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Thread: Pump is dying

  1. #16
    DIY Senior Member tvl's Avatar
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    Default More Problems

    More Problems - Need your Professional opinion

    OK, I need some really good advice ............. I will try to make this really brief:

    1- For the past 3 or 4 years I have been posting here off & on about my suspicion of our 4 inch sand well possibly having some kind of problem.
    2- Well, this past week the 18 year old 1 HP submersible pump showed that it was on its' very last leg. As indicated in one of the above post, it was replaced on Friday.
    3- Either the new 1 HP F&W pump is a much stronger pump than what I had OR the old 1 HP pump had deteriorated much, much longer back and I just had not realized it ................ and the pump just did not want to give up.
    4- Last year I had mentioned it appeared the well may be going dry .................. but, this year things looked much better. Turns out, it wasn't much better this year, the old pump just could not pump as much water ............. as noted in one of the above post the impellers were just about shot.
    5- The new 1HP F&W pump pumps very well .............. and I am sure my old pump did just as well a few years back. However, the new pump can empty the well in a short while ............ remember this well is for our lawn sprinkler system, washing autos, etc. and nothing more. We have city water for the house.
    6- So, here is what I had to do today to keep the sprinkler system operation until I can get something else done. I first had to partially close the ball valve (roughly half way) to throttle down the flow. I then had to adjust the pressure switch so that the pump would cut off at about 52 PSI and cut back on at 34 PSI. I do have a 40 gallon water tank connected to the system. This means the pump runs for about 2 minutes and is then off for about 40 seconds until the tank empties and the cycle then repeats. I KNOW this is not the best approach and I do not like for a pump to cycle. The sprinkler system was designed for 10 gallons a minute .......... at about 50 PSI and up until today ALWAYS ran constantly.

    So, here is what I need to know:
    1- Is the well salavageable? With the well seal raised about 10 inches, I can put my ear near the opening and it sounds sort of like a water fall going on down inside. The well is 145 feet deep and the driller put two 20 foot sections of "strainer' on the bottom. I say strainer, the 4 inch pipe appeared like it had very small cuts from one end to the other. I've never seen this type pipe at Lowe's, etc., but I am sure it is a standard for well drillers. Can these slots get clogged over time and simply "starve" the well of water?
    2- My two neighbors on either side of me are having no issues. One has a well that is about 100 feet and the other has a well that is the same depth as mine. Is this a good sign that our stream probably isn't drying up? For many years our static water level was 111 feet AND did not drop even when sprinklers were running! The well is 35 years old.
    3- Now the static water level is about 117 feet and as indicated, drops a lot. And yes, lots of folks have put in wells in our neighborhood over the years.
    4- Based on what I have stated, would it be worth having a driller drop a camera down in the well to determine what is going on? Or, no matter what, it would be difficlut to "fix"?
    5- Or, is it time for a new well?
    6-And finally, if I have to run our new pump as described above for about a month or so, would that be acceptable? I don't want to ruin the new expensive pump nor do I want to let the lawn suffer ......... nothing but sand here.

    Oh, by the way ............ the well has always pumped a small, small amount of sand. However, today after about 2 hours of run time I estimate the filter had about 1 full tablespoon of sand ............. I caught a little of the sand as I purged the filter. Cant't lower the pump anymore as it is already 1 foot from the bottom and has been like that for years:

    All comments appreciated .... and feel free to ask questions

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    Last edited by tvl; 06-08-2013 at 06:19 PM.

  2. #17
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Just close the ballvalve a little more so that the pump stays running. If you slow down the flow a little more, you will probably bring up less sand and the well might keep up.

  3. #18
    DIY Senior Member tvl's Avatar
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    Thanks LLigetfa!

    I really do not want to close the ball valve any further because:

    1- I'm not so sure this is good for the pump ........ long-term or short-term? This pump was designed to deliver a certain amount of water, which I have already altered and I don't feel "good" about closing the valve any more.
    2- Closing the ball valve naturally decreases water volume, but also increases pressure .............. which is one of the reasons I adjusted the pressure switch. Being new, this pump can certainly deliver high pressure. Once again, I wouldn't feel comfortable running the sprinkler system at maybe 70 PSI.

    Although my current setup may not be the best, it appears I have met a happy medium for now ............... water output somewhat altered along with adjusting the pressure switch so that the pump cycles periodically is buying me some time ................ not to mention the well isn't runnning dry. And, I do know for a fact the water level is dropping to about 17 INCHES above the pump INTAKE before cycling.

