What's causing air in my pipes?

Reply

  #1  
Old 09-25-05, 09:20 AM
egk
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
What's causing air in my pipes?

I recently had to replace a 20yr old Goulds jet pump. My well is buried. The old pump was working at reduced pressure for some time but water flow was good.

Since having a new pump (at 20/40psi) installed by a licensed plumber, i'm having a constant problem of air in the pipes. It will literally blast air and stop the water flow completely from any faucet for a split second and does this repeatedly as water is run.

The plumber has been back three times and couldn't figure out what it was. He thinks the problem may be in the well itself but I noticed he didn't even bother to check the pressure on the tank. I've since tried alternately bleeding all air out of the tank and then pumping it back to 18psi with no pressure in the system. Nothing seems to help.

Any tips on things I might try or is the pump itself pumping air into the system signifying a low water level or broken pipe? With this amount of air, it seems like the pump might lose it's prime but I don't really know. I might add, a neighbor shares the same well and said she isn't having problems. We are having a drought in the area though and when the remnants of hurricane Katrina passed over, we got a light but steady rain for a night. The air problem seemed to go away for about 4 days afterwards. Now it's returned again. I've been waiting for a heavy rain to see if it might again stop the air but am wondering if there is anything else I might try.
Thanks
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 09-26-05, 07:07 AM
speedbump's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 218
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
You mentioned the air going away after Katrina's rain. This would indicate a leak in the suction line. If the ground is saturated with water, you won't get any air.

Next time call a well driller or pump person not a plumber. I don't install water heaters, faucets, toilets etc. and I don't think plumbers should mess with pumps unless that is their specialty. The one you called apparently isn't all that keen on pumps either.

bob...
 
  #3  
Old 09-26-05, 07:31 AM
egk
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thank you for the reply. Could this also indicate a low level in the well itself? The plumbing company I called do service pumps and the guy who came said they'd handle the work in the well too. In a rural area I suppose they all do double duty to some extent.

Sounds like my only option is going to be to dig it up then?
 
  #4  
Old 09-26-05, 08:10 AM
speedbump's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 218
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
There has to be at least one well driller in your area or you wouldn't have a well.

Anyhow, I would replace either the suction line or the droppipe in the well if necessary. Which ever one is easier would be my first choice. If fixing the joints that you can see and get to, that is about the only other choice.

You didn't mention if this is a shallow or deep well jet pump and that will make a difference. If it is a deep well jet, you probably wouldn't be getting air.

bob...
 
  #5  
Old 09-26-05, 08:31 AM
egk
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
It's a shallow well jet pump so the well can't be more than about 20' deep if that. The well itself has to be very old. I have no idea the exact date it was put in but it's very possible it wasn't even drilled but was an old pounded well. I'm guessing it dates to the 1940's at least. Possibly even older unless the previous owner had work done since it was put in. I've lived in the house for 30yrs myself and never had a problem with water at all. Water quality was tested just a couple of years ago and came back fine. I've had to replace the pump twice when they just wore out. Once about 7yrs after I moved in then again this time.

I will have to call a well driller and get an estimate on what it would cost. Do you have any idea of a ballpark figure for something like that? One thing that complicates the problem is it's a shared well even though it's on my property. I don't want to cause the neighbor problems then be responsible for paying to fix both. She says she's not having any problems at all.

This is in central NY state so I need to get the problem cleared up one way or another before winter.
Thanks again for your replies.
 
  #6  
Old 09-26-05, 08:51 AM
F
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Montandon PA
Posts: 17
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by egk
Thank you for the reply. Could this also indicate a low level in the well itself? The plumbing company I called do service pumps and the guy who came said they'd handle the work in the well too. In a rural area I suppose they all do double duty to some extent.

Sounds like my only option is going to be to dig it up then?
Well they can't be very good if they can't come up with a few more ideas as to why a shared well allows one house to have an air problem and the other not! All they can do is replace a pump, as they've done, and it's sucking air. They need to come back and fix the problem at no charge; since you probably didn't need the new pump... What did they tell you was wrong with the old one?

