Just bought a house

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by Michaeleast1, Aug 5, 2005.

  1. Michaeleast1

    Michaeleast1 New Member

    Well water pressure concerns

    We just bought a house and have never had to deal with a well before. I have been reading helpful information in this site. Thanks a bunch. However, I have a situation of my own. I went to Lowes and bought a new water filter. The one that was in it was very dirty. It hasnt rained in weeks. I decided to water the lawn. I hooked up the sprinkler to the spigot for the first time and everything was fine for about 30 minutes. Then I lost water pressure. I shut off the water for about 15 minutes, then had pressure for about 3 minutes afterwards. I started looking at the tank and pressure guage to see if there was a problem. I noticed the new filter I had put in was as dirty as the one I took out from when the last people lived here. Then I thought it would be a good idea to run the water without the filter. Well, I had pressure for about 10 minutes and it was gone. But now I've got a muddy looking water in the filter container. Then it hit me this junk is flowing through my pipes. ARGGHH!!
    My questions are as follows:
    a. do I need to worry about that muddy water in my pipes?
    b. Why do I have muddy water anyway?
    c. How long does it take for the pressure to get back to normal?
    d. Whats the best way to water the lawn using well systems?

    Do you have a book? Or do you recommend one explaining these simple tips for first timers like myself to learn without blowing something up, burning something down, or just plain destroying something in the learning process?
    This is my first house. I dont want to do something stupid.


    Last edited: Aug 6, 2005
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    If you are pumping the well down to the point where it runs out of water, which could explain the complete loss of flow and pressure, then that will stir up the sediment in the well and create your turbid water. You may need a well/pump person to check your well's capacity to see if it is adequate for what you are trying to do, and if not suggest a solution, whether it be lowering the pump if the well is deep enough, drilling the well deeper, or fracturing the well shaft to allow more flow.
  3. Michaeleast1

    Michaeleast1 New Member

    More pressure questions

    Before having this problem. I noticed that the water pressure was so-so for about the first 3-4 minutes in the shower. Then, it was as if I ran out of water. After about 5 seconds of no water - it came back with some good pressure. I assume that during those 5 seconds, is when the pump kicked in. Would this back up your theory that the pump may not be low enough? Or well not deep enough?

    In Addition, this is really discouraging that the filter was dark so quickly. How long should I wait for the sediment to settle so I can install another filter?
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    It would lend credence to the possibility of the well running out of water.
  5. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    A water well system is very simple but groundwater and geology aren't. So because of the complexity of the causes of water quality problems with a water well there aren't any books.

    You should change a filter cartridge based on a 15 psi pressure drop across the cartridge, not by the looks. When it gets dirty, it proves it's doing its job, it can't do the job AND stay clean... Thereby I'm not a fan of "whole house" disposable cartridge filters. They rarely can do the job, plus they cause pressure losses you don't need, and they cause concern based on looks and thereby more money than they're worth. Your problem proves my point.

    If your water is dirty enough to plug one up in say less than a month or so, it is the wrong solution OR there is no problem if the cartridge lasts longer. Most people use a smaller micron rated filter than the micron size they can see. The naked eye can't see particulates less then 45 micron. That size particle will not cause anything in the house any problems, so why the filter?

    But where there is visible dirt in the water there is a cause of that, and it should be corrected as opposed to applying a band aid by treating the symptom of the problem. Your well is having a problem with the peak demand flow rate you are using in watering the lawn. If you must water, use less water for longer periods of time of don't water. Doing otherwise is causing this dirt and it indicates a real problem. This is a water quality problem, but that's only a symptom and the causes as HJ mentioned. You're drawing the water in the well down below a 'seam' that is allowing a flow of dirty water to flow into the well or the drawing the water level down to the inlet of the pump and getting air into the water line which is scrubbing rust off the inside of the tubing etc.. Drawing the water down too far could have caused the problem, or the strata underground could have changed, or you're in a drought condition etc..

    You may have a blockage of the nipple the pressure switch is installed on. That would make the pump come on later than it is supposed to. It usually will also cause the pump to build more pressure than is supposed to shut off the pump. Run water until the pump comes on, note the pressure reading on the gauge and shut off the water. Note the reading when the pump shuts off. That is your pressure range I.E. 30/50 psi. Then shut off the power to the pump. Shut off the water to the house past the pressure tank. Drain the tank. Check the air pressure to be 1-2 psi less than the lower psi, I.E. 30 gets 29-28 psi air pressure with no water in the tank. Adjust as needed for your switch settings.

    Then if this problem resists, and the pump doesn't come on at 30 psi on the gauge, remove the pressure switch and clean the nipple of any blockage and where it screws into the switch. The dirty water problem can be dirt in the pressure tank that has gotten through the filter. But you still will have a dirty water coming in from the well problem. A pump guy or well driller is the best to check that out; they may raise the pump and run it at open discharge to see what the water is like at the well and do other troubleshooting including water and pump tests. Most plumbers aren't capable of pulling pumps or troubleshooting a well or doing on site water tests.

    If you are running out of water, and there is room under the pump, and the pump is capable of pumping from the lower depth, the pump may be lowered to prevent running out of water. The pump may have to be pulled to find out if all that or part of it is possible.

    Quality Water Associates
  6. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Riverview, Fl.
    HJ is right on target. The best thing is to call in a local pro. See what the problem is and address it that way.

    If you bought an inline filter usually referred to as a whole house filter. You didn't get much.

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