Well pump not holding prime


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Old 10-10-16, 08:43 AM
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Question Well pump not holding prime

Hello you all

Been browsing Google for a while, new to the forums and thought I'd ask here

I have a 1/2 HP well jet pump

To be specific it's a 36860 Deep Well 2 Pipe Convertible Jet Pump

When I moved to this house in February, the line stopped working in April. Landlord said used the water too heavy and burnt up the pump.

Sent out a well company, stepdad, etc. Finally came and changed pump. Worked from that point on.

Week before last, water pressure falters some days, sometimes goes out. Give it a bit, and it works again.

Now there is no water.

Replaced foot valve, reseated line in water supply, replaced pump.

Primed, got up to 20 psi, but wouldn't turn off.

Figured need adjusting in points.

Used water in household, air gets pushed out of the system

Pump still at 20 psi but won't turn off.

Gotta be those points

But suddenly, poof. All water gone, psi goes down to just above 0. About 5, really.

Seems it used enough water in the house to empty the water that had filled the pump and the pipe as a bath was drawn and the dishwasher was ran.

Not sure what else it could be.

Maybe a break in the line to the house?
 
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Old 10-10-16, 09:06 AM
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If you have two pipes leading to your well try cleaning the venturi which is located at the bottom of the well with the foot valve. If it gets some debris in it it can cause the pump to not develop full pressure and the worse it clogs the worse your water pressure can become.
 
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Old 10-10-16, 09:26 AM
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It says there are two lines, but I only see one? There is a blue tank here that has air pressure in it. Then there is the one line into the ground, a spigot and the cut off valve for the line to the house.
 
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Old 10-10-16, 10:11 AM
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Only 1 intake pipe into the well with foot valve is what i mean to say.
 
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Old 10-10-16, 11:16 AM
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Then you have a standard shallow well. That means you can only draw water down to a maximum of 25' and typically less than that.

From your description it sounds like you are running out of water.
 
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Old 10-11-16, 01:05 AM
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I believe you may be on to something.

Ran it for a bit, pressure died off.

Let it sit for a few hours, got back up to normal pressure. Took a shower, washed some dishes, noticed a dip in pressure.

Cruising at about 10 PSI.

Shut her down, waited a few hours, able to get to 20 again.

Guess I need a blow out in the well or to dig deeper.
 
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Old 10-12-16, 11:46 AM
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Have a question though, still pretty new to this.

Wife left the breaker on even after I told her not to 0 psi.

The pump will not pump water without being primed first correct?

It's still at 0 psi, I switched it on a bit, but not building pressure.

Just trying to understand it entirely.

I'm thinking that the water is running out. So unless we deepen the well, blow it out, or whatever. We'll always have this problem. Was thinking about a storage tank.

At 0 psi, I'm thinking the water won't come to the house cause it can't build pressure and it can't do that because it needs to be primed.

If we get a storage tank, keep it easy on the water use, can we at least get by with this system?

Is there any options for remote pressure monitoring? Like a new sensor that maybe can communicate wirelessly to indicate what the PSI is so I can know to kill the power so I don't burn my pump?

If not, do you think with a say 275 gallon IBC storage tank, I can keep this from happening again?
 
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Old 10-12-16, 03:48 PM
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Where in the state are you located? In most places the common fix is to drill a new well. Old/existing wells cannot be made deeper, you must start with a new well.

A storage tank is an option though it's only done in desert locations where water is truly scarce. You may find that the tank, extra pump and controls make it less expensive to drill a new well.
 
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Old 10-12-16, 04:19 PM
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Jacksonville, NC.

It flooded recently, but water still will drop to 0 psi after 15-20 minutes of it being on.

Just trying to find alternative solutions.

Renting this place, landlord can't afford to have a new well drilled. We don't have any savings to move, can't connect to municipal, also going to cost an arm and a leg.

So just trying to find alternate solutions. Don't want the pumps to keep burning up, but need more water than ours can produce.

But having a new well dug is something I can look into for the future. I'm wondering if the storage tank is a cost effective bandaid for the moment. I can get help filling it from my neighbor, but having a new well dug is a bit out of the budget.
 
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Old 10-12-16, 07:30 PM
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I'm wondering if the storage tank is a cost effective bandaid for the moment.
Not really.

You need a storage tank with a float system to tell the well pump when to run. Then you need another pump to take the water from the storage tank and boost the pressure for household use.
 
