Low Pressure and Intermittant water

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by Paddler, Mar 18, 2007.

  1. Paddler

    Paddler New Member

    Messages:
    9
    A few days ago our show pressure started to drop slowly and then go to nothing for a few seconds, then surge back to full pressure.

    I went to the basement to watch what was happening on the pressure gage and noticed the pump would run to 60 psi and shut off. The gage pressure would immediately begin to drop.

    When the pressure would reach 38 lbs I woul hear a click but the pump did not turn on. I continued to watch and the pressured drop another 18 lbs to near 20 psi and then the pump kicked in and the pressure went directly to 60 lbs and the pump shut off. This cycle repeated itself, as long as I watched.

    I shut off the valve to the house to isolate the leak. The gage dropped still. So the leak is on the well side. I am suspicious of the gage as it is rusty and looks like it may have been wet inside.

    I am replacing the gage and am thinking of replacing the switch, since I will have all the water off and pipes drained I thought it would be good time for a basic overhaul. We have lived in the house for 11 years and have had to do nothing to the system. So, I consider my self fortunate.

    I have a large blue bladder tank that has to be at least 50 gallons, with a square D pressure switch.

    Any suggestions if I am on the right course of action? I want to do this right away as my pump is cylcing every 10-15 seconds. We cut the power to the pump and I am on my way to get parts. It looks like this is project for tonight. Any tips would be welcome.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2007
  2. Rancher

    Rancher Guest

    I think you're right the leak is at the well side, probably the foot valve in the well, what kind of well do you have? Sounds like the pressure switch is activating but has bad contacts and is taking a while to make good connections, replace it and the gauge.

    rancher
  3. Paddler

    Paddler New Member

    Messages:
    9
    The well pump is a submersible, torpedo type. I am not sure of the depth but I know that a few years ago there was a small drought in our area. Other wells ran out and we had no problems.

    I am assuming it is fairly deep.

    I hope this is what you mean by type of well.
  4. Rancher

    Rancher Guest

    Yes it is, so it's either the foot valve at the pump, or a hole in the drop pipe, either way it needs to be pulled and if it's deep, that means a pump company to pull it.

    Rancher
  5. Paddler

    Paddler New Member

    Messages:
    9
    OK, thanks. I think my first step is to replace the switch, gage and retape all the threads. Then I will repressurized everything. If I still have it and it sounds like I will, I will call a local well company.
  6. sammyhydro11

    sammyhydro11 Previous member

    Messages:
    709
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Rancher(huggies) is telling to pull your pump,which is terrible advice if you have a leak in your waterline or the connection at your well. Your best bet is to check some things out before pulling anything. I would look for any wet spots in your yard that would be an indication of a broken water line. Check the area around the well itself,if you have an underground connection there might be a broken fitting there. You can take the well cap off the well,if you have one,and look to see if there is a leak on the inside connection. If the well isn't all that deep,you could disconnect the drop pipe from the pitless adapter,hang it above the well,have someone turn the pump on,wait a minute,shut it off,and hold your hand against the discharge. If you feel a suction,like the water is flowing back down the well, then you have a leak in your drop pipe or the check valve on or in the pump is no good. Then you should pull your pump but just assuming the check valve or drop pipe is giving you trouble could waste alot of your time.That pressure drop to 20 psi could just be the air being forced back into your holding tank,not a bad switch.

    SAM
  7. Paddler

    Paddler New Member

    Messages:
    9
    The things I am replacing are in bad shape. The gage is rusty inside and since I have the system depressurized I will replace the $13 switch.

    If it goes beyond that I am calling in a professional. I can do all the basics with plumbing and trouble shooting but if we get into lifting pumps, it probably should be done by people with more experience. If this all works then I got by with $25. If not then I will feel like I did what I could and will spend the money.

    Things are to frozen around here to see puddles or pools. No ice skating rink in the front yard yet.:p
  8. Rancher

    Rancher Guest

    Huh? Air is being forced back into the holding tank, I'm sorry Sonny, what were you thinking... oh not thinking again.

    Paddler, Do you have a pitless adapter, and where in relation to your well is your pressure tank?

    Ahhh, frozen... then I would suspect some pipe split perhaps, if you can be at your well head when the pump is running sometimes you can hear the water leaking/spraying from the leak.

    Rancher
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2007
  9. Paddler

    Paddler New Member

    Messages:
    9
    It was cold around here but not that cold. We have had much colder winters. Frozen right now is 26 degrees. Plus if it was split then I doubt it would rise to full pressure as fast as it does. It pretty much goes straight to full pressure when the pump kicks in. The bleed off is steady but not an instant drop. But, I have no water on the floor inside so that is not a good sign for it being inside.

    My well is about 30 feet from the foundation due west into my yard. The pressure tank is just inside my foundation.
  10. sammyhydro11

    sammyhydro11 Previous member

    Messages:
    709
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Do you have a check valve at the tank? It would be the second fitting that comes off the waterline into the tank. I would try putting your ear to the waterline and listen for water running back.

    SAM
  11. Paddler

    Paddler New Member

    Messages:
    9
    I might. I am at work now and vaguely remember something like a large brass fitting in the line to the tank.

    I will look at that when I get back home.
  12. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,326
    Location:
    New England
    How quickly does the water pressure drop? Have you checked the pressure in your bladder tank?
  13. Paddler

    Paddler New Member

    Messages:
    9
    It is a steady decline. I am planning to look at the whole thing tonight. I wanted to be sure I was at least doing the basics tonight, before I call in a pro.

    I have new switch and will make sure the tank is at 38 psi before I do anything.

    Thanks
  14. Paddler

    Paddler New Member

    Messages:
    9
    OK, I am not sure what is going on. I got home and saw the pressure gage hovering around 42 psi. I did a check on the tank pressure and found it over 43 pounds. I am not why or how it was that high.

    I reduced the pressure to 38 pounds and had my wife turn on the water. The gage dropped to about 38 pounds. The pump turned on and the gage rose to 60 psi and turned off. With the water still running the gage dropped to about 38 pounds and the pump turned on and went to 60 psi.

    I had my wife turn off the water after the pump kicked in. The pump continued to run until the pressure rose to 60 psi and shut off. I continued to watch the gage and the psi dropped to just 58 and stayed there.

    We went to several faucets and ran water. In the past few days that would have resulted in air splattering through the pipes. This time everything worked fine.

    We will see what happens when shower time hits in the morning.
  15. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,326
    Location:
    New England
    Sounds to me that the check valve is leaking sometimes...having the pressure tank too high will cause the momentary delay to turn on the pump. Air expands and contracts with heat. Maybe with the heating season, the room is a lot warmer than it was when you set it earlier. But, 4 degress implies a 40-degree difference, not likely.
  16. sammyhydro11

    sammyhydro11 Previous member

    Messages:
    709
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I agree that the check valve might not be closing fast enough or the inlet of the tank is clogged not allowing the tank to be filled consistently.I think the problem is with the tank. The pressure might be building high enough where it is clogged to cause the switch to shut down the pump and then it slowly fills the tank.The pump will cycle back and forth until the tank is full. I have seen it in the past and its pretty common if you have galvanized fittings on your tank setup or a high amount of iron in the water.

    SAM
  17. Paddler

    Paddler New Member

    Messages:
    9
    I am not sure if I follow everything but if it happens again I will take apart the check valve and check the tank fill pipe for clogging. We do have high iron around here and the pipes going into the tank are galvanized.

    Right now I am going to leave well enough alone until I have more time on my hands to disassemble everything and clean it all or replace the check valve.

    Thanks to everyone for the good advice,
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