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Brown water from well in middle of winter

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I posted this in Forums as well, but it's frustrating me so much that it's worthwhile putting it in writing here too!

We've lived in this house for 3 years without any discoloured well water. Suddenly this winter we've had brown water appear twice. The first time seemed to flush through easily enough (several repeat flushes of both toilets seemed to clear it all up). This time (tonight) it's not flushing through and appears to be getting worse.

The water has a silty look to it which I suspect means that the dug well is either close to running dry or has had some kind of dislodgement of ice/silt which has stirred up the sediment.

Now the wretched pump is cycling on/off constantly for the past hour....nothing's running, everyone's in bed and the thing is going on for 14 sec then off for 4 sec again and again.

Before I call someone in (yes, I know this is a DIY website and all the more power to those folks who are capable of doing this) and spend tons of $$$ on assessing the issue, I'd like to understand what the potential problems might be and the $$$ to fix.


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  1. ONMOMOF4's Avatar
    Ok, have turned the pump off overnight and when I turned it back on this morning it ran continuously for 10 min before I gave up and turned it off again. Although while it was on I got in 2 good flushes (still brown water) and then no water pressure at all before turning it off. Thankfully I got a response to the forum posting so I will now reconsider my option of just having it filled by the local water tanker guy and look into getting a professional out to have a look at the well pump and lines. Interestingly, we have recently started parking our 3500 lb trailor on the lawn between the house and the well .... am now wondering if this could be compressing the line somehow.....
  2. dave9341's Avatar
    if your pump is cycling on and off repeadely and you have a bladder tank then your bladder has no air in it. you can check this by turning off the electricity to the pump and then drawing down the pressure in the tank to zero. simply open a cold water spicket until the gauge reads zero. check the air in the tank with a pressure gauge. if you do not have any air in the tank then put some in--two lbs below the lowest pressure setting. if your relay is set for between 40 to 60 then 38 lbs of air is preferred. run the pump for a couple of days and if it still kicks on and off repeadely then your bladder probably has a hole in it and the bladder tank needs replacing. good luck