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Thread: Cleaning pipe from house to well?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member DarkNova's Avatar
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    Question Cleaning pipe from house to well?

    My well (42' drilled, 6" pipe) has been getting slower the past few months so I had a well company come look at it. The well is about 18 years old and the water would initially come out quickly but after about 5 gallons comes out it would slow down to about 2.5 GPM. They replaced the pressure tank, and that didn't fix it, so they opened up the well and found that the PVC coming up from the pump was practically filled with iron. There was probably just enough room to put a pencil through the pipe. Iron is very common in our area, and when we've tested in the past we've been at about 3 ppm (which is low compared to most people around here).

    They replaced the PVC and the pump was able to sustain about 7 GPM directly from the top of the well, not connected to the house. But when they connected it back to the house it had the same problem, about 2.5 GPM.

    They thought maybe the pump was too clogged with iron so that was replaced too. The replacement is a 1/2 HP 10 GPM pump, 230V 2 wire motor (I think that's the same as the old one). Unfortunately that didn't help either.

    So basically all that hasn't been replaced is the underground pipe from the well to the pressure tank (goes for probably 30' underground) and then after the pressure tank it goes to 1/2" PVC for about 10' to the outside faucet we're testing off of. We're testing before it gets to the softener or anything so we've eliminated all of that.

    Since water flows quickly for the first few gallons, based on the pressure from the pressure tank, it seems to me like the pipe after the pressure tank probably isn't the issue. About the only thing left is the pipe connecting the well to the house.

    If its useful to know, I've left outside faucet wide open and let things run until the pressure tank gauge drops to close to 0. Then I close the valve right after the pressure tank. It is taking almost 3 minutes to get up to 60 PSI, this is on a pressure tank of 22 total gallons size.

    So can anyone think of anything that either I or the well company didn't think of?

    If not, does anyone know of any way of cleaning out the pipe running from the well to the house? They are talking like they may need to retrench and install a new pipe, and I'd really like to avoid that if at all possible.

  2. #2
    DIY Junior Member DarkNova's Avatar
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    Well, they were able to use a snake to get a lot of the gunk out of the pipe, and then flushed it several times. There was a lot of iron in there. It about doubled the amount of flow. They weren't really sure what could be done to prevent this from happening in the future. Does anyone else have any ideas? Thanks.

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    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    Thats what iron does, it plugs things up. If you precipitate it in the well, it will plug up the well. I think it best to pump it out, then deal with it above ground. Maybe put your underground pipe in a sleeve, so you can easily pull out the old and slide in some new every few years.

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    DIY Junior Member DarkNova's Avatar
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    Do you know of any way to not precipitate it in the well? It seems like it is just naturally down there. I have a backwashing calcite filter in my house which removes most of the iron, but the problem was plugging up the pipes between the pump and the filter. If I could get the iron to the filter without it sticking to the walls of the pipe, I think I would be fine.

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    DIY Member royerm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkNova View Post
    Do you know of any way to not precipitate it in the well? It seems like it is just naturally down there. I have a backwashing calcite filter in my house which removes most of the iron, but the problem was plugging up the pipes between the pump and the filter. If I could get the iron to the filter without it sticking to the walls of the pipe, I think I would be fine.
    Out of curiosity, how deep is the water staying???? and how deep is your pipe going to the house?????

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    DIY Member royerm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valveman View Post
    Thats what iron does, it plugs things up. If you precipitate it in the well, it will plug up the well. I think it best to pump it out, then deal with it above ground. Maybe put your underground pipe in a sleeve, so you can easily pull out the old and slide in some new every few years.
    What makes it to precipitate, the air above the water????? I have the same situation but no residue in the pipe coming from the well to the house, but my well
    is constantly full(overflowing) at the top. In my previous setup (aerator+rust remover) I was getting sludge in the pipe but only after the aerator.
    Thx

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    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    I am not a chemist, so take this with a grain of salt. I know oxygen causes iron to precipitate out of solution. Why it does this inside the delivery pipe I am not sure. I think it may have to do with velocity aeration. I know the impellers in pumps get plugged with iron, and they are way below any oxygen. So I am guessing the water being churned up causes aeration, and precipitates the iron. Small water lines also cause high velocity and may be doing the same thing. I wonder if say 2” pipe might slow the velocity enough to keep the iron from clogging the pipe? At the very least 2” pipe would take much longer to plug up. Might be worth a try.