    Please keep those thoughts coming ............... hopefully some of the well drilling experts will chime in shortly and answer my questions from the earlier post.

    Thanks again!

  4. #19
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    It is standard practice to use a dole valve to limit flow and it just makes the pump think it is deeper than it is. That is how a CSV works.

    My pump is being flow limited by my micronizer which has a port that is smaller than a pencil. Without it, the pump will pull up sand. By cycling your pump, you are probably surge developing the well and so may bring up more sand. If you are lucky, the find sand will go through the screened casing and the coarse sand will eventually form gradient layers. If you are not so lucky, the screen will clog and you will lose recovery rate.

  5. #20
    DIY Senior Member tvl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    If you are not so lucky, the screen will clog and you will lose recovery rate.
    That is what I am wondering if has already occurred ............. the screen has become clogged, which is "starving" the well of a proper recovery??????

    And as mentioned earlier, if this truly is the case, can the well be repaired OR it is just about as cheap to simply drill another well??????

    Update: Just went out to check and clear filter ........ LLigetfa appears to be correct. I am pumping more sand than usual; a lot more. The filter is like the one pictured below. Generally, after each days sprinkler cycle (about 6 hours total run time) the filter has maybe a teaspoon full of sand. This has been the case for quite some time now. But today, the filter was about 1/3 full!!

    LLigetfa: If I were to close the ball valve even further, that would also increase the water pressure ............. which is why I adjusted the pressure switch earlier. I really believe our sprinkler system will encounter other issues down the road with higher pressures. It was really designed to be run at 40 to 50 PSI. A catch 22 situation; correct? I may be better off simple leaving the water system off ................ which isn't what I wanted. I was hoping to buy time while I negotiated a repair or new well.

    And another thought: If I knew the well would not deteriorate any further, I could simply buy a new lower rated head for my new pump. The one I have now is rated for 10 gallons ................ a 7 gallon pump may fair well, run constantly as it should and not deplete the well. At least this is my thinking!

    For Valveman: you were right - the stick up height of the OLD motor shaft was shorter than 1.5 inches by a full 1/8 inch

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    Last edited by tvl; 06-09-2013 at 11:34 AM.

  6. #21
    DIY Senior Member tvl's Avatar
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    Default Another Difficult Decision

    Another Difficult Decision

    I just got off the phone with a local well driller. He states that based on what I have told him and the fact my neighbors are not experiencing any issues, the well might possible be resurrected by a thorough cleaning. This doesn't come cheap ............ about $1500. But, if it does work, then I will be very pleased and consider it $1500 well spent.

    On the other-hand if it doesn't, I will be out of $1500 ...... PLUS I will still need to put in a new well for which the $1500 can NOT be applied.

    Any suggestions from you expert well drillers? Is this a good gamble or is it a LONG shot at best?

  7. #22
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tvl View Post
    LLigetfa: If I were to close the ball valve even further, that would also increase the water pressure ............. which is why I adjusted the pressure switch earlier.
    I assumed you had a ballvalve between the pump and the pressure switch/tank. That is where a dole valve would go. It would not increase the pressure on your sprinklers, only on the line from the pump to the tank.

    Ask the driller how he plans to remediate the well and ask what a new well would cost to drill. Even a new well comes with no guarantee and if the formation is just fine sand with little or no coarse, the sand could still be a problem.

    In these parts, it runs about $50 per foot.

  8. #23
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Here is a link explaining high pressure jetting.

    http://www.hydropressure.com/welljet.html

  9. #24
    DIY Senior Member tvl's Avatar
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    I'd like to ask the following question once again and see if I can get any additional responses:

    Another Difficult Decision

    I just got off the phone with a local well driller. He states that based on what I have told him and the fact my neighbors are not experiencing any issues, the well might possible be resurrected by a thorough cleaning. This doesn't come cheap ............ about $1500. But, if it does work, then I will be very pleased and consider it $1500 well spent.

    On the other-hand if it doesn't, I will be out of $1500 ...... PLUS I will still need to put in a new well for which the $1500 can NOT be applied.

    Any suggestions from you expert well drillers? Is this a good gamble or is it a LONG shot at best?

    My gut feeling is the well probably isn't drying up, but is being "starved" because the 4 inch casing/screen has become clogged. With all of the sand I am seeing, it certainly can't be helping the situation!

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