1 minute + delay in getting water after pump kicks in

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by smokingtundra, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. smokingtundra

    smokingtundra New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Interior Alaska
    Hi All....

    I have a 600 foot deep well, 2hp Goulds pump hung at 560ft. It was installed in 1990. (Around here, well would be price prohibitive these days, but it came with the house). A few weeks ago we started losing all our water pressure when letting the water run for a long time, but it would kick back on in a minute or so. I cleaned the stem and replaced the pressure switch (30/50) and checked the tank..28psi. When the pressure reaches 30psi, you can hear the switch kick in and the control box makes a click, but it takes about a minute for water to actually start flowing. Any other thoughts on something to check before calling the well drillers? I got a quote to replace the pump and pipe, ect....$8500. Ouch.

    Thanks in advance for any help! I really enjoy this forum.
  2. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,495
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Sounds like you have a hole in the drop pipe down in the well. You should be getting a lot of air out the faucets as well? I see that pump on the Internet for about $1,000. I know pipe and wire is expensive, but I would get another quote.
  3. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    977
    Location:
    ct
    If your system comes up to 50psi and shuts off, I would say the check valve at the pump is bad.

    Has your electric bill been higher than usual? If so, then you may have a split in a coupling or cracked pipe.

    Are you sure he said $8500.00?
  4. smokingtundra

    smokingtundra New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Interior Alaska
    Thanks for the responses!

    Not sure about the electric bill, but I'll look into it.
    Definitely considered holes in the drop pipe or bad pump check valve, but strange then that I'm not hearing much if any air in the system when the water does start flowing (although I noticed there IS a check valve just before the pressure tank). I hate to have them pull the pump if it's something more simple. Could it be the control box? I appreciate any help in troubleshooting this.

    Here's the quote I got (The high price could just be Fairbanks Alaska, I don't know...we get used to that up here)

    Estimate for pump replacement
    7GS20 7GS20 Goulds Pump-$1,663.00

    Control Box ... 2HP Control Box-$208.00

    Bushing Pump Bushing-$18.00

    Splice Kit Splice Kit-$10.00

    #8 #8 Pump Wire 560 @ $5.00/ft- $2,800.00

    Drop Pipe 1" Galvanized Drop Pipe 560ft @ $4.00/ft-$2,240.00

    Hours 12 x $200.00/hr - $2,400.00
  5. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,495
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    You need to put a clip around amp meter on one of the incoming hot wires. If after the control box “clicks” you are pulling 12 amps or so, the pump is moving a lot of water. If it takes a minute of this to reach the top, the line down the well must not be full of water. With a check valve up top you could have an Air Volume Control and a regular hydro tank. Then you would not see the air in the house as the AVC would expel the excess air.

    At that price for labor I would replace the pump because of its age. But I would swap the bottom few pipes for some good stuff from above that wasn’t in the water, reuse the wire and control box, as long as they are still in good shape. May not be as bad as you think.
  6. smokingtundra

    smokingtundra New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Interior Alaska
    Thanks Valveman, I'll have to borrow a clip around amp meter, but it'll be worth my time to troubleshoot.
  7. smokingtundra

    smokingtundra New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Interior Alaska
    OK, I've gotten several quotes around town. I've got one driller who says he can do it for around $4-5K, and he's planning on being at my place on Monday morning. Will buy a amp meter on my way home to check the control box.
  8. smokingtundra

    smokingtundra New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Interior Alaska
    OK, I placed the amp meter on the incoming hot wire, started the pump and got 14 to 15 amps right off the bat as the control box 'clicked'. So by valveman's previous post, that would mean the pump is pumping a lot of water from the get go. Maybe no holes in the pipe?

    Opening the control box, I did notice it has instructions for testing the capacitors with a multimeter, so that may be my next step.

    Has anybody heard of the capacitors going bad, and could that possibly cause the delay in water we are experiencing?
  9. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,495
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    So that means it is pumping full volume from “the get go”. Why does it take a minute to see the water flow? Because it takes a minute for the water to get to the top of the 560’ of pipe. Which means you still have a hole in the pipe.

    Actually the 14 amps instead of 12 means it is pumping more than it should, because the pipe is not full, and there is not enough head on the pump. Another sign of a hole in the pipe. Control box is either working or not, and won’t cause a delay.

    I have been wrong before, but I still think it is a hole in the pipe, right where the pipe screws onto the pumps check valve.
  10. smokingtundra

    smokingtundra New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Interior Alaska
    Valveman, I'm a believer. I actually purchased a new control box before the driller shows up tomorrow, just to be sure. Sure enough, same problem. Also checked motor winding resistances, which were all within norm. Hole in the drop pipe must be what it is. There is a check valve in the line before the tank, which keeps it from draining. The only thing that made me doubt it was the fact that I don't hear tons of air in the tank before the water starts to flow (usually just sort of a 'glug' or 2).

