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Old 11-24-2012, 07:23 PM   #1
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well pump pressure without the prime plug?


Having a terrible time with water supply from a shallow well and have very little mechanical aptitude so hoping someone could answer a couple of quick questions to help me pinpoint my problem.

I have a 3/4hp F&W jet pump mounted in the basement next to the pressure tank. The home was recently purchased and is a seasonal rental. Water appeared to run absolutely fine until yesterday when I replaced the pressure switch because pump wouldn't shut off at 50psi - happened couple of times over the past month or so. After I replaced the switch and gauge I get no pressure from the pump other than a varying 10-25psi on the gauge while the pump is running. It drops back to zero when I flip the pump breaker back off.

I took the prime plug out of the back and filled it up, but it was already pretty full. Replaced plug and powered up pump - same result. So, I removed the plug and turned on the pump. Water comes out of the hole at a good rate (maybe 10gpm or so) but it doesn't "shoot" out like I would expect...it just comes up about an inch over the hole and flows over the pump (and directly into the sump pit). I probably ran it like this for two or three minutes and always had water coming out.

I can shut the valve to the house supply which sends everything to another "T" that goes into the pressure tank one way, and to the outside spigots the other direction. I also ran the pump with the spigot open and never got any water - not even a strong gurgling sound.

AND, I get zero pressure from the tank valve - can barely hear a faint hiss if I push it in with my finger. I understand this is a big problem in itself, but I thought I should at least have pressure from the pump running even if tank is bad. It also seems odd that I would get two separate issues at the same time after all was fine two days ago.

Is the pressure tank problem directly related to no pressure from a running pump? THX!

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Old 11-24-2012, 08:01 PM   #2
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well pump pressure without the prime plug?


There should be a pipe plug at the top of the pump for priming, not the bottom. The bottom one is for draining the pump in the winter.

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Old 11-24-2012, 08:36 PM   #3
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well pump pressure without the prime plug?


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
There should be a pipe plug at the top of the pump for priming, not the bottom. The bottom one is for draining the pump in the winter.
The plug I removed was on top, not the bottom...I wasn't specific in my post, sorry. Didn't even know there was one on the bottom so thanks for the new info! It just seems to me that water should geyser up out of the plug hole when the pump is running and the plug is removed, but mine just bubbles up and runs over. Since the volume coming from the hole seems reasonable I thought maybe that was normal. If it is then water volume would be ok and I could maybe rule out a problem at the well end.
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Old 11-24-2012, 10:01 PM   #4
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well pump pressure without the prime plug?


Sounds like the check valve isn't functioning properly. Replace that and you should be back in business.
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Old 11-24-2012, 10:22 PM   #5
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well pump pressure without the prime plug?


retrace your steps with the work you did...if it was working fine ..before... you performed your work.and now it doesn't after ..sounds like your work may be incorrect.. shut off valve going to house...check charge in tank ...bladder or head should be 2psi less than cut in pressure..turn on pump let it run for a while to see if it will build pressure....if not when you shut it off if it drops to zero..as mentioned may need to pull pipe and check foot valve and ejector...ben sr

Last edited by ben's plumbing; 11-24-2012 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 11-24-2012, 10:41 PM   #6
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well pump pressure without the prime plug?


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Originally Posted by ben's plumbing View Post
retrace your steps with the work you did...if it was working fine ..before... you performed your work.and now it doesn't after ..sounds like your work may be incorrect.. shut off valve going to house...check charge in tank ...bladder or head should be 2psi less than cut in pressure..turn on pump let it run for a while to see if it will build pressure....if not when you shut it off if it drops to zero..as mentioned may need to pull pipe and check foot valve and ejector...ben sr
Retracing the steps is always a good idea. But in the original post, he said he did the work because the pump wouldn't stop running. He shut off the pump, it lost whatever prime it was able to maintain while it was continuously running, and now that he's turned the pump back on, it won't build any pressure at all. All indications seem to point to a bad check or foot valve.
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Old 11-24-2012, 10:49 PM   #7
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well pump pressure without the prime plug?


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Originally Posted by Ishmael View Post
Retracing the steps is always a good idea. But in the original post, he said he did the work because the pump wouldn't stop running. He shut off the pump, it lost whatever prime it was able to maintain while it was continuously running, and now that he's turned the pump back on, it won't build any pressure at all. All indications seem to point to a bad check or foot valve.
agree ..but pump could of kept running because it was not building pressure in the system which may or may not mean pressure switch was ok before he started... it could be a bad ejector if it a 2 pipe system ..you have a suction side and a pressure sideben sr
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:41 PM   #8
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well pump pressure without the prime plug?


thanks, guys, for looking at this post! This is the pump I have:
http://www.deanbennett.com/fw-repair...j-jet-pump.htm

Would the the check valve be in the pipe between the pump outlet and the pressure tank? I don't see anything in my piping other than straight pvc and fittings. This is a single pipe pump, correct?
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:07 AM   #9
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well pump pressure without the prime plug?


Foot valve would be in the well on the end of the suction pipe.
Check valve would be inline someplace also on the suction side, not the pressure side of the pump.
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Old 12-01-2012, 02:43 PM   #10
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well pump pressure without the prime plug?


Thanks for the feedback! Since I posted, I've talked with the neighbors, a well co., and a plumber.

The neighbors told me they had a new well put in six years ago - went from a 2"/27' well to a 6"/67' well. They had the old well serviced several times and decided to drill a new one. Several houses down also just had a new well put in this past summer. I should mention that we're about five miles from Lake Michigan so lots of sand in the area.

My neighbors are very observant and have lived in their house for many years. They told me that they never saw anyone do anything to the well at our house at any time. Our house sat empty for two years until we bought it while in a foreclosure process.

I had a plumber come in yesterday and he told me he thinks it's a well issue because he couldn't get the pump to build any pressure. He also mentioned that it could be the impellers, but didn't offer to do any pump/replacement work. I also learned my pump is not a shallow well pump like I thought. Didn't know 2-pipe meant one pipe inside another - told you I had no mechanical aptitude lol.

This was what I didn't want to hear because it took three calls to the well company last week to get a confirmation that they were interested in coming out to evaluate the problem. Since they were the ones that put in my neighbor's well, they seemed extremely confident that I needed a new well - even without coming to see anything. Maybe they are correct, but it seems to me that it's a red flag. The second red flag is that they told me they don't really repair wells anymore because the money is better spent putting in a new one. Since I had zero issues until suddenly, it seems to me the problem could still be something that doesn't warrant a completely new well yet.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:53 PM   #11
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well pump pressure without the prime plug?


"Didn't know 2-pipe meant one pipe inside another"

It doesn't. Here's a diagram that shows a one-pipe vs. a two-pipe set-up side by side: http://www.popularmechanics.com/cm/p..._3251_2_lg.gif

I still think it's the check valve.

Last edited by Ishmael; 12-01-2012 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 12-19-2012, 06:48 PM   #12
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well pump pressure without the prime plug?


Thanks again for all the feedback, guys. After having a plumber and two well drillers in to look it over, we decided on a new well. Even the plumber thought it was a problem outside the house and suggested a well company. One of the companies didn't do repairs on wells and the other one said it would be at $1200 to rehab, possibly $1600+ is anything broke in the process. Price for a new 65ft 5" well/tank/pump was $3600 complete so we opted for that instead of gambling on rehabbing the current 25' 2" well - especially when both of our neighbors have had to dig new wells in the past several years. It's not our ideal solution at this point in time, but seemed like the wisest investment for the long term.

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