electric well pump help needed!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by flutemandolin, May 17, 2004.

  1. flutemandolin

    flutemandolin mark an eight, dude!

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    After being without water for the winter my dh finally got the well pump up and runing again. Now he's out of state starting a new job and I'm having trouble with the pump again. Saturday I turned on the generator and I noticed the pump was running for about 20 minutes but there was no water in the pressure tank. I noticed the check valve was very warm...what would cause that? Dh told me to try pounding on the check valve in case something was stuck, then prime the pump and try to run it. I tried this about three times but still no water. The pump sounds like it's running okay. Any ideas?
     
  2. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ..............The heat in the checkvalve is probably being transferred from the pump motor via the metal to metal contact. The chkvalve has a spring that the pressure from the pump motor has to overcome and then the water flows around it (on the NSIDE of the chkvalve) , as long as the motor is running. IF, the chkvalve ISN'T opening correctly it will prevent the water from reaching your pressure tank. Normally, if the motor is having to work too hard the Breaker should pop to keep from burning up the motor. If, you UN screw the checkvalve i would take it to your local hardware store and Buy a replacement. Besure and buy Teflon tape and Wrap each end when you screw it back into the line. You may want to also check your pressure tank. IF , you have the old style pressure tank which has the air bubble in the top , you MAY have a shutoff valve on the tank, IF SO, Turn it off ,,,,,,,BEFORE....removing the chkvalve and you maybe able to retain your air bubble in the top. TURN OFF POWER too the pump before letting anyone work on it for you.
    ..................If, you are having to beat on the CV......You NEED to REPLACE IT, period. They cost about 30 or so and they are ALOT cheaper than a NEW PUMP......fordy.... :)
     

  3. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    You have the classic symptom of "lost its prime"
    You need to determine how to prime the system and to get ALL the air out.There is not enough info in your post to let me give you any directions.
    Is there a cutoff valve leaving the pump and going to the storage tank? If so, close the valve and start the pump (after priming) and slowly open the valve while looking at the pressure gauge never letting the gauge go below 20 PSI (by use of the cutoff valve)
     
  4. flutemandolin

    flutemandolin mark an eight, dude!

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    Thanks for the replies. I'm not sure, but I don't think there is a cutoff valve. (I'm at work so I can't just run out and look at it). I'll try to describe the system. It's a shallow well (~20 ft sand point). The pump and pressure tank are about a year old. Water flows from the well thru a check valve then to the pump. From the pump there is a section of clear hose, then the pressure tank intake, which has a pressure gauge that currently reads zero. The system is powered by a generator which is only run a couple hours a day or when we need to draw more than a few gallons of water. I try not to draw too much water when the generator isn't on but the kids have been opening the faucet when I'm not looking... :no: Would that cause the pump to lose its prime? And if this helps, the times I did try to prime the pump and run it I would turn on the faucet part way after about a minute or so to let the air out. A small amount of water and air would spit out at that time.

    Thanks for the help! :)
     
  5. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I still do not have a good mental picture of your setup. Is this shallow well pump a jet type or are you simply pulling from the suction side of a pressure pump? My opinion from here is that you are discharging water faster that it can be replenished with no restriction on the discharge from the pump. The pump is cavitaing and thus you are losing the prime. Just for kicks.....prime the pump as per normal and squeeze the clean plastic line as near shut as possible and have someone to turn the pump on while gripping the tube. You should see water rush thru the tubing and some pressure rise on the gauge provided the gauge is mounted to the pump itself. I strongly suggest that you install a valve between the pump and the tank.
     
  6. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ..............fm, IF, I am reading your description correctly, The Checkvalve.....should be on the PRESSURE side of the PUMP, NOT on the Suction side. I'll defer too agmantoo , until he has a chance to respond, but I have NEVER seen a Checkvalve on the Suction side of a Pump.
    ..............You can control the volume of water by decreasing the flow from your pressure tank. Maybe you could increase the Quantity of Air in your pressure tank which might reduce the quantity of water that the pump is pulling from the Well. ...fordy... :)
     
  7. owhn

    owhn Well-Known Member

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    If I understnd the situation, armantoo is most likely correct. You should haev a pump discharge check valve as well as a dischage shut off valve wchiih can be used to throttle the pump flow.

    BUT

    the check valve on the suction side of the pump is called a foot valve, and serves a purpose of of maintaining the prime of the pump. (else it all drain down to the well.)

    There are so-called self priming pumps, but they have a sort of trap to prevent water from draining ... even they need to be primed the first time before startup... but this is not one of 'em.

    If the pump is worn, missing the water because of a draining foot valve affects the NPSHr ... essentially the "suck" that the pump can overcome. For some circumstances, a pump recirc line can be installed to remedy this probem.

    OR

    Can it be the foot valve is stuck closed???? Less likely problem. Besides banging the check valve is there an external indication of the position of the internals? Some, not all, have sort of a through-the-body often square or arrow type thing that turns when the flap moves.



    owhn