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Old 10-13-16, 05:31 AM
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If you are renting it is the landlords responsibility period. Sob stories about no money are no excuse to not provide water to a rental property. Mail the landlord a letter, keeping a copy for yourself and make sure the letter is dated, stating the problems with the well and lack of water. If the landlord does not fix the problem then you can either move or deduct your cost to fix the well/water system from the rent.
 
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Old 10-17-16, 03:27 PM
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Okay guys, so I got the go ahead to design a system and install it and minus the cost off the rent. We are also in negotiation for me to assume the mortgage. Which is what I was partially after.

Anyhow.

So, spoke with my neighbors and they also have a shallow well.

Their well dried up 4 years ago.

Getting a deep well system installed is the only option as other shallow wells have been dug in the area, but no dice.

We have this pump https://scontent-atl3-1.xx.fbcdn.net...f0&oe=58AA7FC7

We are thinking we get two IBC totes (for now) and hook this pump up to pump to the house and use this pump https://www.amazon.com/Seaflo-Diaphr...ywords=rv+pump to slowly replenish the system over time.

Edited post to continue

Anyhow, we would eventually like a rainwater collection system in place. We are surveying a few spots in the yard and our garden shed tin roof would be nice for harvesting water in.

We import distilled water, so the water doesn't necessarily have to be entirely potable. We would only use it for toilets, showers, sinks, etc.

Do you think we can pull the pump off the well line, use it as a pump for our water system to the house and use that small RV pump to SLOWLY top up the whole system?

We are collaborating with nearby neighbors on purchasing some of farm products we are going to produce, as well as helping them with gardens of their own. But we have to get a handle on this irrigation issue.

Just wanting to make sure this is going to work out for us the way we're picturing it.

It seems the system we want to install is similar to a well manager system, but a DIY project.

EDITED Post again for more clarity:

BTW

Drilling a deep well is going to cost a couple grand. I can (theoretically) build this system for 500$ or less.

All the shallow wells at the adjacent properties have dried up because we are up on a high hill compared to the surrounding land.
 
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Old 10-17-16, 04:43 PM
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Yes, you well pump could be used to draw well from the tanks and supply it to the house. You could even pipe it so you just have to switch a couple valves. What I don't understand is your question about using an RV pump to replenish your tanks??? RV water pumps are designed to push water they are not good at sucking water so it will not work to draw water up from a well.

If your well is dry or going dry the tank idea is not a solution. Without water in the well you have nothing to replenish your tanks. You also have to consider that the money you spend on storage tanks, pumps, valves and the headache of living with a DIY Band-Aid system. It is at best a temporary solution so you still need a permanent solution. All the money spent on the Band-Aid system will be largely wasted. While a proper well will cost a couple thousand it can offer a permanent fix and will add to the value of the home.
 
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Old 10-17-16, 04:53 PM
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I like the idea of going off-the-grid even if partially.

So, the RV pump isn't going to work. Okay, I will just buy another well pump then.

Drilling a deep well for a permanent solution will be on the table in the future, but that'll have to be a cost he will have to front. I am not looking to put that much into here unless I am for sure going to purchase.

At least with the water system, if I set it up to be dismantled for service instead of gluing my pipes together, I can dismantle and move it.

I was thinking with such a slow yield, I could use the RV pump to pump it, but I suppose I would need the well pump as it probably doesn't have the strength to draw it from down so far.

I'd like to drill the deeper well, it'd be nice for the reliability, but I have my heart set on this water system for self service purposes.

It'll serve as good practice before I end up going off the grid truly next year when we moved to South Colorado.

To replenish the tanks in the mean time, I was hoping to use this slow flow from the well, but primarily rely on the 55 inches of rain per month we get here on average.
 
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Old 10-18-16, 12:04 AM
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Ok.

So I was fiddling around a little more with it.

Turned the water to the pump on, primed the pump, hit the power.

Built to 20 psi.

Bled the air out of the system, dropped to about 15, hit 20 again.

Let the water to the house at a trickle really, pump stayed around 10 psi, noisily running, water gurgling

Let it run for a bit, and suddenly it became silent and hit 20 psi.

Opened the water up more and more, stayed at a constant 20.

Air in the system? Didn't prime completely?

Anyhow, it ran at 20 psi. Had the wife open up a few faucets (circuit to hot water is off) air spat for a bit, dropped to 15-17 psi.

