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Thread: Overdrawing a shallow well?

  1. #16
    Homeowner JVance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    Low enough for what? Low enough to overdraw the well? How low is low enough?

    The laws of physics are immutable. You claim your well is 34 - 35 - 36 feet deep. A shallow well pump cannot pump down the water to that depth to suck air.

    http://www.terrylove.com/forums/show...uot-water-from
    Low enough to cause the problems I described this morning? At this point, I don't understand why this problem is inconsistent. One day, all I get is air and water; the next, there is no air in the lines and the pump appears unable to move any water.

    I hope the professionals are able to diagnose the problems. Our next-door neighbor has had no issues with his well for the last two years; whereas, the neighbor 100 yards over has 3 well heads feeding one pump.

  2. #17
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    I'm sure if you throw enought money at the professionals, they will sort it out.

  3. #18
    Homeowner JVance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    I'm sure if you throw enought money at the professionals, they will sort it out.
    I'm content in the fact that I can bathe in your arrogance this evening; it's better than having no water at all.

    I spent the evening digging a trench to the well line, checking joints for leakage. Tomorrow I will continue until I reach the foundation and can proceed no further.

    I will gladly pay an expert when my time runs short and my family's patience wears thin. The well servicer should be out tomorrow, and hopefully he can provide a few explanations for the problem. He installed my well and my neighbors' wells; at the very least he can add some perspective from his experience with this coastal island region.

  4. #19
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JVance View Post
    I'm content in the fact that I can bathe in your arrogance...
    Not arrogance, ignorance.

    I have suggested several times that the footvalve may not be set deep enough, but then the depth is a mystery to me since you will not divulge it's depth.

  5. #20
    Homeowner JVance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    Not arrogance, ignorance.

    I have suggested several times that the footvalve may not be set deep enough, but then the depth is a mystery to me since you will not divulge it's depth.
    "Divulge" assumes I know the depth to begin with I didn't drive this well, and the only specifications I have for the well were the data listed on the placard inside the well head. Determining the depth of the foot valve isn't exactly trivial...

    Yeah, sometimes the symptoms appear consistent with the foot valve being set too high; other times, the symptoms don't support this (like when there is no air in the pipe and the pump cannot move the water, consistent with the foot valve being set deep enough and the water level below the ability for vacuum to pull the column up). And if there were leaks in the well pipe, the pump would suck air all the time.

    Hopefully, the well servicer's records will reveal the depth of the foot valve, since no such data is on the placard.
    Last edited by JVance; 12-14-2011 at 07:48 PM.

  6. #21
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    I figured it would be easy enough to ascertain simply by pulling up the drop pipe. Personally, I would have done that before digging up the yard. The buried stuff can simply be pressure tested and if it isn't metal pipe it doesn't need to be inspected for corrosion.

    Curiosity alone WRT that second pipe would be enough for me to open the well and if there were a suction side leak, I would test the drop pipe first. The mystery of the presumed second checkvalve would also compel me to open the well.

    Also, since you feel the need to have filters in-line, I would be curious about the condition of the well WRT silting in and would be making plans to purge it. Purging/surging could also increase the yeild.

  7. #22
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    As for the inconsistency of the symptoms, trying to dismiss a root cause based on the symptom is flawed troubleshooting. The large volume of air that you explained later in the thread could well be from the footvalve not being deep enough and the pump not drawing when no air is visible could be that there is air in the system that is not visible. There could also be two unrelated issues such as crud in the injector or a damaged pump from repeated overheating. Could also be crud on the footvalve that sometimes plugs it but later falls off only to get sucked up again.

  8. #23
    Homeowner JVance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    I figured it would be easy enough to ascertain simply by pulling up the drop pipe. Personally, I would have done that before digging up the yard. The buried stuff can simply be pressure tested and if it isn't metal pipe it doesn't need to be inspected for corrosion.
    It's all PVC, and pulling the drop pipe would require cutting two joints; reinstalling would require gluing a new elbow, and bridging the few inches of the feed that was cut out.

    Curiosity alone WRT that second pipe would be enough for me to open the well and if there were a suction side leak, I would test the drop pipe first.
    It's just for sanitization; the well-servicer confirmed that assumption yesterday.

    The mystery of the presumed second checkvalve would also compel me to open the well.
    Already found it. The well-servicer claims they generally run one every 50' or so...I suspect there may be one more, but whether it is in the yard or under the foundation is unknown.

    Also, since you feel the need to have filters in-line, I would be curious about the condition of the well WRT silting in and would be making plans to purge it. Purging/surging could also increase the yeild.
    The "need" may be irrational, as this is my first rodeo. My pump ran hot again this morning and the threaded PVC fitting into the pump deformed and blew out. I'm taking the Texas Wellman's advice and removing the filters in between the pump and the tank; I'm dropping the height of the pump below the inlet of the tank in the hope that any air sucked up will more easily enter the tank, instead of accumulating in the filter housings.

  9. #24
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JVance View Post
    It's all PVC, and pulling the drop pipe would require cutting two joints; reinstalling would require gluing a new elbow, and bridging the few inches of the feed that was cut out.
    Trivial. I would install a union to make future removal much simpler.

    Quote Originally Posted by JVance View Post
    Already found it. The well-servicer claims they generally run one every 50' or so...I suspect there may be one more, but whether it is in the yard or under the foundation is unknown.
    Read the sticky at the top of this forum. Your wellman is old school and his thinking should be challenged.

