Possible bad check valve?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by tcgt, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. tcgt

    tcgt New Member

    Messages:
    5
    I have a drilled well (~300') and I am blessed with clear clean water; however, just recently I have noticed that air will come through the pipes when the pump comes on. I have checked the air pressure in both of my bladder tanks (60gal) and they are holding pressure well. The pressure will slowly bleed down over time but not very much. I usually have to put a few PSI in when I change my filters. I have replaced the air valves on top of the tanks and re-pressurized them just to be on the safe side.

    First thing in the morning, a large amount of air comes out as the water starts to flow and then the stream is steady. Then when the pump starts, another burst of air comes out for a second or two and everything is good until the pump comes on again.

    I'm not a well / pump guy at all but I'm thinking that maybe the check valve at the pump is bad or I have a crack or rust hole in my pump exit pipe. Does this sound logical? Is there something else outside of my well house I can look at or test? Would a crack in my underground line from my well house to my home do this? I don't have any plumbing leaks within my home.

    Thank you in advance for any assistance or ideas you can provide.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2011
  2. justwater

    justwater Well Drilling/Service

    Messages:
    327
    Location:
    FL/GA
    So u have one submersible pump with 2 tanks running off it? I take it there is a check valve up top somewhere before the tanks and pressure switch? If so, sounds like a hole somewhere down the well in the pump line. so when you build pressure and cut off.. the check valve up top holds pressure and the hole in the pump line leaks out. So when ur pumps cuts back on.. it has to push all the air from the hole to the up top check valve so it blows the air before the water when pump kicks on.
  3. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Shut off the water past the tanks, on the house side of the tanks and watch the pressure gauge for like 15-30 minutes. If the pressure falls, you have a leak between the shut off valve and the check valve in/on the pump inlet. If you have a check valve at the pressure tank, you would have to remove it to do that test.

    If you have a water softener or regenerated filter, it may be adding air to the water during regeneration or, your well may be running dry.
  4. tcgt

    tcgt New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Justwater, that is correct. I one submersible pump (2Hp 20GPM) and 2 60gal tanks. Between the tanks and the top of the pump casing, I don't see any hardware other the pipe fittings. The pressure switch is after the 2nd tank and before my sediment filter. I'm sure there is a check valve somewhere but I don't know where it is in the sequence. I don't know if it is directly at the pump or in the pump pipe line in the casing.

    It sounds more like a hole since the pump will build pressure and will not come on automatically until after a certain amount of time. I guess if the check valve was bad, the pump would be constantly turning off and on. Based upon your opinion and others, would you consider this a DIY'er type of job or do I need to call my well guy? I don't want to get in over my head.
  5. tcgt

    tcgt New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Gary,

    I do need to replace my pressure gage. It screws into the pipe fitting where my pressure gage is located (after the second tank). I do know that it uses either 1/8" or 1/4" NPT threads for the connection (1/4" I think). If I buy a new one, will Teflon tape be OK for the threads or do I need to use pipe dope? If there a good gage you would recommend? Is a fluid-filled gage needed?

    Once I get the pressure gage installed, I'll do the pressure check.

    Thanks!
  6. justwater

    justwater Well Drilling/Service

    Messages:
    327
    Location:
    FL/GA
    no leaks anywhere up top before the tanks right? while there may be a check valve in the pump, i think there is another one somewhere between the pump and tanks.. whether it be up top or in the main pump line inside the well somewhere. leaking check valve or pulling down the well could neither be the cause if you see air when pump kicks on. when checking pressure (check with the main valve off after tanks and switch.. use a face gauge or tire gauge on one of the tanks will work), if it holds pressure when pump kicks off but you see air when running water and the pump kicks on.. there almost has to be a hole somewhere with a check valve above it. eventually the hole will get so big that your pump will not be able to get to desired cutout pressure and pump will never shut off.

    whether or not its a DIY job will depend on how far down the pump is, what material pipe is used, and what you are capable of doing yourself.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011
  7. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,549
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Your pressure switch is probably screwed into that extra check valve that you don't need. You can just take the guts out of the check valve, so you can continue to use it to attach the pressure switch. I also think the little nipple going into your pressure switch might me clogged. That is since you said it won't come back on automatically like it should. Air in the lines from a hole in the drop pipe sometimes helps clog up the nipple going to the pressure switch. The pump not coming back on like it should and air in the lines are two different problems.
  8. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    In addition to that, air in the water can oxidize iron n the water converting it into rust that will block the pressure switch and pressure gauge. If you have a disposable cartridge filter, remove the cartridge and see if the problem doesn't disappear.

