View Full Version : shallow well pump loses prime overnight

08-07-2005, 09:45 AM
I had replaced my shallow well pump last week. I had a meyers 3/4 hp well pump and replaced it with a Sear's 1 hp convertible shallow well pump. The well worked great before I touched it. The pump was about 10 years old and was really getting very loud to listen to. Since the change over I am losing prime after a period of 6-10 hours. I then must remove the cap and bleed some air off before it will pump again.

Is this the sign of a bad foot valve?

If I have to change the foot valve would it be better to change this pump to a jet pump?

The well pump has only a 1 inch pipe from the well. Is this to small of a pipe? should it be 1 1/4 supply?


08-07-2005, 09:53 AM
I'm not well expert but I had a similar problem that ended up being a bad check valve.

Gary Slusser
08-07-2005, 12:15 PM
"I then must remove the cap and bleed some air off before it will pump again"

What cap? Bleed air off... meaning there is air that comes out of something you remove the cap off of?

Do you add water (prime) or not to get the pump to move water again?

Quality Water Associates

08-07-2005, 03:45 PM
Sounds to me like you didn't use enough pipe dope on the suction line Fran. If everything worked good before you "touched it", the problem must be in the plumbing.

Tighten the pipes you reinstalled by first using a good teflon pipe dope. Then see if the air goes away.


08-07-2005, 06:27 PM
I have doubled clamped each of the 90 degree fitting that enter the house and come up to the pump. On the 1 1/4 inch pump housing I have a 1 inch barbed fitted with double stainless steel hose clamps. On each of the 90 degree barbed fittings I have the same clamping system. They are all very tight. The system shuts down over night and loses the prime. In the morning I have to go down to the basement and turn the pump on and let it run. It is then that I crack the plastic plug on the pumps suction side ro bleed off a little air and most times the water will start to flow. You can hear the difference is the pump when the pump starts to pull water. Sometimes I can start it by just turning the switch off and on a couple of times in rapid sequence to get it to catch. They also have this thing that is call a regulator. It is on the suction side of the pump and you can adjust it with a screw driver. You can run it in and out. I have it set at wide open. Please any help would be greatly appreciated.

Gary most times I do have to add just a little water to the suction chamber of the pump to get it to draw. But I have become so in tune with this pump I can get it running and just crack the cap on the suction side and a little water sprays out and then I retighten it and the pump pulls hard till it reaches 60 PSI and shuts down. It pump well just that it loses prime after an extended down time,


08-07-2005, 07:54 PM
Do you have a foot valve on a 11/4" shallow well, or a spring loaded check valve between the pump and well?

08-07-2005, 08:37 PM
Check valve doesn't have to be "spring loaded" it can also be the hinged door type to lose one's prime over time.

08-08-2005, 08:57 AM
Did you say you have a regulator in the suction line? If so, it don't belong there or anywhere on a shallow well pump.

When you went to Sears and bought a convertable pump, you should have bought a shallow well jet pump.

Tightning up the clamps don't help at all if you don't tighten the barb fittings and put them in with some sort of pipe dope. Also when you put the poly pipe on the barb fittings, did you heat it up first? If not; that is another possible air leak.

Another thing, you said "The system shuts down over night and loses the prime. In the morning I have to go down to the basement and turn the pump on and let it run." Why do you shut the pump off in the first place? Don't you have a tank with this system? If it were left on it wouldn't lose it's prime. If there were a leak, it would just cycle now and then.


08-06-2008, 01:23 PM
Hello all, I'm having the same problem.....................what was the outcome of this?
I have a new driven well with a new check valve, well point, ETC, with a new craftsman shallow well jet pump. I'm losing prime after an hour or so. I have installed a petcock on the priming port to allow trapped air from pump and it will reprime. I have also installed a vacumn guage on the suction side of pump and i will pull 20" of vacumn with pump running and hold 15" of vacumn when pump kicks off. I can hear aeration in the pump
(sounds like a handful of marbles smashing around) when I'm pumping. All my connections are tight...........triple checked. could something be wrong in the pump/jet assembly? please help!!! Jeff

08-07-2008, 05:34 AM
The vacuum gauge tells me you have air leaks. Did you butt your sections of pipe in the drive couplings?

The noise the pump is making tells me you have air leaks also.

