First time well pumper - pressure issue

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by RidgebackKing, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. RidgebackKing

    RidgebackKing New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Florida
    I own a property that has a well installed that I'm having trouble with. Since the well was existing, I don't know much about it. Here is the info I do know:

    Submersible three wire w/ control box
    Approx. 85' - 100' depth
    1 HP according to control box
    1 1/4" Sch 40 PVC with glued couplers
    Pumps into a pressure tank normally set 40/60
    Casing looks to be about 4-5" diameter (will get accurate measurement)

    I really don't know any more than that. Lately the pump has been struggling to hit the 60psi in the tank. I lowered the max PSI on the tank to 55 and it worked (albeit took long time) for a couple days then wouldn't shut off again. I lowered to 50 and repeated this same process. Right now it's at 40 and still not shutting off.

    I'm hoping it's a simple pipe leak and I can replace it all and be good but if I can't find a leak, I'll replace the pump as well. I want to be prepared as much as possible to do this all in one shot so the property isn't without water very long. I have a few questions if someone would be generous to answer.

    1. It appears that the pump is basically just hanging there. Is that true? The casing cap looks like it has some rubber that gets squeezed around the PVC and that's basically whats holding this whole thing suspended down there?

    2. When replacing the PVC, I've read that glued joints are better than threaded. True?

    3. If glueing the PVC joints, how long do they need to set before I start suspending this weight? I can't imaging someone building 200' of pipe and letting it set for a long period only to attempt to raise it vertical to drop down all at once.

    4. Is the PVC ok or should I use the black flex pvc? Seeing how the case cover is what is suspending the current pump, how would I suspend it using flex pvc? Doesn't the "flex" mean squeezing it will just crush it?

    5. How much room needs to be on either side of the pump inside the casing? Does a 4" casing get a 4" pump?

    6. Any other suggestions/recommendations to be prepared for this possible change out?


    I will be using 1/4" nylon rope on the pump I put back down there so that should alleviate some of the weight pressure on the casing cover.

    Thanks!
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2014
  2. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,418
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    It does sound like a leak in the pipe. It is probably just above the check valve on top of the pump.

    Yeah that well seal holds the pump, pipe, etc. suspended.

    NO. I would never use a glue joint down a well. Sch 80 or 120 threaded is best.

    You can’t wait long enough, don’t glue it.

    160# black poly pipe is fine as well. Just use long barb fittings with two hose clamps.

    4” pumps measure about 3.5” and will fit fine in 4” casing.

    Don’t use a galvanized nipple screwed into a brass or SS check valve and it won’t rust out a hole again.

    DO NOT USE A ROPE. If your pipe isn’t strong enough to hold the pump, use stronger pipe. The rope will just make a rats nest and wedge the pump in the hole if it comes loose or breaks off.
  3. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    883
    Location:
    ct
    My money is on the sch 40 being cracked, that stuff isn't designed for the weight, pressure and torque.

    Use threaded and coupled sch 80 drop pipe

    DO NOT USE A ROPE!
  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,068
    Location:
    IL
    Where would you draw the line for using 200 or 160 PSI poly pipe?
  5. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    883
    Location:
    ct
    200 psi is a bitch to work with and IMO has too much memory, it will never hang straight enough in the well so the wire will get chaffed up big time.

    Sch 80 is a better choice.
  6. RidgebackKing

    RidgebackKing New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Florida
    No rope, really? I can't tell you how many forums and pages I've read that said to use a 1/4" nylon rope to lower (and one day raise) the pump. I assumed it would alleviate some of the stress on the pvc as well. Interesting.
  7. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    883
    Location:
    ct
    Those other guys are fooling themselves and others, maybe they sell 1/4" rope or enjoy fishing pumps and or drilling new wells for unsuspecting customers.

    IF the pipe you are using is so weak that you need a rope, you should buy a better grade of pipe!
  8. RidgebackKing

    RidgebackKing New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Florida
    Ok, no rope it is. I'm trying to find some Sch 80 threaded pipe locally. I'll use some teflon tape on the threads but is there any other thing I should do to "seal" the connections?
  9. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,418
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Use Sch 80 threaded PVC with metal couplings of brass, SS, or galvanized. I don't use any Teflon or pipe dope. Just thread it together until it pops about 3 times and you are good. Teflon and pipe dope make it slick and the threads go to far down.
  10. RidgebackKing

    RidgebackKing New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Florida
    Ok, so threaded metal couplings with sch 80 pipe, no teflon. Thanks!
  11. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,897
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    My only concern about no rope and no torque arrestor is the possibility that the torque might unscrew the pump from the drop pipe.

