Sprinkler Pump Problem

My sprinkler pump was leaking so fixed the leak and now I can't get the pump to suck the water from the well again. The pump works and I can get the air tank to about 20 PSI by adding water through the prime plug while the pump is working. At about 20 PSI the water starts coming back through the prime plug and I have to close it. The air pressure stays at 20 PSI and there is no water coming from the well. How can I get the pump back to work again? Here is a picture of my system:
http://www.existonline.com/temp/sprinkler_pupmp.jpg
Thanks, Jack
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you must have a leak on the suction side of the pump allowing air into the system if not then the well point may be plugged up with sand.

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Bob, Thank your for your reply. How can I check if I have a leak on the suction side and which side is the suction side? After your post I re-adjusted the check valve (thinking that it's on the suction side). Disconnecting the check valve while the pump was working didn't cause lost of pressure in the pressure tank.
Jack
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That check valve will prevent priming water from reaching the well, from what I can see. Is this a shallow well? That's what it looks like to me. If you have a vacuum pump available, or some way to create a high vacuum, connecting it to the priming port would suck air up out of the well until water reaches the top. I have used the suction hose on a sandblaster nozzle to do this.
Alternative - attach a water hose to the priming port (from a neighbor?), and set it for a small flow to force air through the pump and fill it with water. With this running, cycle the pump few a second or 3, until it stops pumping. Stop it, wait for it to fill with water again, and repeat. You might need to do this a lot of times, but it will eventually suck all the air out if there are no leaks.
Disconnecting the output of the pump so it free flows, or opening a large valve to release the pressure will help this process. The easier it can pump, the more air you will get with each cycle. This might even help with the way you've been trying it.
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The water wasn't flowing because I never let the water out. Once I open the valve outside the house (the water is used for watering the lawn) the water kept coming from the well. So the system is working again but the air pressure is still low. It never goes above 30 PSI where before it would reach 45 and the pump would stop. Now the pump never stops and the pressure never goes above 30. Could there still be some air inside that would cause the low air pressure or there is an air leak?
JP
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What was it you did to the pump? If it is sucking even small amounts of air at any input connection, it could stop the pumping as the pressure rises. You can try flowing small amounts of water over any connection you suspect of leaking. The water will temporarily fill the leaks and the pump may start working right for a bit. Or, try leaving it awhile without running but with pressure in it, and look for even the tiniest water drips.
You may need to re-pressurize the tank also.
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1. You say you fixed a leak. Just where was it and what did you do? That might help with the dianosis.
2. On your pictures the plug you circled is the prime plug.
3. where is the water coming from? A well? A sand point?
4. Referring to the picture: the suction pipe (everythign leading to the water source) goes through 2 45 els, then something. What is that? A check valve?. It then continues through a "Dressler Coupling" (A union would normally be used at that place), and elbow and into a 't' to the verticle pipe.
Unless your pump is a 'self priming' pump and is less than 26' from the water surface it requires full priming, i.e., all pipes from the pump to the water level must be full of water with no air (and no air leaks).
The simple way to prime your system is to pull the plug on the "T" at the top of the verticle pipe. Pour water in until it runs over - allow time for all air bubbles to come out, then replace plug.
Then go to the plug on the pump and add water slowly to fill all pipe between pump and that "T" May have to do it slowly to allow all air bubbles to work out. That horizontal run of pipe doesn't help matters.
If it still won't build pressure after being sure you have a good prime, I am stumped since it apparently was working fine prior.
Harry K
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