Read the Sticky about installing 1-1/4" wells at the top of the thread list. Especially read the part about butting couplings.


08-07-2008, 11:48 AM
Hi, I only got 20"of vacumn, but this was in the time it took to build pressure from 35 PSI to 60Psi, it may of gone farther. When the pump stopped, it went to 16" hg, What should it be? 30"hg? I didn't "butt" couplings together, but they are tight, tight to the point that I was afraid that I was going to snap the pipe. I used two 36" pipe wrenches to tighten it. I have 3 couplings. One at the point (3'), the next one section is 21', the next at 10' and the last at 3'.they are drive couplings
Could anything in the pump/jet assembly be causing a vacumn leak? I will double check the vacumn readings. These are takin BEFORE the check valve, so this will tell me if I have a problem in the well casing.
Also, this is in a 3 1/2 casing driven approx 24' into ground. I'm using 1 1/4 well piping for water. The water table is 16' from surface, the well is driven 38'
thanks Jeff

08-07-2008, 02:23 PM
The vacuum is always the highest when the pump is pulling but there is no pressure (assuming it's primed).

If you didn't butt the couplings, they are not tight.

The jet itself cannot be the reason for an air leak unless it's in the gasket that seals it to the pump. The rest of the suction leaks have to be fittings.


08-08-2008, 07:51 PM
lots and lots of experiance here tells me its one of of not two things that are generally always the problem. You have a suction line leak somewhere. Either the fitting was not doped or tightened properly or the pipe was not softened before clamping or the clamps are too far apart and not staggered but believe me, if it wasn'nt loosing prime before you changed it, you have something loose. The other thing is the foot valve which again if it was holding before you changed the pump, it should be ok but maybe the pump devil is against you so check it if you have to. Yes I have seen some pumps have defects in them, particulary sears and sta-rite (same thing) pumps with the steel band that holds the pump together. But most likley its a suction line leak.

08-10-2008, 02:41 PM
Hello Guys, I want to say thanks for all the advice. Ok, heres what I found. I switched pumps out with a spare I had, I had the same problem with sucking air. I installed a vacumn guage on the suction side of the pump between the well point casing and the checkvalve. When I 1st primed the pump, I got 28" of vacumn. It slowly dropped off to 16"Hg and I can here the pump sucking air.This is when I'm tring to fill the tank. Now if I shut the inlet to the tank off and just run a hose from the outlet of the pump, I will build and stay 28" of vacumn with a good flow. I know that I'm sucking air, but I want to be sure that it would be in the well casing before I pull it up. A few things to note.
I didn't "butt" the drive coulpings together
I didn't heat the poly hose before I clamped it w/2 stainless clamps (this is on the pressure side going to the tank)
I'm using 1 1/4 galvinized pipe 37' to the point ( 16' standing water to ground level) in a 3 1/2 casing 24' in the ground.
I have good flow from the pump with no backpressure( IE. filling the tank)so I do believe the point is in the stream. Would it be a safe bet to pull the well point and "butt" the pipe?
thanks again for all the good advice, Jeff

08-10-2008, 05:10 PM
If you did'nt heat the pipe before clamping that's probably where it leaks.

08-11-2008, 06:50 AM
I agree, if you didn't heat the Poly, you probably have air leaks there. I would try that first as oppossed to pulling the Well. If that doesn't do it, then you may have to pull it. Then Butt the couplings.

Another thing. I know you put the vacuum gauge in to do some testing, but the fewer fittings in a suction line, the better.


08-11-2008, 07:18 AM
Grundfos makes a shallow well pump that will actually pull through a small suction line leak, Amazing.

08-11-2008, 11:00 PM
Hi all, thanks again for the advice. I will heat the poly and reclamp it, can't hurt, right? And definitely easier than pulling the well pipe!, but will having a leak on the pressure (output) side of the pump still cause a vacumn leak? This is where the poly connects from the pump output to the tank. Wouldn't I lose pressure from the tank through the poly if the clamps/fittings were lose?
Thanks again, I'll let you know how I make out with the poly. Jeff

08-12-2008, 05:30 AM
The suction line is the only one that is important for eliminating air leaks. If the pressure side has leaks, it would be leaking water out not air in.


