400' deep well...Water started sputtering/blowing air, then no water...guage= 0


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Old 03-17-11, 07:58 PM
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400' deep well...Water started sputtering/blowing air, then no water...guage= 0

I am in the process of buying a forclosed propertyout in the country.

We did a home inspection/VA appraisal/etc 2 weeksa ago.
Home has been vacant for 5-6 months & had been winterized. (ran pump/flushed system & water heater fo @ 2 hours.) Re-winterized.

Had to go out and do a well water test today...ran water for 30 minutes to flush things out...took water samples...

Water started to sputter and blow air...I finished the samples & turned off the spigot.

Checked the water heater and it had ceased flowing.

The water was not flowing, I checked the guage at the pressure tank and it read ZERO!

Pump is not running at all!

Where do I begin to check things out?

What might be wrong?

Any help is appreciated.
Sam
 

Last edited by waterwelldude; 03-18-11 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 03-17-11, 08:23 PM
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I would say first off check to see it there is power to the control box, pressure switch, etc..

If power there then follow this link to check the pump.

TESTING SUBMERSIBLE PUMP MOTORS

Let us know what you find.

Mike NJ
 
  #3  
Old 03-19-11, 08:17 AM
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Make sure that there is water in the well. If so, is the pump hanging in the water?
 
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Old 03-19-11, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by samnglenallenva View Post
…Had to go out and do a well water test today...ran water for 30 minutes to flush things out...took water samples...
hi guys –

Does the above mean that the pump must have been running at least sometime during the 30 minutes referenced above? Seems like it must have been because a pressure tank wouldn’t have a drawdown capability that would last 30 minutes – would it? But I guess that’s neither here nor there?

Was just wondering if the well might have run dry after about 30 minutes and the motor shut off. Don’t they have a safety switch that shuts the motor off when it gets too hot? I put a pump protection device ahead of my pressure switch that shuts the pump off when the well runs dry, and in drought condition it has shut the pump down after 20-30 minutes when I’m watering new trees and running a lot of water continuously.

Do you think continually pumping water for 30 minutes like sam did might be significant?
 
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Old 03-19-11, 08:07 PM
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Let me reiterate:

I am trying to buy this foreclosed home~~~ it has been vacant for atleast 6 months & was winterized.

I had the power turned on 3/2/11 and de-winterized the system….FLUSHED everything and ran water for about 2 hours total (multiple flushings of the Water Htr to get mineral buildup and fine sand out) I then re~winterizing everything turning off the water & power!

I later found out the Veteran’s administration & lender required a well water inspection.
So I had to have the power turned back on.

THIS TIME, Thursday, I was told to hook up a hose and flush the pressure tank & make sure all fine sand particles are eliminated at that point. Also, since the well had had sanitizing tablets placed in the water-column, I wanted to have the treated water flow through as many pipes/fixtures as possible. Since the lab was testing for bacterial contamination, just wanted to have clean water clean out the system.

SO THE POWER WAS ON.
WATER WAS PUMPING.
It had only been @ 30 minutes…only Ľ of the amount of time it had run for, 2 weeks earlier.

THIS IS NOT MY PROPERTY YET…So my direct knowledge is limited… as the previous owner is not available, historical info is not available. BUT everything was new as of 2003 when the property was developed.

As I said…it is “400’ DEEP WELL” I don’t know how you :
PAbugman: Make sure that there is water in the well. If so, is the pump hanging in the water?
What is the magic trick to knowing what is going on in a 6” pipe at that depth???
You cant see anything but dark after @ 3-5 feet.

So I have had a 200’ well in VB, Va for yard maintenance…3/4hp pump above ground, that ran for hours on end.

Never had a submersible pump…or a 400’ deep well. Should a well pump air & shut down in such a short time?

We went back out to the property this a.m. to meet a contractor for an estimate on building a garage. I went ahead & checked things out, TURNED ON THE POWER at the breaker & voila the pump started right up…built up pressure at the tank and shut off at the 50 psi point, as it should!

So do I have a lil problem or a big problem?
Good news, the Bacterial test came back clean & safe.

Thanks,
Sam
 
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Old 03-21-11, 12:06 PM
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Hi sam –

Don’t really want to waste your time, since I know your problem must be nerve-racking and I am a newbie myself. Sounds like you really need some experts to jump in here. I bought my first house with a well and submersible pump in 2002 and have learned just a little bit since then. I know better now in terms of some of the things I should have checked at inspection time.

