Questions about air in supply lines and deep well

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by jeff_bathroom, Apr 5, 2014.

  1. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,549
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    If you have too much air you must have the extra check and Schrader valve. It maybe in the well below the well seal. Some people do it that way. Either way an AVC will solve the air problem.
  2. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Florida
    It is my understanding that a Schrader valve is one that looks like a bicycle pump valve. I have not seen anything on or near my tank that looks like that. I suppose it could be beneath some of the insulation that goes around the pipes, but I sort of doubt it's there. Everything I've read says that Schrader valves go with bladder tanks. I have also read on this forum in the training blogs that one guy said that having a check valve above ground was a bad idea. I'll see if I can find the link to that. I have a feeling that you are talking about a perfectly valid configuration but with a bladder tank and not my setup. I'm just going by what I've read and what others members have stated. And yes I coud be totally wrong. Maybe we need others to chime in and answer this question.

    I read that if the AVC is bad and extra air gets built up to the point where it is bubbling into the supply lines; what folks do instead of fixing it is to purge the system periodically to remove the extra air. Then over time it builds back up by the normal intake from the bleeder/snifter. So, if that is correct, then replacing the AVC should fix my problem entirely. I hope so. It's worth noting that since he bled the tank, we have not had air in the supply lines.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,164
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I am well aware of how a snifter/bleeder/check works but you stated the only check is in the pump so, you cannot have it both ways.

    For a bleeder to open and bleed out water and for the snifter to let in air, the pressure needs to drop away. If there is no checkvalve at the snifter, then the pressure at the snifter won't let it suck air.
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,164
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Correct.
    Bladder tanks have them but so too do snifters.
    Hydro-pneumatic tanks like yours require airmakers which in turn require a checkvalve above the static water height. These are often near the tank but sometimes they are at the top inside the casing.
    Yes, you are wrong and you have much more reading/learning to do.

    We don't need any others to chime in here. Valveman is an expert in the field and others have chimed in with their expert advice. You just need to start digesting it.
  5. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,260
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    There is no snifter.
    In some areas it is not uncommon to install 2 bleeders in the drop pipe so that a measured amount of water can drain out. The air in this section of pipe will charge the tank every time the pump cycles. A float-style air volume control valve screws into the mid-section of the tank, and allows excessive air to escape when needed.
  6. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Florida
    LLigetfa, I didn't mean to offend, but I asked twice about the Schrader valve. Just saying I probably have one and not explaining that it could also be a snifter doesn't help me. I do respect everyone's knowledge here and I admit to knowing very little in comparison. I think what would help and what would have helped are some photos or drawings of what my suspected configuration is or what several of the most likely possibilities are since there appear to be more than one. You have to admit that there seem to be several guesses as to what it is. And I do realize that probably the only way to really know for certain is to pull the pump. But that is not an option, so the best I can do is peer down the hole and guess ; unless someone has another affordable method.
    In regard to the Schrader valve and getting multiple opinions; I'm curious what you think of cacher_chick's comment that there is no snifter. If there is no snifter
    then there is no Schrader valve, correct? If not; please don't get upset. Just explain why you think she's wrong and maybe again a picture would help.
    I think one thing I'd like to do maybe this weekend is to take the well cap off and see what kind of pipe I have at the very least. Is there an easy leyman's way to determine
    what my well depth is ? I'm also going to reply to cacher_chick about the bleeder(s) because I need to understand that a bit better; particularly in regard to my well guy's "suction test" with his hand. This was after all his stated proof that I have air in my pipes that have to be fixed.
    Thanks everybody for your input !
  7. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Florida

