Leaking tank, re-priming and pump testing problems

Reply

  #1  
Old 05-23-08, 08:53 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Leaking tank, re-priming and pump testing problems

Hi,

I have what I believe is a shallow jet well pump system (pump on ground next to tank, 1 pipe going down) which I use for irrigation in my back yard. Towards the end of last summer, the tank developed a very slight leak, which I duly ignored as I discovered I could just re-prime it and it worked for a while. Always a good move...

Anyway, Its now the spring and (hopefully a little wiser) I decided its time for a new tank. Before buying a new tank, I wanted to check that the pump was still working. I did a little investigation and discovered that the well pipe going down is about 20 feet to the filter which has (foot valve?) at the end to stop water going back out. After reading around I discovered that you have to prime a pump with water, so I found a bolt on the top which I removed, filled the pipe with water, replaced the bolt and tried to prime the pump. NOTHING.

At this point, the tank is completely empty. I held the switch on for a good 5 minutes without the pressure going up at all. Maybe the hole in the tank is bigger now. Should I be able to expect to prime the pump at all with a very slight leak? The well has plenty of water in it past the filter level.

Could there be something else wrong with the pump? It's an old looking thing, Blue with the markings "Century Elec" and "Montogomery Ward" and the numbers 24186 and 8-130526-22. Can anybody help identify this?

The tank I have is approximately 80 gallons and I plan on replacing it with one of the 80 gallon tanks from Sears (http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_08302951000P), unless I am advised otherwise.

Sorry for the long post. I have never owned a pump before and am learning, but I am hoping a few of you out there may have suggestions as to what to try.

I am hoping to get this project completed without resorting to paying someone. Thank you in advance for any help.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 05-24-08, 04:47 AM
V
Vey
Vey is offline
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Mid-Florida
Posts: 1,347
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
A leaking tank should not cause you to lose your prime. It would cause you to lose pressure in the tank and in the house.

If you were losing prime it was because the foot valve wasn't working or you have a leak in the intake pipe. Do you have two pipes? The outside pipe (well casing) and another pipe inside the casing going to the pump? If you have a foot valve then the pipe carrying the water should be full of water.

Stop running the well so long when you prime. The way you should do this is to fill the pump and all the pipe back to the valve with water, turn the pump on, wrap your hand around the body of the pump (not the motor) and it will begin to get warm. When it gets warm, stop the pump, fill with water and try again.
 

Last edited by Vey; 05-24-08 at 05:54 AM.
  #3  
Old 06-04-08, 08:25 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks so much for the advice so far.

I filled the pump with water, sealed everything up and it seemed to prime. Once the pressure got past 30psi, it continued happily on it's own until it reached about 50psi upon which it cut off.

So far, so good, however there are still more issues.

The tank has a very small leak, but I am trying to test the system before I go and buy a new one. When I turned on my sprinkler system, it worked, but with nowhere near the power that it used to. Maybe 30%. I watched as the pressure gauge started going down, and in the space of about 5 seconds, it reached 30psi upon which the pump kicked in again. Then the pump continued running until it eventually couldn't keep up and everything stopped.

Do I need to fill the tank with water as well when priming? Is this simply a symptom of the small leak in the tank? or could it be something else. What should I try to determine my next steps? I am willing to buy the tank, but I want to understand what is happening in case there is something else wrong.

Thanks in advance,
Julesy
 
  #4  
Old 06-04-08, 09:50 PM
J
Member
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: ne FL
Posts: 184
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
everything stopped? be more specific. i'll assume the water stopped but the pump was still running? quit worrying about your tank right now. you need to make sure your pump is working right before you even consider the tank. matter of fact, cut the pipe going from the pump to the tank. if you have a galvanized tank with a line that runs from the tank to somewhere on the intake of the pump unhook that line where it goes into wherever on the suction of the pump and plug that hole tight, because if you are gonna get another tank you need to just get a bladder tank and wont need that line anyway. prime the pump and just let it run on the ground. it should run a steady flow.
 
  #5  
Old 06-05-08, 10:18 AM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
both the water and the pump stopped running. Yes, I am trying to ensure the pump is correctly working before getting another tank.

