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#4424702 - 06/07/17 06:55 AM What's the matter with my well?
SHOZ Offline


Registered: 06/28/03
Posts: 5744
Loc: Illinois
I've got a well that is 60 years old or so. Don't really know exactly where it is but know within 10' or so. It's suppose to be 150' deep and I use a shallow well pump. Pump is 20+ years old. Pressure setting is 30-50 psi.

When I run it a long time with the garden hose the pressure drops down to 20 psi and I start getting air. I figure the air is from cavitation within the pump?

I assume it has a foot check valve and screen on the bottom. And I'm thinking that is clogged.

What can I do?
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#4424718 - 06/07/17 07:08 AM Re: What's the matter with my well? [Re: SHOZ]
AZjeff Offline


Registered: 01/14/11
Posts: 2630
Loc: PV Az
#1- Stop watering the yard or garden or you'll hasten the pump's demise.

#2 - Start digging until you find the well.

You could be having mechanical trouble or the well yield could be less and you're drawing the water level down and sucking air. Either way the pump has to come up to find out. Been there with well/pump troubles in a 120' well. No fun good luck.
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#4424719 - 06/07/17 07:10 AM Re: What's the matter with my well? [Re: SHOZ]
Gillsy Offline


Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 338
Loc: Owego, New York
Sounds like you are just running out of water. If the screen was plugged, it would affect you as soon as you tried to draw water. Veins do get plugged, and sometimes you have to drill deeper, or get another well. Good luck! My last well project was $2200.00.
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#4424726 - 06/07/17 07:16 AM Re: What's the matter with my well? [Re: SHOZ]
W3DRK Offline


Registered: 05/27/17
Posts: 30
Loc: PA, USA
When you say shallow well pump, I assume you're referring to a jet pump....do you mean a jet pump with a single suction pipe? If so, those are only able to lift water about 25 feet or so because the venturi is inside the pump housing.

On the other hand, if yours is of the double-pipe variety, that's not a shallow well pump but a deep well jet pump because the venturi is located down at the bottom of your well. In this case, your pump circulates the water into one of the pipes and out of the other to rush water past the venturi down at the bottom of the well, improving it's ability to lift to about 120 to 260 ft depending on how many stages your pump is.

How do you know you're getting air? Is it spitting air out of the hose? Or is the pump just making cavitation sounds? Shallow well jet pumps can make cavitation sounds when the venturi is worn and/or you're trying to lift water from a depth below 25 feet.

If you're sputtering air and you have the single pipe jet pump, you may be over drawing your shallow well and literally sucking air into the foot valve. But if you have a deep well jet pump it's more likely that the venturi down at the bottom is worn or clogged with sediment/iron.

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#4424729 - 06/07/17 07:17 AM Re: What's the matter with my well? [Re: SHOZ]
Chris142 Online   content


Registered: 06/05/03
Posts: 16817
Loc: Deplorable in apple valley, ca
Holes in the casing may be rusted shut. 60 yrs is a long life for a well. Average is 25.
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#4424731 - 06/07/17 07:22 AM Re: What's the matter with my well? [Re: SHOZ]
SHOZ Offline


Registered: 06/28/03
Posts: 5744
Loc: Illinois
It's a single pipe jet pump in the crawl space. And this problem has been slowly getting worse over time but is worse this year than it normally is.

I would say that the pump works great for normal use but if you have the hose on it will not cycle but go to 20 psi and stay there.

I do have a new pump I bought 20 years ago to as a backup. It's the only on the second pump that I know of in my 37 years.
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#4424738 - 06/07/17 07:29 AM Re: What's the matter with my well? [Re: SHOZ]
W3DRK Offline


Registered: 05/27/17
Posts: 30
Loc: PA, USA
Start digging to locate your well head. If you're lucky the cap is just below the surface so you may be able to find it with a metal detector. If I were you I'd locate the well, pull the cap, and get a measurement of how low your water level is.

In all likelihood the old well simply doesn't have the yield it used to to keep the water level high enough for shallow jet pump. If it's truly 150 ft to the bottom, the cheapest thing to do would probably be to bury wires out to the well casing and toss a submersible pump down there.

Originally Posted By: SHOZ
It's a single pipe jet pump in the crawl space. And this problem has been slowly getting worse over time but is worse this year than it normally is.

I would say that the pump works great for normal use but if you have the hose on it will not cycle but go to 20 psi and stay there.


Edited by W3DRK (06/07/17 07:30 AM)

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#4424748 - 06/07/17 07:41 AM Re: What's the matter with my well? [Re: SHOZ]
SHOZ Offline


Registered: 06/28/03
Posts: 5744
Loc: Illinois
I'm assuming the well head is at least 30" down as that is the level of the plastic pipe coming into the house. It is a 1" plastic pipe and it is inside a 4" clay drain tile run I believe. At least that is how it is when it leaves the crawl space.

I had a water witcher out once and he located it generally, though I had an idea it was there. I also have come across a good metal detector. I'll give that a try.

The water table is 10 feet or so now and the last three years has been quite wet.
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#4424760 - 06/07/17 07:50 AM Re: What's the matter with my well? [Re: SHOZ]
HerrStig Offline


Registered: 08/24/11
Posts: 9560
Loc: Boston, MA
Time for a submersible pump about 10 feet off the bottom of the well.

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#4424767 - 06/07/17 07:57 AM Re: What's the matter with my well? [Re: SHOZ]
SHOZ Offline


Registered: 06/28/03
Posts: 5744
Loc: Illinois
At the place I live before it had an ancient shallow well pump set up but a deep well point. They came and pumped air into it and then let it blow out. Did that a couple of times.
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#4424792 - 06/07/17 08:30 AM Re: What's the matter with my well? [Re: SHOZ]
mk378 Offline


Registered: 09/27/15
Posts: 1414
Loc: USA
I agree it sounds like you are just pulling the well dry. If possible, reduce water usage.

Like others said, a single pipe jet pump means the well is at most 25 feet deep (from the pump to the water's surface). You can push something metal (fish tape, drain snake, etc) into the pipe then trace it with a device that finds underground wires.


Edited by mk378 (06/07/17 08:32 AM)

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#4424799 - 06/07/17 08:37 AM Re: What's the matter with my well? [Re: SHOZ]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6148
Loc: Waco, TX
I've never in my life heard of a well head being buried until now....???

Is this an "actual" well with a casing and screen on the bottom, or is it just a driven sandpoint?
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#4424806 - 06/07/17 08:44 AM Re: What's the matter with my well? [Re: Linctex]
SHOZ Offline


Registered: 06/28/03
Posts: 5744
Loc: Illinois
Originally Posted By: Linctex
I've never in my life heard of a well head being buried until now....???

Is this an "actual" well with a casing and screen on the bottom, or is it just a driven sandpoint?
I don't really know. It's common around here to have buried the well head. They no longer do this though.
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#4424836 - 06/07/17 09:18 AM Re: What's the matter with my well? [Re: Linctex]
W3DRK Offline


Registered: 05/27/17
Posts: 30
Loc: PA, USA
That's the way it was done up here in the north until they started leaving the casings exposed above ground sometime in the 60s or so, probably around the same time the use of pitless adapters became popular. Before those, they cut the casing to be level with the pipe from the basement jet pump (EDIT: well...just below the level of the pump for priming reasons) with the buried cap having a 90 degree elbow built in. They're drilled wells with steel casings just like any modern well, just capped below the surface. It's an idiotic thing too, for numerous reasons such as being difficult to locate, surface water contamination, etc.

My 58 year-old well is the same way, although I assume I have an early pitless adapter because my cap was only 4 inches below the surface and easy to find. Once my foot valve fails or I get sick of replacing jet pumps every 5 years I'll toss a submersible down there and be done with it...


Originally Posted By: Linctex
I've never in my life heard of a well head being buried until now....???

Is this an "actual" well with a casing and screen on the bottom, or is it just a driven sandpoint?


Edited by W3DRK (06/07/17 09:24 AM)

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#4424837 - 06/07/17 09:18 AM Re: What's the matter with my well? [Re: SHOZ]
PimTac Offline


Registered: 03/04/17
Posts: 4233
Loc: Soviet State of Washington
Don't all well installations have a tank ? It would most likely be a bladder tank but some older systems use a compressor The tank provides the pressure for the water system.

It's very common for the bladder in the tank to start leaking or just blow out. A new tank is the solution. This is my guess.
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