PSI returned to 20, faucets fully opened.

Flushed the toilet.

Now this toilet has done this a few times and it happened when the water problems started, shortly before that is. It would gurgle and surge.

10 psi.

Shut the water supply off to the toilet, 20 psi.

Turned on the hot water heater, drop to 18 psi, but climbs back to 20.

Open the faucet in the tub up, dramatic loss in pressure. 0 psi and it can't even re-pressurize itself.

Still sound like I'm running out of water?

Keep in mind, my neighbor has a similar well and had another dug but it remained dry after short life.

The water table is decently high in my area, there's a creek 4 houses down, digging 3-4 feet in the ground will bring up water and the vegetation around my house grows at insane rates.

Just my well doesn't seem to be able to handle any kind of water demand.

Not sure if I showed an image of my system but this is it

Name:  well pic.jpg
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Pressure tank seems fairly new, but could this be causing an issue?
 

Last edited by PJmax; 10-18-16 at 12:37 AM. Reason: cropped/resized/enhanced pic
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Old 10-18-16, 12:44 AM
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The plastic receptacle box is a classic.

The pressure tank is there to stabilize pressure. It doesn't create it or use it up.
Has your gauge ever registered over 20 psi ? Maybe something is blocking it from going higher.


All the shallow wells at the adjacent properties have dried up because we are up on a high hill compared to the surrounding land.
The water table is decently high in my area, there's a creek 4 houses down, digging 3-4 feet in the ground will bring up water
 
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Old 10-18-16, 11:18 AM
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It USED to go over 20 psi.

We replaced the foot valve, checked the line to the well and redid all the seals as well as exchanging the pump.

They say the water table is high here. We can dig a few feet into the ground and get water.

But, the well itself could be in a blocked duct or something of that nature?

Last night I was able to use the water on a slow flow and it maintained pressure for over half an hour before running out of water.

I was trying to notate about the water levels in the yard to say I'm not sure why the water could be running out.

Turning on any faucet full force caused a drastic loss in PSI before it would lose it's prime.

I filled up the entire bathtub and 8 gallons of water jugs off of the water.

What could be blocking it preventing it from reaching cut off pressure or maintaining pressure at full usage?

And yeah, I figured that was a hazard with the power box.

There is a creek 4 houses down that floods occasionally. There is lots of water in the ground, but from what I'm researching that doesn't necessarily mean that mine should have water in it.

I'm just trying to figure out why the water supply would run low with so much water in the ground.
 
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Old 10-18-16, 01:43 PM
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Has your gauge ever registered over 20 psi ? Maybe something is blocking it from going higher.
I wasn't clear. I meant something wrong with the gauge itself.
 
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Old 10-18-16, 03:35 PM
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That was a suspected, but untested problem.

I'll obtain an alt gauge and report back.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 01:02 AM
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Morning guys, sorry it took so long for me to reply back. Got some more tools and did some more digging around and investigating and have come back with a more complete diagnosis of the issue.

The land we are on belonged to our neighbors whose dad installed all of the adjacent wells, just not ours.

Pulled the suction line out of the casing. The casing is about 2" just for reference.

The line was 36'

Not a shallow well.

I have a shallow well jet pump however.

I'm thinking this has been our issue all along.

2" casing, shallow well jet pump that says by specs it can't draw water reliably over 25'

Water line is probably about 30' down.

Can't seem to find any deep well submersible pumps to fit a 2" well casing and they want about 5k to redo it.

Any DIY options?

I'm drifting back towards the intermediary storage tank ideas and using the pump to manually fill those.

I'm thinking that when I put the pipe in and fill it, that the water gradually flows and fills up the pipe and once it reaches the water depth limitation is when I'm running out of water, as I leave it for a while and the water will have built back up to slightly below the level of the inlet pipe for my house.

Could this have been my issue all along? I figured it was shallow because of the single line and the pump type, but after measuring I see that it is much more. THe pump I have is capable of converting to deep well operation, but there's no way I'm getting 2 lines into this well casing is there? Or am I not looking hard enough and there is a submersible well pump somewhere that can fit a 2" casing?

