Help with air in well water


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Old 05-31-14, 12:54 PM
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Help with air in well water

I have an old cottage with a shallow well and we have been experiencing some issues with our water. Lately we've noticed that the cold water has air bubbles in it so the water looks almost white and the hot will spit out of the faucet. We initially thought that the issue was air in the hot water heater so we used the pressure release valve to get it out, but still no luck. The check valve on my pump is over 10 years old so I'm not sure if that's bad or there's another issue. The other thing we noticed is that the pump is a 30/50 but it's set at about 35/70. The air pressure in the tank is at 35 psi. Any help would be much appreciated!
 
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Old 05-31-14, 04:11 PM
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In a properly operating system there is no way for air to enter. Water is drawn in deep within the well and the water is moved about in solid (not leaking) pipes. The first guess for air in the water is from a leaky pipe, probably on the suction side of the pump. My second guess would be the well is running low and sucking air but since you did not mention running out of water I more suspect bad pipe.
 
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Old 05-31-14, 04:57 PM
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Pumps can suck air around shaft seal. When it gets bad enough they will lose prime.

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Old 06-01-14, 07:05 AM
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Our well is a 2" pipe with a 1.5" PVC pipe inside of it. I think the 2" pipe is maybe 20 feet down and the PVC is 16 feet down. There's a cap ontop that the PVC goes through and I saw bubbles on it when I put soapy water on the pipes. I cut the hole a little bigger and most of the air seems to be gone.

My pump is rated for 30/50 but was set on 40/60, so I adjusted it down. Everything was working well, but we lost prime overnight. Check valve?
 
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Old 06-01-14, 10:52 AM
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The 30/50 and 40/60 is a product of the pressure switch and it's setting and not the pump. If you changed the pressure switch setting you also need to change the air pressure in your pressure tank to be 2-3 psi less than the pump's cut in (turn on) pressure.
 
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Old 06-01-14, 11:12 AM
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Thanks for the reply! I have the tank pressure at 28 and the switch at 30/50. So basically I could have left it at 40/60 but then put the tank pressure at 38? Any ideas of why I would have lost prime? I ran a ton of water last night and it was fine.
 
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Old 06-01-14, 03:06 PM
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If you ran a lot of water that sorta rules out the well running out of water.

Make sure no water is being used in the house. No toilet filling and no dishwasher running. Let the system come up to pressure and the pump turn off. Watch the pressure gauge it should not move. If it does not seem to move check it in 10 minutes and an hour later. If the pressure has dropped there is a leak somewhere. It could be the foot/check valve or a leaking pipe. Most often though when there is air in the system the lead is on the suction side of the pump which is between the pump and well.
 
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Old 06-05-14, 08:50 PM
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Thanks for the replies! I had a new check valve in my pluming stuff so I replaced it then shut everything down for the week. I'll be up tomorrow to check to see if the pump kept pressure. I turned the switch down to 30/50 but can I put it back up to 40/60 if I put the tank pressure at 38psi? I dont have much experience with that side of things
 
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Old 06-06-14, 05:36 AM
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If it works at 30/50 I would leave it alone. It is all a preference thing. Take a shower and ask yourself if you need more water pressure or not. Lower pressures are easier on pipes and pumps. That leak you had came from water pressure pushing on seals over time. 40 psi will create a future leak quicker then 30 psi.

I use 20/40 in my cottage and have no issues with water pressure.
 
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Old 06-06-14, 11:03 AM
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I just got up to my cottage and the pressure gauge was on zero but it felt like I had water up by the check valve. I had to reprime it. Any ideas??
 

Last edited by merrym100; 06-06-14 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 06-06-14, 11:30 AM
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You should have a check valve (foot valve) at the bottom of your well to keep the line from the well to the pump full at all times. Where is your check valve located? Sometimes when the foot valve leaks, instead of pulling the well and fixing the foot valve, will install another check valve in front of the pump. I can buy time and help you get by but works best when the well is being used frequently so it runs before it has a chance to loose prime.

Turn on the system and let it get up to pressure. Turn it off and watch the pressure gauge to see how quickly it drops. The faster it drops the bigger the leak.

First I would check the toilets. Put some food coloring (or a Coke or other dark beverage) in the tank and come back in an hour and see if there is any color in the toilet bowl or if the water in the tank has gotten noticeably clearer. If the color shows up in the bowl then you have a leaking flapper valve. Luckily it's cheap and easy to replace.

If you're pretty certain that the new check valve is holding (not letting water past) and the pressure is dropping then you have a leak in the house somewhere. From the pump & pressure tank is all the piping to and throughout the house above ground where you can see it? If yes then you should be able to spot a leak though you may have to go exploring in the crawl space (do you have snakes in Wisconsin?). If the piping passes underground there is always the possibility of a leak buried where you cannot see it.
 
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Old 06-06-14, 04:10 PM
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Our well is probably 20-25 feet deep and we don't have a foot valve. The point comes up then we have a t-pipe screwed onto it with a plug in one end and the third end going to the check valve then the pump. We do have snakes in Wisconsin but not where I live (thank god). I checked the toilet and that is for sure leaking. I'm going to do some further investigation in a little bit. Thanks!
 
