Question about Plumbing

4 Answers

I have an artisian well and all winter the pressure drops. The pump turns on and off all day and night. I noticed water leaking outside the top of the casing. I noticed it 1st when I saw ice on the side of the casing.I have no leaks anywhere in the house or outside. I really don't know what's happening here.

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  • David Myers Mar 30, 2011

    Still hoping someone could help me here. I don't know what I should do. Could it be the pressure tank in the house causing the pressure to drop? Help please!

  • David Myers Mar 30, 2011

    Thanks, I just got home from work. It is a submersible pump. So a check valve can be put in the house where the water enters the house? I was thinking maybe the plastic line that goes from the house down into the well might be cracked.

  • David Myers Mar 31, 2011

    I've been doing some reading on foot valves. Explains wells pretty good. I don't ever get air in the lines and never have lost prime. Seems like because the pump runs so much my water smells bad now. I know my well has very high iron content. When I 1st moved in I would water the grass & flower beds. Didn't think much of the water hitting the house till my whole bottom half of house turned brown. Been here 5 yrs and this is the 1st sign of any trouble. House & well about 13yrs old. Are the new well pumps any more efficient than the old? Just trying to cut the elect bill some. Even bofore this new problem.

  • David Myers Mar 31, 2011

    Ok, i'll have to get a check valve and install one. Probably won't be able to till the weekend because of working. Thank you!

  • David Myers Mar 31, 2011

    I was just checking mine. There is only about 4 inches of plastic pipe coming through the basement wall then a gate valve to it. Then after that the rest of the galvanized piped system. Really no room for a check valve. Looks like I'll be doing some extensive re-plumbing to make room for one. I turned off the gate valve from the well and the pressure stopped dropping.
    Do you think I could just make the 1 1/4" pipe coming out of the pressure tank longer and put it there instead of messing with the plastic well pipe? That might be a little easier, except everything is so short and compacted in. Guess the plumber didn't want it to take up too much space.

  • David Myers Apr 01, 2011

    How do I accept your solution? I do want you to have the credit for it. This is my 1st time on here doing this.

  • David Myers Apr 01, 2011

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    Type your message here Heatman101 has helped me and I want to accept his solution. There is no box to do that. I really want him to get the credit for this. I wasn't aware there was a certain time limit on accepting. Can ou make sure he gets the credit please?

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4 Answers

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  • Master
  • 1,514 Answers

Most water pumps which pump water from a well into a house have a pressure vessel which keeps the water pressure up without the pump running constantly. When the pressure in the pressre vessel drops below a certain level the pump comes on and when it reaches a certain level it turns off. When there's no taps/faucets running the pressure should stay constant. To prevent the water just returning to the well there has to be a non return valve. It's possible that the non return valve is leaking water back to the well. This would account for the pump running night and day. As the water is just returning to the well there would be no sign of leaks.

The fact that you saw ice on the casing could mean that there's a leak elsewhere, the most likely places being either a pinhole in the pressure vessel or a joint. However if these were leaking there would be water to be seen. A pinhole in the pressure vessel would result in a fine jet of water spraying from it while a leaking joint would have a constant, but possibly very slow, drip. If you feel around the joints you should find one of them wet if this is the problem.

The pressure vessel has a bladder, like a football bladder, which should contain an air pressure of approx 20Lbs. Over time this drops and it should be checked and pumped up, if necessary, once every year. There should be a valve, like on a car wheel, for pumping it. It's usually covered with a black rubber dirt cover which can be pulled off to pump it and pushes back on afterwards. To pump this you need to turn off the electric power to the pump and run a tap/faucet until the water stops flowing. Leave the tap turned on while you pump the pressure vessel so that the water can escape and not give you a false pressure reading. You can use a car pump to pump it up. When it reaches 20 lbs you can turn the power back on and turn off the tap. If this pressure drops too low the pump will continue to work but will run almost constantly as it will not be able to hold pressure. When it's pumped up you'll notice that the pump only comes on when the water pressure in the vessel drops.

I hope this is of some value in solving your problem.

Posted on Apr 01, 2011

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  • Master
  • 2,468 Answers

First,!!!, how deep is this well 600 feet or lower??? & what is the (Vacuum/Pull to the up-bound intake gauge to the pump intake) & outbound from this wells pump(& what pressures are there, possibly, are you getting sand into the intake of the pump(from the pump at the base) from the terrain and starving the pump??? Also, is it a Jet or Deep-well unit???

Posted on Apr 01, 2011

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  • Master
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Ok as the moisture turns to Ice and freezes it expands and so do any joins holes or gaps these may or may not close up, when it warms up? if they don't then there is a gap water may come out. The same thing may apply to the water in the ground, , at the surface or close to, the colder water is sort of thicker, harder to move and therefore less pressure would be exerted from under the ground, and less water would come out in colder temperatures? due to atmospheric pressures?
There should be glands, "O" rings, Gaskets, around the mating pieces of the pump, perhaps these should be checked? perhaps at the colder temperatures they don't seal as well, and one is losing pressure?
Also maybe the power energy drops over winter, perhaps the power is browned out, and the pump doesn't get the power to work at full capacity, that it may perform in say the Summer?
It may pay to remove the pump and give it a complete overhaul, and service.
It's all just a theory?

Posted on Mar 31, 2011

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  • Master
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Hi,
You did not say if your pump is above the ground or in the well...

Either way it sounds like the problem is with the foot valve or check valve that keeps the water from going back into the well...

If it is a submersible pump then you can install a check valve by the pressure tank to keep the water from flowing back into the well and out through the pump...

If you have a jet pump on top then a check vlave can be much more difficult and it is probably better to pull the piping in the well and replace the foot valve...

heatman101

Posted on Mar 30, 2011

  • 5 more comments 
  • D. Floyd Kolb
    D. Floyd Kolb Mar 30, 2011

    Did you get my comment back to you??

    There is a check valve that is bad and that is what is allowing the pressure to drop by allowing the water to flow back into the well...



    heatman101

  • D. Floyd Kolb
    D. Floyd Kolb Mar 30, 2011

    Comment back to me as to what type of pump you have and I will then be able to give you more info about how to fix it...

  • D. Floyd Kolb
    D. Floyd Kolb Mar 31, 2011

    Hi,
    Yes, a check valve can be placed in the line before the tank...I don't think the pipe is cracked or the pump would just run and not build pressure and shut off...
    This on/off thing will also stir up the water and can make it smell bad...also...
    The efficiency of a new pump would be just a bit better, but not enough to justify replacing the old pump if it still is working...

  • D. Floyd Kolb
    D. Floyd Kolb Mar 31, 2011

    make sure to do it as soon as possible as what is happening is very hard on your pump...

  • D. Floyd Kolb
    D. Floyd Kolb Mar 31, 2011

    Also, because you did not accept my answer the question went back in the list because I did not respond in 4 hours...please if I have helped you make sure to accept my answer so that I get the credit for it.. Thanks!!

  • D. Floyd Kolb
    D. Floyd Kolb Mar 31, 2011

    Yes... you can place it there by the tank...
    It does not matter where you have it as long as it interrupts the flow of the water back into the well...
    The turning off of the valve confirms what I thought...the water is running back through the pump...

  • D. Floyd Kolb
    D. Floyd Kolb Apr 01, 2011

    Honestly I do not know as I am never on your side of the screen..:-) I will however forward this to the community manager and they will make sure it happens...
    Thanks!! for using Fixya!!! I hope that you still will view this as an overall positive experience.
    You have a very fine day!! I'm glad that we did get your problem solved!!

    heatman101

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