EDIT: Pressure gauge was fine. Added air to the tank and it exceeded 20 PSI. Exchanged to test anyway and new gauge had the same issue
 
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Old 11-08-16, 04:57 AM
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There is nothing you can do regarding the depth of your well or drawing water up that high. It's physics and a hard limit based on the air pressure of planet Earth. Water can only be sucked uphill a maximum of 33 feet (at sea level) and most pumps are at their limit to do 25 and at that depth provide little flow. That is a limit of all pumps.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 06:10 AM
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Could it be that this single pipe jet pump was adequate when originally installed; but something has happened to lower the local water table or aquifer, so that you now need a two pipe system in order to have a reliable water source ?

Has there been any major excavation or a substantial number of new wells drilled in the vicinity ?

I think you'll have to research further into installing a 2 pipe system, or converting the existing pump, if that is possible.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 10:56 AM
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For some reason I get access denied trying to log in but yes, there was a well installed not too far from here and they pumped some water out of the creek a few houses down when it flooded.

The landlord hasn't lived here in 5 years.

I figured that would be the problem. Just needed to verify completely. We extended the line down to 46' before we realized what the problem was.

I guess I'll have to pony up the dough for converting it.

The neighbor has a similar depth, similar elevation. Neighbor's dad did something in the well that caused the water level to rise again, said he may be able to do it to mine. Said it was a blow out or something of that nature.

I have a convertible pump that can do 2 pipe, the casing is just 2", my 1/2 barely fits in there.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 12:17 PM
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Do you think this would work?


2 Inch Submersible Well Pump Fits In A Two Inch Casing

It's currently not on the market yet, but maybe this is what I need?
 
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Old 11-08-16, 06:17 PM
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Not what you need. That pump states 3gpm at zero head which means it's output will be dramatically less by the time the water gets up and out of your well. Certainly not enough for a shower. Then when you consider that the average submersible pump draws around 3'000 watts and the one you linked is 300 you'll see that it doesn't have the power you need. Then throw in that the pump is DC and it gets even worse.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 10:55 PM
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Then I'll have no choice but to convert to deep well then. Thanks for your expertise guys!
 
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Old 11-09-16, 03:56 AM
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Originally Posted by JabariNakhti
". . . Then I'll have no choice but to convert to a deep well . . ."
Or try to position the suction pipe a few feet deeper ?

And I wouldn't give up on finding a 2 pipe Venturi that will fit through the 2" ID of your Casing.

What would it cost to re-drill your 2" well for a 6" Casing and make it 50' deep ?

(without being gouged)
 
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Old 11-09-16, 04:55 AM
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Lowering the suction pipe will not change how the well operates. As long as the pickup end of the pipe is below the water the distance of that pipe below the water does not matter. A pump can not suck water up higher than 33 feet (about 25 feet for most pumps). That 33 ft. distance is from the water level in the well.

So, when the well has had a chance to rest and the water level rises to say 10 ft from the surface the pump can work. As the water level in the well is pumped down the volume of water the pump produces decreases. Eventually, when the well has been pumped down to 25 - 33 ft the flow of water will stop completely and the pump will act like it has lost it's prime. The flow will stop even if the intake end of the pipe is still under water.

Just for fun (and to give yourself a sore mouth) Put the end of a hose in a bucket of water. Get on top of a ladder or on the second floor so you are 8+ feet above the bucket. Now try sucking the water up the hose like a straw. Very quickly you will see what every pump on the planet is up against. Sucking water uphill starts easy but very quickly gets hard and by the time you get to 33 feet it's impossible.
 
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Old 11-09-16, 08:12 AM
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Yes, I should have mentioned lowering the suction pipe AFTER converting the pump to a 2 pipe operation with a Venturi; just to be certain that it remains submerged.

40 years ago or so I bought a "camp" up here in the backwoods of Vermont and tried to SUCK water up 50' from a Spring to a holding tank in the attic using a 5 HP gasoline pump. I tried to avoid carrying the 100 pound pump down hill (and then back up) every time we used the Camp. I didn't want to leave anything that valuable out in the open because the Bears would wander off with it while I was gone.

As hard as I tried to suction that water, all the 5 HP pump could do was create a vacuum inside the EDPM Pipe, and collapse it. I learned that you'd vaporize the water as you reduced the pressure . . . . the equivalent of boiling it off in lieu of getting it to move up the hill.

So I had to follow the advice of local (non-hydrologists) and lug that same pump down hill to the site of the Spring and use it instead to PUSH the water up hill to my Camp. Worked good . . . . and I then painted the pump in camouflage paint and covered it with brush to fend off the thieves.
 
 

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