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Old 06-07-14, 09:02 AM
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Okay so I did some further digging. First of all there is still air in my lines. I will run water at my pump house for one minute then shut it off. When I turn it back on there will ha a slight burst of air. I have no leaks from what I see and the switch is at 40/60 with tank pressure at 38. I did notice a very small amount of water coming out of the pressure relief valve when I filled it up. Could my tank just be shot which is causing my problems with air and loss of prime?? The second thing i noticed is that the flapper on the toilet is leaking but I have no other leaks. In the cottage I'm replacing the flapper in a little bit.

Here is a picture of the setup:
 

Last edited by merrym100; 06-07-14 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 06-14-14, 07:20 AM
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Sorry to keep this thread going but I'm still having issues. Last weekend we turned the switch back up to 40/60 and set the pressure tank at 38psi. Upon changing the pressure my dad noticed a little but of water coming out of the valve that you increase the pressure with. Next we bled the air out of the hot water heater and replaced the toilet flapper/filler tube. We watched it for a few hours and the system stayed at 60psi. Also, there was no air in the water lines for the rest of the weekend.

When we came up this weekend the psi gauge said roughly 55 psi and didn't kick on when we turned the breakers on so we didn't lose prime this weekend. We are noticing all the air again though. It's mostly noticed when the toilet is filling and once and awhile on the hot faucet. I took the filters off of my faucets and the cold sputters a little bit but not even close to as bad as the hot. It seems like the water is completely fine until the pump kicks in and then there's a burst of air. I also checked the pipes and we do not have any leaking pipes, toilets etc.

Last weekend I talked to Menards and they said it's my pressure tank. I don't want to keep throwing parts into my water system so some feedback would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance!
 

Last edited by merrym100; 06-14-14 at 07:35 AM.
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Old 06-14-14, 11:15 AM
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When you say "...the valve you increase the pressure with." What valve is that?

There is an adjustment nut on the pressure switch where you can vary the pumps cut in and out (on and off) pressures. There is Schrader valve (like on a bicycle or car tire) on the pressure tank where you can add or remove air.

---
If you are still getting air in your system I would look at the suction side of your pump for any leaks. If your system is totally sealed then the pipe down the well should stay full of water. If, when your pump turns on you hear it sucking air and having to prime then I'd really suspect a leak on the suction side.

These leaks are difficult to find as nothing leaks out. Air leaks into the pipe. You'll just have to use your Sherlock Holmes skills and check fittings and be on the lookout for any pipe that looks like it might be damaged or rusted heavily.
 
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Old 06-14-14, 11:24 AM
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I was talking about the schrader valve leaking a drop of water.
 
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Old 06-14-14, 01:38 PM
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I talked to a guy at the hardware store and he said in a shallow point well we should have 5-7 feet of water. I pulled it all apart and I have 12 feet of water. He also said that I should be able to pour water in it and it shouldn't fill up, but when I poured the water in it did fill up and would go back down. I'm thinking that means the screens on my point are clogged...right? Has anyone ever tried the tablets to clean the screens out? Any help would be appreciated
 
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Old 06-15-14, 08:11 AM
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When you say "...the valve you increase the pressure with." What valve is that?

There is an adjustment nut on the pressure switch where you can vary the pumps cut in and out (on and off) pressures. There is Schrader valve (like on a bicycle or car tire) on the pressure tank where you can add or remove air.

---
If you are still getting air in your system I would look at the suction side of your pump for any leaks. If your system is totally sealed then the pipe down the well should stay full of water. If, when your pump turns on you hear it sucking air and having to prime then I'd really suspect a leak on the suction side.

These leaks are difficult to find as nothing leaks out. Air leaks into the pipe. You'll just have to use your Sherlock Holmes skills and check fittings and be on the lookout for any pipe that looks like it might be damaged or rusted heavily.
When the pump is running I don't hear it sucking air at all. I did some calculations and don't think that it's possible for me to be sucking the well dry. My point is 20 feet long and I have 12 feet of water in it. When I filled it up the remaining 8 feet it took roughly 15 gallons, so when I get air that should be after 10-15ish gallons pumped out. When I get the air I've maybe taken 3 or less gallons out and it's just a little puff of air, not all air.

Yesterday afternoon I checked all my fittings for leaks and actually pulled the PVC point out and found no issues. I went onto the pump/pressure tank and noticed that the pressure I read with my tire gauge dropped from 38 to 22ish over the course of the week. Also, I noticed a lot of water spraying out. To me that means that the pressure tank is shot. I went to the hardware store and they agreed with me. I upgraded my 6 gallon pressure tank to a 20 gallon and most of the air is gone. None of my faucets sputter anymore, but I'm noticing that the toilet makes a "fizzing" noise. Now I'm not sure if that solved the problem. I've just about had it with my water issues. Thanks for all your help!
 
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Old 06-23-14, 06:40 AM
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This past weekend I monitored my whole situation and figured out that the only time air bubbles are introduced to the toilet is when the pump is running. When the pump is not running the water is clear as can be.
 
 

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