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Thread: Sears Shallow jet pump replaced, air bubbles in water

  1. #1

    Question Sears Shallow jet pump replaced, air bubbles in water

    Ok

    the never ending well pump repair job has grown ever more interesting

    I now have good water pressure but am finding lots of bursts from air bubbles in my lines when I run the water. I can hear it in the hot water tank, washing machine, or when I run water at a faucet.

    The new pump works, it comes on at 40 PSI and shuts off at 60 PSI. Its attached to a pressure tank and the pipes have been soldered. The inlet pipe from the well head is a plastic PVC union that I can open in order to prime the inlet pipe to the pump, this is a part I am wondering about.

    I suspect air is getting in the line and want to know where i should be looking for how it is getting In? I am guessing the only place air can be ingested is at the inlet side of the pump? To me thats the lowest pressure side, and otherwise all other parts of the pipe system are full of water, therefore air would not be coming in.

    Should I be looking for air leaks at my lnlet pipe? or somewhere else?

    thanks

    Jon

  2. #2
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    It was recommended before that you eliminate every fitting that you possibly can in the suction line. That includes the plastic union.

    In reality, the best suction line has two fittings. The one at the pump and the one at the well. This can be accomplished with PVC, Poly or Copper with no union. Except copper with a plastic pump.

    bob...

  3. #3

    Question The suction line union, seems a must have, anything else?

    Well, the union at the inlet side is there since the horizontal line out to the well has to primed with some water to fill it enough to get suction up from the well pipe, I think it was placed there by the original plumber who did the well setup years ago.

    The union is a PVC type of large hand-tightened contraption that mates with a female and male piece of PVC that adapt the pipe size to fit the inlet port on the pump. I had to open this union to pour water in with a funnel to prime the inlet tube, and then I used some teflon white paste and some Petroleum jelly to lube the gasket and the threads on the union before I closed and tightened it back.

    The well runs and it seems to get primed and pumping water in about 30 seconds, I can hear the water rush thru the inlet pipe and the well start to labor as it pumps the water. I suspect there is air in the inlet line going to the well but would think that it will eventually be pulled out as the pump runs longer.

    Is there a simple method to find air leaks, like the soapy water and bubbles thing? In this case I am looking for an incoming leak, so I dont think that bubbles etc are going to appear.

    Would using a plastic bag or some Saran wrap over the union maybe give me some idea about whether the leak is there?

    I can live with the air in the line, but it does sound bad, however once I run the water a minute or so its all gone and things sound fine.

    thx for your help

  4. #4
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    You don't prime a pump through the suction line, you prime it through the prime plug on the pump. If you don't have one, you should add one. Once primed, that's it. You should not have to prime it again. Same goes for the air, once it has worked out of the system, it's gone for good unless you have an air leak which I suspect you do.

    There is not way to find an air leak on a suction line. That's the reason for the least amount of fittings possible. Even if you did find the leak, what are you going to do to eliminate it?

    bob...

  5. #5
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by educateme
    Well, the union at the inlet side is there since the horizontal line out to the well has to primed with some water to fill it enough to get suction up from the well pipe, I think it was placed there by the original plumber who did the well setup years ago.

    The union is a PVC type of large hand-tightened contraption that mates with a female and male piece of PVC that adapt the pipe size to fit the inlet port on the pump. I had to open this union to pour water in with a funnel to prime the inlet tube, and then I used some teflon white paste and some Petroleum jelly to lube the gasket and the threads on the union before I closed and tightened it back.

    The well runs and it seems to get primed and pumping water in about 30 seconds, I can hear the water rush thru the inlet pipe and the well start to labor as it pumps the water. I suspect there is air in the inlet line going to the well but would think that it will eventually be pulled out as the pump runs longer.

    Is there a simple method to find air leaks, like the soapy water and bubbles thing? In this case I am looking for an incoming leak, so I dont think that bubbles etc are going to appear.

    Would using a plastic bag or some Saran wrap over the union maybe give me some idea about whether the leak is there?

    I can live with the air in the line, but it does sound bad, however once I run the water a minute or so its all gone and things sound fine.

    thx for your help
    Dear educateme, a teacher is usually only as good as the pupil...

    It doesn't matter why the union is there, you have a suction leak that is sucking air into the water line instead of sucking water out of the well. The leak is most likely at the union... The union is not a good design.

    IF the foot valve isn't leaking, you only have to prime the pump once. Usually when you replace the pump.

    You tighten unions with wrenches, not just by hand. The seal is to keep water in the line against the water pressure, not meant for suction.

    ALL petroleum based products ruin o-rings and plastics like PVC. Do not lubricate either with anything other than Teflon tape or dope made for PVC, water or an approved silicone.

    IF you found where the suction leak is, how would you fix it?

    Now if you want to try your ideas of Saran Wrap etc., go for it, we won't grade ya on them. Actually I'd give a few points for independent self reliant traits....

    Your assignment is, and you will be graded on replacement of the union with a tee and a plug the same diameter as the union line which allows you to put the/a funnel in and prime the line. The tee can allow a line to go up higher than the lowest part in the suction line; then the plug in a fitting at the top of that line out of the tee. This is guaranteed to prevent air suction at that fitting as along as you properly tighten the plug; it will be pipe thread. Yes you would use a female on the top of the pipe and screw into it a male plug.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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  6. #6
    vaplumber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser
    Dear educateme, a teacher is usually only as good as the pupil...

    ALL petroleum based products ruin o-rings and plastics like PVC. Do not lubricate either with anything other than Teflon tape or dope made for PVC, water or an approved silicone.

    >>> I second this!


    Now if you want to try your ideas of Saran Wrap etc., go for it, we won't grade ya on them. Actually I'd give a few points for independent self reliant traits....

    >>> I agree, and this will work! Have done this many times myself. Seal it good, but dont wrap it too tight! You will see it suck shut!
    Your assignment is, and you will be graded on replacement of the union with a tee and a plug the same diameter as the union line which allows you to put the/a funnel in and prime the line.
    Some of the cheaper pumps I have worked with do not have a priming plug as they intend for you to prime through the inlet line before connecting. The older and smaller hydroglass is one of these. Even with a prime plug, sometimes the installer will locate a few fittings and the guage in this location. Use a tee in the line, close to the pump, and with threaded fittings capable of tightening with a wrench! Hand tightened fittings are a joke.

  7. #7
    vaplumber
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    Quote Originally Posted by speedbump
    You don't prime a pump through the suction line, you prime it through the prime plug on the pump.
    bob...
    >>I have run into some pumps where the installer used the prime plug to install the guage. Also some pumps that do not have the prime plug.

    Once primed, that's it. You should not have to prime it again.

    >> In case of power outage, and you draw out the capacity of the bladder tank, you can lose prime. Same goes if you ever overpump the well.

    Same goes for the air, once it has worked out of the system, it's gone for good unless you have an air leak which I suspect you do.

    >>This is absolutely accurate! The air should not take more than a few minutes of running water to remove from the system!

    There is not way to find an air leak on a suction line. That's the reason for the least amount of fittings possible.
    >> The plastic wrap idea will work fair. ANother great idea is hot candle wax! It will dry on the fitting leaving a void at the location of the leak.

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