Have I Damaged my Well, Equipment, Etc?

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Old 06-06-11, 09:05 AM
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Have I Damaged my Well, Equipment, Etc?

Hello, I need the input of someone with well expertise/experience. I know nothing about these things; which will soon become apparent. My situation is this: Last night I put a sprinkler on my yard around 5:30pm. This morning, at 5:30am I realized that I forgot to turn the water off. I ran outside and found little more than a trickle coming from the sprinkler. I shut the water off and spent the next 2 hours worrying that my forgetfulness may have caused damage to the system. At 7:30am I went back out and opened a spigot to find what I consider ďnormalĒ water pressure. I went ahead and put the water on to one of my troughs and went out to the pump house... I really donít know what I thought I was looking for... anything out of the ordinary I suppose. The pump was running and sounded same as ever. I donít know how much pressure it was operating under as I lost the gauge in a heavy freeze last winter. Proílly I should replace that. In any event... when I went out to the pump house, the empty (auto fill) trough adjacent made me realize that I had forgotten to turn the water on to that (yikes! early Alzheimerís?). I opened that spigot to allow it to fill and instantly detected a moderate sulfur-y odor that has never before been present in this well water. Hmmm...

I guess what Iím hoping to learn is:
1. Why did I lose water pressure at some point during that 12-hours of continuous use?
2. Does the fact that pressure returned on its own mean that everything is okay?
3. Why do I have odors now, when I did not previously and should I be concerned about bacteria?

Obviously Iím hoping I havenít screwed anything up but if I have I want to know so that I can have it addressed right away.

Oh, I should add... this well no longer serves the house. It is only used for watering the lawns and gardens and keeping several troughs full. It gets daily use but nothing like a significant demand (last night notwithstanding).

I have all of the data from the contractorís well log and the report filed with the state, as well as the previous property ownerís documentation of service/maintenance calls and such but I donít know what to include here as relevant. The basics... The well was drilled in 2000. The depth is 402í, @ 6.5Ēdia and a 4Ē submersible pump is set at 380í (Bruiser 10SB - 1 1/2hp, 230v). The static level at the time of drilling was 175í. The tank is Well-x-trol 86gal.

Any input will be greatly appreciated. Iím sorry this ended up so long. Thank you! Wendy
 
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Old 06-06-11, 09:22 AM
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A pump running continuously for 12 hours wonít hurt anything. Continuous use of water for 12 hours while the pump is cycling on and off will destroy your pump. The cycling on and off caused the overload to trip. They will reset themselves in a few minutes and start the pump again, which is why you had water again later. I donít know about the sulfur smell, but you need to keep the pump from cycling on and off. This means using about 4 or 5 sprinklers at a time instead of just one. Or using something that is designed to eliminate pump cycling. Google is your friend.
 
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Old 06-06-11, 09:27 AM
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Thanks... I actually Googled the hell out of this before posting but didn't find anything like what you've just mentioned here. Possibly because I had no idea what was wrong and no clue what search terms to use.
 
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Old 06-06-11, 10:05 AM
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hi folks Ė

Iím a newbie, donít know diddly squat, and donít want to try and steal this thread, butÖÖ.would it be possible that the well water level was drawn way down from continuous 12-hour use? The well would then recover on its own from 5:30 am to 7:30 am. And could a much lower water level (or even a dry well for some time) have something to do with a sulfur smell?

Just a thought! Maybe left field.
 
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Old 06-06-11, 10:23 AM
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@Zoesdad, that was my first thought too but I just don't know. I'm particularly worried about possibly draining it down that low because of our current drought situation here...
 
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Old 06-06-11, 10:39 AM
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I would tend to agree with zoesdad. @ 175ft static height on a 380ft pump placement seems like you have a large drawdown. If not they would not have went that deep. Some wells are designed to stop pumping when draw down reaches a certain level. Then they just recycle the water to keep the pump cool. If you do not have this feature, which I think you do, you would have cooked that pump.

I would not worry about it if everything is normal. Dont do that again.

As far as the smell, running the drawdown 100 ft and pulling from large areas of the aquafier, may have exposed or pulled stuff from far away. You could have been pulling water from say 1/4 mile away.

Sulfur smell is bacterial iron and is harmless from my understanding.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 06-06-11, 10:53 AM
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Thank you @lawrosa and everyone else for the replies. I appreciate it. "Don't do that again."... ha ha... that's the best advice I've received all day. I will do my best. I'd start a memory enhancing drug but I'm sure I'd just forget to take it! ::groan::
 
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Old 06-06-11, 11:07 AM
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hi wendy Ė

Donít know how Mike and the other experts here feel about these, but there are devices that you can use to protect your pump. One device is called a Pumptec and I know there are others. I installed a Pumptec a few years ago. Wasnít very difficult. I think they are about $170 now.

They monitor the amps the submersible pump draws when it is running. Here is good explanation (not my words):

...When the water level drops too far, the motor will start to run faster, due to less load on the pump. When the pump motor changes speed, it affects the amp load on the motor leads. Pumptec will interrupt power to the motor whenever load drops below a preset level. After a preset time, Pumptec will restart the motor...

I think it was last year (or year before?) there was drought around here (which I canít believe I was oblivious to) and my Pumptec shut the pump off a few times when I was watering trees. Pumptec also checks for proper voltage. Lost one of the 120 volt lines to my house because of a cut power line one time. The Pumptec detected the low voltage and also shut the pump off.

I feel better because it seems to me the protection device is a lot cheaper than the labor/parts cost to pull and replace a submersible pump. But as I said I donít know how the proís feel about those. Seems like your well is pretty deep and you have a 1 1/2 hp pump. Seems like that would be pretty expensive to replace? But Iím only a newbie. Iím new to a house with a well. This stuff is scary!LOL

Good luck!

p.s. hope the sulfur smell goes away!
 
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Old 06-06-11, 04:22 PM
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Hey zoesdad, thanks for the suggestion. I'll definitely look into that!
 
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