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Old 12-18-2008, 07:11 PM   #1
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well pump wont hold pressure


I have a sta rite anb-30 1/3 h.p. pump on a well x trol wx-202. It is all hooked up to a shallow well with one pipe going outside. The other night my toilet was making gurgeling noises that where soo violent they made the toilet shake. Then the next night the sounds where coming from the kitchen sink. Then the next day the water started spitting out the faucets and it was black, then it just stopped flowing all together. So I went down stairs and shut the pump off, and primed it. When I turned it back on it would hold pressure until I opened the supply valve, then it would drop to zero, and not build back up. I did this a few times and finally I got it to hold pressure. When I went upstairs and turned the faucets on they ran for a couple of minutes then the pressure dropped and that was it. I can get good pressure at the valve that is right after the pump, but when I open it, it goes down to zero. I left it closed for a couple of hours and it held pressure. I don't know if that pressure is water or air. There is a gate valve a couple feet past that valve, when I close it (leaving the first one open) it will build up to 32psi. and thats it, then I open it and its back to zero. I don't think there is a check valve inside, its all just elbows and couplings. today I changed the fill valve in my toilet, still nothing, as a matter of fact its gotten worse. I just tried to prime it with the first cut off valve shut and it would not go past 25psi. I close that valve because if I just prime it and turn it on with both valves open it will not build any pressure. Before it would run right up to cut out on the first valve, but I could only get 32psi. at the second valve. Oh and all the pipes and fittings are supper corroded, can I spray soapy water on them to check for air leaks? I'm in Indiana, its cold, and believe it or not my draft inducer on my ruud took a crap. So my family and I are sitting here with no water and no heat, and there is a huge storm about two hours away in Chicago that is supposed to hit tonight! I hope I can fix this myself, if its the foot valve I'm screwed, right? there is no way of fixing that without pulling pipe? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks

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Old 12-18-2008, 07:45 PM   #2
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well pump wont hold pressure


The bladder in your pressure tank is possibly shot.
With the pump cut off and the water pressure drained completely down, check the air pressure on the Well-X with a tire gauge. It should be two psi below your pump cut-on pressure (28 psi for a 30-50 psi cut-on/cut-off pump, and 38 psi for a 40-60 cut-on/cut-off pump).
If water spurts out of the air valve on the tank, you need to replace the pressure tank. The bladder is leaking.
If it holds air and the pressure is just too low, you may just need to air it up with a bicycle pump or portable air tank or compressor.
Check that first.
Good Luck!
Mike

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Old 12-18-2008, 08:57 PM   #3
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well pump wont hold pressure


thank you sir! I will check that right now. One thing I forgot, the previous owner of the house told me that last winter they had the same problem. They called some amish guy out and all he did was turn the pressure up on the pump. I guess they are talking about the cut out pressure, but that doesnt make much sense to me. Maybe they ment the bladder pressure. He couldnt find the well cap so he didnt check the foot valve. Thanks again, hope it works.
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Old 12-18-2008, 09:40 PM   #4
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well pump wont hold pressure


I just checked my tank and it is at 35 psi. no water in the air. I cant remember what the cut-in is. Im either a little over or under, obviously. Would 7 over/3 under psi make that big of difference?

Last edited by jakjkl; 12-18-2008 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 12-18-2008, 11:12 PM   #5
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well pump wont hold pressure


You probably have a bad impeller or blocked jet in the pump. The loss of prime means you have a leak between the pump and the foot valve on the end of the drop pipe in the well. The air could be from cavitation from a bad impeller or the leak in the well or between it and the pump.

I'm not following you as to where these shut off valves are and why they are there but, gate valves are a very poor choice for a valve that isn't used for years, the gate breaks off of the stem and you can't tell if the valve is open or closed or half closed.
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Old 12-18-2008, 11:19 PM   #6
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well pump wont hold pressure


thanks, yeah the plumbing is pretty old, the first valve has a handle with orange rubber on the end, that one is only about a foot away from the pump on the supply line. Thats the one that holds pressure the best. The other one is the gate valve, and its about three feet from the first one on the same line. again thanks for the info, I will look into that tomarrow.
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Old 12-20-2008, 09:11 AM   #7
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well pump wont hold pressure


Just another note. From my personal experience, I had one honker of an issue at work where I had muddy water and air pockets slamming through the building, and one at home where I lost pressure. The mud and slamming came from the well water table falling below the foot valve during a drought. The company ended up getting a permit to drill lower. The one at home was from a bad impeller in the pump. I basically replaced the pump.

Obviously in your case you want to pray it's the pump. If it's a hole in your pipe, that will take some work, although it's not an impossible feat. Depends on how thrifty you want to be (but I always recommend calling a pro first). One thing I did in my house was install a length of clear reinforced hose on the suction end of the pump, so I could see at any time if there were bubbles or mud coming up.

A leak anywhere on the suction side of the jet assembly would explain the loss of prime. The gunk in the water is probably coming from either sediment and gunk being stirred up at the leak point (and all that sediment and gunk will fall down the water column past the foot valve), or it could be just the vigorous action of the air and water knocking crud off the inside of your pipe.

If it were me, I'd replace the pump first, then think about the worst possibility.

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