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Thread: Air in pipes at pump startup

  1. #1

    Default Air in pipes at pump startup

    My well, used only for irrigation, pumps some air into the pipes whenever the pump starts, but not thereafter. When this air makes its way to an outlet (hose, sprinkler, etc.) the water shoots all over the place. This is not just an irritant, but is a problem because the water has much iron and manganese and would stain my house or hardscape.

    Is this air at startup normal? What could be causing this air at startup? How can I get this fixed? What might it cost?

    The well has a submersible pump, an 85 gallon pressure tank with a 40/60 pressure switch, and pumps 25 gpm. The pressure tank charge, which I checked today, is 36 psi. The water level is about 90í down. The pressure tank holds its pressure (45, 50, 60, whatever) when the well is not being used and the pump is shut off, so whatever check valve is in place seems to be working just fine. The well is an old one, here when houses were built here 11 years ago. I believe the previous home owner replaced some well equipment including the pump, but left me no documentation, so I donít know exactly whatís down the well.

    Any comments would be appreciated.

  2. #2

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    Do you have an anti-siphon valve in the system? I ask because I had one that would occasionally allow air into the irrigation system.
    -rick

  3. #3

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    No, there's no anti-siphon valve. The only outlet for well water is a hose bib located right next to the pressure tank. (You might wonder why. The previous owner had an unallowed cross connection with the municipal water system. I removed the cross connection which disconnected the well from the rest of the irrigation system.)

    Tom

  4. #4
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    Do you have a check valve up top probably somewhere near the tank?

  5. #5
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    There are some threads missing. I hope someone didn't hack Terry's site and start messing around.

    Here is what is missing that I'm aware of.
    One of two things. Either you have an air maker system that has been disconnected, or someone went to a lot of trouble putting two un-needed check valves in line.

    What kind of tank is this 85 gallon (there is no such thing really) tank? Is it painted or shiny silver colored?

    Stopping the air will not stop the staining from the sprinklers.
    ---End Quote---
    The pressure tank is blue. According to the well man the tank is 86 (not 85) gallons, bladder type.

    I realize that eliminating this unwanted air at pump startup will not change the staining property of the water, but what it will do is eliminate the spurts caused by this air as it exits whatever watering device I might be using. This will keep the water off what might otherwise get stained by these water spurts.



    I'm in the process of a major re-landscape and as part of that I am trying to redo the irrigation system so that I can use the well water.
    Is this a new tank???

  6. #6

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    No, the pressure tank is not new. I moved here about 5 years ago and the tank was here then. The previous owner put in the current tank and also replaced the submersible pump sometime between 1998 and 2004. I have made no modification to the tank/pump/well and the previous owner provided me no information on the well.

    My answer to your check valve question seems to have been dropped from the thread. So, here it is again. Yes, there appear to be two above ground check valves (Flowmatic) each with pressure gauges on the downstream (furthest from the well) side. One is right near the well head and one is about 13' away right near the pressure tank. The piping between well and tank is 1 1/4" PVC. The well man (about 4 years ago) screwed a valve into the upstream check valve (the one right next to the well head) using the threaded hole closest to the well to use to take a water sample. With the pump off no water flows from that valve and both gauges read the tank pressure (40,50, whatever).

  7. #7
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    You either have a leak somewhere down the well or there was an air making system installed way back when. This is what causes the air in the pipes. You would have to pull the pump to fix the problem. The two check valves are confusing me. I have no idea they are for other than the air making system, but only one is needed.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by speedbump View Post
    You either have a leak somewhere down the well or there was an air making system installed way back when. This is what causes the air in the pipes. You would have to pull the pump to fix the problem. The two check valves are confusing me. I have no idea they are for other than the air making system, but only one is needed.
    There might well have been an air making system back when this area was a pasture 12 years ago, but I would imagine that system would have been completely removed when the tank and pump were replaced. But who knows?

    I had been hoping for a miraculous answer, a silver bullet, that did not include "pull the pump", but no luck.

    My neighbors have expressed envy that my property got the well when this area was developed. Once I explain that, so far, having the well has saved me about -$1000 (that's negative savings), and, also, I have not been able to use the well in any significant way, they seem much less envious.

    Perhaps in the future I will have the problem fixed and, thus, further decrease my savings. For the near term I will see if whatever new irrigation system I come up with will be happy with a little air.

    Thanks so much for your responses.

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