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Old 10-08-2008, 08:24 AM   #1
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Water Pressure from Well Water


I have never had well water or septic until I moved into my house two years ago and therefor had no real idea how it worked and what needs maintanance and when. When we bought the house, we bought as is and the pump would run every once in a while where I rarely noticed it. After a while it would run pretty much on/off every few moments the water was turned on. I was told I needed to drain out the tank, refill and pressurize it with air. I did this once and it seemed to work great, we had much better pressure then normal and the tank ran every two minutes or so, instead of almost constantly.

I experienced the same problem as originally when the pump was running almost constantly and tried the original remedy again. However, this time it wasn't very successful. The water pressure is so so at best but the pump doesn't run all the time, like before every two minutes or so.

Someone said there might be something wrong with my tank that pressurizes the water. Could this be true?

Any thoughts would be helpful.

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Old 10-08-2008, 11:44 AM   #2
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Water Pressure from Well Water


You have a leak. It is allowing the water in the pressure tank to flow out of it and the leak, causing the pressure to fall to the cut-in pressure switch setting which turns the pump on. It builds pressure to the cut-out setting and the pump shuts off. Then it repeats the process constantly. That constant on/off kills pump motors. It also spins the electric meter.

Shut off the water to the house past the pressure tank. Watch the pressure gauge, if it falls, the leak is on the well side, probably a bad foot valve if you have a jet pump, or a check valve if you have a submersible pump. Or there could be a bad fitting or split in the drop pipe of either type pump.

BTW, the correct air pressure in a bladder type captive air tank is 1-2 psi less than the cut-in pressure switch setting with no water in the tank. I. E. a pressure range of 30/50 gets 29-28 psi of air pressure, with the pressure tank empty of water. If that is not set correctly wou will have low draw down of the tank and stretch the bladder; the number one cause of tank failure. If you see water vapor or water when checking the air pressure, the bladder is broken and you need to replace the tank.

If there is no decrease in pressure after shutting off the water to the house, the leak is from the pressure tank to the house fixtures, or a toilet tank fill valve is leaking.


Last edited by Gary Slusser; 10-08-2008 at 11:48 AM. Reason: more info
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Old 10-08-2008, 11:50 AM   #3
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Water Pressure from Well Water


Thanks Gary, I think it's the tank that is at fault here.

Any thoughts on what size a tank that I would need for a 1500 sq. ft. home?

Also would the one I have be repairable? Seems in fairly good condition, but I don't see how the unit is serviceable.
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Old 10-08-2008, 01:15 PM   #4
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Water Pressure from Well Water


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Originally Posted by Weekend Warrior DIY View Post
Thanks Gary, I think it's the tank that is at fault here.

Any thoughts on what size a tank that I would need for a 1500 sq. ft. home?

Also would the one I have be repairable? Seems in fairly good condition, but I don't see how the unit is serviceable.
You think it's the tank. I think you said you didn't know anything about wells or pumps etc....

I know, you don't want it to be a leak, and you are seriously hoping it isn't a leak but... trust me, it is not the tank although it may be bad, you have a serious water leak.

In your opinion, how can a tank make the pump run unless the tank is leaking or you use water OR YOU HAVE A LEAK?

If you have a submersible pump, and it is on PE pipe or PVC, you are running a serious risk of dropping the pump down the well. And going without water until you or someone else fixes it. I've done well work for 21 years and seen this many times but...

The sqft of the house has nothing to do with the size of the tank.

You size a pressure tank based on the draw down gallons at whatever pressure settings you run the pump with. That's the number of gallons between pump runs. The pump manufactures want the pump off for a minimum of 60 seconds after running, that's for motors up to 1.5 hp.

Shorter than that 60 seconds (one minute) kills motors rather quickly because they get too hot and can't cool down before starting again. A jet pump can get hot enough to ruin impellers, and that causes the pump to produce/move less water and not be able to build up sufficient pressure to shut themselves off, which sounds like where your pump is heading.

Am I right that you have a jet pump; my guess is based on you hearing it run, you can't hear a submersible well pump run. Is it a one line shallow well or two line deep well jet pump?
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Old 10-08-2008, 01:28 PM   #5
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Water Pressure from Well Water


Gary, I think it's the tank from your suggestion.

"You think it's the tank. I think you said you didn't know anything about wells or pumps etc...."

You wrote:

"Shut off the water to the house past the pressure tank. Watch the pressure gauge, if it falls, the leak is on the well side, probably a bad foot valve if you have a jet pump, or a check valve if you have a submersible pump. Or there could be a bad fitting or split in the drop pipe of either type pump."

"If there is no decrease in pressure after shutting off the water to the house, the leak is from the pressure tank to the house fixtures, or a toilet tank fill valve is leaking."

This is what sounds to be happening. Am I quoting you wrong?
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:55 PM   #6
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Water Pressure from Well Water


If you turn the water off to the house, and the system holds pressure (for an hour or so), then the problem is somewhere in the house. If the pump still cycles on and off with the valve to the house closed, and the pump runs less than 5 seconds or so, then the tank needs to be precharged with air. If the pump runs longer than about 10 seconds, then the pressure goes down over a few minutes, you almost certainly have a bad check valve or foot valve. The water is going back down the well, or you'd see a puddle somewhere.

