Running out of water Suggestions please.

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by DiamondCarr, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. DiamondCarr

    DiamondCarr New Member

    Messages:
    7
    We are constantly running out of water. We have lived here for 71/2 years and the well is 14 years old. It is about 250 to 300ft deep I think. We started occasionally running out of water about 4 years. We replaced the 35 gal flotech tank ( think that was the size) when we discovered it seemed to have a bladder leak with a larger flotech our water issue though has progressively gotten worse especially this year. Last fall we had a pump service come out and drop the pump 20 feet to 180. We just had him back out last week and he replaced the flow tech 1hp with a goulds 1hp pump and new water pipe. He put in new 320psi pipe toreplace the 80psi pipe and a new control box. We had replaced the tank switch a few weeks before and the capacitor too. The tank is a 4 year old flotech 70gal I think and it seems to be keeping pressure at 28lbs. The switch is a 30/50with a manual lever. When we run out of water which is at about 45 gallons at full force (we have a farm and fill water tanks) at greatly reduced rate we can run longer. If we turn all water off and wait 15 min then go turn the switch back on the pressure gauge is 0. the pump turns on at 28 when the switch is activated and turns off at about 40. We must wait for at least 15 to 20 minutes to use the water again. My husband took a shower this evening with no other water running and the water ran out. We do live in the high plains of Colorado but we have had plenty of rain and moisture in our area this year. The wire from the Main breaker to the pump house is lighter than my husband likes and we can no longer run anything of significance off that pumphouse breaker box since about 3 years ago without it throwing the breaker at the main box. before that there was no issue. The wire to the well head is a larger wire and he plans on replacing the lighter wire but it will require quite a bit of fence moving and such even to ditch witch it. Any ideas? Thanks!
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,296
    Location:
    IL
    You should get a device that detects that the pump is out of water, and shut down the pump for a while. Cycle Sensor is one such product. http://www.cyclestopvalves.com/prod_sensor.html They work by detecting the change in current drawn by the pump.

    I suspect I did not answer the question you were asking. Are you asking how to get by with a smaller power wire? The next time that you replace the pump, maybe a 5 GPM 3/4 HP pump would be a better match to your well. Are you asking if a well person can develop the well to make it higher yielding? I have seen discussions of techniques here.
  3. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    ct
    Dropping the pump 20' may have gotten you an initial extra 30 gallons if you have a 6" well.

    A Pump Tech or Cycle Sensor is not going to cure a dry well situation, but they will keep the pump from running dry and melting down.

    A bigger tank won't do you any good if you don't have enough water to fill it.

    A heavier wire won't make the difference between having no water now and some water in 15 minutes.

    Rain today should not influence your well tomorrow, if it did, then the surface contaminates (pesticides, animal waste) would be in your water supply.

    You REALLY need to find someone with integrity who will PROPERLY diagnose the problem. As it is now, you're giving your hard earned money to some guy who doesn't know how to figure out your problem, but he's more than happy to change parts....and give little in return.
    LLigetfa likes this.
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,001
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Sounds to me like there are three choices.
    Increase the yield of the well. It could involve setting a pump deeper, jetting, acid washing, developing, fracking, drilling deeper, or replacing.
    Use less water.
    Add a large non-pressurized storage tank with second pump and fill it at the low rate the well produces.
  5. DiamondCarr

    DiamondCarr New Member

    Messages:
    7
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,001
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    When was the well rated at 15 GPM, 14 years ago? If it still produces 15 GPM, one answer is to simply install a dole valve to reduce the flow.

    A larger pressure tank just presents as a larger load on the well as it still needs to be filled after the tap is turned off. That said however, a smaller tank won't get you any more water from the well. Installing a CSV would slow the fill rate to 1 GPM and it would slow the pump to match the draw. If however you draw faster than the well can recover, it will still run out of water.

    A low pressure cutoff switch is junk insurance if the well runs out of water after you turn off the tap. The pressure won't continue to drop if you are not using water while it is trying to fill the tank. TO protect the pump, you need something like the Cycle Sensor.
    http://cyclestopvalves.com/prod_sensor.html
  7. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    ct
    Start by getting a well recovery test done, you can probably do it yourself with some 5 gallon buckets, but it will be more accurate through a meter

    Run the water through a hose until it stops
    Shut the pump off for 15 minutes
    Turn the pump on after 15 minutes and see how many 5 gallon buckets you can fill through the hose before the water stops again
    Simple math will give you your recovery rate
  8. DiamondCarr

    DiamondCarr New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Would the dole valve be best placed where the line goes into the pressure tank? We did have a pressure test done a couple of years ago when the oil industry was doing thumper exploration around the area across our property both before and after the exploration and the well I believe was testing at 15 gpm.
  9. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    ct
    Wells can change over time. Determine how much water the well makes then move on from there.
  10. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,001
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    The dole valve goes between the pump and the pressure switch before the tank. The dole valve creates an increase in pressure on the line so the line also needs to be rated high enough. Depending on where the PRV might be, the pressure rating of the PRV may also need to be taken into consideration.
  11. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,472
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    If the well really makes 15 GPM you would not run out of water while taking a 3 GPM shower. Do the bucket test and determine how large a storage tank you need.
    [​IMG]
  12. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,001
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    If they nearly emptied the well filling 45 gallon drums and then took a shower, their large pressure tank could represent more than 15 GPM load and could have been the last straw.

    As you said, do the bucket test. Without a recent well recovery test, this is all just talk and conjecture.
  13. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,201
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I am no Pump Pro.

    But I would get a clamp on Amp meter, and see what the pump is doing. It may not even be getting or using power.

    You may have water available.


    Sounds like a bunch of guesses to me.


    You can Slam me now, and Thank Me later. lol
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  14. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    ct
    Don

    You're right, we're all going on the ass umption that the last pump guy there did his job correctly and the pump runs when the system calls for water.
  15. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,201
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    It is hard to find good help now a days, In that area.

    The weed they grow up there uses up all of the water and electricity.

    But nobody really cares because Twinkies are Chocolate filed and made in Mexico now a days.


    My Bad...
  16. DiamondCarr

    DiamondCarr New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Thank You all. I will see about the bucket test tomorrow. We have discussed a storage tank in the past but felt it was a bit of an overwhelming task, now it seems to have moved to the have to. Part of the issue had been where to put an underground one, however we are now discussing possibly putting in a tall tank in our well house which was built as an in ground 6'x6' x 7' concrete bunker. We may have to raise the roof of the building but it might be the best option as the well head and pressure tank are easily accessed here and the risk of freezing will be low if we insulate the roof properly. I am pretty sure the tank is too large for proper recovery of our well and the pump may be to fast for the recovery rate especially with the larger pressure tank. I would have thought the well expert would have caught this though. But I'm no expert. I am also wondering if the smaller wire cannot carry the load of the pump running for more than a few minutes.... but the breaker at the main box no longer trips unless we put any other electrical load on the pump house circuit. We put in a new breaker a few of years ago, when the breaker was tripping, and quit adding any other load out there. ( we were able to run a couple of tank heaters in the winter for the livestock off the pump house circuit until 3 yrs ago.)
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