Well intermittently running dry on Tennessee Plateau

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jacharya

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Sorry for the long post, but I think some background might help.

On Monday, water stopped flowing in any faucet in our home, so I checked our 500 and 250-gallon storage tanks and they were both empty. In our water room, the, "Littlefuse Pump Saver" was also blinking green. The manual says this means the pump reported a dry run and shut off. We stayed at a hotel Monday night as we waited for the Well company to make it out today (Wednesday). When we got home on Tuesday midday, the light was still blinking green, but the tanks were full again.

We thought the pump saver might have been misreporting the issue of the well being dry because two months ago we also ran out of water. The Well company found that the the conduit from the "water room" in our house and the pump saver were fried. They said the cause was probably lighting. They replaced both. At the time he said the well pump was showing some signs of damage as it was taking about 10 seconds to cycle on each time. We decided to hold off replacing the pump as this pump was replaced back in July 2021 due to lightning and that cost us 7K total. He said the pump could fail tomorrow, or in 3 years. When I checked with the Well Company this week, he said he thinks the well is in-fact running dry at times.

It has been a wet spring (got 5 inches of rain just last week), so I am confounded on why the well would suddenly be running dry. It is not a very productive well at 2GPM, but we also have not used an unusual amount of water of late. I am worried as I have a large garden and once the web period we have been in ends, I will need to irrigate.

The pictures show some details on the well, but I am not sure on next steps. I know we can add more storage tanks, but if the pump keeps shutting off due to lack of water, won't we just deplete the water in the tanks faster than it can fill them.

As a stop gap, I have put a sump pump and filter in a clear water creek on our property and ran a hose to the storage tanks. So, if they start emptying fast, I will fill with the creek water. The Well company said this is fine since the water will go through a UV filter and just to avoid any silt or sand from getting into the system (thus why I installed a filter on the hose).

Is it normal for wells to just run dry when drought is not the culprit?
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Valveman

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Unless something drastic geologically has happened, I am sure your static level is still close to 20'. If the pump is set below 250' that means you have about 350 gallons stored in the well that will get pumped out before the well is dry. With like a 10 GPM pump that would mean the pump would run filling the cistern for about 30 minutes before the dry well protector should signal dry run. You just need to set it to delay the pump restart long enough for the well to recover. At 2 GPM that will probably take 4-5 hours.

Your tanks refilled. I doubt the well is dry. But the pump can be off for one of several reasons. This usually means the overload in the motor is tripping, which will reset every couple of minutes. But that only lets the pump run for short spurts, which takes a long time to get the tanks refilled. If the motor is bad I would guess the thrust bearing is out due to always pumping water from above. A simple $10 shroud or flow inducer would eliminate that problem.

Flow Inducer Installation.jpg

Cistern Storage Tank with JET Booster Pump (12).png
 

jacharya

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Sorry for the long post, but I think some background might help.

On Monday, water stopped flowing in any faucet in our home, so I checked our 500 and 250-gallon storage tanks and they were both empty. In our water room, the, "Littlefuse Pump Saver" was also blinking green. The manual says this means the pump reported a dry run and shut off. We stayed at a hotel Monday night as we waited for the Well company to make it out today (Wednesday). When we got home on Tuesday midday, the light was still blinking green, but the tanks were full again.

We thought the pump saver might have been misreporting the issue of the well being dry because two months ago we also ran out of water. The Well company found that the the conduit from the "water room" in our house and the pump saver were fried. They said the cause was probably lighting. They replaced both. At the time he said the well pump was showing some signs of damage as it was taking about 10 seconds to cycle on each time. We decided to hold off replacing the pump as this pump was replaced back in July 2021 due to lightning and that cost us 7K total. He said the pump could fail tomorrow, or in 3 years. When I checked with the Well Company this week, he said he thinks the well is in-fact running dry at times.

It has been a wet spring (got 5 inches of rain just last week), so I am confounded on why the well would suddenly be running dry. It is not a very productive well at 2GPM, but we also have not used an unusual amount of water of late. I am worried as I have a large garden and once the web period we have been in ends, I will need to irrigate.

The pictures show some details on the well, but I am not sure on next steps. I know we can add more storage tanks, but if the pump keeps shutting off due to lack of water, won't we just deplete the water in the tanks faster than it can fill them.

As a stop gap, I have put a sump pump and filter in a clear water creek on our property and ran a hose to the storage tanks. So, if they start emptying fast, I will fill with the creek water. The Well company said this is fine since the water will go through a UV filter and just to avoid any silt or sand from getting into the system (thus why I installed a filter on the hose).

Is it normal for wells to just run dry when drought is not the culprit?View attachment 98965View attachment 98966
Any way to tell if the pump motor is going bad? The Well company thinks it was damaged in March by lightning, but is there a way to know for sure beyond the fact that it is slow to turn on?
 
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