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Old 07-12-2009, 09:37 PM   #16
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Well Water, Fluctuating Water Pressure, and the Roller Coaster Pressure Gauge


As Pierce K said you have a tank problem. You can charge it with a compressor or air tank and if the bladder is bad you will have to do it again in a 2-3 weeks. You can charge the system and buy some time and maybe save your pump. This constant starting and stopping will cause premature failure not to mention higher electric bills.

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Old 07-13-2009, 02:36 PM   #17
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Well Water, Fluctuating Water Pressure, and the Roller Coaster Pressure Gauge


Dittos.

There should be one check valve on a submersible pump system, and it is in/on the outlet of the pump. More than one hides water leaks and causes other problems.

When checking air pressure, the tank has to be empty or you read water pressure and the reading will equal the water pressure gauge.

When you drain the pressure tank, shut off the water to the house and you don't drain any water out of anything in the house past the pressure tank.
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Old 07-13-2009, 11:38 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
Dittos.

There should be one check valve on a submersible pump system, and it is in/on the outlet of the pump. More than one hides water leaks and causes other problems.

When checking air pressure, the tank has to be empty or you read water pressure and the reading will equal the water pressure gauge.

When you drain the pressure tank, shut off the water to the house and you don't drain any water out of anything in the house past the pressure tank.
Well, I disagree with the check valve thing - if you don't put one right below the pit-less adapter inside the well, you run the potential for the system to form a vacuum that will pull contaminants into the well from the surface.

Additionally, most manufacturers recommend check valves every 200 feet, though I'm a proponent of installing them every 100, along with a black rubber centralizer and/or torque arrest. However, I'm a bit of an over-achiever when it comes to pumps.

Pierce K, CWD
JKA Well Drilling, Monroe WA
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:41 AM   #19
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Well Water, Fluctuating Water Pressure, and the Roller Coaster Pressure Gauge


Quote:
Originally Posted by piercekiltoff View Post
Well, I disagree with the check valve thing - if you don't put one right below the pit-less adapter inside the well, you run the potential for the system to form a vacuum that will pull contaminants into the well from the surface.

Additionally, most manufacturers recommend check valves every 200 feet, though I'm a proponent of installing them every 100, along with a black rubber centralizer and/or torque arrest. However, I'm a bit of an over-achiever when it comes to pumps.

Pierce K, CWD
JKA Well Drilling, Monroe WA
Fair enough and I'll do my logical best to convince you it is a mistake to add check valves. But I know there is a state somewhere in the midwest that requires one at the pitless. And pump manufacturers... I think they have a deal with check valve and fitting guys.

If you add others you hide any and all water leaks between them and the one in/on the sub pump, and then you can not see any evidence of a leak unless you notice air/dirt in the water, right? Isn't that going to allow a possible contamination with no way to know it exists?

Also, we both know water is not compressible, so when the one check valve in/on the submersible pump closes, no water moves until a fixture in the house is used. So how do you get any suction to be able to enter and then contaminate the water in the pipe UNLESS you have a water leak AND someway for air to enter the line?

Now in my opinion, you want to know about all the leaks ASAP and without being able to fid evidence of a leak is not a god thing.

And pump thrust bearings/washers don't like the pump starting when not under pressure. Most check valves have a 5 psi cracking pressure, meaning that adds to the head of the system.

So to me there is no gain by adding additional check valves and doing so can cause hiden leaks, they are expensive to buy and for the labor to install them. And where I'm from, PA, we had the largest number of rural population (on wells) in the US until the 2000 census was complied and TX surpassed PA. The majority of wells in PA are rock bore wells and we used one continuous piece of PE pipe from the pitless to 500' with up to 2.0 hp pumps. That has been done for over 45 years, or since PE pipe was invented, and we didn't add check valves, because they hide leaks until someone complaines of low flow from the system, by then the hole is fairly large and has been leaking for some time. How am I doing?
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Old 07-14-2009, 11:48 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
Fair enough and I'll do my logical best to convince you it is a mistake to add check valves. But I know there is a state somewhere in the midwest that requires one at the pitless. And pump manufacturers... I think they have a deal with check valve and fitting guys.
Probably true. Our local code doesn't have one thing or another to say about pumps, but it's pretty well common practice around here. Additionally, I think I started installing checks below the pitless because of the literature provided by the National Ground Water Association.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
If you add others you hide any and all water leaks between them and the one in/on the sub pump, and then you can not see any evidence of a leak unless you notice air/dirt in the water, right? Isn't that going to allow a possible contamination with no way to know it exists?
True, you can theoretically hide leaks - though it should be pretty obvious that you're losing flow and the amp draw is down, indicating that there's either a leak in the drop pipe or that the water end in the pump is junk. If you've got leaks in the drop pipe, the worst case scenario is that you'll draw contaminants from one end of the well to the other end - not a concern, since it's already one big system. Without the check valves, you could suck water from a swampy area that the water line travels through, down into the ground water table/well.

