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water well / foot valve problems

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by chrisasst, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. ROVERT

    ROVERT Member

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    Yes, you probably trapped enough air in the tank to make it function to some level. I imagine that it was still short cycling to some extent.

    Because water is not compressible (or at least very nearly not compressible) it takes virtually no leak at all to cause a pump to short cycle. You might not have at leak at all. The only way you can maintain pressure in the system is by actively pumping, having head pressure, or compressing something. When the pump is running, the pump is providing the pressure. In a working system, the compressed air in the tank provides the pressure when the pump is not running. In a municipal water supply, head pressure pressure from a water tower provides the pressure.

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  2. coaly

    coaly Fisher Moderator Staff Member

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    Perhaps the line is clogged going into the tank, since you commented it was so rusty? Therefore the tank isn't even being used? Maybe when you depressurized it, rust and scale opened up for awhile until it plugged again?

    Like ROVERT explains, the air is like a baloon in the tank that pushes the water out. Not the pump. So from 45 or 50 lbs. it would be impossible to push out enough water to decrease the pressure down to your 30 psi cut in setting that fast. That's why I asked about pressures. If the cut in and cut out were set extremely close (differential) it could short cycle like you explain, so the pressure settings have to be know first.
  3. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    I had a similar problem with a shallow well jet pump running all of the time. The expansion tank was full of sediment. I cleaned it out, installed a new schrader valve, pumped the tank up to about 20 psi with an air compressor, and it worked fine after that.
  4. chrisasst

    chrisasst Minister of Fire

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    Ok, here is what I got for pressure in the holding tank. When the pump is idle, I get a reading of 20psi on my tire gauge. Then the pump kicks on it goes up to 35, then drops back down to 20. Also there is water coming out of the air pressure valve. Well, I probably didn't test this right. I didn't turn the pump off because I am afraid of loosing prime. So I guess these numbers are not accurate. When I close the valve between the pump and holding tank, the pump kicks on / off faster. which I think it should if everything on the well side is working properly correct?
    So I am gathering from this info it is the holding tank then right?


    I was going to get a picture/video of it but my wife took my good camera.
  5. ROVERT

    ROVERT Member

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    If water comes out of the schrader valve, the tank is water logged. You can try to drain the tank and then use an air compressor to push the water out of the tank. Most tanks have a rubber diaphragm in them. When you get water out of the schrader it means that the diaphragm is ruptured. You might be able to push enough water out and get enough air in to make it work properly. It is a temporary fix, however, and a new tank is in your future.

    FWIW, you cannot check the tank pressure without relieving any pressure from the water side of the tank first. In your case, it doesn't matter because you now know the tank is water logged.
    jeffoc likes this.
  6. jeffoc

    jeffoc Member

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    I agree with Rovert, your tank is shot. Also the check valve should be as close to the pump as possible. Think of it like holding your finger over the end of a straw. This makes the pump work less as long as everything beyond it is working properly. By placing it so far down what you've done is basically install two foot valves.
  7. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    One more thing, make sure the Shrader valve assembly is tight in the tank ( hex nut). It's unclear if you said water leaking from the valve it's self (from the very tip top) or from around it. That may make a difference, but I'm not sure how the valve assembly connects to the bladder.

    Ehouse
  8. chrisasst

    chrisasst Minister of Fire

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    Water comes out when I press the tire gauge onto it.
  9. chrisasst

    chrisasst Minister of Fire

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    oh boy... I just had a well company here. He said the pressure tank is probably water logged, but that wouldn't make the pump kick on/off like it is. He said it is a leak in the ground or the foot valve again. (banging head now) He also said, they don't work on units like mine...........

    IDK, from what you are saying and what I am reading on my research, I think 90% of the problem is coming from the holding tank. So I don't know if I can change it or not.. My fear is loosing prime and if there is a leak somewhere, not being able to get it re-primed.
  10. jeffoc

    jeffoc Member

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    I'm not sure what kind of pump you have but on mine, I have a Red Jacket, when I had to replace the foot valve, I was able to prime it by opening an unused port and dumping water in from a gallon jug. Replace the plug before you turn it on, I learned the hard way. I had to do it a couple times before it caught, but I have about a 20 foot run and then a ~12 foot drop.
    You have to hold the pressure switch open until it builds itself.
    I don't know if that would make the pump cycle like that, but with all the work you've done after the pump, I would try just replacing the tank. You know it's bad.
  11. chrisasst

    chrisasst Minister of Fire

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    We usually shut the valve between the pump and holding tank. Then pull out the line and when we were ready to prime it, we opened the valve and even then we had to use the neighbors outside spicket and use the garden hose and run water in the well.
  12. ROVERT

    ROVERT Member

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    Diagnosing these things over the web isn't the easiest, but typically when a pump short cycles with a water logged tank it does not mean there is a significant leak somewhere. Before freaking out about another leak, replace the tank and see where you are at. You said there is a valve between the tank and pump. If you are that concerned about losing prime, just close the valve and leave the pump on while you replace the tank, it's short cycling anyway, it will just continue to do so, maybe a little faster.

    Once you get the new tank filled up, you might want to close the valve, turn the pump off and replace the pressure switch. If it has been short cycling for as long as you say it has the contacts are probably well on their way to being burnt out. It's been tough on the pump too, but there's no sense replacing that until it dies. As long as you have a tank full of pressurized water, priming the pump should be a cinch, even if there is a leak.
  13. ROVERT

    ROVERT Member

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    If the neighbors are that close, don't worry about losing prime. You can just get a double female hose connector and connect a hose from their house to the boiler drain at your pump/tank. If you don't have a boiler drain at your pump/tank, you should... put one in when you replace the tank.
  14. chrisasst

    chrisasst Minister of Fire

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    Soooo... I called my father in law to see what he thought. He came down. He said that my holding tank does not have a bladder in it. I told him my findings and of course he says it can't be the tank and has to be the foot valve again. Well, told him that the tank was water logged because water is coming out of the air valve thing. So anyway, he drained out most of the water from the tank. We put a air compressor on it, put about 28 pounds of air in the tank. Low and behold, the pump is off and holding. Atleast for now..
  15. ROVERT

    ROVERT Member

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    Does your system have an air volume control? Without one, your bladderless tank will require regular maintenance... ie adding air. Without anything separating the air from the water in the tank, the air dissolves in the water and disappears over time. An air volume control will add a little air every time the pump cycles. I can't tell you exactly how often you will need to drain the tank and add air. There aren't too many air over water tanks around here any more. The ones I can think of probably need to have air added every other year or so.

    Glad you got it sorted out. I should have asked if you had a galvanized tank. I run into so few of them that I just assumed you would have a diaphragm tank. The tank you have will not have to be replaced until it leaks. It requires more maintenance, but doesn't have a diaphragm to go bad.
  16. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    I had a galvanized tank, and it finally started to leak. It was so loaded up with crud the well guy could hardly get it out of the house it was so heavy. He rolled it on end, like an oxygen tank, and it got away from him. When it hit the ground, it gave off a dull thud and broke. It was really rotten. I now have a bladder type, lifetime guarantee (but none on the labor).
  17. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Try pouring a bit of soapy water on the schrader valve to see if that is leaking air. Easy fix if that's leaking.
  18. chrisasst

    chrisasst Minister of Fire

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    Thanks guys for the help / suggestions.

    Far as I knew it was a bladder tank...its short, squatty, steel, schrader valve on the side.
    no I don't see a air volume control, I guess that will be next on the list.
  19. ROVERT

    ROVERT Member

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    I wouldn't bother with the air volume control. They're not the most reliable anyway. Just drain the tank and add air every now and then.
  20. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I'd look at putting one or two bladder type expansion tanks on the line if I did anything with that old tank. Old air over water tank has already given you enough grief, no? Just sayin.
  21. chrisasst

    chrisasst Minister of Fire

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    I am just wondering if after 8 times of pulling up the well line and cleaning/changing the foot valve, that it has been this friging tank all along..
  22. ROVERT

    ROVERT Member

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    Yep, I'm betting it was.
    heat seeker likes this.
  23. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    +1
  24. chrisasst

    chrisasst Minister of Fire

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    Well, the pump is back kicking on/off again when there is no water open. Not as fast as it was, but probably getting there. Can I hook up another tank off of the existing tank some how, or should I just the existing tank out and put in a new one? I don't know if a picture would help or not?
  25. jeffoc

    jeffoc Member

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    That sucks.
    I was hoping you had it this time. I'd take that old tank completely out, (beat it with the biggest hammer I could find, kick it, melt it down and then kick it again) for all the trouble it has given you it isn't worth messing with anymore. If you have a shut off valve between the tank and the pump it should hold prime if everything is solid below the pump.

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