    Quote Originally Posted by JVance View Post
    I'm dropping the height of the pump below the inlet of the tank in the hope that any air sucked up will more easily enter the tank, instead of accumulating in the filter housings.
    The laws of gravity have not changed since Newton's time and that is how the pump should have been installed from day one. Again, the credibility of the wellman/pumpman is brought into question for that alone, let alone the choice of using PVC that melts down.

  10. #25
    Homeowner JVance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    The laws of gravity have not changed since Newton's time and that is how the pump should have been installed from day one. Again, the credibility of the wellman/pumpman is brought into question for that alone, let alone the choice of using PVC that melts down.
    The laws of gravity? How about you cut the smarter-than-thou attitude. Many shallow well jet pumps are installed above the inlet of their pressure tanks.

    And FYI, I installed the pump. There was no pump when I bought the house. I installed it at a height similar to my neighbor's as a sufficient precaution against being damaged by flooding (step away from wiki-physics for a second and brush up on your geography ). I'm using the existing PVC that was plumbed into the slab. If the pump body is getting hot enough to deform the threads of my PVC fitting (as well as PVC 6" upstream of the pump), a stretch of metal pipe and it's minimal surface area isn't going to dissipate enough heat (wiki heat flux, go learn something) to prevent it from deforming whatever PVC fitting it would be connected to.

    Whether I inherited the problem or I've created it, I'm trying to fix it. I've grown tired of discussing this with you; what do you have to offer besides parroted responses and baseless attacks against people you don't know? I'm sure you're well aware of the old adage about assumptions; go troll some other thread.

  11. #26
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JVance View Post
    I'm sure you're well aware of the old adage about assumptions; go troll some other thread.
    Assumptions are all I have to go on since you are in control of what facts you choose to divulge and what preconceived notions you decide to present as fact.

    You came here with the preconceived notion that all you needed was some throttling device. When Texas Wellman suggested you install a throttle valve, you replied that you would go shopping. Now he did not elaborate but some folk will throttle with a ballvalve which you already have so I'm not sure what you went to buy.

    I proposed that you lower the footvalve and raise the pressure to dynamically throttle your pump but you you only made some comment about the footvalve being low enough without even knowing how low it is. Then you deferred to the professionals...

    You tar me for challenging old school thinking and defend the professional, based on what? How well it's working for you?

    You hurl the first real insult with your "arrogance" comment and now follow up with "smarter-than-thou" and "troll"? I think you know not the meaning of troll.

    You are here to get something. I am here to to get something and to give something back and maybe have a bit of fun while I'm at it. If you cannot take a little bit of colourful writing in stride, too bad, so sad. I still do wish you well.

  12. #27
    Homeowner JVance's Avatar
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    I met with the wellman this afternoon. He claims the drop pipe has no foot valve; the check valve that is outside of the well head prevents the well from losing its prime. The drop pipe is 3/4", which runs within the 1 1/4" casing down to about 34'. The "2nd pipe" tees into that 1 1/4" casing for sanitizing.

    How is air getting to the pump? His explanation was that it was simply the nature of the sandy, shallow wells on this island...gases dissolved in the water coming out of solution under vacuum, and remaining gaseous after hitting the impeller of the pump. Maybe the "amount" of air I thought was moving through the pump was exaggerated by it collecting in the filter housings?

    I suppose if there was a leak in the drop-pipe allowing air in, the well would lose its prime if there was no foot valve; I'm not in a position to confirm whether the wellman's information is true or not. There could be a leak elsewhere, but if so, it may be separated from the pump/tank by a 2nd check-valve, as the tank does not lose water/pressure...I haven't yet found another check-valve. Or, the air is just a characteristic of this well, as the wellman suggested? Any sandy, shallow, low-yield well folks with this experience?

    Texas Wellman, the filters between the pump and tank have been removed.

  13. #28
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JVance View Post
    I am trying to troubleshoot some issues with the well in our new house
    If it is a new House, New Water Well, It seems to me that it would be better to have the original driller fix the problem.

    Just my observation...


    Did Texas WellmanŽ do Your work ?
    I doubt it, or it would be working properly...
    Last edited by DonL; 12-15-2011 at 01:33 PM.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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  14. #29
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JVance View Post
    ...gases dissolved in the water coming out of solution under vacuum, and remaining gaseous after hitting the impeller of the pump.
    That is the quintessential definition of pump cavitation but I've never heard of it displacing a quart of water in a filter the way you described it. All this air that is going through the system has to go somewhere. Does it spit out of the faucets or does it reamalgamate into the water?

    As for what it takes for a pump to lose its prime, that varies. Given the description of the drop pipe, the air that was in it at various times of the well's existance had to be removed by the pump without the pump losing its prime using perhaps as little as a gallon of water to start. Perhaps the pump being the high point means the water prime falls away by gravity.

    Did the wellman pull the drop pipe to confirm the depth or are you relying on his recollection?

  15. #30
    Homeowner JVance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    If it is a new House, It seems to me that it would be better to have the original driller fix the problem.

    Just my observation...
    I agree, and that's why I met with him this afternoon.

    All he did was drill the well and do the original hook-ups with the contractor-provided pump and tank. The house sat vacant for 3 years since it was finished and the original pump was stolen. I installed the new pump and replumbed the pump and tank thinking I researched enough about what to do, but I clearly didn't; nor did I know what to expect (well, not this...) since I've only recently discovered this particular well's rated yield.

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