The reality is this - if there's a leak in the drop pipe, and you've protected yourself from sucking contaminants in the well, you should notice the leak and be able to pull the pump to repair it. If you haven't protected the well from contaminants, you should notice the leak and have to pull the pump to repair it, AND clean the well out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
Also, we both know water is not compressible, so when the one check valve in/on the submersible pump closes, no water moves until a fixture in the house is used. So how do you get any suction to be able to enter and then contaminate the water in the pipe UNLESS you have a water leak AND someway for air to enter the line?
I actually had originally wrote that message with a sentence saying "we both know that the scenario is somewhat contrived, but plausible"....Maybe I should have left it?

I have zero faith in the check valves that are installed by the pump manufacturers - I routinely install a check valve 20 feet above the pump. I've seen those check valves blown apart, hammered into the water end of the pump, or otherwise broken/destroyed/faulty.

Assume that the owner installs zero extra check valves, only the one in the pump end, and that check valve breaks - thereby causing the pumped water to siphon back down the bore. However, his plumber installed on right before the pressure switch. AND, there's a leaky line located about 20 feet from the house, in a roof drainage area, that also happens to be within 5 feet of a septic line. Because of the check before the switch, the system never notices the pressure drop caused by the water siphoning back. I've had many clients who say they've never noticed air in the system, even when the check valve is broken and the thing is siphoning back. I'm not sure how they don't notice, other than they may have a leaky toilet or something similar?

Realistically, they would never notice the leak that is underground, because the downspouts are draining there - which is also allowing for the leak to suck contaminants in. Seeing a septic line within 5 feet of the entrance of the water line is definitely not unheard of, in fact I'd say is quite common.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
Now in my opinion, you want to know about all the leaks ASAP and without being able to fid evidence of a leak is not a god thing.
I agree - you do want to know ASAP - especially with the amount of power consumed by some of the newer VFD pumps if they're in a constant run state.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
And pump thrust bearings/washers don't like the pump starting when not under pressure. Most check valves have a 5 psi cracking pressure, meaning that adds to the head of the system.
I've definitely pulled more failed pumps with not enough check valves, than failed pumps with a lot of check valves.

This also becomes a question of proper pumping system design - if you don't calculate head pressure, pumping water level, static water level, etc. you're not designing the system right. I'm a firm believer in test pumping every well prior to pump system design. Also, the owner should have a clear idea of their water use. Typically, my competition just installs 10 GPM pumps - which is like installing a 100 amp electrical service in every house - sure, it works for most people, but if you want that media room, good luck!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
So to me there is no gain by adding additional check valves and doing so can cause hiden leaks, they are expensive to buy and for the labor to install them. And where I'm from, PA, we had the largest number of rural population (on wells) in the US until the 2000 census was complied and TX surpassed PA. The majority of wells in PA are rock bore wells and we used one continuous piece of PE pipe from the pitless to 500' with up to 2.0 hp pumps. That has been done for over 45 years, or since PE pipe was invented, and we didn't add check valves, because they hide leaks until someone complaines of low flow from the system, by then the hole is fairly large and has been leaking for some time. How am I doing?
Interesting. The only time any of the installers around here use PE pipe is when the well has limited access. In fact, if the well has PE in it, we generally can assume that the owner installed the pump - professionals around here won't go near the stuff. However, we predominately have casing driven wells - meaning we drill 6" bores, and case them WHILE drilling, like the old cable tools. Once we hit water, we telescope a 5" stainless screen in. Our experience has been that a pump on PE in a 6" bore tends to move too much, resulting in wire rub and/or the motor banging around due to torque. Plus, I just can't stand working with that stuff.

I'd say the average life span for all the pumps here is 15 years - we like to see 20. What is the designed/average life span in PA?