I have a galvanized tank, very plain looking. There is only a single pipe that comes out of my pump which splits in a T shape, one side going to the tank and the other going to the valves. Are you saying to cut this pipe? so I am no longer connected to the tank or the valves?

FYI, to run the pump, I prime it with water and then there is a little switch on top that I have to hold in place in order for it to pump. I have to hold the switch until the pressure gets to about 30psi, upon which I can let go and it keeps pumping until the pressure reaches about 50psi. To perform the test that you mention, I will have to hold this switch on as the pressure will no longer rise. In light of my better description, can you confirm that I should still go ahead, cut the pipe and check the pump?
 
  #6  
Old 06-05-08, 04:13 PM
J
Member
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: ne FL
Posts: 184
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
i'm not 100% on what that switch is youre talking about. is that "switch" on the pressure switch of the pump? something like a low pressure cut-off switch? when the pump falls below a certain psi it will turn the pump off, which might be why "everything stopped". pumpman feel free to jump in on this one. let me know if this is a low pressure cut off, the part i'm thinking of is built into the pressure switch on the side of the pump. when you said earlier that you just reprime the pump when it messed up and it was good, do you prime the pump like Vey said earlier in this post? you have to do that occasionally? kinda sounds like you have a low pressure cut off in the pressure switch and were trying to run to much water to the sprinklers at once and when it got down below thirty is cut the pump off.
 
  #7  
Old 06-05-08, 04:52 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
It is a little box on top of the pump with a 2 inch piece of metal acting as a switch. I have to hold the switch up when priming until the pressure gets past 30psi, then I can let go and the pump continues pumping until about 50psi when it cuts off.

Yes, when I was running the water, the pressure kept dropping until it reached 30psi and then everything stopped. I figured this was normal as I was reading they normally have a pressure switch. What is not normal, is why when i turned on the sprinklers, they did not give full power out like they used to (Its not been working for 8 Months!), and the pressure dropped to about 30 in about 5 seconds.

I primed the pump until the pump was running on its own. I did not try running it until it was warm, stopping and then starting again. I am confused. In order to do what Vey mentioned, I would have to open the pump top each time to re-fill with water and then I would loose all pressure. I thought I had got past this stage as the pump kicked in on its own and was pumping fine until it reached the cut off at 50psi.

Do I have to fill the tank with a certain amount of water? I have not changed anything since last year when it was working. It has been dry all this time though.

Thanks for all of your help. This is a wonderful community.
 
  #8  
Old 06-05-08, 06:41 PM
J
Member
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: ne FL
Posts: 184
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
you dont ever have to manually put any water into a water tank. the pump does all of that for you when set up right. you do have tank problems, no doubt. it should take alot longer than 5 seconds to go from 50 to 30. ALOT longer with an 80 gal. tank. i would just like to know that your not having to prime your pump (as in take the fitting off the discharge at the top of the pump and fill it to the top with water and replace the fitting and then start the pump) before you start using it. what you are gonna have to do is find out how many gallons per minute your pump pumps and then set your sprinkler system according. you're gonna need to run just enough water to keep your pump pumping between the 30 and 50 marks for best results. if you run to much it will go under 30 and it will shut off. if you run too little it will hit 50 and cut off until it goes back down to 30 and cuts back on.. then when you water your yard it will be on and off the whole time which is not good for the life of your pump. you will have to find that happy medium. youre definately gonna have to have a new tank, but if it was me i would get a type of bladder tank rather than the old galvanized style. they are much easier to work with and maintain. depending on the size of your pump and how many gallons per minute it pumps, i wouldnt think you would need a huge tank.
 
  #9  
Old 06-06-08, 04:42 AM
V
Vey
Vey is offline
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Mid-Florida
Posts: 1,347
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I'm amazed that no one has mentioned the easiest solution of all -- eliminate the tank and the pressure switch. Irrigation systems do not need them. For an irrigation setup, pump turns on and you are sprinkling, it turns off and you are not sprinkling. Simple.

