leaky foot valve in well?

Hi. I think the foot valve at the bottom of my well is leaking. I slowly lose pressure even when I shut down the main on the house side of the pressure tank. I've read that installing a check valve on the suction line of my jet pump may be able to solve this without pulling the foot valve out. My well is 140ft deep. My well is in my basement, so pulling the pipes may be difficult. Not sure of depth of foot valve, but water table is about 15ft down. There are two pipes (suction and supply) that come out of the pump and go down the well. The well is about 3ft away from the pump. I'm skeptical about this "solution." How can just a few inches or feet of water in the suction pipe hold enough prime to make the pump work if it loses all remaining water in the column? Advice appreciated. Theodore.
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Unless the pump is a "self priming" one, which is doubtful, you are correct. It would lose prime. Even a self priming pump would require that the static level of the well be no more than about 26 feet below the pump (at sea level, less at higher elevations)
Harry K
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Unless the pump is a "self priming" one, which is doubtful, you are

It's definitely not a self-priming pump. So, if I added a check valve on the suction side, it's doubtful the prime will hold, right?
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Andy comments:
Bob, I have done the same thing for my irrigation system..... I'd really like to know how you did yours. If you like, we could exchange photos or diagrams by Email......
Thanks, Andy in Eureka, Texas
Email: snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com
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Andy comments:
Bob, as I looked later at my post, it seems the Email address was masked by whatever ISP I used...
I will send it here, on different lines, that you can string together.... this will probably defeat the scanner..
jungleandy1 8888888 @ 8888888 hotmail 8888888 .com 8888888
andy in Texas , P.E.
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Am I missing something...or is there maybe a typo here? Why would someone bother to dig a 140 foot deep well if the water table is only 15 feet down?
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The well was dug 40+years ago. I have no reason why so deep, given the water table.
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Perhaps they didn't hit water until 140 ft and it filled to that level after.
My well is about 70 ft but he static level is only about 10 ft. No water until they hit the aquifer down there.
Harry K
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I hadn't considered that. You mean the whole county isn't built on porous limestone like here in Florida? :) Duh...
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True, but what are the chances of the water table dropping even 20 feet without some mass extinction event? :) (Unless he lives downstream of a new dam.)
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What the water table level is and what level you have to go to in order to get the desired volume and quality of water are two different things. Around this part of NJ for example, the water table is also around 20 ft. But to get acceptable volume you need to go to 50ft. And for really good volume you need to go to 110ft. That's where the acquifers are.
The bizarre thing is that people here call up to have wells drilled for sprinkler systems and almost every time the well drillers go right to 110 ft without discussing any options. Problem is that the acquifer at that level is loaded with iron. Within a year their sidewalks, patios, pool decks, and even siding is stained brown. If you stop at 50ft there is a very good chance you will have 15gpm and no iron.
As for the OP's question, whether a check valve at the pump works or not depends on the level of water in the well. If the water is 25ft or less below the pump then it should work. If deeper then it will not.
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Just a followup to all. I finally pulled the pipes and foot valve assembly and measured all: well is 140ft deep, pipes are 100ft long, water level is 20ft down. Lousy foot valve was caked with rust and was leaking water out as we laid it outside. Obviously that's how I was losing prime on the pump. New foot valve assembly from Home Depot did not impress me. It was $44 and had plastic check valve parts and pipes. New foot valve assembly, all brass, set me back $120, but it's been solid ever since we installed it. Thanks for advice from all. Regards, Theodore.
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Andy asks:
Why do you feel that the plastic foot valve will not last as long as the brass foot valve ?
It seems to me that the plastic won't corrode, nor have any sort of galvanic deterioration with the pipe it is connected to . The only part that could oxidize is the internal spring, which is probably the same as the one in the brass valve....
I'd really like to hear some opinion on this, since the plastic valve is always significantly cheaper.......
I use plastic in my irrigation system, and have seen no deterioration in the housing after several years.....
Andy in Eureka, Texas
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Andy comments:
The extra 125 feet is to insure that you will get enough volume from the well. The pump only has to work against 15 feet for adequate suction, but you want to make sure the pipe fills up faster than you can pull water out, or the pump will cavitate. The water gas formed will have the same effect as air, and the impeller won't pump any more...
It depends a LOT on the composition of the strata..... I punched a well in lower central Florida once and only went down 20 feet, pumped it out for a day to build a pocket, and got plenty of water after that..... Not good to drink, but just fine for flushing toilets and watering bushes.... Water table there was maybe 5 feet down....
Andy in Eureka, Texas
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