08-12-2008, 09:56 PM
Hi I heated the poly and reclamped, reprimed. I'm still getting air in the system. Its gotta be in the well point casing. I'll pull the well in the next few weeks and "butt" the couplings. I'll let you know how I make out Thanks again, Jeff

08-25-2008, 01:04 PM
Hi, well I pulled the casing up and "butt" the couplings. now I have little to no flow, and I can't tell if its still sucking air because of no volume. I'm down the same distance I was before (37'). The only thing I can figure is I'm not straight down. Is there a chance that I wasn't all the way in the stream in the 1st place and sucking air that way? Thanks Jeff

08-28-2008, 07:04 AM
There is a very good chance you aren't in the stream (aquifer).


09-20-2008, 09:19 AM
Hi all, Ok, I got the well working again. I ended up backwashing the point then it started flowing again. The problem is I still lose the prime in the pump overnight. Heres my new thoughts. Could the stream not be suppling enough water or the pump overpumping the well and causing the pump to suck air? also, what is the purpose of a captive air tank in the system?
FYI the pump I'm using is a craftsman convertible 1HP with a shallow well jet attached. It has a built in flow regulator which I have set to minimal flow from the pump, just enough to fill the tank 20 PSI in 4 mins. Thanks for all your help, Jeff

09-20-2008, 12:25 PM
I just realized this thread was restarted from a thread originating in 2005.

If you have a check valve at or near the pump and loose couplings down the well casing, that is the reason your losing the prime. The check valve holds the water in the tank while the leaks in the couplings let the water seep back down and also let air into the casing. When the pump restarts later, it gets a shot of air and loses it's prime.


09-20-2008, 08:25 PM
Hi all.... this well is driving me nuts!!!! I have pulled the well point up and butted the couplings. I really doubt its sucking air in the pipe connections, especially since I pulled the well point up, disassembled ALL three couplings, redoped them and tightened them till they were butted and still have the same problem. I have a "T" at the top of the well where I install the vacumn guage. If I leave the guage connected with the pump not pumping, the vacumn will stay the same for the duration of pump standby. From the "T" i have a close nipple to the check valve( the vacumn gauge is BEFORE the check valve) to a 90 street "T" to a pipe coupling to another close nipple into the suction side of the pump. This was also completely disassembled and redoped. This whole section is maybe 16" long.
I was thinking that maybe the aquafier is going dry (remember I'm only down 37 feet) and whats happening is i'm overpumping the well. causing cavitation.
ever came across this? thanks Jeff

09-21-2008, 07:24 AM
you have a leak somewhere between the check valve and the well point. You may have a fitting that is buried and is leaking or it could be the line itself. How much water does the well pump? What type of fittings are you using for your connections? If they are plastic, i would get rid of them and use brass barbed fittings.


09-22-2008, 01:57 PM
Hi All, I have 1 1/4 galvinized pipe. I have a 3" 1 1/4 sand well point.....60 mesh 1 1/4 drive coupling to a 21' of 1 1/4 galvizinized to a 10' length of 1 1/4 galvinized to a 3' length of 1 1/4 galvinized for a total of 37' there are 3 drive couplings from the sand point to the pump. I pulled this to "butt" the couplings. Everyone keeps saying that I have a leak from the point to the check valve. Then explain to me how when I install the vacumn guage between the check valve and the well point, it will hold a vacumn. I went for two weeks and still held the same 28"of vacumn that I started with.If iI had a leak, i would thing that I would vacumn. My question to everyone is can the aquifier be going dry and I'm overpumping the well which is causing the pump to suck air and cause cavitition? Thanks Jeff

09-22-2008, 02:03 PM
Hi, also, how do I figure the GPM of the well? Keep in mind that if I open the flow control, I will get more flow, but will lose prime before cut off pressure. Also, do you think that the sand point is down too far and into the clay? Thanks again, Jeff

09-23-2008, 06:32 AM
If your losing prime and sucking air, you have an air leak. I can't say it any simpler than that. When you draw a vacuum on a pipe, you don't draw down the well, you simply pull a vacuum and the screen lets the water in as fast as it can get there.

I can't explain your vacuum gauge staying put, but then I never use one anyway. A pump either pulls a vacuum or it doesn't. If it doesn't, chances are the impeller is full of stuff or broken off the shaft.

I can't tell you what material your in with your point any more than you can tell me. That's why drillers drill ahead of the casing to see what material is actually there. Driving a point is going at it blindly.