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Thread: dug well emergency foot valve problem

  1. #1

    Default dug well emergency foot valve problem

    I really need some emergency help here.
    Twice in the last 24hrs I have had no water in my house.
    The pump is fine and the well is full.
    Overnight the water recovered and I had enough to do the dishes and flush the toilet a couple of times and then I ran out of water again.
    I am pretty sure that it might be the foot valve in my 100yr old dug well.
    I cannot afford to have anyone look at it so I need to do this myself.
    Can anyone tell me how to know if it is the foot valve and if it is how do I fix it.
    Someone suggested that the valve may need to be raised because of silt. Can anyone tell me how I can to this myself.
    This single working mom thanks you immensely.

  2. #2
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Need more info...

    If the foot valve is bad/leaking, then you will lose prime and have to refill the pump when you lose water. Since you didn't mention having the do that, the foot valve probably isn't the problem.

    So... you run out of water... is the pump still running when that happens? Or has it gotten hot and a thermal overload opened until it cools down?

    If the pump is running, how do you get water again? Turn off the pump and wait some time and then when you turn it on you have some water again?

    If so then you have a dry well condition, meaning the water level falls to the pump inlet and the pump sucks air and the water stops flowing until the well recovers a bit. But if that is the case, you should be losing prime, or in a normal setup of a jet pump, you normally would/should. But stranger things happen. lol

    Maybe sediment has built up to the inlet and is stopping water flow into the foot valve. The cure would be to clean the bottom of the well. I do pump work but I don't know if I could do that myself, I don't really have equipment to do it; which would be what... a big'n powerful wet vac! A boy on a rope seat lowered into the well with a shovel and bucket, maybe after dropping a pump in and pumping the water out to below his chin....

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member captwally's Avatar
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    I agree with Gary, and I certainly understand and appreciate your willingness to get this done by yourself. Sometimes unfortunately, that can't be done as good as your intentions and desires are. Obviously I can't say for sure without being there, and this seems to be just what Gary says.... I THINK. Yes, you could do what is called blowing out the well, or opening a cavity around the well point. You would need some equipment and time, though. If the well has a foot valve then it obviously has a drop pipe inside the well casing that needs to be removed first. Then if you can flag down some DOT worker with a large diesel powered air compressor towed behind his truck and convince him to bring it to your house, attach a long garden hose to the compressor and drop it down to the bottom of your well. Crank the thing up and open the valve wide open. This is quite impressive, as the entire garden hose shoots out of the well, 75 feet into the air along with a lot of water that becomes airborne. Do this several times, because it is in effect clearing out the area around the bottom of the well, and at the same time, if you have boys it is very impressive to them. If you have girls, they will be inside and totally indifferent to the whole situation. Unless you don't get the water back on, THEN they will not be indifferent.... I guess as difficult as it is, call someone to blow out the well, but if you manage to get it done all by yourself, you are one heck of a single Mom!
    Measure Twice, Cut Once
    Wally

  4. #4
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Wally, I saw a 100 yr old "dug" well as a hand dug one that is maybe 3' minimum and up to 6' diameter around here, up to 40' deep. That's why I didn't mention air lifting or bailing etc..

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member captwally's Avatar
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    Very True, Gary.

    More info needed!
    Measure Twice, Cut Once
    Wally

  6. #6

    Default you guys rock

    Thanks so much for your assistance.
    As for the update......I did what any frustrated, confused and desperate person would do....with great respect I hit the pump with a hammer (lightly of course) and it came on and has been working ever since. I am blessed.
    However a couple of days ago my water pressure dropped dramatically and I am not sure why.
    The pressure gauge on the pump reads 40 and the pump comes on like it normally does and sounds normal as well.
    The well is full.
    There is a plastic pipe in the well that comes out of the side of the well close to the top and drops into the well. I assume the foot valve is attached at the bottom of this pipe. I can move this pipe freely at the bottom of the well when I push it with a long metal rod. I assume by this that the foot valve is clear.
    I am stumped by the lack of pressure.
    Any advice????
    I sit humbly waiting for a word from above (that would be you guys) or I just may be forced to hit something with a hammer.
    Thanks

  7. #7
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Ah yes, the love tap method of attitude adjustment, I've used it successfully more than once.

    Sorry but I'm not able to understand the description of what the pump does when you have no water. If the pump is running, and there's 40 psi on the guage, you should have water when you open a faucet.... so maybe the guage is stuck at 40 and not reading reall pressure. That happens frequently and the fix is a new guage and that's the only way to troubleshoot the problem; ya gotta feed us pump guys good data or we're in the dark with ear muffs on shootin' at moving targets.

    If the pump runs and no pressure builds up, then you could have something blocking the 'jet' inside the wet end of the pump where the water line fro the well attaches.

    If the foot valve was leaking, you would lose prime and have to open the outlet of the pump and pour water in it to fill it and the line down the well to the foot valve. If you don't have to do that foot valve isn't leaking.

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates

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