My understanding is that a proper well should be able to deliver at least 3.5 gals/min for 120 minutes without running dry. At least I think that’s the standard. I wonder, could you have actually used water at a much greater rate when you ran it for the 30 minutes, than when you ran it for that 2 hour period? So the 2 tests were apples and oranges? And since it’s a fairly new property (and thus presumably a new well?) could it actually be a low yield well tending towards the extreme? Probably unlikely, but possible.

I think you are correct. Thirty minutes isn’t very long. When watering my new trees I can usually output several gals/min for over 2 hours without a problem, however in the drought condition last summer (which I was oblivious to) the well ran down in less than 30 minutes.

Maybe the seller might let you run your own test again and run the water for 2 hours to see what happens. If I understand correctly, if the pump motor is actually shutting down via it’s thermal protection switch that’s not really good for the motor. But my understanding is that once or twice would have almost no impact.

The fact that nothing was changed after the pump stopped, but when you turned on the breaker days later the pump picked up immediately and operated properly, seems to most likely indicate a problem down in the well – either a bad pump shutting itself off or a well running dry? Maybe the pro’s would say that’s not true and there are other possibilities?

Also,(and I believe this is correct) the pump motor and mechanical stuff could just be getting old and might overheat and trip the thermal protection switch even if the well hasn’t run dry. My understanding is that you can find that out by monitoring the current to the pump up to the point in time where it shuts itself off. Don’t have the details, but I think the way it works is that you monitor the amps as the pump runs, right up to the point in time where it shuts off. Looking at the current over time can tell you if the well was running dry and that’s why the motor shut off, or whether the motor just shut off because it was drawing too much current for other reasons (i.e. a submersible pump problem, not a dry well problem).

Seems like Mike’s advice in post 2 would be a good thing to do to check the pump motor.

I don’t see how the seller could object if you had Well Pro’s do a well recovery test. Well Pro’s should be able to do a test to tell you what the well recovery rate actually is.

Also, since the property is fairly new, seems like there should be a well drillers records on file somewhere that would specify the parameters for that well – maybe including the recovery rate.

Anyway, I would think you should find out what that well is capable of producing. I think if it is actually a very low yielding well (however unlikely)- that could possibly drive the household crazy. But if it is instead a faulty pump, the seller really should replace it before you buy the house. (Cost seller $1,100 bucks here to replace my pump back in 2002). Seems funny for the pump to go bad in 8 years (assuming 2003), yet I do believe some of the pro’s do in fact say a pump might only last 7 years.

Anyway, good luck!
 
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Old 03-21-11, 12:09 PM
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The two wells that I've owned were less than 200'..I would drop a heavy fishing line with heavy sinker down till I heard splashing, mark the line, pull it up and measure the line. By subtracting that number from the drilled depth of well, I knew how large of a water column that I had. Often times the drillers mark the depth to water on the inside of the well cap, as well as their estimated gpm recharge rate.

It is not easy to drop the line down, as there are wires and pipe inside the casing. Trial and error will get it down, but 400' is a long way. Try dropping pebbles down to hear the splashing at least. Shine a strong led light down. It would be helpful if well drillers would contribute their opinions to this problem.

It seems to me that if they went 400' down, it was because they didn't hit water, or enough water, until about 350' or so. Our current well is 148' deep with 8 gpm recharge. Water level is at 25'.
 
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Old 03-21-11, 12:44 PM
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hi bugman –

Just curious, why did you want to check the depths? But I guess maybe that’s a good idea in that you will know if your water level is becoming too low and problematic. Think I’ll try and check mine this summer (my well is 85’ deep).

I guess that recharge rate is what I was calling recovery rate? So in your case if your current well has a recharge rate of 8 gpm, does that mean the driller is saying that you could draw 8 gpm continuously – or I guess maybe not forever but for at least 2 hours? That rate sounds pretty good to me – but I know very little!
 
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Old 03-21-11, 06:23 PM
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Hey zoesdad: We had 2 consecutive summers of minimal rainfall and some wells were going "dry", so to speak. They were shallow old wells, at old farmhouses. I was curious and wanted to see where our wells level was in relation to where it was the day they drilled it in 1995. The good news is that is was at the same level.

recharge and recovery rate mean the same thing, two ways of saying it. I'm not in the well business, so I'm not sure which is more technically correct. We could use a well drillers advice for the original post.