Alternatively, I have looked at it a lot more recently, just as a method to reduce costs - especially in combination with the Grundfos soft starts or Franklin's MonoDrive systems. Also, there's the Boreline flexible drop pipe system, but they want something like $8 per foot for 1" pipe.
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:21 PM   #21
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well folks. i think it is pretty much official that the bladder in my tank is shot. as soon as the tire pressure gauge hit the valve, water went flying, and i'm not talking about the vapor variety.

i found the same tank, well-x-trol wx-203, for $300, which seems like a fair price. i think i might take a shot at replacing it, although i obviously haven't done it before. i think the two things that concern me the most if i take this on is removing the piping to get the tank out and whether it is a good idea to try and reuse that piping assembly including switch/pressure gauge with the new tank. any thoughts? everything is probably about 18 years old, the same as the house, as i'm guessing this is all original stuff. i'm guessing i should just bite the bullet and replace, but who knows, maybe that isn't necessary.

how much do you think it would cost if i hired someone to do it? how long does it take assuming it's just a clean remove and install? there's adequate space to access it.
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:26 PM   #22
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I did two 82 gallon tanks yesterday, including adding new pipe & unions into the PVC manifold. 2.5 hours, working at a pretty slow pace. The hard part was moving the other two water logged bladder tanks.

$300 is a very low price for that tank - nearly wholesale.

I'd replace the switch, relief, and install a liquid filled pressure gauge. Then you only have to worry about the pump and pump controller as possible issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by huuuss View Post
well folks. i think it is pretty much official that the bladder in my tank is shot. as soon as the tire pressure gauge hit the valve, water went flying, and i'm not talking about the vapor variety.

i found the same tank, well-x-trol wx-203, for $300, which seems like a fair price. i think i might take a shot at replacing it, although i obviously haven't done it before. i think the two things that concern me the most if i take this on is removing the piping to get the tank out and whether it is a good idea to try and reuse that piping assembly including switch/pressure gauge with the new tank. any thoughts? everything is probably about 18 years old, the same as the house, as i'm guessing this is all original stuff. i'm guessing i should just bite the bullet and replace, but who knows, maybe that isn't necessary.

how much do you think it would cost if i hired someone to do it? how long does it take assuming it's just a clean remove and install? there's adequate space to access it.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:32 PM   #23
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I replaced everything when I did mine. Around here we use a check valve just before the pressure switch. My pressure tank and hot water heater were 19 years old so I replaced everything at the same time even though the WH was still working.
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Old 07-15-2009, 02:26 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piercekiltoff View Post
Probably true. Our local code doesn't have one thing or another to say about pumps, but it's pretty well common practice around here. Additionally, I think I started installing checks below the pitless because of the literature provided by the National Ground Water Association.

I'd say the average life span for all the pumps here is 15 years - we like to see 20. What is the designed/average life span in PA?

Alternatively, I have looked at it a lot more recently, just as a method to reduce costs - especially in combination with the Grundfos soft starts or Franklin's MonoDrive systems. Also, there's the Boreline flexible drop pipe system, but they want something like $8 per foot for 1" pipe.
With just the check valve at the pump, if there is a leak the tank empties under pressure down to the cut in and the pump comes on repressurizing things. There will not be a siphon of any outside water getting in in most cases. And people can hear the switch clicking and see the pressure going down and up, or notice a higher electric bill; all evidence of a leak. If there is other check valves, you get a siphon. The pump doesn't run, the gauge holds steady, the electric bill remains the same and there is no way to see evidence of a leak. I've seen one leak between a well and the house. I saw many in the well, 99% was the check valve. And one wet end with a hole worn it in and a nylon male adpter cracked.

We had 40-70' of 6" casing with static level usually 30'-60' and pumps usually lasted 15-20 yrs with some 30+. I only saw one pump on anything other than 160 psi PE. It was a 1.5 hp at 585' on gaqlvanized. I had a Pul-A-Pump machine I could take off the truck alone on ramps and wheel it to a well (only had to 3-4 times because I could get my 4x4 PU to the well) and set it on the casing and pull at 50' a minute. I never tried it but it was rated at 1000 lbs. Many wells you wouldn't be able to get a pump hoist truck to. I never saw a hole in PE but there were spots on cable that was not taped right or didn't have cable guards every 20'. Few had torque arrestors.
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Old 12-11-2011, 10:03 PM   #25
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Well Water, Fluctuating Water Pressure, and the Roller Coaster Pressure Gauge


I am having a simliar problem with well pressure gauge fluctuating. Can anyone tell me where the other check valve would be, if not on the top of the submerged pump?

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