Pump won't prime.

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  #1  
Old 02-25-05, 02:44 PM
John W.
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Pump won't prime.

I can't get my deep well pump to prime, and I think I have to replace the footvalve or something on the suction side of the pump.
Problem is I can't even budge the pipes coming out of the hole. Is there something I have to do first before I can get the pipes out? I have read on these forums that replacing the foot valve is easy. Is it terribly expensive to have a well guy pull the pipes up? I would like to do it myself, but these pipes aren't moving. They are rigid pvc also. Also I tried to look down the hole where the pipes are coming out and I cant even see five feet.
 
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Old 02-25-05, 06:19 PM
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Might want to try contacting the locals in your area that deal with working on these systems to see if they might know some background on yours.



That way you can find out how deep the well is.
 
  #3  
Old 02-25-05, 06:38 PM
John W.
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well, if this is any indication. I live at the bottom of a mountain, literally in a valley between two streams. I was told by a guy who lives on the same plain and actually used to work for the guy who dug the well. He said he thinks he remembers it being like 90 feet.
 
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Old 02-25-05, 08:26 PM
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Hi John,
- ninety feet is nothing for pipe pulling. A normal man can easily pull 180 or more, even with a sub pump on the end.
BTW, you didn't say, is it a sub or a jetpump?? - 'Deepwell' pump is too generalised.
Post back and tell us exactly what the wellhead looks like, is it a steel cap with 4 bolts and holes for the pipe? - Trust me, this is easy- you're just not looking at it right !
Well guys will charge anywhere up to 75 per hour , can you spend that for something you can do yourself?

Do it Right - Do it once
 
  #5  
Old 02-25-05, 10:32 PM
John W.
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Thanx nomind,
Yes, it is a 1/2 hp jet pump. The pump is in my laundry room, and I haven't looked down the hole yet. As long as i can pull the pump out of the hole I'll be happy
 
  #6  
Old 02-26-05, 08:06 AM
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That pump will have two pipes going down the well. A jet pump requires the nozzle to be in the well for 90 feet.
 
  #7  
Old 02-27-05, 07:21 AM
John W.
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I need help!

Well, I just don't understand this. I have looked down the hole where the pipes go down and there is just dirt there. I stuck a rod into the dirt and it seems to go down like three feet. Do they sometimes bury the well cap? It looks like the pipes were boxed in with wood that has rotted.
The house sits a little higher than the rest of the yard because, could they have dug the well and backfilled it in when the house went up? I don't get it?
If there is a well cap under that dirt, will I be able to unscrew the bolts? Or are they going to be impossibly rusted?
There has to be something holding these pipes up? Right? I need water!
 
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Old 02-27-05, 09:13 AM
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Hi John,
- all the well caps I've ever seen are right at the top of the tube. Please describe this tube/pipe into which the well pipes go, diameter, etc, is it steel ?
I have on a couple of occasions seen steel well tubes that have ben buried by people who didn't know better, but this is very unusual. A steel domestic well tube is generally 6 inches diameter, and has either a flat steel/rubber/steel donut cap or a semi- spherical cap over the tube.
A photo would really help here

Do it Right -Do it once.
 
  #9  
Old 02-27-05, 10:23 AM
John W.
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How do I add a pic?
there is two different sized pvc pipes going into a hole full of dirt, I just had to start with a sledge hammer to break away some of the concrete. The pump is in my laundry room, There were two pipes sticking out of a square hole in the floor. The pipes were boxed in with wood to allow for the concrete to be poured. I have broken away some of the concrete, and have dug down three feet already. I could post a pic, but it is basically two pipes sticking out of the dirt. There has to be some sort of seal or cap somewhere right? These pipes are being held by something.
 

Last edited by John W.; 02-27-05 at 10:36 AM. Reason: Add info
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Old 02-27-05, 12:57 PM
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Hi John,
- Please remember I'm not there to see this. From what you're reporting , the impression is that someone has dug a well under the house. Frankly, that's SO unusual I don't know how to deal with it. Are you certain the pipes don't lead outside somewhere to a well ?
I've seen hundreds (at least) of wells and never yet found one under a house, that's insanity, how would they ever expect to work on it ?