8 gpm means that our well will recover at that rate as we use it. We could use it much faster, because there is a 6" diameter column of water 123' deep that we could draw off of. I forget my volume for cylinder formulas, maybe I'll look it up. I know that we have a strong well and we live partway up a mountain. People higher up than us have even shallower wells. Our water does have a serious iron problem, but we have a good iron treatment system.
 
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Old 03-21-11, 06:56 PM
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Gotcha bugman.

That was good news that your levels are the same and are very good. I’m definitely going to check mine this summer. I put in a Pumptec pump protector box a few years ago and last summer it was shutting the pump off after about 25 minutes of watering new trees (can’t believe I didn’t know there was a drought. I must be in a trance?).

Checking the well level will make me feel better.

Thanks!
 
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Old 03-21-11, 07:59 PM
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Find out what pump is down there. Test the pump as described in my previous post
The pressue switch may have got stuck and did not kick the pump on.
The relay control could be going bad and not kicking the pump on.
The tank may have too much air and the bladder collapses. But this is a temporary lose of water and the pump should pump the bladder up.

A power surge can on rare occasions trip just half of an un-linked 240-Volt circuit breaker or blow just one of the pair of fuses powering a 240-volt electrical circuit, leaving a pump that runs, but barely, developing only minimal water pressure, or a pump that runs not at all


Installing a higher capacity well pump may indeed give faster water flow and higher water system pressure, but if the pump is not properly matched to the well's safe flow rate (by pump selection or pump controls) you can pump all of the water out of your well, run dry, damage the pump, etc.

In selecting a well pump the well depth as well as water flow requirements must be considered. While jet pumps have a pickup placed typically 5-feet above the well bottom, when installing a submersible pump it is placed ten feet above the well bottom (maximum) or ten feet below the draw down limit for the well.

A safe well yield is the combination of total water quantity that can be drawn out of a well without dropping the water level in the well low enough to introduce air into the system or damage the well pump.

A well with a large static head and/or a well with a very good flow rate may have a high safe yield while a well with a small static head and the bad luck to also have developed a low well flow rate will have a very small safe yield - in some cases less than 50 gallons of water.

If a poor safe yield is likely to be permanent, solutions include increased water storage capacity in the building, steps to increase the well yield, or installation of a drawdown cutoff device that prevents the pump from dropping water in the well to a level that risks air entry into the piping or damage to the pump

Define well yield:

Definition & Measurement of Well Yield - Well Flow Rate & Water Quantity Explained

Mike NJ
 
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Old 03-21-11, 11:09 PM
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sorry i cant be more help, but i'm not real familiar with low producers

if pump runs a while then starts sputtering and blowing air, sounds like pump is surely pulling down and getting air though. thermal overload is likely cutting the pump motor off.
 
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Old 03-22-11, 08:59 AM
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thanx one & all

Ok...
lots of good info...
thanx ya'll!

Yes...but...

It is a VACANT property...a HUD (govt) foreclosure.
Meaning: The Govt is the owner/seller...meaning NOTHING!
They know NOTHING...The can tell you NOTHING...They will do NOTHING!
It would be funny if it wasnt all us taxpayers money theu arre wasting!!!

So the breakers never popped.
the water sputterred...so I believe it was only picking up sporadic water & Air there at the end.
And like mentioned...prolly the over-ride protection that shut hder down.
Dunno why it pumped so much water a couple weeks ago & so lil this date???
We had multiple outlets open before and only 1 during the 30 minutes...

I do need to measure flow rate.

The irrigation well I drilled in VB, Va was @200ft but water table was high just a few ft deep...but clean water was deep...IO was 1 mile from beach.
I had a 1/2 or 3/4 hp old sears pump I rebuilt...it had to be primed every year when I hooked it up, until I had to unhook before the freeze set in...2"-2 1/2" pvc pipe and it spit out a constant flow of 3-4 g/min.
I ran lines of sprinklers around the yard...different zones...and it ran for hours w/o any probs.

This beast is a different animal...its deep and submersible and for our consumption!

Being a foreclosure, the history is a detective indeavour...

I have the well and septic permits from 2003...but the economy has killed the businesses...I went to the property development company, but there records are skimpy!!!

Thanx again
Sam
 
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Old 03-22-11, 01:40 PM
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contact ur local health dept. there should be a well log turned in on it. I wouldn't trust it 100%, but it should give u a good idea of what ur working with.
 
 

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