    A blocked cartridge will prevent the switch from seeing a decrease in pressure (in real time) until the water can be forced through a blocked filter cartridge.
  9. justwater

    justwater Well Drilling/Service

    Messages:
    327
    Location:
    FL/GA
    "It sounds more like a hole since the pump will build pressure and will not come on automatically until after a certain amount of time."

    where are you guys getting that the switch isnt working correctly? "everything is good until the pump comes on again."... tells me that the pump is apparently cycling as it should, just with air in the lines. never seen a check valve threaded for a pressure switch on the inlet side of the valve.. and it would have to be if the switch is after the tanks.. in which case the check valve would be irrelevant.

    i like liquid gauges, teflon tape is fine.
  10. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,549
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    The pressure switch could be on either side of that check valve. And either the nipple to the pressure switch is clogged or the filter is not letting the first tank drain to lower the pressure to the pressure switch cut-in point.
  11. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    That part where the pump won't come on automatically. I think that means that when he turns on a faucet, he gets no water for a time before the pump comes on. The switch works correctly, but not when it should.

    And he has air in the water. Sounds like two problems. He depressurizes the line past the switch but the switch doesn't see that for a period of time; the switch lags. A blocked switch nipple or filter cartridge would cause that.
  12. justwater

    justwater Well Drilling/Service

    Messages:
    327
    Location:
    FL/GA
    maybe i read it wrong, i think by "automatic" op means that it isnt cycling constantly. "everything is fine until the pump cuts back on"... if everything is fine, makes me think he must have water. i never got the idea his pump wasnt coming on.. but thats why there is multiple people here to try to catch it from every angle.

    valveman, u are right about the check valve.. but even if there was one there, theres gotta be another one somewhere letting air in the hole and keeping the system from cycling.
  13. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,549
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Yeah your right! That check, if it is one, is between the two tanks. So there has to be another check before the first tank. Good catch!
  14. tcgt

    tcgt New Member

    Messages:
    5
    I apologize for the confusion. I'll try to explain my situation better.

    My pressure switch and gage is between my 2nd tank and sediment filter. Currently, the gage isn't working. The gage indicator is "stuck" on 60. So, this is the gage I will need to replace. I don't think I have a check valve where the pressure switch is. There must be a check valve before my first tank. I think it is within the well.

    When I take a shower first thing in the morning, a large amount of air will come out with the water for a few seconds and then the stream is steady. When the system's pressure drops to 40psi (I think) the pump will come on. Then a smaller amount of air will come out....not near as much as the first. Then the pump will turn off. So, the pump is cycling properly and I have plenty of water. When the toliet is flushed in the morning or a faucet is opened, a large amount of air comes out initially. In addition, if water isn't used over a period of time, lets say 3-4 hours, another large burst of air will come out just like in the morning. It is almost as if air is being constantly introduced into the system and that is why we see a lot air when water isn't being used.

    Now, I have heard the pump turn on in the middle of the night or day for no apparent reason when water wasn't being used. So, that tells me that pressure is bleeding off from somewhere.

    Right now, my family and I are snowed in with snow and ice. Once we thaw out in a day or so, I'll do some of these tests.

    I want you guys to know that I really appreciate your thoughts and recommendations. Thanks!!!
  15. justwater

    justwater Well Drilling/Service

    Messages:
    327
    Location:
    FL/GA
    While u could be losing some pressure somewhere after the tanks, I don't think ur losing pressure inside the well.. unless there is 2 holes.. one below a check valve in the well, and one above it... which is possible.

    Sounds just like a hole in the pipe underneath a check valve to me. the reason u see the most air when the pump hasn't ran for a few hours is because the hole has had plenty of time to leak all the way down. Then you see small amount of air if pump recently ran because the hole hasn't had time to leak out all the way.

    I think ur gonna have to pull the pump and replace the pipe.
  16. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    His pump has been running when no water has been used. That is due to a loss of pressure. IF there were a check valve above ground, before the switch and the check valve wasn't leaking, the pump wouldn't be running periodically because the switch wouldn't see the loss of pressure.

    The leak is probably in the well and it has to be above the water or he doesn't get air in the line. The leak has to be before a extra (good) check valve or the pump simply comes on and prevents air getting into the line. He probably has a bad check valve in/on the pump and a leak above the water line in the well; and no check valve other than the one in/on the pump.

    Yes 2-3 heads are better than one.
  17. justwater

    justwater Well Drilling/Service

    Messages:
    327
    Location:
    FL/GA
    i agree. i think he'll be pulling the pump soon. wouldnt be surprised if he finds a brass check valve between 2 joints of steel pipe with holes on either side of the check valve. i'll be heading north on I95 after lunch heading to VA. too bad he is snowed in or i could detour and help out.. lol. i'm not that good of a guy!
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