    Hi Cacher_chick,
    I guess you see my dilemma. I have ordered the AVC and new gauge. Regarding the bleeder or bleeders in the drop pipe.
    Can you expound upon why you think there is no snifter and what my configuration might be?
    Seems to me that a bleeder that allows some water to drain back down the well is indeed forming an air pocket at the top
    that will be sucked into the tank as the means by which air gets in there. So, wouldn't the test that my well technician did
    be bogus since that is the reason the air is in there? To repeat what he did and said - he had removed the intake pipe from the elbow
    going down into the well. He'd manually turn on the pump until the water spurted out and then put his hand over the pipe
    and remove it to prove there was suction (by the sound). But wouldn't there have been suction anyway due to the bleeder(s) ? Actually bleeders
    make a lot of sense because each time he turned on the water, it came up almost immediately. It didn't seem like it was coming up from 100 feet
    or something. It seemed much closer. Wouldn't that be the expected behavior of a working bleeder or bleeders that the water may be down only
    10 or 20 feet from the top of the well? And wouldn't that falling water also create suction? Or am I not understanding bleeders?
    I'm just trying to determine whether this guy is trustworthy and by evidence it doesn't appear so. He said my issue could only be one of two things:
    1) hole in pipe or 2) leak in motor. So, that says expensive right off the bat because he has to remove the pump for either of those. He admitted to knowing
    that my tank was not expelling air, but he didn't say why. He did however strongly recommend that I also buy a new bladder tank and went on to prove his
    findings using the "suction test". So you see that at the very least he has me buying a pump, maybe some pipe, but he exclaimed that if there is a hole in one
    section, then the rest of the pipe is also probably about to go. So, it would be best if I replaced all the pipe. Then he strongly urged me to buy a new bladder tank. Nevermind that at the very least the bleeders would HAVE TO BE REMOVED if I went with a bladder tank.
    So, of course I ask myself why he wouldn't suggest the AVC be replaced if he knows my tank is not expelling air.
    Thoughts ?
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
  8. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,549
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    I don’t know why he wouldn’t have suggested a new AVC, as that will solve your problem. Yes a bleeder will cause a little vacuum.

    A hole in the drop pipe will cause a lot of vacuum. A hole in the drop pipe will also stir up sediment in the well, and will usually keep the pump running, not letting it shut off, as it should. So I don’t think you have a hole in the pipe.

    Either way, no matter where the air is coming from, an AVC will expel the excess air. Until you install a new AVC and see what happens, you are making much ado about nothing.
  9. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,549
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Your pictures show the pressure switch screwed into a brass check valve. There is usually another tap on the inlet side of this check valve for the Schrader, but this one does not have that tap.

    I would say you have a second bleeder in the well as cacherchick describes below. Either that or they just drilled a small hole in the pipe a few feet above the bleeder.

    AND A GOOD AVC WILL LET OUT THE EXCESS AIR.
  10. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Florida
    Sure, from strictly a technical perspective.
    But, I'm not just trying to fix my system. I also want to understand the architecture of it
    and whether my Well guy was trying to rip me off.
    $50 vs $1500 or more is not ado about nothing in my opinion.
    It reminds me of an hvac guy at my previous house. The refrigerant was
    leaking, so he said I needed to replace my entire system. I couldn't really believe
    what I was hearing. So, I asked him point blank - "So, you're telling me that if any system
    you work on develops a leak you'd recommend replacing the entire system?" He said yes.
    Needless to say; I got a different company to fix the leak and we were fine thereafter.
    It amazes me that people have no problems at all unnecessarily spending thousands of dollars of other
    folks money if you let them. I want to trust !! From life experience, I cannot and what a shame.
    Does anyone else notice that it seems there are more rip-off attempts these days when trying to
    get service, whether it's car, hvac, whatever? My well guy asked me what I did for a living
    and I told him. He said - "ah you must make a lot of money. I'm so jealous of your property
    here." I am not rich; believe me. Seems like almost every time I get a quote for something
    technically involved that it's some ridiculous proposal and amount. Thank God for blogs like this or I'd go nuts.
    A guy tried to sell me a new transmission for my truck and all I needed was an oil change. Overdrive sensor was sticking. I found
    that out on the Dodge forum. It's been fine for almost three years since the oil change.
    I could go on and on and on. Aren't there any honest people out there
    any more? I don't mind paying a fair charge for fair work being done and I nearly always tip.
    But, it's getting so bad these days that I just don't trust any quote I get any more. I've been on city water
    til now and this just adds another ripe area for rip off due to the technical aspects of deep wells.
    My other two areas of horror are hvac and autos. I'm hoping to at least get geo-thermal installed
    some day to hopefully reduce the hvac issues. With cars, I've learned never to own one more than
    five years old. My truck is the exception and if I had the money, I'd get rid of it too. I did get a good
    electrician a few weeks ago who was fair and fixed my lightning strike issues. No BS, just honest work.
    I tipped him and I will be calling him back when I need electrical work.
    Sorry for the rant. It's just I get soooo tired of dishonest people.
  11. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Florida
    Is this the checkvalve ?

    Thanks Valveman, is this the check valve in the picture ?
    checkvalve.jpg
  12. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,164
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I don't want to get mired down in semantics about whether or not there is a snifter. A snifter valve may take many forms. Essentially, it is a one-way valve that lets in air but seals on pressure. If there are two bleeders in the drop pipe, the top one acts as a snifter.

    Regardless, of what physical form this valve is in, a topside checkvalve closes, the bleeder opens, a vacuum is formed, and air is sucked through the snifter into the pipe when gravity causes the water column to fall. Then, when the pump starts, the bleeder and the snifter both close, the air gets compressed, the checkvalve opens, and the slug of air goes into the tank.

    Bottom line... the AVC is not working.
  13. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,164
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I really do understand what you are going through. Where I live in this small town, my choices are even more limited. Dare to challenge the wisdom of the Pros without scruples, and you quickly gain a bad reputation, the result of which they won't serve you even if you beg. I've been forced to either DIY or do without.
  14. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Florida
    Ok, I'm on board with the snifter now. http://inspectapedia.com/water/Snifter_Valve.php (really helpful article)
    So, I thought I'd go to the tank and see if I could find it somewhere near the pressure valve or the checkvalve.
    I didn't find anything. However, I felt the tank and could again feel the cold water above the broken AVC valve
    but this time it was not as far up the tank as several days ago. So, that shows me that the air is building up in there
    and I suppose when it gets to the AVC level it will keep growing and eventually I'll have the air back in my lines in
    the house. (I'm guessing all this).
    If there is no snifter at the tank though, how would air get into the tank?
    [EDIT] - oops I see you answered my question above. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
    Ok, all this has been very helpful for me. Thanks very much for sticking with it.

    Another note: my wife found a yellow electrical cap by the pressure switch and gave it to me.
    I figured the well technician dropped it and replaced it with one of his own. He did replace that switch,
    and just now I see that the green ground wire is no longer connected to the pressure switch. The other end
    is still grounded to the well pipe casing but the other end is dangling free. I suppose that answers all of
    my questions about this guy. I can't imagine doing that kind of work.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
  15. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,260
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    There is no sure way to know the answer as your well guy might simply not have experience with all of the possible configurations.
  16. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,549
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    I would also like to know the architecture of your system. But without pulling it up and seeing if and where the bleeder/bleeders/drilled hole, or leak is, we are just guessing. The only thing we know for sure is that you are getting air in the lines, so your AVC must not be working.

    Yes that is the check valve under the pressure switch. And your Schrader/snifter/ or hole in the pipe that lets in the air, must be on the pump side of that check valve.
  17. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Florida
    For what it's worth, he is one of the few that has his own store for well parts. To me that doesn't sound
    like an inexperienced person.
    Do you believe that there are ONLY TWO WAYS air can get into the system : through a broken pipe or broken pump?
    I had read that a bad check valve could do that too. And of course it doesn't look like that is the problem anyway.
    If he knows my tank is not expelling air, then how does he know? He was adamant about that.
    I guess he'd know since it wasn't hissing.
    Could he be just wrong about everything? I guess so, but that pipe suction test that was supposed to prove
    I have an air leak sounds like it would occur with a bleeder valve too. What is your take on that?
    Would you recommend replacing all of the pipe if you found one piece with a hole in it? I could actually
    understand that if it were metal. But what if it was the last piece that sat in water? Would you recommend
    replacing all the pipe in that case? I'm not saying that's a bad idea. I just don't know and if you're spending
    upwards of $12 to $1500 anyway, would it be a good idea to spend three to five hundred more on all new piping?
    I just don't know. Seems to me that folks have pipe in the ground for decades without problems. This house
    was built in 2001.
    And, I don't know if you saw my last comment but he also didn't re-connect the ground
    wire for the pressure valve that he replaced.
    I think most of us would agree that at the very least, he is not someone we would hire again.
    Did he try to rip me off? I leave that for the reader's interpretation. Or after we fix the AVC valve,
    if there is still a problem inside the well, then maybe I'll eat crow. I'm only interested in the facts.
  18. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Florida
    I just spent some time looking for it but saw nothing. I'll take the pipe insulation off and look after work or tomorrow. It should at least look like a stem of some
    kind, correct? Or maybe it is as LLIGETFA says: "A snifter valve may take many forms. Essentially, it is a one-way valve that lets in air but seals on pressure. If there are two bleeders in the drop pipe, the top one acts as a snifter"
  19. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,549
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    CC mentioned this as well. And since you don't see anything, we believe your "snifter" is in the well. A bad check valve on the pump will not let air in unless there is a hole, a leak, or a "snifter" for the air to enter before the above ground check valve.
  20. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Florida
    Sorry that I missed this comment earlier. I totally agree with you and it is worrisome. I like to tinker by nature, but mostly
    the reason I get involved at all with stuff like this is just to save thousands upon thousands of dollars that would otherwise be stolen from me.
    The weird thing is that I'm not at all a cheap person. I just don't have bazillions of dollars to give to every jerk that thinks I'm going to make him rich.
    The guy who did my service eluded to price fixing in this area as well. That's one reason I'm not going to indicate exactly where I'm writing from
    and why I don't mention his name. I lived in a medium size city prior to this in a wealthy retirement community for awhile. I was one of the poorest of the poor
    who bought one of the oldest houses there and I was only there because my parents retired there. Most of those folks were northerners and this city is southern.
    So, you can imagine the disdain for people who lived in that community. Contractors loved to work there though; and rip em off. They tried with me; and succeeded
    sometimes too. That's what I think I'm going through with this guy. I'm new in this small town and since I'm not a blue collar guy by trade, I feel like
    I'm again a mark. So, I'm left with no choice but to somehow eliminate the need for these kinds of professionals in my life. Of all tradesmen, the ones I
    loath and fear the most are hvac. The major ones where I came from lived to see your existing system into a premature grave. Their entire mission was to sell
    you a whole new system. It wasn't to help you eek out an extra three or four years out of your existing system. It was actually more economical to not ever have
    an hvac person even perform maintenance on my system because magically, nearly every darn time I did, there popped up a problem shortly thereafter. Finally I got my old system working again and just did the minor cleaning now and again and it stayed healthy. The first guy that came to look at our system stepped on the overflow pipe at
    the air handler in the attic and broke it. After getting to know how bad many of the contractors were in that area, I think it's entirely possible he did it on
    purpose. My wife noticed maybe a week later that the water was leaking out the safety drain out on the back deck. So, that many days later, how can we prove
    it was the hvac guy? The darn thing broke right at the edge of the plastic pan too. It was a really hard fix but I finally found epoxy made for plastic that worked "JB Weld" of course, to put it back together. I could literally go on story after story of bad experiences with "professional" contractors. When I find a good one though; I call them every single time. And sometimes they look at me like "wow" when they get their tip. I get the "hey you didn't have to do that" a lot. But, I know the value of an honest company or tradesman.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2014
Similar Threads: Questions supply
Forum Title Date
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Well Questions, Need Advise Apr 18, 2014
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Dug well pump questions Apr 14, 2014
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Centrifugal sand filter/CSV questions Mar 31, 2014
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Shallow Well Pump Brand And contruction questions Mar 3, 2014
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog Questions about a community water system Feb 17, 2014

Share This Page