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Thread: Shallow well intermittent problems during February/March

  1. #1
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    Default Shallow well intermittent problems during February/March

    I have a shallow water well, 23 feet. We know it is in a good underground stream. It has been feeding another home for 30 years with no issues. We are not 100% sure we're deep enough but it has worked for the past 3 years got us. We have had drought issues here so low water could be an issue. However, the plumber that came over said we have great water pressure and volume, when he was hooking up some fixtures. No problems through most of the year, just a couple weeks out of the year.

    This is a 1 1/2" pipe with sandpoint. Check valve in vertical position just above ground level. Pump above ground in heated pump house. Pump, pressure tank and pump house are below the level of the house by about 10 or so feet.

    The system has worked good for 3 years for us, except last February/March and now the past week (February again).

    Issues same both last year and this year;

    - pump will lose prime and continue to run.
    - pump them gets hot
    - pump is easy to get restarted, just reprime the pump, the check valve has been holding water up in the well pipe. It will then work fine for a few hours/day until the same problem happens again.
    - pressure switch seems to work fine, does not short cycle and other than when it fails (as I'm describing here) it works fine.
    - the little tube from the pump to the pressure will eventually get hot and rupture spraying water all over the pump house (probably from heat). Only if it happens overnight, so we usually shut the system down overnight during this time.
    - it almost seems like the system gets an air bubble that causes it to lose prime momentarily.
    - system will seem like it is working fine again, work for a day, then randomly this will happen again during this February/March time period.
    - Does not appear to be frozen lines, because it will reprime and work right up again.

    Last year after a couple weeks these symptoms went away and the system worked again all spring, summer, fall and winter until now.

    Why could the system work all year except for a short period of time during the year?

    We are using a Red Lion RJS-75 (3/4 hp) on 110 for a pump.

    Thanks for any ideas.
    Last edited by thompson1600; 02-21-2013 at 05:06 AM.

  2. #2
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    Update;

    Went out tonight about 5 pm and primed it twice. Started right up working again, after having been shut off for about 30 hours.

    Worked great, kids took showers, filled water buckets, washed dishes and ran a load through the dishwasher. No problems. Went out at 10 pm and the pump was working properly, we have water and the system seems fine again after 5 hours. See how long it lasts. hope

  3. #3
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    Update:

    Held pressure all night without starting pump (or at least staying on). Temperature was about -1 with windchills in the -10 area. Showers, toilet flush, teeth brushings this morning all went fine (19 gallon Flotec pressure tank with 5.8 gallon drawdown), so it had to cycle through and all pressure dropped. No pressure at house. Went to pump and it was running, running, running. Suddenly pump stopped and pressure returned to house. Wife said heard the air in the lines and then water coming out again. We'll see how long it holds this time. This was at about 6:30 am.
    Last edited by thompson1600; 02-21-2013 at 05:15 AM.

  4. #4
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    You need to get the sandpoint deeper if at all possible. If the top of the sandpoint is lower than the max lift of a shallow well pump, it cannot draw down enough to suck in air.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    You need to get the sandpoint deeper if at all possible. If the top of the sandpoint is lower than the max lift of a shallow well pump, it cannot draw down enough to suck in air.
    I agree with this. But you could also possibly have a suction leak.

  6. #6
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    Both of these are ideas we agree with. We can't pound right now. The pump house is to short and it's the middle of winter, but we are going to go deeper this spring.

    On a suction leak. How can you tighten the joints that are 10 feet underground without pulling the whole piping system out?

    During the winter our water seems to get colder and seems to get small air bubbles. No difference in taste or quality. Could this be giving us too much air or causing a suction leak type problem?

    Thanks

  7. #7
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    It is possible you have a hole in the casing above the sandpoint and only draw down the cone of depression in Winter. Unless the colder temps cause your piping to contract and develop a suction leak, you would think that the air would be evident at other times too. Do you have any threaded PVC? Sometimes it could deform enough under suction to leak a bit.

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    No PVC, all galvanized or brass fittings.

    We were just wondering if the colder temps could also cause the galvanized to expand or contract with temps to cause leaks.

    Also, about the water being colder itself and having bubbles in it during the winter, could that cause enough of a suction issue?

  9. #9
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    Update yesterday;

    Held and worked all day. At about 5 pm, went to the pump house and the little plastic hose from the pump to the pressure switch had blown off the barb fitting on the pump. Water everywhere in the pumphouse. What?
    Last edited by thompson1600; 02-22-2013 at 12:35 PM.

  10. #10
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    Lose prime, pump gets hot, little tube blows off.

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