Do I have a leak?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by sc_hoaty, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. sc_hoaty

    sc_hoaty New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    SC
    I'm getting frustrated with my well, even though it has been pretty good to me for over 20 years.

    My wife noticed the flowrate seemed a bit off when she used the garden sprinklers - they did not throw as far as they used to. I attributed this to maybe some wear on the pump impeller.

    The pump is a submersible pump that is 120 feet deep, 1 1/2 hp, rated at 13 GPM.

    A couple days ago it tripped the breaker. After 2 days of troubleshooting, it was determined to be a short in the wiring between the house and the well. I currently have it working again with 120 feet of 12/3 wire above ground, awaiting burial.

    When we got the pump running again, I noticed it short cycled pretty bad. The bladder tank is in my garage, about 100 or so feet from the well. The pressure switch is right next to the bladder tank outlet. The pressure gage Teed off the line to the pressure switch showed the pressure would build to about 50 psi, and then take forever to climb to 60 psi. The pump would then cut off, and it took about 10 seconds to bleed down to 40 psi for cut on.

    Since the system could produce 50 psi more readily, I have swapped over to a 50/30 pressure switch. The bleed down is still rapid, but the pump can achieve cut off pressure more readily.

    I checked the bladder tank pressure - it was way low, so I have pumped it up to about 28 psi.

    I can isolate my house with a valve a few feet from the bladder tank (1/4 turn PVC ball valve). I also have a T to all the irrigation use - lawn, garden, etc. That T is tapped into the line from the well, very close to the well itself. I have another 1/4 turn PVC valve to isolate all the irrigation. If I close both of those isolation valves, the bleed down from 50 to 30 psi takes about 13 seconds.

    The combination of the long time to build from 50 to 60 psi, plus the rapid loss of pressure without the pump running, lead me to believe I have a leak between the well and the bladder tank.

    I started excavating (by hand) the line from the well to the bladder tank. I have not seen any particularly damp spots, but I have very sandy soil. (this makes the excavation a bit easier!) I have about 30-40 feet more to go, with no sign of a leak yet. I periodically turn the pump on to check.

    The leak may be under the garage slab - I dread the thought of rerouting the last 10 feet of pipe, only to find out I still have a problem.

    Any suggestions about other things to check, or stuff that may mimic a leak just to fool me? I thought about the check valve down-well, but that does not explain the difficulty in building to 60 psi.

    Thanks for any help!
  2. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,248
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    It is quite common to develop pinhole leaks which grow over time in any threaded galvanized pipe or nipple down in the well. Where the threads are, the pipe is quite thin and not protected by the galvanizing, and it will often be the first place to rust through..
  3. sc_hoaty

    sc_hoaty New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    SC
    Thanks for the reply.

    The check valve mounted just upstream of the pump is brass, and I believe it is still OK (replaced a few years ago). When we pulled the pump a couple days ago, there was standing water in the supply pipe, so it had not run back through the check valve.

    Everything after the check valve that I have encountered is PVC. What I am not sure about is what material is under the garage slab. I need to remove the wrapped insulation from the short section that rises up through the slab to see if perhaps galvanized was used for that section.

    Thanks for the tip!
  4. sc_hoaty

    sc_hoaty New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    SC
    Think I have it figured out. I isolated the irrigation and the house, and let the bladder tank fill up to around 50 PSI. I had my wife throw the pump breaker while I listened at the well. I heard what sounded like spraying water, and it persisted for 15-20 seconds after the pump was cut off. It frustrates me that we just pulled the pump last week, but without the electric working, I could not tell that I had a problem with the pipe.

    I'll call the well man and try to have it pulled Monday. I'm going to stock enough 1 1/4 PVC to replace all of it while they are here.

    Thanks for the helpful thoughts!
  5. sc_hoaty

    sc_hoaty New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    SC
    The rest of the story:

    Well guy came today, pulled the first 20' section, and no water came out when they sawed the pipe. But we could see water just a few inches down in the second section to be pulled. We lifted it a few feet, and observed a crack running around the circumference of the pipe, not quite 1/2 way around. Cut the pipe below that, glued in a new coupling, and used virgin material for the top section (since I had it on-hand for the occasion.) Now the system holds pressure happily, and I'm back in business again.
  6. VAWellDriller

    VAWellDriller Member

    Messages:
    171
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    You haven't hired much of a well man if he put the pump on glued PVC.....that's a HORRIBLE way to install a pump....if it's only schedule 40, you will be having more problems with it cracking. A high head 1.5 hp will have some startup torque...especially on that short setting....you should have it on schedule 80 or 120 threaded pipe.
  7. sc_hoaty

    sc_hoaty New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    SC
    The well was here when I bought the house - 26 years ago. I have been using the guy who installed it. If I need more work done, I will probably call someone else.
Similar Threads: leak
Forum Title Date
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Bladder tank leaking Sep 1, 2014
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Do I have really have a well water line leak? Need second opinion. Jun 19, 2014
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Well line leak - PICTURES- Need advice Jun 6, 2014
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Where would the leak happen related to the check valve? Mar 26, 2014
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Whole house shutoff/leak detection system Nov 22, 2013

Share This Page