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Thread: Well running dry even after 2 holding tanks installed????

  1. #1
    DIY Member philtrap's Avatar
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    Question Well running dry even after 2 holding tanks installed????

    Folks,

    This question is regarding my family cabin located in Vermont. We have a 250 foot deep well. We would run out of water when the whole family (5 adults and 6 kids) would stay over a long weekend so we had two Amtrol WX-302 tanks installed. We conserve water by not flushing the toilet and take short showers and limiting dish washing, but even after the tanks were installed we still run out of water so I'm wondering if the tanks were installed correctly. The photo shows the two tanks. The well water comes from the back corner of behind the smaller tank where there's a pump. Any help would be appreciated. I'm sure you'll need more info probably like pump sizes... I don't have much info at this time and would have to go to the house, but I was wondering if nyone could see fault in the install of the tanks since they didn't do anything to solve the problem and we don't see any increase in water.

    Thanks in advance.

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  2. #2
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    The well is what produces your water not the tanks. You could install ten tanks and if over draw what the well can produce you will run out of water.

    John

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    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Each of those big tanks will only give you 30 gallons. They also represent a load on the well since they need to refilled in one long non-stop cycle.

    Did you put a dole valve on the pump to rate limit it?

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    DIY Senior Member Reach4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by philtrap View Post
    Folks,
    The well water comes from the back corner of behind the smaller tank where there's a pump. Any help would be appreciated.
    Usually a well that deep [ 250 foot] would have a submersible pump. You may be limited in how high your jet pump can lift. So you may only be able to use the water in the upper part of the well casing.

    Post a picture of your pump.

    Maybe there is plenty of water in the well, but you would need a different pump to use more of it.

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    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    You really needed a storage tank or cistern instead of those pressure tanks. I believe the two largest tanks are WX302’s, which are 86 gallon actual size and hold about 25 gallons of water each when using a 40/60 pressure switch. The small one is a WX203, 32 gallon size and holds about 8 gallons.

    An 86 gallon size pressure tank only holds 25 gallons of water, while a 100 gallon storage tank or cistern holds 100 gallons of water. I would have put in about a 200 gallon storage tank. Let the well pump fill the storage tank using a float switch and a Cycle Sensor for dry run protection. Then installed a little booster pump in the storage tank and used the 32 gallon pressure tank with a Cycle Stop Valve to supply the house.

    Here is a drawing of a system using a submersible pump in the cistern.

  6. #6
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    Here is a drawing of a jet pump used as a booster.


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    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    I don’t see anything about a jet pump. I see a 1 HP or smaller submersible control box on the wall. There is also a way to make use of what you already have.

    All three pressure tanks combined can store about 60 gallons of water. The trick is to keep them topped off and not let the well pump dry while refilling the pressure tanks.

    I would get a pressure switch with a 5 PSI bandwidth like an Allen Bradley AB836C7J. You will also have to use a contactor to handle the current of the motor, as AB pressure switches are not made for much current. Set the pressure switch to start the pump at 55 PSI and off at 60 PSI. That way the tanks always stay close to full.

    Using a CSV on the incoming pipe set at 40 PSI would make sure the tanks are being refilled at 1 GPM, so you don’t pump the well dry. However, if sometimes you quickly use up all 60 gallons from the tanks and the pressure drops to 40 PSI, the CSV will open up and supply as much as you need from the well, at least until the well pumps dry.

    By using a CSV set at 40 PSI to only allow the tanks to refill at 1 GPM, there maybe quite a bit of water still stored in the well that can be used as needed after the pressure tanks are empty. When the pressure drops below 40 PSI, the CSV will open to allow as much water as the pump can supply. If that still isn’t enough water for the peak demand, the Cycle Sensor will sense low amperage when the well pumps dry, and shut off the pump. By only charging the pressure tanks with about 28 PSI of air, there will still be a few more gallons in the pressure tanks, even after the well is dry and the pump is off. I would probably set the timer in the Cycle Sensor for only about 10 or 15 minutes, so it comes back on and gives you what has recharged in those 10 minutes. If it quickly pumps out of water again, the Cycle Sensor will just shut it off for another 10 or 15 minutes. And this process will be repeated until the pressure tanks are again full to 60 PSI and the pressure switch shuts everything off.

    All these things combined just might be enough that you never run out of water, even on long weekends with a house full of people. Worst case is you might have to schedule showers a little apart instead of going from one to the next 11 times in a row.

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    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
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    Too late now, but this is clearly a case of the installers needs (money) being put before yours (water).

  9. #9
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valveman View Post
    There is also a way to make use of what you already have...
    Kudos for your good advice. I often wondered if there was a way to modify a stock Square-D to narrow the spread. I'm guessing it would need a softer spring.

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    DIY Senior Member Reach4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valveman View Post
    I don’t see anything about a jet pump. I see a 1 HP or smaller submersible control box on the wall. There is also a way to make use of what you already have.
    I was thinking that " The well water comes from the back corner of behind the smaller tank where there's a pump." indicated there was a pump in the basement that was hidden from view in the photo. Maybe he was referring to the pipe from the down-hole submersible pump that comes through the wall in the corner under the controller, and that is why he hasn't come back with a picture of the pump.

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    DIY Member philtrap's Avatar
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    Thanks all, especially valveman. I'm going to try to get a plumber to see if he can make the corrections you suggested.

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    DIY Member philtrap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reach4 View Post
    I was thinking that " The well water comes from the back corner of behind the smaller tank where there's a pump." indicated there was a pump in the basement that was hidden from view in the photo. Maybe he was referring to the pipe from the down-hole submersible pump that comes through the wall in the corner under the controller, and that is why he hasn't come back with a picture of the pump.
    Reach4 - I think I misspoke about a pump. There is a submersible pump at the bottom of the well. I thought there was some sort of pump at the base of the smaller tank too. I'm not sure what it is now. I'm just going from memory and the photo. The house is 5 hours away and I don't get up there a lot. I'm going to see if I can zoom in to see what it is I thought was a pump.

  13. #13
    DIY Member philtrap's Avatar
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    I zoomed in to what I though was some sore of pump. Not sure what it is...Name:  pump.JPG
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  14. #14
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    There is a black poly pipe that comes from the sub in the well. It goes into a checkvalve connected to a tank Tee. The Tee has a PRV, pressure switch, guage, and draincock.

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    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    I would remove the brass check valve and install a CSV1A in that location, as shown on this drawing.


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