Troubleshooting well pump ( with pics)

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So how does one remove the pipe casing to see if the footvalve is bad? I estimate this pipe goes down a good 25 feet? In sections I'm assuming.
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Good point, you say it is in a basement so, unless there is a hatch overhead, iron pipe would have to be in sections no longer than about 7'. Of course if it is black poly, you just pull it _careful that you don't kink it_ and lay it on the floor.
Harry K
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As Harryk said, basement wells are often built into an extension off the basement, with a concrete ceiling, and directly above the well is a section that can be removed. If this isn't the case, I would pull the pipe up, cut it up and remove it. Then replace it with poly, which I would recommend if the well pipe is all galv
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Mikepier wrote:

You don't remove the _casing_ at all; assuming the hole _is_ cased it's the outer wall of the wellhole and is permanent.
You pull the suction pipe by whatever means is required depending on what it is. If it is inside there either has to be an access if it has full joints (or the house was built around it which would be pretty silly thing to have done) or it is in short joints that have clearance or flexible plastic that can be coiled as it comes.
--
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OK here is another test I did. I have a Wayne portable pump. It is self priming, and hose bibs for the inlet and outlet. I stuck a 10 foot house down the well and sucked all the water out. The water did not return to it's steady state level until about 3-4 minutes later. Does this imply the screen is clogged , or there is a problem with the well? It seems there should be a steady supply of water if I'm sucking it out with my portable pump.
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Hmmm...that sounds like the 'recovery rate' of the well is too slow to be of use.
Back to your pump for a bit of clarification.
When you first fire it up, does it pump what looks like a normal flow and then go to a trickle? If it does, that is another clue that the well does not have sufficient in-flow to be of much use.
Harry K
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It seems to flow good at first for the first few seconds, then gets irratic.
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Mikepier wrote:

Well, that's what would be expected if the footvalve were mostly closed; empty the well pipe and then wait. Otoh, of course, it could also be indicative that the well recovery rate is slow enough that the only way for it to be usable is to have a large pressure tank and pump the well very, very slowly and use from the reservoir.
But, the above assumes the suction pipe is the one you're pumping out of rather than between it and the casing (again, assuming this is a cased well altho I'm now highly suspicious it is simply a driven sandpoint) rather than a drilled well given the depth and the description.
If that's the case, it'll be a bear to pull by hand because there is no casing; the pipe is in direct contact w/ the ground as it was simply driven. It also raises the probability that the well capacity is simply that slow refresh rate and won't be of much value for irrigation unless it's a very small area.
--
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That pretty much demonstrates that the foot valve is stuck, practically closed or clogged. Filling the pipe with water and seeing it slowly drain out shows the same thing
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True only if he stuck that hose down the suction pipe. I assumed (yes I know) that he had put it down beside it. If he did stick it down the suction pipe, you are right - footvalve problem.
Harry K
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True only if he stuck that hose down the suction pipe. I assumed (yes I know) that he had put it down beside it. If he did stick it down the suction pipe, you are right - footvalve problem.
Harry K
From his picture, it appears that there is only the one pipe
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.
He mentioned taking off the 'well cap' which would tend to indicate a cased well, 4" or 6". I've never worked on a 'sand point driven' well so I don't know if they have a 'well cap'.
Harry K
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The pipe in the floor is 2" galvanized.
I just thought of something last night. If I pour water down the pipe to the top, assuming the pipe goes down about 30 feet, the water level stays constant and there are no leaks, the water should remain at the top, right? Then why after about 10 minutes does the water go back down to it's steady state level of 2 feet below the floor? Is there a leak in the casing somewhere?
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I hope there is a big leak in the casing, because how else is water going to get in? You still seemed to be very confused here. A typical well will have a 4" casing that extends from the surface all the way down to the bottom. It includes a screened section of maybe 12 feet near the end that allows water to run in and keeps sand out. With a shallow well like you have, you then have a suction line that goes from the pump down to a footvalve at the end of the pipe. It extends down to near the bottom and sucks up the water.
Another problem here is that your posts are not clear. In the above, it's not clear by what you mean that "the water should remain at the top." The top of what? The top of the priming hole? The top of the well, where it's natural level is about 2ft below the floor? If you prime the pump and the footvalve is working, the pump should stay full of water indefinitely. If it's going down very slowly you should have time to put in the plug, turn it on and it should pump. If you wait a long time or the footvalve is open or non-existent, then the water will run from the pump until it reaches the level of the water at the top of the well.
From your test of the well with the other pump, if I understand what you described correctly, it appears there is not enough flow into the well to support realistic use. What I think you said was that with another test pump you quicky pumped all the water out. But....how did you know this? Did you have a suction line close to the bottom and it ran dry? How much water did you pump before it went dry and what was the approx rate? How deep is this well?
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I can shine a flashlight down the 2" pipe and see the water level. When I pumped out with my other pump ( a transfer pump) I stuck a 10 foot hose down and sucked out all the water in the pipe. I confirmed this by looking down the pipe after I pumped out, the water level was down about 10-12 feet. Then slowly ( a few minutes) the water came back up to steady state.
I do not know how deep this well is, but i said earlier I stuck a 20 foot electrical snake until I ran out of snake.
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In typed:

With, say a 50ft deep well, the intake should be around10ft from the bottom to minimize sediment pull. It sounds like your foot is set way too high in a deep well but which you don't know the depth of. Why not measure the depth so you have something valid to discuss?
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Sounds like you foot valve is clogged or buried in the mud.
Jimmie
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Foot valve leaking (if there is one) is one reason.
If no foot valve (possible in your shallow well with a self-priming pump, then it is just adding itself to the water table.
I looked at your picture again and it sure does look like a 'sand- point driven well'. If so, then pulling the pipe for inspection is pretty much out of the question. I have neveer seen a drilled (or dug) well that has a cement cap leaving nothing but the suction pipe sticking out.
At this point you should consider having an expert check it out and be prepared to:
1. Pay him (negotiate the charge beforehand if possible) 2. Abandon all hopes of usign the well. (It looks to me like that will have to be done)
Harry K
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Mikepier wrote:

It took until now for you to think of this?????
The answer is there's either a leak or, more likely the sandscreen isn't totally plugged but is enough so there isn't enough flow to pump.
As noted above (and apparently ignored) you don't have a casing -- a cased well has two concentric pipes the larger outer one of which is the casing around the _DRILLED_ hole.
I have slow dialup so hadn't taken the time for the pictures to load, but I did to confirm -- there is no casing, this is a driven well, also known as a "sandpoint" well.
Here's a link from State of WI on their requirements and some background on driven wells. Note particularly their response to the question of "what if my sandscreen is plugged?" -- the answer is "the well must be properly abandoned".
<http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q che:sdTIigsWy00J:www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/water/dwg/pubs/DrivenPointWells.pdf+sandpoint+water+well&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcidGEESg3f1UqMu_zmMvEOCdUPGPod5SZ4pIuetMgtVQPbVOYEVL3a1zaPOqzbAUyBj00ES31ocXmhGbZq7gv3omrhUQiG4hEiPvGCjQHa8BXdBfMT7R_P7HI5j0f1cT99cv4zJWxi-DU&sig=AHIEtbTmz6_UKFvreQsrCuLRVBaSDx5MYg>
Took a while to find one online, but here's an actual product...
<http://www.deanbennett.com/sand-blocker-drive-point-screens.htm
This well appears to have been abandoned before you arrived although the steps to properly close it not taken.
I've heard of some attempting to use some chemical treatments by dropping tablets (heavier than water, obviously) down the well w/ the hope they will dissolve salts, etc., and free up a screen, but I'd think the likelihood of success w/o contaminating a well as minimal.
Driven wells are a non-entity anywhere I've been so the limit of my knowledge is theoretical in how they work--I think as someone else noted, your only real hope will be to talk to a local well company and see if they have any tricks of the trade that tend to work locally that might be worth trying. I'd expect not but ya' never knows unless ya' asks...
I'd be pretty comfortable in that the problem isn't the pump.
--
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Mikepier wrote:

How deep is the well? How far down does the original pipe go? Put the pipe down another 10 or 20 feet and see if it still goes dry. If it does, then go deeper. If you hit bottom, lift it up again so it doesn't suck up the sediment at the bottom.
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