How to open check valve?

Reply

  #1  
Old 05-05-08, 04:40 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 53
How to open check valve?

Hi everyone. I have not been able to run my sprinklers while a pool was being built and now that the pool is finished, I am not able to get my system primed. I am guessing during construction, sand must have gotten in the lines and I think it might help to clean it out wherever I can. In the attached picture, there is a check valve in the lower right corner. Does anyone know if this can be opened or have any recommendations for trying to get my system to prime again? Thanks!!!!

 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 05-05-08, 05:18 PM
nap's Avatar
nap
nap is offline
New Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: north
Posts: 4,163
Well (I know, not a funny pun), that check valve is what prevents the water from draining back out of the pressure tank and back into the well. If it leaks, you may need to replace it. Doesn't look like an unions were used so you could cut the horizontal pipe (where it goes to the pump) and the spin the pipe and check valve off. Use a coupling to put the pipe back together, or, better yet, install a union so you do not have to cut the pipe next time.


What I would do is:

Hopefully there is a valve somewhere not seen in the picture or the valve for the sprinkler is electric and should be left off.

see the hose connection? Go over and hook a hose to the neighbors sillcock and run a hose to your house. Hook it to the hose bib on your pump and turn the hose on. Then with the pump off, open the valve for the hose bib. That will fill, if nothing else, the pipes you can see. So, then turn on the pump and slowly turn off the hose bib valve. Hopefully the water is not too far down and this will prime the pump and get you going. If it does not prime, repeat the opening of the bib valve step but when you close it, don;t close it all the way but most of the way. That way, a continuing flow of water will be maintained in the pump and hopefully it will pick up its prime. As it does, close the bib valve completely.

If this doesn't work, just leave the neighbors hose hooked up to that bib and just turn on the valve when you want to water the yard
 
  #3  
Old 05-05-08, 05:55 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 53
Thanks for the info nap. Actually I've had friends that have had neighbors fill their pools with their hose, pretty funny,

I've hooked my hose to the hose bib and have gotten the water to flow, but when I turn on the pump and close the valve, I lose the prime. I remember a few years back I had the same problem and the guy that came to fix it had to dig a few feet from this pump but I'm not sure what he did or how he fixed it. I was hoping I could figure it out and save myself 150 bucks
 
  #4  
Old 05-05-08, 06:24 PM
nap's Avatar
nap
nap is offline
New Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: north
Posts: 4,163
leave the valve partially open.

If you have a manual valve you can control after the pressure tank (beyond where we can see in the pic) close that all except a slow run and make sure the hose from the neighbors is running more water than you are letting out the other end.

another thing that make take.

do the valve open water on. Close the valve and turn on the pump. Don;t let it run for more than a couple seconds and turn it off. Hose on, valve open...valve closed..pump on for a couple seconds.

repeat a lot.

This may get the water to draw up the draw pipe a little at a time and not give it time to drop back down if there is a slight leak in either a foot valve or the check valve.
 
  #5  
Old 05-05-08, 06:39 PM
Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Lake charles
Posts: 126
If the well has water & the check valve is not stuck, the pump will take a while to prime. Inserting water via a hose at the small plug on the suction side of the pump will keep it lubricated & cool until it draws the water up from the bottom of the well. Once it is primed you can remove the fitting & re-install the plug. If it continues to loose it's prime you'll have to replace the check valve.

To answer you question the suction of the pump creates a pressure differential that opens the check valve.
 
  #6  
Old 05-06-08, 06:56 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 53
Thanks for the info. I appreciate all the suggestions. I'll give them a try.
 
  #7  
Old 05-06-08, 06:36 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 53
I gave it a shot and tried my best to get the system primed this evening and no luck. Is my best bet to try replacing the check valve? Would I just cut above/below and replace it with another check valve from my local Home Depot? Is there another valve underground that I should look at? Any other suggestions?
Thanks!
 
  #8  
Old 05-06-08, 06:49 PM
nap's Avatar
nap
nap is offline
New Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: north
Posts: 4,163
well (there he goes again with the puns), I don;t know why the check valve is there to begin with.

I am not a plumber and there may be a reason or code that requires it but I don;t understand why it is there.

Maybe it is required to prevent water backflow into the well from your pressure tank into the well, which would make some sense. There may be a concern of contaminated water getting into the well and spoiling it. I can see that but I do not typically see such a check valve in a typical well system.


Typically, there is a check valve (foot valve) at the bottom of the draw pipe to prevent losing prime.

I explained how to change the check valve already and I would definately use a union when reinstalling the horizontal line.

So, you need to make sure anything you do is per code so you do not get fined or contaminate the aquifer.

What I would do it, install a hose bib on the well side of the check valve so you can fill the draw pipe should it drain out again. By filling the draw pipe and them closing the valve and then filling the pump via the hose bib you already have, I cannot see any reason you should not be able to prime the pump.
 
  #9  
Old 05-06-08, 06:52 PM
Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Lake charles
Posts: 126
Cut in the middle of the section between the pump & the ell.
If the well is shallow & not sanded up, you may be able to pull the pipe up a few inches by hand.
It appears from the pic that the valve is threaded. After the initial cut you should be able to unscrew it at a connection below the valve.
Make sure the lower section won't go down so that you can't reach it.
 
  #10  
Old 05-07-08, 10:18 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 53
Thanks again! I'll give these suggestions a try this weekend.
 
  #11  
Old 05-08-08, 07:50 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 53
I dug down a little underneath the check valve and saw that it made a 90 degree turn and I found where it led to the well (about 10 feet away) I tried opening the top with a wrench and as I turned the wrench, the pvc pipe separated from another check valve that is right nearby (as shown in this picture) Would it help for me to keep trying to get that cap off, or should I just fix the pipe and replace that check valve near the well?
Thanks everyone!