If the well was dry, the other house wouldn't have water either, or would at least have the air problem you do.

I think you need to check the air pressure in your pressure tank. If the water leaves the tank before the pump comes on, you might get air for that second or two. If you have a nonbladder type tank, that may be where the air is coming from. And that could be an air volume control problem.

Well drillers still pound wells and in many cases that is a better well than a 'drilled' well. Drilling tears things where pounding breaks the rock and doesn't fill the cracks and crevices with drilling mud etc.. And drilled or pounded, the well will be much deeper than 20'.

If the problem isn't the pressure tank, it's time to dig up the pit and look at things in it. You may have to pull the well plumbing, and if you do, both foot valves and/or the plumbing should be replaced down the well for both houses, or however the plumbing was done to supply two houses with water from one well.

Look in your yellow pages under Pumps and Well Drilling for a pump guy or driller that services pumps.
 
  #7  
Old 09-26-05, 10:00 AM
speedbump's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 218
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I really don't have any idea what a system would cost in your area. Here in Florida, your looking at around 5 - 6 thousand for a complete system installed.

bob...
 
  #8  
Old 09-26-05, 10:14 AM
egk
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Fetzer.
Thanks for your reply. The reason I posted in the first place was in hopes there might be some things I could try first before digging up the well. The original pump was definitely wearing out. It could no longer pump up pressure to even 30psi. The pressure switch had to be backed way down or it would have been running continuously trying. Since i'm on a fixed income, I was putting off spending what ended up being over $700 just to replace the pump. I finally had to when it suddenly couldn't even manage 10psi. That was just enough to keep a small stream of water running to fill the toilet tank.

I'm concerned about the pressure tank myself since the guy who installed the new pump didn't look like he even checked it. I'm not sure though as I wasn't watching him do it at every step. It is a bladder tank. It has the air nozzle on one side for adding air with a big label on the side saying what it should be pressurized to for a given switch. I was thinking the air could be icoming from the tank and that's why I drained all air from the nozzle in case the bladder was torn. I've since pumped it back up again to 18psi with all water pressure out of the system. It holds that pressure but the air problem seems to actually be worse with the bladder pressurized.

The fact the well is shared is what makes this a bit more difficult to troubleshoot and even to work on. If I damage the other one while digging it up, then I'll probably be responsible for that line too. I was thinking just what you did. If the well was running out of water, the other house would also have problems. Then I thought if my pipe has a crack, the water level in the well may be below that and sucking air from it. I'm guessing the only way to know for sure is to pull everything up but thought people a lot more experienced than me might have some other ideas.

One thing that occured some years back to both houses is the check valves down in the well failed. First the neighbor's failed when she went to florida for a winter and pipes froze. When they thawed out the pump wouldn't stay primed. Someone put in another check valve in the basement just before the pump and it's been running like that for about 6yrs. I had the same problem a couple of years after hers. The pump lost it's prime and the guy who came down did the same thing, putting in a check valve before the pump. He said it may be that valve in the well is leaky and the new pump is now sucking air from it. If the water level in the well has fallen below that. The thing is, I never had these air problems until the pump was replaced. Hope all this makes sense. By the way, I'm assuming check valve is the same as the foot valve? Is that correct?

As for how deep the well is, It was my understanding that they often only went down as far as they needed to to hit water. That's why I was guessing it could be as shallow as 20'. I didn't think shallow well jet pumps were capable of lifting from anything more than about 30'.
 
  #9  
Old 09-26-05, 10:23 AM
speedbump's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 218
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Your plumber sure got into your pocket.

The check valve is a bandaid and they should have dug the well up then and repaired the droppipe/footvalve then instead of installing a check valve.

What should be done is: Replace the droppipe and footvalve, the suction line to your pump and use as little fittings as possible.

On systems like yours there is usually two more check valves. One for each house out at the well not at the pump. The one at the pump should be removed for many reasons. The two out at the well are there so when only one pump is running it's not pulling water from your system instead of the well.

bob...
 
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
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: