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Well Pump Foot Valve

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by gpcollen1, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    I have a deep well - about 150 ft - submersible pump. For the past year or so, i would occasionally get some air in my lines when running the water first thing in the morning or when we got home from somewhere. I assumed the foot valve got some grit or sand in it and just hung up a tiny bit here or there. Just last week it happened a few times again and it got worse as it continued. It seems that this needs some attention this weekend.

    Do I just pull it out and inspect the pipe, pump and foot valve? Id there any way to do some preliminary tests to see if it is the check valve or a crack in the pipe or leaky fitting? I think i am just going to locate a pipe puller and yank it but I guess i need to figure out if all foot valves are the same and get one of those too...

    Any thoughts are appreciated...

    G

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  2. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    ss foot values are about 20.00 bucks if you pull it replace it. Mine is a shallow well about 20 foot pump is in the house.
  3. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    House was built in 72 and pump is original as far as i know - maybe not. I just have this feeling something will give me issues - like the pitless adapter being cracked or the gasket being shot.
  4. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I don't understand how a bad foot valve would result in air entering the system? Where would air come from? The foot valve should always be under water.

    Perhaps the bladder in your accumulator tank has hole in it? I could also see how cracks in pipes might allow air in also.
  5. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    It lets the water seep back down in to the well and gets replace by air on the top side. Mine done this and lost water a couple weeks later on Thans Giving Morning! Two weeks later I found the well under my deck and a lawn full of back-hoe trench.....Wow how I would like to forget about that 2 weeks!
  6. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    Some older pumps actually put some air into the line in order to keep air in the bladderless tank. It can be adjusted. It's a long shot, but still a possibility if you have an older pump.
  7. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    Nah - this is not a normal situation. Tanks is newer and everything is ok. Had a leak about 6 years ago underground in the piping and even that did not give me air in my lines. this is and it is either something in the pipe int he well or the foot valve/check valve at the pump...I am pretty sure anyway. With a leak on the downhill side, the water will leak out and be replaced by air. when you open the faucet, you get some water and then air for a while = no fun.
  8. Morgan

    Morgan Member

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    Submersible pumps don't have a foot valve, they do have an integral check valve, but all I have seen are built into the submersible pump and not replaceable. You could cut into the line above the pump and add another check valve, however I would just do that in my basement (or wherever your service comes in) As long as your polypipe is intact then it should work just fine. You can get a swing check, which will sometimes (more times than not) make a slamming noise when the pump cuts out, or you can get what they call a non-slam spring check, little more money and a little more restriciton but no noise.

    For a test, just shut the water off to your house, and watch the pressure at your pressure tank, if it drops than yes your check valve is bad, if it holds than you have other problems......the more I think about this I don't see how it could happen, once you pressure drops to 30psi or whatever your cut in is your pump should come on and pump your tank up to 50psi. There is no opportunity for air to enter the system if it remains pressurized. Maybe you already have a check valve up top and the air is entering between the 2 check valve with the lower being faulty, if this is a case you have a leak, if air can leak in, than water can more than likely leak out.

    Sorry about being all over the place, mind was wandering a little while typing, any extra details you can provide may help me trouble shoot it a little more for you

    -Morgan
  9. Fifelaker

    Fifelaker Feeling the Heat

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    Morgan is correct no foot valve in a submersible pump. there is a screen that could be plugged. Pump running out of water sucking air? Google is your friend. Gould did have a great trouble shooting guide on there web site a few years ago. If you cannot find anything let me know and I will try to scan the guide and post or email it to you. Good luck .
  10. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    I don't google...my Mom does...I either bing or yahoo!!! At this point, i don't even know what brand pump i have or how old it is...if it has an integral check valve or if there is one in the line above it.

    Good point about maybe I already have a check valve in the system. I replaced the line from outside to inside back when i had a leak. I could have put a check valve in at that time or maybe there is one at the tank. That will certainly allow this situation to happen.

    As for the foot valve or check valve at the pump, Whether integral to the pump or not, it seems it is leaking. either that or there is a crack in the pipe. I guess Ill start with a check valve and go from there. Still may need to pull the pump for inspection more sooner than later.

    Thanks
    G
  11. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I understand now. Thanks.
  12. Fifelaker

    Fifelaker Feeling the Heat

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    If your screen is plugged or your water table dropped the pump will suck air. The water can't enter fast enough.
  13. plumberman57

    plumberman57 Member

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    It depends on what type of system you have. If you have a solid system with a bladder tank you should not be getting air even if there is a bad check valve or a hole in the pipe. If you have an aereated system with a galvanized tank there would be an air release valve on the side of the tank about in the middle that releases excess air. I used to work on pump systems, if you e-mail me(plumberman57@yahoo.com) your phone # i could call you and help figure out your problem.

    Scott
  14. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Scott. i had a rather busy weekend and did nothing to solve my problem. Curious as to why a tank and bladder system would mean there could not be a leak and why that would have anything to do with it. Bottom line is that there is a pump and check valve in the well under water. I get plenty of water when in use but when no water is used for a period of time [6-12 hours], i get some water, then air and then water again. The amount of air can vary but is there for sure. If there is no check valve to hold a 100 ft column of water in a 100 ft rise of pipe, why on earth would it stay in there?
  15. mikeyny

    mikeyny Feeling the Heat

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    you could also have a hole in the pipe leading down to the pump in the the casing. pull off the well cap shut off the water and listen. IF the leak is above the water table you will hear it a trickle back or hissing sound.
  16. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac Feeling the Heat

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    If the check valve at the pump is stuck open, the water in the pipe should bleed back until the pressure drops below the "turn on" setting at the pressure switch, then the pump would kick in, pressurize and shut off. This would continue to cycle in this fashion without any faucets open, and there should be no air introduced.

    That is UNLESS there is a check valve placed between the well and the pressure switch. This would cause the pressure switch to "think" everything is OK and remain off. Meanwhile on the other side of the check valve the water is leaking back down and sucking air in to replace it. This type of set up is unsanitary, and illegal in Wisconsin. Check valves are not allowed between the well and the pressure switch.

    You are right though, if this was caused by a clogged screen or low water level you would get the air after periods of high use, not after long rest periods.

    Look for a check valve in the basement.

    If you don't find one, you could pull the pump after a long rest period and see if there is water in the pipe. The water in the pipe should be right there at the pitless. If it is some feet below the pitless the check valve could be buried (ugh).

    Once you've ruled out the possibilty of a misplaced check valve, I'd begin to suspect the pressure tank.
  17. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    Thanks BJJ! Kind of where i was...

    Why is the check valve an issue up prior to the tank?
  18. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac Feeling the Heat

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    If you can imagine that air is getting into the water line, ask yourself where is the leak that is allowing the air in? And what else might be getting sucked in as well as air?

    In some cases this might be fairly harmless. In other cases you have livestock manure, pet waste, septic pipes, and such that can be in the viscinity of that leak which is sucking air in, and then down into the well. Of course, what goes down one well can then show up in a neighbor's well.

    As long as the pump and pressure switch are communicating properly, even if the foot valve were to stick open, the pressure in the water line will always be positive. Therefor any leaks will result in clean water squirting out rather than filthy junk getting sucked in.
  19. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    Makes complete sense. No real chance of anything getting sucked back into my well from human or livestock sources but there are plenty of misc buggers in even pristine environments.
  20. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    Turns out, no check valve on pump but check valve at tank was leaking by...apparently. $25 check valve and a few fittings and back in business. No idea why I was so sure there was a check valve at the pump. Guess that is what was in my head for all submersibles. That is what happens the longer something is stuck inside your coconut. Funny thing is that I replaced the piping from inside to out, where there was a leak in the poly outside. Have no idea even if I changed that check valve when I did that plumbing. First I thought I did...then my buddy told me we did not - but his memory stinks and I did the plumbing while he watched...

    All the more reason I just started my Home Log in the Excel tab next to my auto log. Recording all items so my brain can be free to do whatever else it does.........

    Thanks for the help!

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