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Thread: New Shallow Well Problem

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Brewmaestro's Avatar
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    Default New Shallow Well Problem

    Finished driving and plumbing a shallow well in my basement last Sunday. 1 1/4" galvanized; static water level in pipe is 22' below basement floor; 1 HP Harbor Freight pump; and a very good ($200) sand point. I used a pitcher pump to bring the water up and condition the well a little before connecting the HF unit. Everything seemed fine on Sunday--very good flow rate--though the pump seemed kind of noisy.
    Next morning the pressure gauge was right were it had been the evening before--50 psi--but when I started the pump by running some water, the pressure dropped precipitously, the sound changed, and the flow stopped. The sound became something like pebbles swishing around in a can. After a minute or so with the faucet shut it recovered, began to pump water again, and the pressure began to rise. The system is hooked up to the outside taps of the house here (we're on city water), and I used it to water the garden for the next couple of hours. Ran beautifully--tons of water.
    Next morning, same thing.
    I realize there must be a leak somewhere. I just hope it isn't below the check valve (that's the first thing as the pipe comes out of the floor). It's check valve; nipple; tee; vertically out of the tee is another nipple and a cap where I had the pitcher pump; horizontally out of the tee is a collar reducing to 1"; a nipple; a gate valve; a nipple; and a flexible connector to nipple on the pump. (If we lose power long term, I can reattach the pitcher pump, close the gate valve, and have fresh water)

    Any ideas? Suggestions? I used pipe dope on the urging of a local well guy (where I bought the point) below grade, but starting with the check valve I used teflon wrap. The pump seems pretty loud--high-pitched loudness.

    Help, please!
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  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
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    Does the pump cycle when water isn't being used?

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    DIY Junior Member Brewmaestro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigpump View Post
    Does the pump cycle when water isn't being used?
    No. Pressure reading stays at 50 psi. Pump stays off until I run the water.

  4. #4
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brewmaestro View Post
    ...static water level in pipe is 22' below basement floor.
    I think the level may be dropping too low for a shallow pump and the high suction is causing cavitation which is probably the noise you are hearing.

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
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    One thing I see that I don't care for is the small suction line from the 1.25 galvanized over to the pump. You should use 1.25 all the way to the pump.

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    DIY Junior Member Brewmaestro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigpump View Post
    One thing I see that I don't care for is the small suction line from the 1.25 galvanized over to the pump. You should use 1.25 all the way to the pump.
    The pump's inlet is 1"

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member Brewmaestro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    I think the level may be dropping too low for a shallow pump and the high suction is causing cavitation which is probably the noise you are hearing.
    All things working properly, the water level should be right at the check valve. Unless there's a leak at one of the joints below that point. Or am I missing something? What's dropping in your scenario?

  8. #8
    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
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    The inlet may be 1" but it looks like the discharge piping is the same size as the flex pipe used on the suction. You might try putting a ball valve on the discharge so you can put a little back pressure on the pump which can make jet pumps run quieter.

  9. #9
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brewmaestro View Post
    What's dropping in your scenario?
    The height of the cone of depression of the static water table. A shallow well pump is limited by simple physics.

    http://www.terrylove.com/forums/show...l=1#post142396

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member Brewmaestro's Avatar
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    I think that's just a trick of the camera. Input flex pipe is 1"; output is 3/4". Would I still benefit from a ball valve? Would I be able to dial in a sound level?

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member Brewmaestro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    The height of the cone of depression of the static water table. A shallow well pump is limited by simple physics.

    http://www.terrylove.com/forums/show...l=1#post142396
    So overnight the water table goes down a bit because of my running the pump, and when I fire it up in the morning that water column might be 25' rather than 22'... Is that it?

  12. #12
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brewmaestro View Post
    So overnight the water table goes down a bit...
    I'm not theorizing what happens overnight, simply stating that you are close to the limit set by the law of physics.

    If you think there is a suction leak, put the pitcher pump back on and reprime it in the morning. Do you get any air expelled from the hose?

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member Brewmaestro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    I'm not theorizing what happens overnight, simply stating that you are close to the limit set by the law of physics.

    If you think there is a suction leak, put the pitcher pump back on and reprime it in the morning. Do you get any air expelled from the hose?
    The condition only arises when it sits for an extended period, like overnight. My theory is that there's enough of a leak before the check valve to allow the water column to drop. The pump starts, the water moves through the system--until the air that has leaked into the pipe reaches the pump. Pressure drops to zero until eventually, after a minute or so of that sound like marbles in an oil can, it starts pumping water again. Then it would go all day.

    I guess I am asking if there is any other explanation that fits these specific symptoms. I understand the physical limitations, but the water is only 22' below the pump. That may exacerbate the problem, but I don't think it's causing it.

    I will start the pump in the morning with a hose in a bucket of water to see if there's a rush of air.
    Last edited by Brewmaestro; 06-11-2013 at 09:03 PM.

  14. #14
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brewmaestro View Post
    Pressure drops to zero...
    When a jet pump starts to lose its prime, if you reduce the draw of water so that it still has pressure, it is less damaging to the pump and the pump is likely to regain prime faster.

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