Problems with well after attempting to sanitize with bleach

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by NewHomeOwnerinPA, Jul 27, 2007.

  1. NewHomeOwnerinPA

    NewHomeOwnerinPA New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Hi all,

    I'm having a problem with my well and I'm a new homeowner so this is all new to me. We have a well with an above ground pump located out in our yard in a little hut. There is a pressure tank and water softener connecting to the main line in the basement. I'm unsure of how deep our well is as we never met the previous owners. The pump has a 30/50 switch.

    Our original problem was a rotten egg smell in both the hot and cold water lines. Several neighbors recommended flushing the well and water lines with a small amount of bleach. For better or worse I took their word for it and added the bleach and let it work for about 12 hours in the lines. When I went to rinse the lines, a ton of nasty sediment and blackish water spurted out of the faucets, and then we lost all water pressure. I did use a lot of water, but I'm not sure if the well is dry or not.

    I really don't know what to do now. I have calls out to several plumbers/well servicemen, but we may not hear back from them until Monday and I'm hoping that there is a simple step or two I'm missing here. I imagine something is clogged or it has something to do with the pressure, but I think I've done enought to mess this up already. ere's what else I know:

    The pump seems to be working, as it shoots water out of the pressure gauge hole when that is removed and water flows out of the pump when I disconnect it at the first elbow. There is also a spiggot in the pumphouse that comes off the line to the house, and that was working at one point but it comes and goes. The pump is off now because it was running constantly and pumping at 80-90 psi. The pressure tank gauge reads 40. I'm hoping that I just need to straighten this out somehow, but I'm clueless. I think it's a bladder pressure tank, it's blue, and it's about 4 feet tall.

    I'm tired and frustrated at this point and I hope I've included enough information. I just need to know if there's anything I can try while I'm waiting to here back from other service people. If you need any more information, please let me know. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you,

    Jesse
  2. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    I have had a similar experience, but I avoided having everything in the house get plugged up by first flushing the well out onto the ground.

    Find a way to direct the flow from that "first elbow" so that it will discharge out onto the ground, and let the pump flush the well for maybe an hour or so. Then re-connect the line to the house and get that pumphouse spigot flowing freely ... then continue working downstream to individually get each next fixture flowing. If there is a filter or water softener anywhere in the line, those may need to be by-passed or cleared along the way. Individual faucets will need to have their aerators removed and cleaned or replaced, and your water heater needs to be turned off and flushed.

    Dealing with all that sludge or whatever else is no fun, but it can be done.
  3. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    You could have an in line filter somewhere that you can't even see, like a crawl space, in a closet or wherever. I think Lee is right, you have something plugged up. And you need a new gauge for that 80/90 one.
  4. MaxBlack

    MaxBlack Member

    Messages:
    64
    Location:
    TX Hill Country
    Jesse it sounds like you have water, but that there is a blockage somewhere. You need to follow the pipe and look for the point after which the water stops flowing freely. If you don't have an in-line filter anywhere (and if you do by all means get it changed!) then try to bypass things starting with the water softener which could be clogged.

    The other thing to keep in mind as you sort thru this problem is that with the apparent (obvious?) loosening-up of crud in your well-and-pipes, it is likely that your guages will be plugged too, and lie to you. The pressure switch may also need replacement.
  5. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Guys, Jesse said: The pump seems to be working, as it shoots water out of the pressure gauge hole when that is removed and water flows out of the pump when I disconnect it at the first elbow. There is also a spiggot in the pumphouse that comes off the line to the house, and that was working at one point but it comes and goes. The pump is off now because it was running constantly and pumping at 80-90 psi. The pressure tank gauge reads 40. I'm hoping that I just need to straighten this out somehow, but I'm clueless. I think it's a bladder pressure tank, it's blue, and it's about 4 feet tall.

    Jesse, I answered your email earlier. I screwed up thinking submersible pump and now see it's a jet pump.

    Does your pump have one or two pipes from it to the well?

    Either one or two... The tubing to the pressure switch on the side of the motor and any elbows on either end of the tubing to/from the switch and in the switch is probably blocked up. The holes the elbows screw into can be too. That's causing the switch to not see the increase in pressure and shut the pump off. And not see the decrease in pressure and turn the pump on.

    The "first elbow" and gauge hole may be on the wet end of the pump. You should get water there but...

    Are you getting water out the outlet pipe that comes out the top of the pump and goes to the pressure tank?

    Remove and clean your faucet tip aerator screens without losing any of the parts. Disconnect the washer hoses and clean the screens in them or the fittings they screw onto too.
  6. NewHomeOwnerinPA

    NewHomeOwnerinPA New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Thanks for all your opinions and advice, guys. It was incredibly valuable and helpful, at least as helpful as it could be with me not really knowing what the h*** was going on and trying to describe the problem over the Internet. But you helped me narrow it down to a blockage and not my pressure tank.

    Gary, I suspected that it was that tube/nipples connecting the pump to the switch. I had removed that and cleaned it out, and then I think the line had kinked after that when I put it back on and I didn't notice it (10:30 at night, work, on top of water trouble). I think this kink caused the pressure switch to fry, maybe? Either way, I went to Lowes and bought a new switch and after a couple bursts of gunk everything seems to be working fine now.

    I'm looking into treatment options now for the future. On the bright side, as a former apartment-dweller, I used to beleive that water "magically" appeared from the faucets. And if there was a problem, the landlord/wizard would fix it with his wand. Now I have learned the truth and have a better idea of how plumbing works.

    Thanks again, guys!
  7. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    I have had to deal with that kind of thing from the other side while renting out an upstairs apartment. Some folks would look at me really strange as I explained that we below would be careful about flushing while they were in the shower and that they should never flush anything they had not already eaten ... and that mowing the grass in the back would be their responsibility!
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