The most common problem in the house is a leaking toilet fill valve. There's no puddle of water, because it all goes down the drain.

When you close the valve to the house, make sure it's actually closed. Turn off the water heater. There should be no water at the highest faucet. If it still dribbles out, the valve didn't close completely, and the above test is not valid.

Rob
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Old 10-08-2008, 10:34 PM   #7
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Water Pressure from Well Water


if i was in your shoes i would look into geting (if avaible) a water tap done by the city it will cost some coin but then you never have too deal with that ever again its cleaner and less corrision on ur copper. and in some cases ive seen wells go dry. and than you could just use ur well for watering your grass and out door tasks. just a thought
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Old 10-09-2008, 08:40 AM   #8
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Water Pressure from Well Water


I'd love to be on city water, BUT they don't offer it where I live and I have no clue if they ever plan to. That sorta leaves me out of that option.
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Old 10-09-2008, 11:35 AM   #9
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Water Pressure from Well Water


Do any faucets even 'drip'?? First test should be stool inspection,,,all of them. take back tank cover off and see where water level is,,,down on overflow pipe a few inches,fine,,,seeping OVER the overflow,bad. next turn water off with lower faucet open,unless you have individual shutoffs at the stool,doubtful. Then while everyone is gone,off to work,or gone to grandmas for cookies etc. check the level of water in back tank after 4-8 hours 'at least'. If it is down at all,change flapper valve. A leaky toilet will ruin a well and septic system faster than any other cause!! Pumps too much water ,turns off and on to fast,and overloads gallons septic can leach away!!
Doesnt your supply tank have a sniffer valve you can just add air with an air compressor?? It looks like a tire valve stem and you blow it up,just like a tire,,but with something open so excess water can get away!!. IF its a bladder tank,,,chances are its broke,,,they dont last long. SEE if you get water out of pushing center wire. 90% of the time,one of those two conditions apply. Next possible cause is---Do you live on an acerage or farm with outside pipe running places?? Like to waters or hydrants?? If so what kind of pipe?? Galvanized iron pipe is noted for rusting out the threads,,,causing leaks. If you dont have a shutoff for THOSE sections of pipe,you NEED one!! with plastic pipe,lite plastic couplings are VERY suspect!! First things first tho,,,check those stools and tank bladder!! IF it isnt a bladder tank the air can seep away with the water. They do make a sniffer valve that injects a shot of air every time well pump runs!!
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Old 10-09-2008, 06:13 PM   #10
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Water Pressure from Well Water


Gary, great job explaining, it sure is a learning curve going from city water to well water. You don't have to be paranoid but you should be in tune to the sounds of that jet pump. took me awhile going from city boy to country. Got so you knew, when the pump kicked in if it was because someone was using water or you left the garden hose trickling out in the yard. Not the end of the world if your pump goes down but you are sure going to notice the inconvience of not having that water when you want it. Personally, after 19 yrs, I'm glad to be back on city water.
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Old 10-10-2008, 12:04 AM   #11
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Water Pressure from Well Water


Quote:
Originally Posted by Weekend Warrior DIY View Post
Gary, I think it's the tank from your suggestion.

"You think it's the tank. I think you said you didn't know anything about wells or pumps etc...."

You wrote:

"Shut off the water to the house past the pressure tank. Watch the pressure gauge, if it falls, the leak is on the well side, probably a bad foot valve if you have a jet pump, or a check valve if you have a submersible pump. Or there could be a bad fitting or split in the drop pipe of either type pump."

"If there is no decrease in pressure after shutting off the water to the house, the leak is from the pressure tank to the house fixtures, or a toilet tank fill valve is leaking."

This is what sounds to be happening. Am I quoting you wrong?
I'm not following you, what sounds to be happening?

If the tank was leaking there would be water on the floor around and under the tank; it can't go anywhere else except through the pipe to the house or back down the well. If it didn't go anywhere, the pressure on the gauge would hold steady and not fall to turn on the pump.
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:25 AM   #12
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Water Pressure from Well Water


I am interested in more information on the sniffer valve for shooting air into a deep well system
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Old 12-13-2008, 02:18 PM   #13
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Water Pressure from Well Water


If I'm following you right, that type valve allows air into the water stream, not down the well.

So more specific info is needed.
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Old 12-13-2008, 07:48 PM   #14
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Water Pressure from Well Water


yes trying to get air in the water system
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Old 12-14-2008, 05:14 AM   #15
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Water Pressure from Well Water


There is a valve just like on your car tires on the top or side of the perssure tank. You use a compressor or portable air tank to charge the tank. Without the air cushion the take gets water logged and turns the pump on every time a valve is opened. If your tank is water logged you have to change the tank or be prepared to do this every few weeks. As Gary said if you have a water logged system or a leak and a sub-pump it can run the electric bill through the roof.

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