    When it comes to making the wire connection at the pump, I don't use the crimps that come with the heat shrinks. I wrap the wires around each other and then solder them. That way, the wire might support the weight of the pump.
  12. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,897
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Here is how to make a strong splice that also is a good conductor and unlikely to generate any heat.
    [​IMG]
  13. RidgebackKing

    RidgebackKing New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Florida
    Hmm, that brings up a good point. Are the pump motors designed to spin in the same direction as the threads? Seems like that would be a design requirement. And if not, how do you prevent the connections from eventually unscrewing? A torque arrestor looks like a major pain in the butt, especially if the top clamp slides down at all when pulling up the pump. Seems like then you'd never get the pump out.
  14. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,897
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Most of the pros hate torque arrestors as much as they hate rope.

    Many pumps these days come with plastic threads and when using plastic pipe, you can tighten them only so much. Any situation that can result in rapid short cycling can get the torque momentum going and unscrew the pump. Another situation is if you split the drop pipe resulting in a leak that won't let the pump shut off. Continually recirculating the water will heat it and the resultant heat will soften the plastic, the end result being that the pump falls off the end of the pipe. If the well casing is 4" PVC, it too can soften and collapse in which case the pump and the well is lost.
  15. VAWellDriller

    VAWellDriller Member

    Messages:
    170
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    Properly crimped butt splice connectors will hold the weight of a pump just fine.... I never install torque arrestors of rope, and on residential stuff like this, I use sch 120 PVC sure-align pipe that comes with integral threaded bells, and I do use a dab of dope, which really aids in getting it back apart late. I agree with Valveman, with metal couplings you have to be careful with PVC pipe from screwing it up too much, dope might make that even easier to do than it already is. As far as unscrewing, pumps usually run in a direction that would tend to unscrew the drop pipe.....proper torque on the drop pipe prevents this; 10 ft./lb per HP of motor....so it really doesn't take much torque on a little pump like this to not have to worry about it. I really hate poly pipe as drop pipe, but if I were you, especially since its not very deep at all, I think you should just get a roll of 160# poly. 20' sections of threaded PVC can be brittle and weak if you don't have a way to lift it straight up...and if you try to do it but hand swinging and swaying around while you screw it together, I'd worry about it breaking. I've seen people screw up a 200' long string of 1" pvc with a pump and wire on the ground flat, and then curve it up and put it right in a well by hand, but I'd never try it.
  16. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    883
    Location:
    ct
    When was the last time you saw a pump unscrew the pipe?

    I've never seen it.
  17. VAWellDriller

    VAWellDriller Member

    Messages:
    170
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    I saw the bowls of a Goulds 25HP 150H series pump come unscrewed from rapid cycling....the 4" drop pipe did not though. It something like a 9 or 10 stage pump, and it was starting approximately every 20 seconds and running about 15 seconds......They had a waterlogged 5000 gallon Hydro tank, with no working air compressor. It just hammered itself apart, until it got so long, it pulled one of the splices apart. Luckily it didn't come all the way unscrewed.
  18. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,418
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    I have seen pumps come unscrewed many times. It is nearly always from rapid cycling as VA says. I worked on a few municipal systems that were cycling as fast as the one VA describes. The 4” drop pipe would come unscrewed at different places each time. We even tack welded the couplings and it broke the tack welds and still unscrewed. I have also seen the pump bowls come unscrewed as well. Having to fish these pumps out only a short time after installing the new equipment is just another reason I was always looking for an answer to the cycling problem.

    Good “Sta-kon” butt splice connectors are plenty strong when you need them to be. I have pulled many pumps by the wire. Once I pulled a 75 HP from a 600’ deep well with the wire. Of course the wire wasn’t any good when I finished, but the splice held.

    Torque arrestors and cable guards are just extra stuff to help the pump get stuck in the well. Unscrewing the pipe, chaffing the wire, hammering check valves, not to mention destroying the pump, bladder, pressure switch, relays, pressure switch, and other things are all caused by cycling. There are many, many things you no longer have to worry about when you get the cycling stopped.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
  19. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    883
    Location:
    ct
    Ive never worked on anything that big, but I can see how a big horsepower pump/motor could do that.
  20. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,418
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Small pumps can come unscrewed as well. That is why I quit using threaded plastic couplings and switched to metal couplings. When you tighten PVC pipe into metal couplings without any Teflon or dope, it will pop 2 or 3 times when it is tight. It also has to pop a few times to get it unscrewed, which is why I believe it is less likely to come unscrewed from cycling.
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