Need help with water pump

Hi, This wonderful new money trap we bought has a problem with the water well. I'm not real sure of the terminology but here goes, I have a driven well point that is supposedly only 21 feet deep. The pump is in a closet in the basement. It has two plastic, 1 inch I think, pipes coming out of it, going into the floor. There is an expansion tank that I cannot see. (It is behind the closet wall) We have more than enough water for household tasks, laundry, dishwasher, showers, etc. However when I try to run the lawn sprinkler system I have problems. I can run one zone for about 5 minutes, after that the pump starts "chugging". The sprinkler output drops way down and I can hear the pump sucking water from the upstairs toilet and hose spigots. I can't stand the noise from the pump so I shut the system off. Needless to say my lawn has almost completely burnt up. The interesting thing is that the system must have worked for the previous owner, because last fall when we looked at the house the lawn was gorgeous. Any suggestions? I've thought of driving another point with a separate pump for just the sprinklers but I'm not sure what size pump and how far from the existing point should I be. Thanks, Jeff
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Wells aren't that cooperative. You may or may not be able to get enough water to water your lawn, but you should definitely drive a separate well for the purpose. If it comes in with enough water, great. The main thing is to have enough water for your house and not screw up the well you have.
The pump size is mostly dictated by the well depth. A .5hp pump is more than enough to water your lawn; it can deliver 12 gpm from a shallow well, if the well has 12 gpm available.
Most people with wells don't water their lawns.

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The well owner that successfully waters their lawn on and ongoing basis has a number of things going in their favor. First is the well has been done with that water use in mind. Second, the pump has been sized correctly for the well, the house water needs and the irrigation requirements. Third, they usually water after other water needs have been met; like overnight etc.. Miss getting any one of those right and you should stop trying to water the lawn or you may end up with no water to use anywhere. Or the water will go dirty etc. and you won't want to use it in the house. Or you burn up a pump.
Anything that has a change in the sound it produces when operating needs to be serviced or otherwise looked at now; especially a well water pump. Waiting usually makes things much worse while drastically shortening the time available to fix it. That usually increases the cost and/or chances of screwing up the fix.
Anyone putting a well pump and pressure tank in a tight closet should be shot. At least twice!
The tank has to be checked for proper air pressure, the (compressed) air is actually the power used to move water when the pump isn't running. Proper air pressure is 2 psi less air than the cut-in pressure switch setting; I.E. 30/50 water pressure gets 28 psi air pressure when there is no water in the tank. If this doesn't solve some of the problems, then you look at the condition of the pump and how much water is in the well and the recovery rate of the well. And that's the proper troubleshooting order.
Gary Quality Water Associates
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Yes I agree with everything you've said, especially about the closet, what a pain! So I guess I've resorted to doing another point just for the sprinklers. How far from the existing point should I be?

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Almost everybody gets a guy with a stick to help decide. Since there is almost no rational basis for locating a well, this will help you too. Almost all well-drillers will haul out a forked stick at the drop of a hat, so this should work out fine. I gather that if you have a shallow well now and others in your area have shallow wells. Shallow wells are not very costly, so let whoever is doing it choose a spot.
One thought that has occured to me is that if everybody in your area is on wells, and various folks water lawns, the result could be that the ground water table is dropping. Whether your new well will affect your old well is hard to guess. But probably not.

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If the new well is in the recharge area of the old one, both will be effected by pumping the other. The effect of that will/can be an increased cone of depression with the deepest part between the two wells. That can limit the output of both and increase the recovery time of both.
Gary Quality Water Associates
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