    Since I'm spending the $$ to pull the pump, I guess I might as well shell out the dough to replace it as it is 22 years old. Seems a shame to discard a fully functioning and expensive pump just because of some holes in the pipe, though.

    The driller that is coming out said it should be around $4000-$5000, based on previous wells he's serviced that are this deep. He'll only replace the pipe that needs it, and does not seem interested in replacing the wire (some of the other drillers wanted to put in a brand new everything). I'm hoping he won't mind if we use the new control box I purchased.

    If anybody has any ideas of things to look out for or suggestions on dealing with the driller, please fire away!

    Thanks again for the help everybody,
    ST.
  11. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,495
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Just make sure whomever screws the drop pipe onto the pump and check valve, that they wrap this connection with electric tape. You are going to find the hole in the pipe threads right where it screws onto the pump and check. If this had been wrapped with electric tape the first time, you would not be having this problem.
  12. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,066
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I've been following this thread and wonder about a few technical points. Some unknowns are the size of pipe, the depth of the water table, and the distance from wellhead to tank. The hole in the pipe would cause the water to drop back only about 25 feet above the water table. As for air in the line, one would have to have two leaks otherwise the pipe will hold a vacuum.

    I calculated 1 gallon of water for every 20 feet of 1" pipe, so maybe as much as 28 gallons to fill the pipe. There was no mention of water hammer, but that column of water hitting the checkvalve at the tank should make quite a bang. Maybe there are some other checkvalves in the line?
  13. smokingtundra

    smokingtundra New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Interior Alaska
    The rest of the story:

    I Should say too, that originally, the well was drilled in 1985 to 323', with the pump at 304' making 1/2 gpm. In 1990, the owner had the driller come back and go deeper to improve water quality/flow. (The first 194' is cased in 6", and 194-515' is cased in 5"-so the drill log says)

    -Well cased to 515' (Cased with 5" 194-515')
    -7ED 2hp Goulds Pump
    -Static Water Level to 250'
    -pump set at 567'
    -Well making 10GPM
    -1" drop tube.
    -Approx. 35ft. run from well to house. buried about 7' down, and will freeze if we don't plug the heat tape in. (hopefully we don't have a hole in that!)
  14. smokingtundra

    smokingtundra New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Interior Alaska
    Well, OK then......drillers just left after 7 hours of pulling pipe and replacing the pump:

    Pump + motor = $1800
    278' galvanized ($3/ft) = $834
    Control Box = $240
    3 check valves = $126
    7 hrs labor = $1370
    Total: $4399

    Valveman was right....corroded pipe in threads, just above the pump. Not much of a hole, but enough, I guess.

    They did put 3 check valves in the line, and as the layman, I didn't want to get into a debate...."well, I heard on the internet.....". I was glad to see them tape that last joint above the pump with electrical tape.

    He said the pump was drawing close to 20 amps, and so put in a new control box, which fixed the issue. He wouldn't use the Pentek box I purchased (said it wasn't designed for the 2hp pump, but it is a 2hp box), and went with his own 'centripro' 2 hp box (looks almost identical inside) which was $60 more expensive of course.

    Now I'm flushing out quite a bit of red iron water. Runs for 10 mins or so before the pump runs out of water. He said I'm probably not getting the 10gpm that the original driller said the well was good for.

    All in all, I was expecting it to be more expensive and I'm happy it's done. Thanks to all for your help on the forum. Let's hope I won't have to do that in this house again!
  15. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,495
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Glad you got it working. Centripro and Pentek motors are made in the same factory, so the box would have worked fine.

    The extra check valves won’t hurt anything until they start to wear a bit. Then you will start hearing and feeling a pop or water hammer when the pump starts. But what can you do? All the books say to put a check valve every 200’. So only experience will tell you not to add the extra check valves, and apparently there are very few “professionals” with “experience” these days.
  16. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    They are professionally experienced in fleecing homeowners of their hard earned money and doing the worst jobs with the highest markup. 1800$ for a pump? Rather buy a car for that.
    I would guess that tape wrap he saw at the pump head was some taiwan tape holding the wires in place - not a Scotch33 only on the pipes.


    Its a real shame to put that garbage iron pipe in a 300' well. You could have done that with 160PSI poly and NEVER thought about corrosion again. That iron pipe needs wrapping from pump to well head. Or better yet, reserve it for fence posts.

    Of course the driller hates it [poly] because his labor goes down 75% and you dont need him to pull the pump. The brass check valves on that no-quality control imported iron pipe will be your next set of leaks.

    And don't you love contractors that lie about control boxes to fleece you for 60 bucks? And the poly would have been ONE stick, and cost you 180$. You dropped 700$ in a black hole on that pipe.

    If I had not taught myself every trade in the book starting at age 17 when I bought 12 acres, I would be living in a shopping cart. A pump I set at age 18 ran for 30 years without a problem except for the cheap sears tanks I used. All the honest contractors and well drillers have died or retired now, all the newbies just want to make enough for their fleet of ATV's and next cruise.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  17. justwater

    justwater Well Drilling/Service

    Messages:
    327
    Location:
    FL/GA
    ballvalve, read his first post. the pump is set 560', evidently all the pipe didnt get replaced. i dont know alot about poly but maybe its no problem that deep? he said his well was cased 5" to 515' so the pump is hung past that and 45' into who knows what kind of formation. i know very little about wells like he has or pumps set that deep.. and we use mostly pvc these days, but i've worked with alot of steel in the past and what i do know about it is you can push/pull it pretty darn hard... and when a new well isnt an option, id hate to risk a pump not coming out when i pull on it.

    either way, its done now and he's got water again, try not to blow a gasket. you might need to sit down and talk with someone about your hatred toward contractors. theres good and bad in everything. kudos on knowing every trade in the book though..
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  18. smokingtundra

    smokingtundra New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Interior Alaska
    Yea, justwater got it-the pump is set at 567'. I asked about poly and the driller said not for a pump set that deep. His prices seem to be the standard for this area. The only thing that really turned me off was telling me that the control box I purchased wasn't designed for the pump--without even looking at it. Also putting in the check valves. Oh well, I guess I will not be recommending that outfit to friends and neighbors in the future.
  19. Texas Wellman

    Texas Wellman In the Trades

    Messages:
    537
    Location:
    SE Texas-Coastal
    Ballvalve- you don't have any right to be spouting off about something you know very little about.

    Poly pipe, even at 200 psi, is not rated to be set at 500 ft. If the pump draws down deep enough, coupled with the head pressure on the pump it could easily exceed the rating for the pipe.

    Also the wells in your area could be known for encrustation, in which case steel pipe would be mandatory.

    I wouldn't worry about the check valves too much, I personally don't see it as that big of a deal. I've ran bleeders for years with zero starting pressure and never had trouble with water hammer. It does give you insurance if the check on the pump fails.

    As for the cost of the materials I'm betting that there is a lot of stuff in Alaska that costs more.The OP didn't even say what HP or GPM the pump is and that makes a huge difference. Just because you have hung a few pumps on polypipe and piddled with a few wells doesn't make you an expert. Spend $80K on a small pump hoist, another $20K in inventory, $100K on a shop and buildings, advertising, taxes, accountants, and then put in a days labor to do the job. You'd think that price was cheap.

    And then carry the warranty on the dang thing. First few you get to do for free you'll learn why you have to build some extra in.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  20. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,495
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Sorry, I didn’t mean to start any contractor bashing with my “experience” comment. I just meant that experience is the only thing teaching a contractor that the book or the guy at the supply house isn’t always right. After that system has a few years on it, spending a few days pulling and setting it several times trying to eliminate the water hammer on startup, will give you the experience needed along with a strong desire to throw the book away.

    This is just one of the reasons contractors have to charge what they do. Learning is expensive on top of all the things Texas Wellman mentioned, which was just the short list anyway. This guy has all the expenses that TW mentioned and has to do it in Alaska on top of that. I can just imagine the freight cost, fuel costs, insurance, and the expense of just keeping your truck and all the tools and supplies from freezing solid in the winter. I think it was a very reasonable price. He will start making a little money when he learns where to put some tape, where and how many checks valves are needed, and little things like that. Until then he will have to do many things over again for free until he gets it right. It is a lot different than driving a well point in sand and putting in your own shallow well pump on a weekend. Some things you can do yourself, some you can’t. Don’t call a contractor for things you can do yourself. And be careful judging a contractor, because he is doing something you apparently can’t or won’t do.

    Some wells need steel pipe as well. Nothing you can do about that but use the best pipe you can find. Knowing what is best is where that “experience” comes in again.

    The air in the bleeder system is what keeps the second check from causing water hammer on galv tank set ups. I think that maybe why so many people think it won’t cause water hammer with a bladder tank either. But there is no air in the line for cushion with a bladder tank. Even so, extra check valves still won’t cause water hammer with a bladder tank set up when the system is new, and some never do. It is just when that bottom check starts to leak back just a bit, that the “thump” starts being heard. A do it yourselfer might never have a problem with two checks. But as a contractor who is accountable for a couple thousand installs a year, about one hundred of them are going to give you fits if you install multiple check valves in all of them. A contractor will spend more labor money on those 100 systems than he will on the other 1900. So again, experience tells me to use only one check valve on bladder tank systems.
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