loss of water pressure
We have sand point well with a Craftsman Shallow Well Jet Pump 1/2 HP, 40/60 Pressure. We bought the house almost 30 years ago and have replaced the pump and the tank sometime in the past but it has been at least 10 years. We have recently experienced a dramatic loss in water pressure. For example when the toilet is flushed we have no or very little water running from a faucet for a period of time. I watched the pressure gauge and it was at 36 psi for 4 minutes before increasing above 40 psi, then less than 1 minute for it to move from 40 to 70 PSI before the pump shuts off.
The pump kicks on every time we use any water. It seems as if the water flow is greatly reduced. It can take 20 minutes to fill the tub for our clothes washer and the shower will have a decent flow for about a minute then there is only a very weak flow from the showerhead.
Any suggestions? What other inforamation would be helpful? Thanks!
For what ever the reason it appears that your pump isn't supplying enough water. It could be a high lift problem. It also sounds as though your tank may be nearly water logged. I'd check the air in the tank. If you do have to replace the pump I'd consider installing a 1/2 hp submersible pump. If you have to replace the tank consider installing a Pside-Kick which includes a small tank which is all thats required with the Pside-Kick and it's included Cycle Stop Valve. This will also give you constant pressure, like city water pressure!
I doubt that the problem is the screens are plugged in the faucets and shower heads because you say that it also takes a long time to fill the toilet.
The bladder in the tank is probably busted. You need to run a few tests to assess the equipment. A drawdown test will tell you how the bladder tank is performing. Right after the pump shuts off, measure how many gallons you can draw before the pump starts up again. Compare the result to the rated drawdown for your size of tank and pressure setting.
A jet pump needs pressure to make pressure, which partially explains why it take 4 minutes to go from 36 to 40 and 1 minute to go to 70. For the well/pump GPM tests, draw water while the pump runs, regulating the flow so that the pressure neither raises nor falls, and measure the GPM. Doing it repeatedly at 40, 50, and 60 PSI, you can plot the GPM curve of the pump. That speaks volumes.
There is a possibility that the sand point may be getting clogged and may need to be backwashed. The loss of flow and pressure could also mean a clogged ejector on the pump.
We had no pressure in the tank, was able to add about 38 lbs and we had water again - for a while. Still had the problem of the pump running an extremely long time before shutting off. The tank lost pressure again.
Pretty sure we needed to replace the tank -- so we replaced the tank (Flotec Pre-Charged Pressure Tank with 40 PSI) and installed the new pump we already had.
we filled the pipe from the well to the tank and we filled the tank with water. We can get the tank primed, will have pressurized water shooting out the plug/guage when loosened.
Can't get any pressure to register on the gauge on the new pump (Craftsman Shallow Well Jet Pump 1/2 HP, 40/60 Pressure). When the pump is running I can feel a flow of air coming out of the water faucet and occasional water shooting out. Letting the pump run for 10 to 15 minutes (maybe) we never got anymore than a little intermittant water from the faucet. When the pump was running my son disconnected the hose running from the pump to the tank so see what kind of water flow there was, it was a very weak flow.
WHAT ARE WE MISSING??
You had mentioned the possibility "that the sand point may be getting clogged and may need to be backwashed" Can you give me any details on that as well? Our pipe goes through the cement floor of the basement and we are wondering if we are going to have to replace that pipe and sand point "end" Before we attempt that I want to make sure we just haven't missed something else that will get the water flowing again!
Sorry not having any luck uploading pictures. Thanks for your help!
It should not be possible to fill the tank with water since it should be filled with 37 PSI of air.
Originally Posted by Newburg
If you get air instead of water, you almost certainly have a suction side leak. A clogged sandpoint would not exhibit the symptoms you now describe.
It was a pretty simple replacement job by my son with plumber/pipefitter union experience but we can start over with new replacement pipes and fillings
Because our sandpoint pipe is over 30 years old....is there something as "backflushing" and is there more of a chance of damage compared to possible benefits??
I mean "pipes and fittings"
Sandpoints were often "rodded" by plunging a rod up and down like a piston. I don't advise it, but I've heard of someone firing a shotgun down the well.
Originally Posted by Newburg
Most sandpoint installations did not have a footvalve and relied only on a topside checkvalve which made it challenging to prime. If you pour water down the well and it takes it fast, it should be able to also make it just as fast.
A 30 year old pipe could very well be rusted through and be the source of the suction side leak letting air in. A sandpoint with no checkvalve can't easily be tested for leaks but if the pump is making air and you don't have any topside leaks, about the only other place the air could be getting into the system is underground.
I wish I could attach a picture but I get the message that my "file is too large". Anyway the set up is rather simple. the underground pipe comes straight up through the cement floor in the basement, about 4 feet total. there is a T at about 3 1/2 feet up that connects to a pipe about 18 inches leading directly to the pump. Above that T, at the top of the "underground pipe" is a cap. When we unscrew the cap and add water to the pipe for piming, we can easily fill the pipe, after it is full, the water will slowly go down the pipe.
Does that provide any clue that there may be an obstruction in the pipe? Or does that sound rather "normal" for our type of set up.
Set your camera down to its lowest possible resolution and it should work. I cant figure out how to reduce the size of 'large photos' unless I e-mail photos to myself.
You have not described anything that would indicate there is a checkvalve anywhere between the pump and the well. If there is no footvalve, the well should take water as fast as you can pour it. If there is only a footvalve and it leaks down, the water would run back down the well and the pump restart. Mind you, a leak in the pipe would exhibit the same symptom.
On some sandpoint installs, they would drop a checkvalve with a soft nipple on it down the well and then drop a weight down to peen the nipple against the inside of the pipe. It would allow you to pour water in faster than it could leak out. Also, sometimes a special sandpoint with a reverse checkvalve was used for wash-down well drilling (see pic). This should not be confused with a footvalve. A footvalve is essentially a checkvalve at the bottom of the well that lets water in (up) but not out (down).
We have made some progress. We just ran a snake down the will pipe just to try something, in case we found an obstruction. When we purchased the house almost 30 years ago, we were told it was a 12 foot sandpoint well, with a 15 foot snake, I think that 12 feet is correct.
Also taped the threads on the old cap at the top of the pipe in case there was an air leak there. Primed the pump and are now getting water and some pressure built up....but....once there is 35 PSI the pump can't build any more pressure, it won't shut off, just keeps running.
Any ideas? Sure have appreciated your help!
You might have stirred up some crud when you snaked the line and it clogged the jet.
SUCCESS!! Thanks for all your help. We decided to pull out the old (30 year old +) pipe and sandpoint and replace it. Was able to pull it part way up (and saw a good size hole in the pipe) before the pipe broke as it was extremely thin.
New hole in the basement floor, new pipe, we are back in business and of course much better water flow than a very long time.
I was pretty nervous about starting something that would turn into a difficult process but all was done in no time at all.
Thank you so much for all your help!! I learned a lot.
To size a picture I use Paint. Go to "Image" and "Stretch and Skew". Make it 20% or so and save. Also I use http://tinypic.com/ to post the picture.