Problem with well not delivering water

Page 1 of 2  

This weekend we did a shock on our ~350' well to address some iron bacteria issues. Followed instructions carefully, adding measured amount of bleach and recirculating well water via garden hose back into the well head. Then we ran each faucet slightly untilI we could smell chlorine, turned it off, turned off the well circuit, and let it sit for the night.
The rest of the process was to run things out via hose the next morning, so as to not compromise our septic system. However, when I got up, I found that our pressure tank showed 0 psi. When I turn on the well circuit, I can hear the pump humming, but no water gets delivered to the pressure tank.
I took off the well cap again and powered the well circuit. I can hear "activity" in the well, not just the distant vibration or hum. With the echos and such, it is impossible to tell what that sound really is.
It seems to me that somehow I have lost the seal prime on my well pump (or have a hole in the delivery pipe) that is preventing the water from being delivered. Anybody know of a way to diagnose this issue without special equipment? I believe the pump is at least 300' deep,a nd has worked flawlessly for years.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

There is no prime on a deep well submersible to be concerned about. I can't imagine anything that you could have done to cause a problem, but I would check at the well control box to see that you have 240 volts to that point. Sometimes there are splices made under the sanitary cap of the well head. Check and be sure that they are all tight as well.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Very strange. You say the pressure was 0 in the morning, but what was it when you turned off the pump? If the tank was at normal pressure when you turned off the pump, did anyone draw water which would account for the pressure dropping to zero? If it went from normal pressure to zero on it's own, it would indicate a failure in the pipe or check valve stuck open. A check valve failing to close would account for the pressure drop, but not result in failure to pump water. That would seem to leave a pipe failure as the likely culprit, but why it would fail due to chlorine treatment doesn't seem to add up.
Is the pipe steel or pvc? Even if it's steel, old and it were deteriorated, it seems improbable that chlorine could finish it off overnight to the extent that it would have a gaping hole. How much chlorine did you put in?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
gwandsh wrote:

You can hear a pump at 300' deep humming?? Good ears :)
1. Check the pressure switch. Zero pressure means the switch isn't doing its job in some manner.
2. The pressure switch probably goes to a relay. Relays generally have a manual start button, often on the bottom exterior of the case. Does pushing it start the pump and deliver water? If not, have the start capacitor inside the case replaced. If pushing it starts the pump and the zero pressure re-occurs, the start capacitor is flaky...have it replaced. The one I just had replaced yesterday cost $35 + the service call..
--

dadiOH
____________________________
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

How is that remarkable deduction made? It would seem to the rest of us that there are many possibilities besides the pressure switch.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Did I say there weren't? Do as you like, I prefer to start with the simple and eliminate.
--

dadiOH
____________________________
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yes, that's what your statement implied:
"1. Check the pressure switch. Zero pressure means the switch isn't doing its job in some manner."
Zero pressure could obviously be due to lots of causes other than the pressure switch.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

That would at least, be an elimination of many things if the pump fired up. Meaning everything from the cap to, not including, the footer check valve is OK. Looks to me like the quickest route will be to call in a pro.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Except the guy clearly said he can hear humming from the pump at the well head and other noises coming from down the well when the pump is turned on.
I wonder if something could have been corroded but still working, like a fitting at the pump, etc and possibly the corroded material was barely keeping it intact and the chorine attacked it enough that it failed?
But I agree, the first thing I would do is verify that 240V is present at the well head. After that, not much else to do but pull the pump.
I hope we hear back what the problem was.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Oct 13, 2:35pm, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

BTW, that assumes he has a 2 wire pump, ie 2 hot wires and one ground. If he has a 3 wire pump, one ground, then there is a seperate controller that contains the starting capacitor and activates power to the start wire briefly first, then the regular run wire. So, in that case, it's more complex to diagnose and the controller could be bad too. Which might account for the hum but no go.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Hear a pump at 300 ft? Why not, I am about 200 ft from my well and I can hear it through the pipes in the basement. That has warned me several times of water running when it shouldn't be.
Harry K
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
gwandsh wrote:

When my pressure drops to zero during something like a power failure, I need to shut off valve to house, past pressure tank, to turn back on as pump needs a pressure head to pump against otherwise low pressure turns it off. Even then, I need to hold switch a few seconds to develop the head.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

A couple things not mentioned.
1. zero pressue will show with pump off and bladder blocking outlet of the tank.
2. Extremely unlikely but the same symptoms would show if the well had run dry ;).
Harry K
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Why has nobody stated the obvious?
This person pumped a whole bunch of water with a well pump that "ran fine for years and years."
The pump is old, and was on its last legs. Now it's shot, and needs to be replaced.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 13 Oct 2009 15:50:46 -0400, Frank wrote:

For ours, I believe the pump body needs to be opened (there's a cap on top) and the pump manually topped off with water if it ever runs dry - running it once it's bled down not only results in no water flow, but apparently also trashes the seals in the pump (or so the manufacturers claim).
I missed the start of this thread - not sure if the 'hum' the OP mentions means they think the pump motor *is* running, or if they mean (as someone else mentioned) that they're hearing the hum of the motor trying to start but failing (possibly because there's a start capacitor that's shot)
I'm not at all familiar with wells where the pump's right at the well head (ours is a jet pump, with the motor/pump some distance from the head) but maybe it's possible to confirm whether the motor *is* turning (and/or try turning it by hand to make sure the pump's not jammed)?
cheers
Jules
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

It's not at the well head. It's a submersible 300 ft down the well.


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Thanks all for the good input. I appreciate knowing something about the possibilities when I finally reach the well contractor. I have a couple of calls in to him, but it is a small town rural area and he doesn't seem to be getting his calls. Possibly he has gone hunting and did not leave an "out of office" message. It is a weekend place, so service calls mean time off work, yada yada.
To clarify a few items:
1 - I first suspected the mechainical relay in the pressure switch. I opened the box and cleaned the contacts. They seem to be working fine, at least they are getting the pump turned on.
2 - I did check the power at the well head. I did not have a voltage meter, but used a simple outlet tester (pencil style chirper) to determine there was juice in the line. If somehow only 110/120 was getting down to the pump, is it possible it would only pump partway up the piping?
3 - We have high iron content in the water (partial reason for the treatment). I wondered if there had been a small leak in the steel pipe (yes it is steel, at least the top few sections that I have seen) that might have been plugged with oxidized iron. Perhaps the bleach then dissolved or loosened the "plug" enough to cause it to open?
4 - To the responder that concluded the pump is shot... I guess anything is possible, but when my car doesn't start I don't immediately shop for a new car ;-)
5 - I was having a tough time figuring out how the pressure could have gone to zero in our system - at least a reason associated with the well failure. Sounds like the two events need to be researched separately. As for the valve that prevents the water from flowing bck from the pressure tank to the well - is that something I can access and check myself? 'Fraid I have no clue about that unless it is integrated into the pressure tank?
6 - to the person who asked about the strength of the bleach used: We used a standard 5.5% product, mixed with water. According to our well report we have about 200' of water in a 6" column, and we used 8 cups of bleach. I guess that could be an overdose if the water level had dropped, but I have no reason to suspect that is the case.
Thanks again
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I just had the same problem, expect I still had some pressure. Loss of pressure to 30psi Pump was running constantly and never got above 30psi Cut power and pressure went directly to 0psi
It ended up being the connector that goes from the house to the well pipe. Saddle valve coupling. It had corroded and caused a leak internal to the well pipe.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

<snip>
The normal checkvalve in a submersible is integrated with the pump. Some systems are installed with a second one above ground. Unless the pump one has failed I have never understood the rationale of installing a second one. In your case, look for a fitting in the pipe (it will be a bit larger than the pipe) that has only the inlet/outlet and no other connections.
In any case, it would not be the cause of the pump not delivering water, only not holding pressure when the pump shuts off.
Harry K
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.