 
  #12  
Old 05-08-08, 12:46 PM
nap's Avatar
nap
nap is offline
New Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: north
Posts: 4,163
if that check valve came off easily, then it may have leaked so much air that you would have the problem you have. I have no idea why there are two check valves.

what I would do:

I would eliminate one of the check valves. I would not have one underground.

then, if all the pipe is good other than that, I would try priming up the pump and give it a whirl.

I would not bother removing that plug you see unless you cannot get things going otherwise. You should be able to check the water depth if you removed it but if it is stuck very well, it may be more work than you bargained for or you may damage something. If it doesn;t need to be opened, I wouldn;t.
 
  #13  
Old 05-08-08, 05:36 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 53
The plot thickens... I took the check valve and the connection off the well and put a hose into the well and turned it on (hoping to fill it to the top to help get it primed once I put the pipes back) but after 15 minutes of the hose running water, the water never filled to the top. Does this mean there is no water at this location anymore? How deep are these things and how long should it take to fill to the top? Maybe I have a cavern the size of a bus under my house?
 
  #14  
Old 05-09-08, 05:10 AM
nap's Avatar
nap
nap is offline
New Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: north
Posts: 4,163
with this type of pump, you have a shallow well wich is generally less that 25 feet deep. A pump cannot generally pump water from a depth deeper than that without to a jet pump or submersible design.

So, is it possible the well i sdry? Sure, but you have to realize, by the same reason you can continue to draw water out of a hole a few inches in diameter for years and years, the water you put in the well will also disburse into the aquifer and not allow you to fill a well.

From what you have described, you do not have a foot valve or you would have been able to fill the draw pipe.

What is the inside diameter of the draw pipe? You may be able to hang something down the pipe that you could use to indicate the water level in the well. It may be difficult though depending on how small the draw pipe is. Just don't get anything stuck in there.

as to how big is the water source you tapped? Hard to tell but an aquifer is huge. It is not a cavern but merely a layer of the land with a lot of water in it.
 
  #15  
Old 05-09-08, 06:59 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 53
I'll try carefully lowering a string with a weight down to see what I can find out. When they dug my pool this past year, it seemed the water table was around the level of the bottom of the pool (around 5' or 6') It's been extremely dry lately but I can't imagine it's dropped that much, but who knows.

I got rid of the one check valve near the well in the picture above and I got a compression-type union to put there instead so I can remove it in the future if I ever need to. Maybe I'll just hook it up and give it a try.

I just found it strange that I could put that much water down the well without it filling up. It makes me wonder how I could ever get it primed with that much "free-space" down there.

If nothing else, at least I'm learning a lot more about sprinkler systems than I ever hoped to know!
 
  #16  
Old 05-10-08, 01:14 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 53
I dropped a string down and it appears there is water about 5 or 6 feet down. I also replaced the check valve near the pump. I'm guessing there is either a leak in the pipe somewhere that I don't see, or the pump needs replacing. Is there any way to tell if the pump is bad? When I run water through with my hose with the pump running, I get water coming out the sprinklers, but not very much. It might just be the pressure from the hose pushing it through. The pump doesn't sound any differently than when it ran in the past.
 
  #17  
Old 05-10-08, 02:28 PM
nap's Avatar
nap
nap is offline
New Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: north
Posts: 4,163
a pump can go bad. There are two things that are typical.

1. seals- the seal that prevents leakage where the motor shaft passes through. It can cause a water leak out or an air leak in, which could cause the problem you are having. I doubt this is the problem as it was working prior yet just stopped suddenly.

2. impeller wear. If the impeller is worn down, it will not pump as designed. Doesn;t happen very often and for a long time.

I still think you had an air leak at the check valve near the well. A well glued pipe will break before it comes apart. If you had an air leak there, it would do exactly what was happening.

with the hose in the pump. You have to realize the pump can only pump as much water as you supply. A hose is very restrictive so it cannot supply as much as you would be able to draw from the well.
 
  #18  
Old 05-11-08, 10:18 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 53
Actually the pump hasn't been used in a good year or more. While our pool was being constructed the sprinkler pipes were broken and I didn't run it. So maybe it's possible some of the seals in the pump dried out? I'm guessing it's either a pump problem or maybe a problem with the well (maybe a leak in it somewhere) I think everything in-between the pump and well is OK.

I wish they sold clear PVC so I could see if water was making it up into the horizontal run.
 
  #19  
Old 05-11-08, 12:26 PM
nap's Avatar
nap
nap is offline
New Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: north
Posts: 4,163
well, wells have lots of leaks. That's how the water gets in

actually, if there is a leak in the draw pipe above the water, that would prevent any water from being drawn up by the pump. Not sure how to check for such a leak though. If it were me, I suppose I could come up with something but it would be far from pro and not neccessarily dependable or accurate.

clear pvc? How about this:



Obviously you would need the correct size and the piece used should be very short to prevent it from collapsing under the suction.

Lowes sell some pretty big stuff.

in a pump, the seal can often be replaced but the sealing surface that wears out is ceramic so that usually doesn't dry out.

Try this:

get a big tub (laundry tub, horse watering tub, bathtub) and place it right by the pump. Fill it with water. make a hose that connects to the pump so you can draw water from the tub. If it draws water there and sprinkles the lawn for a minute, that pretty much says that is working.

to test for leaks in the well, I would make an adapter so I could attach a pnuemnatic pressure gauge to the well as well as being able to pressurize the well and close the pressure in connection.

It will not hold a lot of pressure because the air will force the water down so depending on how deep the well is, it may not take much pressure to push the water from the draw pipe.

anyway, you can pressurize the drop pipe to whatever it will hold. close the valve and watch. It should not drop unless there is a leak.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'