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Thread: Can air in plumbing cause pressure problems?

  1. #1

    Default Can air in plumbing cause pressure problems?

    Hello,

    I have a Myers Ejecto Pump and Well Trol pressure tank for my drilled well and I am experiencing water pressure problems. When I use my water, the pressure and flow starts out good and then will suddenly drop down to a trickle. If I shut the water off for a few seconds and then turn the water back on, the pressure will return to normal (for a couple of minutes and then it drops back down). Specifically, here are my observations:
    -static water pressure at the pump is approx 42 lbs (I think this is the pressure it was installed at)
    -when I open an outside faucet, the water will run for approx 1 minute and the pressure will drop to approx 25 lbs, at which point the pump will start
    -with the water continuing to run, after an additional 1 1/2 minutes, the pressure will suddenly drop to <5 lbs, at which time the water flow is just a trickle
    -if the water is not shut off, the pump will continue to run, and the pressure will stay at <5 lbs, with no increase in water flow
    -if the water is shut off, the pressure will immediately increase to 20 lbs, and after about 5 1/2 minutes will increase to 42 pounds, at which time the pump will turn off (this time seems much longer than it used to require to return to 42 pounds)

    Other relevant info:
    -the pressure tank was newly installed about 3 years ago and does not appear to leak
    -I don't think I have any air leaks in the system because if I am not using the water, the pressure does not slowly decrease and the pump does not start on its own
    -I seem to have air in my plumbing because when I turn on the water at some faucets in the house, a large amount of air comes out before any water comes out
    -when the plumber installed the new pressure tank, he told me he eliminated the foot-value from my system (probably a check valve installed?)

    If air in the system is my problem and I need to add water, do I remove the pressure gauge to add the water? There does not appear to be any other place on the pump to add water (see the attached photo).

    Thank you in advance for any help or suggestions you can provide,
    Fred Corey.
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  2. #2
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Based on things I have learned from the experts here, my guess is that your well does not produce enough water and your pump is occasionally intaking air.

  3. #3

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    Thank you for the reply. My well is very old (at least 50 years old) and has never gone dry, but this summer I was using it heavier than normal (irrigating strawberries and raspberries), so perhaps the water level did get low enough in the well to allow the pump to take up some air. If this is my problem, how do I get rid of the air? Is it OK to remove the pressure guage and add water there to purge the air?

  4. #4
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    If the pump has not lost its prime, running a little water somewhere (both cold and hot) should let any trapped air out of the system. Otherwise, yes, I believe you could prime the pump there at the pressure guage.

  5. #5
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    You didn't show the front of the pump which would have revealed if it's a shallow well or deep well. This is not terribly important however.

    I would guess the well has a screen which is getting plugged. That little Myers should be capable of around 10 gallons per minute and your only getting about one from what you described.

    I don't know why your Plumber eliminated your Foot Valve, as it is a needed device. This may be the reason for your air problems. I wouldn't advise calling him back. He obviously doesn't know anything about wells.

    bob...

  6. #6

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    Thank you for the replies. I believe it would be a shallow well because it only has one pipe going from the pump to the well. I have probably not done a very good job of explaining the problem but I don't believe that I am running out of water because the drop in pressure that I described happens just like clockwork, regardless of how long the pump has been running, or how much water I have used.

    The setup without the foot valve (using a check valve instead?), has worked flawlessly for 3+ years. My current problem started late this summer, and coincided with heavy water use for my garden. I don't believe it is the well screen, because the pressure behavior that I described is extremely consistent. The pump is also not loosing its prime, but I thought that perhaps having air in the plumbing was interferring with the ability of the pump to move water.

  7. #7
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    You don't understand that the great pressure at first is from letting the pump run long enough while not using water to let the tank build up with around 5 gallons of water. That is your good pressure for the constant amount of time. Once empty, the pump is what is supplying the water instead of the tank. And the pump is supplying around 1 gpm. Not hardly enough for a good shower.

    bob...

  8. #8

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    Thank you, I now understand and it makes sense the way you describe it. I am guessing the well probably does not have a screen (most wells around here are bedrock wells and we have very shallow overburden...almost always less than 10 feet). Even though there is likely no screen, the well must have slumped, reducing the volume of water storage.

    I really don't want to have a new well drilled right now, especially with winter coming so would having a water storage installed work? Would the tank need to be pressurized or could it simply be something like an old water heater that could provide the reserve?

    Thanks again,
    Fred.

  9. #9
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    The tank could be practically anything. Not under pressure because it would just take the pump longer to fill it and a pressure tank to hold enough water would be price prohibitive.

    You are going to need another pump to make this work along with some controls.

    bob...

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