Do it Right - Do it once.
 
  #11  
Old 02-27-05, 01:30 PM
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I am beginning to think the well is in the yard somewhere, I have dug 4 feet so far and the pipes are starting to bend towards the front of the house(pipes are two feet from foundation wall, pipe bends slightly towards it)
How would I find the well if it is in the yard?
I haven't seen anything in the yard that resembles a well and now there is snow on the ground. This is ridiculous.
 
  #12  
Old 02-27-05, 04:44 PM
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You could try the county. Sometimes they have records where wells are. You could also try calling some of the local drillers, especially ones that have been around for a long time. One of them might have actually drilled the well and have a record of the location.
A metal detector might also help. The pipes are plastic but the well casing should be steel. If you can shove a steel snake down the inside of the exisitng pipe you could possiblely follow it with a metal detector to the well.
 
  #13  
Old 02-27-05, 05:02 PM
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Hi John,
- aren't there any well logs , records or anything like that in the documents that you got when you bought the house ?
- Wells are almost always under at least a concrete lid. Should be something visible, though the snow will make it hard to find. Maybe ask neighbours if they have any idea.

Do it Right - Do it once.
 
  #14  
Old 02-27-05, 05:42 PM
John W.
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Yes this is frustrating, I looked in all my house records and stuff...nothing!
I am pretty sure I know who drilled the well, the only problem is everyone says he's a snake and it is going to cost at least a service call just to tell me where they dug it, if they tell me at all. They are notorious for charging ridiculous rates, for service calls that usually come from their shoddy work.
I am going to call the county and see if they have the records, and the last resort will be to call the well guy. I was also informed that the previous owners had the yard regraded and brought in a lot of dirt. I fear that the grading contractor buried the well cap.
 
  #15  
Old 02-27-05, 05:57 PM
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hi John,
- where exactly, and in what jurisdiction are you located.??

Do it Right - Do it once.
 
  #16  
Old 02-27-05, 06:02 PM
John W.
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Northeastern Pennsylvania. USA
 
  #17  
Old 02-27-05, 08:34 PM
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Hello John W.
Here in rural Va. we still run into alot of these buried wells, most with no records or markers. If you do find the original driller, they may only be able to give you an general area where the well may be. (most drillers kept records of depth,GPM,casing etc. but not always location.) If you don't find any records, then your only other options may be: 1. to use a steel fish tape run through the pipe and traced with a cable locator, as prev suggested, or 2. Start digging outside the house with a backhoe and follow the line to the well ( this is a last resort usually, but in extreme cases we have had to do this.)
Waterdoc
 
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Old 02-27-05, 08:50 PM
John W.
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Thanx waterdoc,
Yes it has to be buried, I am starting to get a bad feeling about this.
How far down is a typical wellhead buried? Are wells usually pretty close to the house? My yard is basically a flat plain.
I am a landscape contractor and have access to a backhoe.
I am also not afraid to use a shovel.
Is a cable locater a metal detector? or a magnetometer?
If I fish a cable through, will it stop at the wellhead? or go right down?
If it stops, that will give me a rough idea how far from the house the wellhead is(it's a start anyway!). I have a metal detector BTW.
Thanx everyone for the help.
 
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Old 02-27-05, 09:24 PM
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Most of these buried wells around here where installed back before the modern health dept. regulations, so most of them were fairly close to the house (sometimes as close as 10 ft) You may be able to run a tape measure out the pipe. It will stop at the well head when it hits the ell that turns down. This will at least give you an idea how far away from the house to start digging ( saves a lot of digging and a lot of mess. As for depth, this will vary from area to area. Here I find most of them at 3-5 ft. If you are digging with a backhoe, be very carefull as the pipe, ells, and well seal can be damaged very easily.( use shovel to probe frequently) As for your metal det., I've never tried one to trace the fish tape that deep. We use a locator like the phone co. uses to trace cable ( has a transmiter hooked to the fish tape)
Hope this helps
Waterdoc
 
