lack of pressure on well system : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

We've lived in our house for two years. The information we got from the previous owners is that the well is 110 feet with 5 inch ID, and the pump was replaced in 1995. The previous pump lasted 20 years. I'm not sure how old the pressure tank is, it is upright but I don't know if it has a bladder or not.

We've had less pressure than normal for a couple of weeks, but chose to ignore it (maybe it would heal itself?). Now we have virtually no pressure at all. The pump is running constantly and the pressure gauge is reading 15. When things were normal and the pump kicked on, you could really hear it in the basement and the pipe coming in would rattle around. Now, you can just tell the pump is running if you touch the pipe, you can feel it vibrate.

We are almost 12 inches below normal for rainfall this year and the last two years were drier than normal, too. I'm really hoping this is not a sign of the well going dry. Any other ideas? (Please include how to determine if that's the problem.) If it is the well, how do you decide whether or not to drill deeper or start a new well?

Thanks in advance, Michelle

-- Michelle (, November 01, 2001


where is the pump at,, above or below ground? If above,, disconnect it to the supply to the house, see if water is coming up,, if so,, Id bet you have a blown bladder.

-- stan (, November 01, 2001.

Sounds like a busted foot valve -- I remember my mom and dad had this problem on their dug well -- Dad was constantly fixing it. Water pressure would drop off and the pump would kick in more and more regularly until it was finally just running constantly.

Just to be sure I remembered correctly -- I called my brother (the plumber). He says it could also be the suction line (the line from the house to the well) -- it might be clogged or busted. He also said, though, that if it's a drilled well rather than a dug well, it's more likely it's gone dry. Have you had any construction or blasting in your area recently? This, apparently, can change the water table.

Hope this helps!

-- Tracy (, November 01, 2001.

I don't think it's a shortage of water: you say you've had less pressure for several weeks, and now no pressure and the pump running all the time. If you have water, the pump should pump up and shut off. There's no, lesser, lesser, gone to it. Either you've got pressure or you don't with a shortage of water.

It's possible you have a leak in the line below the pump, either in a check valve near the pump or in the foot valve. That would show up as pumping up to full pressure and then dropping without anyone drawing any water, then the pump would kick in again. And when the leak is bad enough the pump loses its priming and runs all the time with no water pumped at all.

Or you could have a problem with your air control on the tank. I'd look there for the problem, first. And quite honestly, I'd have a plumber in to do it. And hang over his shoulder and watch and question while he's working. Take notes, I'm not kidding. Nothing like getting your money's worth, and if you live in the country with your own water system, this will always happen again. :)

Good luck. Being without water is miserable, and if you have stock it's impossible, so don't worry about the expense of it, just get it fixed.

-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (, November 01, 2001.

We bought our home 3 years ago, and it had a well. The water pressure was horrible. We addjusted the pressure on the pump, that helped some, but not to much. About 6 months later, we suddlenly had no water. The motor on the pump was so hot, it caught fire. We called a well man, and he took the pump off, to replace it, and low and behold, there was so much mineral deposits inside the pump and pipes, that it had completely clogged everything, causing the pump to burn up trying to pump water. The strainer at the bottom of the well was so old, they didn;t even make that type anymore. The wellman figures it was at least 20 years old. The pipe and pump had not been cleaned in 20 years! He was surprised that it had been there that long and said the mineral deposits inside the pump was like staligmites in a cave. He told us that we needed to at least clean the pipes, pump casings, etc at least once a year with Clorox to keep the mineral deposits from building up and causing any further problem. We figured that a $1.00 bottle of Clorox once a year beats the heck out of $2000 to replace the well.

-- Bear (, November 01, 2001.

I agree with the bad foot valve analysis. The pump has lost its prime as a result. Its possible you don't have a foot valve but instead a check valve. Turn the pump off and open the prime cap. If all you get is hot air and no water thats a pretty good sign the problem is a loss of prime.

-- john (, November 01, 2001.

The same thing happened to me. I have a submersible pump and the pipe was broke where the threads screw into the pump. Apparently the break got bigger over time causing less and less pressure. Finally the pump burned up and I had to replace it. If this is the same for you, replace it yourself- it's not hard just get some help and pull it and replace just like the old one is hooked up. It only cost me 400 dollars for a 1 horse pump and the stuff to do it with.

-- Don (, November 01, 2001.

We had a similiar problem with our well in VA. We bought 35 acres of cut over with only a tobbacco barn on it for a building. The loggers didn't make a mess logging thankfully and left alot of trees. The farm had an old well with a hand pump on it. Hubby tried to fix it and a small pipe was dropped by accident into the well. soooo we had to deal with that, never did get it out. Our neighbors back there had a plumbing and well drilling business. the looked at the well and helped us re route the lines into the well. Now we didn't put in a submerssiable pump, as is common in VA. I stead it wa soutside in what they called a pump house. The other thing he said was that despite the top of the land looking like it sloped to the creek about 500 yrds away the underground stream which fed it must be downhill. wa a little baffled by this. But then after the rains our well water had red mud particles in it or sedimient. so we had continual troub;les a syou mentioned until we looked at the pump, sure enough, red mud deposits from the creek after rain. We drilled a new well shortly after.

-- Bernice (, November 01, 2001.

on several occations we have had a loss of air in the tank whichdoesnot allow the pressure to build above about 15 lbs, the fault was with the air control.this a 350 ft well pump at 120 ft. dissconnect the pipe from the tanf and opserve if the water flows normally. some times the tank will leak at the top. if there is a plug there[thats normal] check that it doesn't leak. good luck

-- bill dayhoff (, November 02, 2001.

sounds like us. we just recvd. a 340.00 light bill because our pump did the same thing. the water level got low and the pump was spinning. 1st.check your hardware; tank, pressure switch, wires, pipes, etc. if its not that, your well got too low. you need to install a low pressure cutoff switch. there are different one, but they cut off the pump when your pressure drops below 20 lbs or so saving the pump and the light bill[wish i knew this 2 months ago]. also, how far from the bottom is your pump or foot valve? should be about 10 foot off the bottom is my experiance. i purchased my pressure switch from avilla hardware who is arkansas' expert well and pump person and about the only one around here. tim may help you or ship hes at 501.316.7867 in benton,ar.

good luck

doug brown, lake norrell, ar.

-- doug brown (, November 03, 2001.

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