slowly losing water pressure

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by donmcc, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. donmcc

    donmcc New Member

    Messages:
    6
    I have a shallow well system with pump and tank inside the house. The system has, for some time, been finding air somewhere along the way. More troublesome is that the system is now losing pressure slowly, most noticeable overnight. The drop rate is about 1 psi per hour, or about .3 gallons.

    The captive air tank bladder is ok and maintains its pressure. Toilets and faucets do not leak. I replaced the foot valve in the well and saw no change.

    The polyethylene pipe that descends into the well retains some of its original curl and has the foot valve cocked about 20 degrees off vertical. Is it possible that angle prevents the valve from sealing completely?

    On other posts, I see a strong conviction that, in order to prevent air leaks, poly pipe must be softened before inserting barbed fittings. Will that still be effective if you are inserting the fittings after they have previously been put together without softening?

    Any advice or insight will be greatly appreciated.
  2. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    Sounds like you have ruled out everything but the barb fittings. A new footvalve. The tank is good, inside plumbing is all sound. Must be the joints. I would heat them first then clamp them.

    You must have a dug well for the footvalve to be cocked that far over, but I don't think it matters. Check valves (which are just like footvalves) are installed horizontal all the time.

    bob...
  3. donmcc

    donmcc New Member

    Messages:
    6
    speedbump,

    Thanks for the reply. Let me ask you about another possibility -- in the line from the well to the house, there is a transition from 3/4 to 1" pipe. I don't know where it is. It seems like a leak possibility, but I hate to look for it without some idea of where it might be.

    In your experience, do you find that supply lines from well to house are usually laid under the house slab, or that changes in pipe size are usually close to the well or house?

    In your reply about barbed fittings, I wasn't sure if you were saying I might reheat the pipe without removing the fitting again. That would surely be easier.

    And yes, it is a dug well, with 3 foot diameter casing.
  4. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    Supply lines are usually laid in the easiest way possible. That is to say, it could be anywhere. Why they would change sizing underground is another story. I wouldn't do that, but someone else might. I'm just not sure why.

    One thing for sure. Anything that is underground is always a mystery to everyone except the one that put it there. And left to memory, that info goes away rather quickly too.

    bob...
  5. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Heating the pipe too much and/or clamping while the pipe is hot and over tightening the clamps are the primary causes of leaks on barbed fitting joints and PE pipe. All underground fittings should be double opposed clamped and I'd do the same for all suction lines on a jet pump wherever the joint is.

    Heating PE pipe with water in it doesn't do much except ruin/damage the pipe because the water sucks the heat into the water and you have to heat the pipe way too hot, in spots. Any heat caused bulging, bubbles or burning on the pipe ruins it and that part should be cut out and replaced.

    Maybe the reduced size is because they didn't have enough of the larger ID pipe.
  6. donmcc

    donmcc New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Slowing losing water pressure

    Gary,

    Thanks for the answer and advice.

    Does it seem reasonable to replace the pipe in the well and a couple of feet outside the well with PVC? I don't mind the work and it would eliminate two barbed fittings from the line. I keep thinking that the elbow just inside the casing is the source of my problem.

    After working on that connection, my system held pressure overnight for one night. Now, it's back to losing a pound per hour. Even though clamped, that joint can be easily rotated by moving the down pipe, so I'm wondering if cycling of the pump is enough to work that joint to the point of leaking? What do you think?

    Thanks again.
  7. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I think PE pipe is a much better choice than PVC.

    A lb an hour could be a dripping faucet etc. but if you see a leak in the well, then watch it over time or fix it. Maybe a clamp needs snugging up but personally, I don't know that I'd be in a rush to fix the leak until nice weather at the earliest.

    Thanks for the feedback.
  8. donmcc

    donmcc New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Losing water pressure

    Gary,

    I hate to bother you again -- you've been so helpful already. I'm really tempted to use the PVC because I've had such rotten luck with clamping the elbow connections on the PE pipe.

    What is your reason for preferring PE over PVC for the drop pipe?

    You make a good point about the weather, but I was hoping to go on a trip and not worry how my sons would deal with a worsening problem.

    Don McCreary
  9. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    It's no bother. If you warm up PE pipe to say 100*, you can push it on or any type insert fitting into it very easily. Laid in the sun for 15-30 minutes is usually enough but a few minutes in hot water or using a soldering torch without letting the flame hit the surface works well. You have to keep the fiting inline to the pipe, no straining or being crooked or kinking of the pipe because you heated the pipe too far past where the fitting goes into it.

    Then clamp after it cools to air temp, just don't tighten them until you can't turn the screw anymore. Then after you got it all together, a quick 1/2 turn on the clamps and you shouldn't have leaks. There is a T handled torque wrench made for the clamps. I torque'em and then the last thing I do before turning on the water is that last 1/2 turn snug up.

    PE is the slickest material for water lines. Unless you need elbows, you only need a fitting on each end, no couplers every 10-20 feet as anyother type material and, you don't need to fear expansion/contraction because PE is never straight, it weaves from side to side in the ditch. And it costs the least of all materials and takes the least time to install. And it handles freezing better than any other material. And it does not break/crack as PVC does with ground heaving or settling.

    Take the curved piece out of the well and warm it up and straighten it out.
  10. sammyhydro11

    sammyhydro11 Previous member

    Messages:
    709
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Sounds to me like your not tightening your clamps on the barbed portion of the fitting. If you are using plastic barbed fittings on any portion of your well system you are bound to experience problems. I would replace all of the fittings on the suction side of the system with brass barbed fittings and double clamp them with a speed wrench. Heat the inside of the pipe with a torch until you can slightly squeeze the pipe and then insert your fitting. Don't get clamps and fittings from a hardware store because they are junk. Go to a plumbing supply store and get everything you need.

    sammy

    www.tylerwellandpump.com
  11. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I've never had leak problems with Nylon, sch 80 pvc, SS or brass fittings. Manufacturers advise to heat the tubing evenly inside and out.
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