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    DIY Member royerm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valveman View Post
    I am not a chemist, so take this with a grain of salt. I know oxygen causes iron to precipitate out of solution. Why it does this inside the delivery pipe I am not sure. I think it may have to do with velocity aeration. I know the impellers in pumps get plugged with iron, and they are way below any oxygen. So I am guessing the water being churned up causes aeration, and precipitates the iron. Small water lines also cause high velocity and may be doing the same thing. I wonder if say 2 pipe might slow the velocity enough to keep the iron from clogging the pipe? At the very least 2 pipe would take much longer to plug up. Might be worth a try.
    That makes 2 of us My only guess is if it has a loose connection above the pump that would introduce air and act as an aerator????

    DarkNova....Do you have a pitless????? Was the pipe immediately at the pump also clog ??????

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member DarkNova's Avatar
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    Yes, I have a pitless. I agree about doing it with 2" if I were to do it all over again, unfortunately that would be pretty difficult to do at this stage. And yes, the pipe immediately connected to the pump was also filled with iron. It is 1" PVC and the walls inside were coated so much that the actual space for water to travel was only about a pencil's width wide. Fortunately it was pretty easy for them to change that pipe as our well is only 41' deep so there was only like 33' of pipe leading down to the pump. For people with deep wells that would be much more of a hassle. When the pump was pulled up, it was also coated with orange iron build-up. They washed the pump and soaked it in iron-out overnight. Its an interesting theory about aeration causing iron to precipitate out, I'm just not sure how to test that and what I would do about it.

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    DIY Member royerm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkNova View Post
    Yes, I have a pitless. I agree about doing it with 2" if I were to do it all over again, unfortunately that would be pretty difficult to do at this stage. And yes, the pipe immediately connected to the pump was also filled with iron. It is 1" PVC and the walls inside were coated so much that the actual space for water to travel was only about a pencil's width wide. Fortunately it was pretty easy for them to change that pipe as our well is only 41' deep so there was only like 33' of pipe leading down to the pump. For people with deep wells that would be much more of a hassle. When the pump was pulled up, it was also coated with orange iron build-up. They washed the pump and soaked it in iron-out overnight. Its an interesting theory about aeration causing iron to precipitate out, I'm just not sure how to test that and what I would do about it.
    I know about the aeration cause that was the method used with my Culligan Rust remover,
    There was a Micronizer which introduced air and made the iron to coagulate and getting
    caught by the media in the tank, I think they called it clear Iron.
    Let me tell you that everything after the aerator was like you described it, clog and red.

    I'm in no way an expert like some in here, but it may have something to do
    with the type of Iron you have then!!!!!!!! or is this the type(bacteria) you shock with javex?????

  11. #11
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Now, I'm no expert on iron reducing bacteria but I think there are anaerobic forms that can precipitate the iron in the well. They might derive the oxygen from the water and combine the hydrogen with other elements and release it as waste, or is it sulfur reducing bacteria that produces the oxygen? High school chemistry is but a distant memory.

  12. #12
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    I have seen the pump, check valve, and drop pipe clogged as yours did. I assumed it was from the churning of the impellers causing the air. If you make the iron fall out in the well before the pump, then the well gets clogged up.

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member DarkNova's Avatar
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    Interesting...that makes sense to me. Do you know if there would be a different type of pump with different impellers that wouldn't churn so much and cause the iron to precipitate?

  14. #14
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    They all spin 3450, except the Grundfos SQ/SQE which spins 10,600. Maybe a pump jack. They work like a windmill with an electric motor. They are not really conducive to a pressure type system.

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