Finding shallow well suction leak.

Here's the scenario. I have a 3' wide, 30' deep hand-dug well (a real, genuine 'stone-walled' well -- a historical relic on it's own! :) ) It currently has plenty of water in it -- I've seen the water lower than it is now.
A few months ago I replaced the old galvanized tank since it was leaking through. We put in an 80gal bladder style tank. The result was amazing (going from 4 seconds on, 6 seconds off to 3-4 minutes off, 1 minute on while running the garden hose full).
The problem is I've noticed air in the system. The air only occurs when the pump is on. I've looked at the pipe in the well, and don't see any "air bleeders" that were supposedly used to keep galv. tanks from saturating. Our old galv tank was leaking at the inlet, so any air would have leaked out long before being drawn into the house system.. It's been many months since the new tank was installed, so it can't still be air purging from it.
The well sits about 20' from the house. In the basement I have a 1/2hp shallow well "Red Jacket" internal jet pump, in a single-line configuration. The pipe going to the well from the pump is 2" PVC. The fittings from the pump down look something like this: Pump (made in 1996, so the sticker says) 2" evil galvanized male-male (2" length) fitting 2" check valve (Not sure about material - isn't rusting on the exterior like the galv.) 2" evil galvanized nipple 2" Black PVC pipe, runs about 15' along the basement floor(dirt), and then the 20 feet to the well.
In the well: a 2" PVC 90-degree elbow about 4-5' from the surface where the pipe from the basement enters and then a length of PVC pipe running vertically down the well. What is at the end of this pipe? I'd hope there would be a foot valve there, but since the previous owner was the king of shortcuts, the duke of half-finished jobs, and president of shoddy work in general I wouldn't be at all surprised if there isn't one. We do get debris in the water, which might indicate there's no screen there.. My gut feeling is that the check-valve at the pump was a work-around for something, but I'm not sure what..
I suspect the fittings on the suction side of the pump, they're galvanized. I also wonder if it could be the pump it's self, or if I've missed something obvious. It's impossible to listen for any leaks since the pump is too loud. Any water leaking might not be noticeable since there is a ton of condensation on the plumbing. I'd tear it all apart right now, except I'm afraid that I won't be able to undo the rusty galvanized fitting at the pump, and if I do, that I won't be able to re-prime the pump if there is indeed no foot valve.
Can anyone think of anything I've missed that could cause air to get into the system?
Thanks,
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Sounds like it is sucking air to me. If you indeed have a jet pump which is needed on any well over 25 ft deep, I believe the operate by forcing the water down into the well and thus frocing the water out of the well. IF you could the easiest way to find an air leak is to turn the sytem off and isolate it from the house. Install an airvavel fitting and put three or four pounds of air pressure into the system. This is more then enough to find even the smallest leak. You may have a small fracture in the pipe between house and well and it is in the buried part you will have to put an air gauge on the sytem and see if it holds air. If you cant visibly see anything leaking in the parts of the system you can see you may have a leak underground. Anything else you should be able to see and hear. Good luck its not easy but there is no easy way to diagnose this problem. It may even be the pumpshaft mechanical seal that is leaking. Some of these have a grease cup for brass selas and some dont like the newer carbon , ceramic type.
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