  #20  
Old 02-27-05, 09:40 PM
John W.
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Originally Posted by waterdoc
We use a locator like the phone co. uses to trace cable ( has a transmiter hooked to the fish tape)
Hope this helps
Waterdoc
Thanx waterdoc,
Are those expensive? Or could I rig one up somehow?
Maybe I should hire someone to locate the wellhead. The thing is, I hate paying for something I can do myself. Digging a hole, and changing a footvalve is something I can do.
 
  #21  
Old 02-28-05, 08:09 AM
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Yes, John, They (locators) are very expensive. Mine was about 3k when I got it years ago and are even higher now. (not really a homeowner item) You might find a local utility contractor , phone co, or even a co. that specializes in utility locating (we have some here) to mark it for you. I don't know any way to "rig one up" wish I did!
Good luck
Waterdoc
 
  #22  
Old 02-28-05, 08:24 AM
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Since you already own a metal detector, I would try the fish tape metal detector. Shove the fish tape down the pipe and go outside where the pipe exists. If you think you have it found, have someone pull the tape back out and see if the signal goes away.
If you can't detect the tape maybe some thing larger like a drain snake can be detected.
 
  #23  
Old 02-28-05, 01:19 PM
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Hi John,
- seeing as you have access to an excavator, I would dig immediately outside the house. Here, you have a good idea how deep the pipes are, and after locating them you will soon be able to get a direction, then dig carefully every 10 feet or so till you find it. They can be literally anywhere on the property.

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  #24  
Old 02-28-05, 04:52 PM
John W.
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Thanx everyone for the help.
I would first like to appologize for badmouthing contractors in my area based on second hand sources.
I called the well guy that I thought drilled the well in my yard. Turns out he did, and he couldn't be nicer. He came over my house within three hours of the call, with a metal detector and a big reel of fish tape. We narrowed down the well by using the radius of the fishtape, but because of too many false readings he had to get a a locater liked everyone here described. Cap was found instantly. I have decided to have the well guy upgrade the system with a submersible pump and bring the casing above grade. This was my idea! based on what I have read in these forums. The price is a lot more reasonable than I thought it would be. Even though the name of this forum is DoItYourself, I learned enough to be able to make informed desicions.
Thanx everyone for the help...well guys rule
 
  #25  
Old 03-01-05, 03:02 PM
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Thumbs up

Mission complete!
Total cost for well pump upgrade $980
Included:Locating well head, bringing casing above ground, a new water tank, a submersible pump and all the fittings, well casing sanitized with chlorine.
Thanx again to all who tried to help me.
 
  #26  
Old 03-01-05, 05:11 PM
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Thanks for reporting back and letting us know how it turned out.
 
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Old 03-01-05, 06:11 PM
John W.
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Thumbs up

That's the least I can do. Well guys rule!
 
  #28  
Old 03-02-05, 11:07 AM
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Hey John,
you got a really good deal there ! That's an incredibly low cost for all the stuff you got. That's one straightforward, honest well guy you found.
And my thanks too, for letting us know.

Do it Right - Do it once
 
  #29  
Old 03-02-05, 04:18 PM
John W.
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The labor was 5.5 hours and he charged me $550, does that sound right, two guys? the well was only a foot or so underground so no backhoe was needed and stuff. anyway, thanx guys I am happy even though my wallet is a grand lighter.

I am a landscape contractor, and I also have a deck restoration business as a side project. maybe I will help out in other parts of this forum...it seems to be geared towards helping people, and I am not opposed to that.
 
  #30  
Old 03-02-05, 08:26 PM
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Hi John,
- that's a fair rate for two well guys, In this area , most companies would charge in the range of 600- 660 for that. Keep in mind also, this means he only charged 430 for a pump, a tank and fittings. That's barely more than cost. - Good deal.

Do it Right - Do it once.
 
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