or something much worse involving my well or pump?

Reply:

Michelle, this question stumps the chump, (as click and clack the Tappet Brothers say) but I can still guess:

Long continuous on time, if were overheating the pump motor, would shut it off on thermal overload for more than the few seconds taken for you to run from the outside hose to the basement to flip the pressure switch on and off. Unless you're using a very long garden hose.

So I'd try replacing the pressure switch; make sure that the mounting tube is not clogged with crud when you install the new switch.

Keep us posted.

Question: convert a driven point well into a higher yield drilled well?

(Aug 28, 2012) Lynn said:

I'm looking for info on converting a driven well into a drilled well. It seems to me it should be possible. Any help would be appreciated.

Reply:

Lynn,

a drill well requires a drilled opening into the ground and a steel casing liner - typically 6"in diameter; your existing driven point well is a small diameter pipe pounded into the ground, typically to a shallow depth - it doesn't readly convert.

Question: well pump wiring damage, repair

(Aug 30, 2012) youngn said:

I have a submersible pump, a pressure tank, a water softener and a pre-filter between the tank and softener. Two weeks ago, we suddenly do not have water. The contractor who installed the well pump found the problem to be wear/tear of electrical wire near base of pump.

The fix was to cut off the bad section of the wire. All was fixed in 4 hours which included putting chlorine in the well, pumping water out from the well before connecting the pipes back to the tank, checking the tank pressure. The filter was due to be changed - has been six months - and we put in a new 5 micron Aqua-Pure filter (that's the only one I can get - used to be 25 micron). We started having water pressure 3 days after the repair.

Our first thought was that the filter needs to be changed - looked very dirty and also it was filtering more now with 5 micron. The new filter we put in this time is 25 micron GE brand from Home Depot. Water pressure was back to normal until 3 days later when we experienced low pressure again. Is the filter the problem again or is there something not quite right with the repair?

Reply: secure well pump wiring against mechanical damage and abrasion

Youngn,

If electrical wiring is not properly secured or if the well piping and pump are not properly secured and centered in the well (there are devices for those purposes) then the system may move each time the pump cycles on and off, causing abrading and wear to wiring or to the well piping itself.

Often work on a well stirs up debris temporarily. IF the problem persists after changing the filters out two or three times I'd investigate further; keep us posted and I may be able to comment further.

Question: repair a leaky well pump

(Sept 26, 2012) J said:

well motor sprung leak. Motor runs fine. the water is shooting at a small section (perhaps 1/2 inch) from between the motor's two cylinders. their is a clamp that helps hold the two cylinders together and there seems to be a gasket used at that connection point. Is this gasket replaceable? How is it done?

Please pardon the lack of proper technical language and description. I videoed the problem. would you be able to look at it and better see what is happening? Thank you for you for assisting me in this matter. J

Reply:

J,

I don't know about your specific pump - the answer will be in the parts diagram for your particular system. If you can't find that document give me the manufacturer, pump model name, number, and serial number and we'll look also.

Certainly some motors and pump assemblies include a replacable gasket.

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