To turn the pump on and off, either a manual electrical switch is used, or if there is an irrigation system with different zones, the system/controller timer is used.

The old fashioned systems had one "zone." Manually turn the pump on, and 20 minutes later, turn it off. Then, we got fancy and went to manual zones where valves were manually opened and closed after the pump was on. Now we have automatic controls where a controller box turns the pump on then opens and closes valves using solenoids.

But it is all the same. The ONLY time you really NEED a pressure tank is when you are using the well for house water.

With irrigation, you not likely to turn the pump on for a half a gallon to brush your teeth, so a tank is not only not needed, but makes things more complicated.

The zoned timers have a couple of screws next to the zone wire screws labeled "pump." Those screws connect to a "pump relay" which you get from a store that sells pumps (maybe a big box store too, but don't bet on it). The relay comes with instructions.

You would pipe around the tank and go straight through. You would replace the pressure switch with the relay. Simple.

By eliminating the complexities, you free your mind and soul to sweat the big stuff: 1. Is the the check or foot valve okay? 2. Is the pump worn out so that it won't pump enough water to keep the sprinkler heads busy? Once you simplify things you will find out.

For testing, you don't even need the relay yet. Just try not to completely turn off the valves behind the pump outlet since a pump doesn't like to push against a closed valve and making it do so will damage the pump, so if you have a controller, manually start the pump at the breaker if you don't have a switch.

You will also get the satisfaction of ding the job the correct way rather than jury rigging up a system that was designed for house water to do a different job. Irrigation is a perfectly honorable job, just a different one.
 
  #10  
Old 06-06-08, 07:38 AM
J
Member
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: ne FL
Posts: 184
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
just a pump with no switch and tank would be fine so long as you are using if for irrigation and nothing else. no washing cars, no outside water faucets, no kids playin in the water hose, just sprinkling the yard. vey is right, it is the easiest way, its just that irrigation is only thing you can do when its set up like that. i like to know that i have the option to do whatever i might want with my water. its your choice though. vey's way is definitely the most simple and affordable.
 

Last edited by justwater; 06-06-08 at 10:27 AM.
  #11  
Old 06-07-08, 02:58 PM
V
Vey
Vey is offline
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Mid-Florida
Posts: 1,347
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by justwater View Post
just a pump with no switch and tank would be fine so long as you are using if for irrigation and nothing else. no washing cars, no outside water faucets, no kids playin in the water hose, just sprinkling the yard.
This is not so bad. Add a faucet to the outflowing side of the pump and a valve to valve off the irrigation. Park the cars/kids/screens you want to scrub or whatever on the grass. Turn the pump on, let it flow freely on the grass as well as the car, killing two birds with one stone. Just don't turn the faucet off to "save" water. People do this around here all the time.

Some have added pressure relief valves just in case they forget and try to get too economical with the water. Having a pressure relief valve isn't a bad idea anyway.

There is a way to add the faucet at the shallow well pump. Put a "T" standing upright on the output side of the pump instead of an elbow. Glue in a 1/2" or 3/4" adapter, then screw in a faucet (a/k/a bibcock). Then if you need to prime, you can run a house down there, put a double female hose connector on the end and use the house water for priming water. When you aren't priming, use the faucet for watering. Clever, huh? Not my idea, commonly used here.
 
  #12  
Old 06-19-08, 09:55 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hi Guys,

Thanks for all the useful help and tips. I got it working in the end. I re-primed it and tried a few more times and things started to work again. I have been using the pump all week and things are fine. The tank is still leaking a little, but with the pressure switch it is staying usable. The leak is still very slow, so I rarely hear the pump turn on to re pressurize.

Regarding the drawdown I mentioned before, I now understand that the 15 seconds for the pressure to go from 50 to 30 when the pump kicks in is to be expected. I suppose I had never realized how much water sprinklers use.

I am going to keep the system as is with the pressure switch and simply replace the tank in the near future. It has been a voyage of discovery and I appreciate your help and advice. I certainly know a lot more about pumps and wells then I did a couple of months ago.

Regards,
Julesy

p.s. My garden is now green again!
 
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: