Water well pump questions.

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by chrt396, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. chrt396

    chrt396 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Tampa Bay Florida
    Well suction pipe has collapsed

    Hi to all! This is my first post...so thank you in advance for any help you can offer. I live in the Tampa Bay area in Florida. I have a shallow well that has 6 points. Last night I was noticing that all the zones on my system operated except for the 6th zone. NOTHING would come out of it. I tried two or three times to cycle the zones with the same results. No water on zone 6. It was late so I decided to wait until today to mess with it. Today however was the watering day. When I got home tonight, I came in through the garage and heard the pump going but then it hit me that I did not see a sprinkler on in the front at all. I went to the timer and advanced the zones and today...NONE of the zones were working where the night before, only zone 6 was inoperative. I went over to the side of the house where the pump is and noticed that the intake suction pipe has collapsed. I'm a bit at a loss as to what to do. The pump is working...I do NOT know how much damage, if any, has been done to the pump. It's weird because the day before, the system was working perfectly except for the 6th zone. The pump was scheduled to go on this morning. When I left for work, I was in a hurry, so I didn't notice if the pump had been sucking air or if it was collapsed at that time. The pump runs about 51/2 hours for a complete cycle. I just noticed it this evening when I got home. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2010
  2. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
    Replace the collapsed pipe and, depending on the cost, put the pump on a device that senses pump current draw and shuts off the pump if the current is too high or too low.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2010
  3. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Remove the pump, hook it up to a water source like a 5 gal bucket and see if it will pump water. That would be without the water being under pressure; such as a bucket filled with a garden hose as the pump takes water from the bucket. Then put a stop valve on the pump's outlet and see if it will produce like 50-75 psi of water pressure. If so the pump should be ok but I don't think it will be due to being over heated yesterday.

    Then replace the bad pipe and see if you have any water in the points and figure out why they went dry.
  4. Texas Wellman

    Texas Wellman In the Trades

    Messages:
    562
    Location:
    SE Texas-Coastal
    To answer the OP question: It should not take 6 points for a single shallow well jet pump. Sounds like your wells were already weak producers to begin with and now your pumping capacity has exceeded the wells' capacity. First you need to fix your well production problem. Hopefully you did not burn up your pump. I've seen them get pretty hot and still work so maybe you didn't damage the pump.

    Replace the bad inlet pipe, install a discharge valve on the pump with a gauge. Prime and dead-head the pump. If it produces pressure, at least 30-40 psi, the pump is probably good. If it will not produce any pressure, and presuming you do not have any airleaks etc, then your pump impeller or diffuser is probably melted. Might just be better off to get a new pump depending upon age. Stay away from Flo-Tec or any Home Depot or Lowe's Special, get a Goulds or other similar quality.

    If you can build pressure open the valve slowly until you can maintain flow and pressure. If you can't maintain any flow/pressure then your points are stopped up and your wells' are not making enough water. Rule of thumb is if the well will take water then it will make water. Might be able to acidize the points with special acid to clear the screens etc.

    Another thing may be that you passed some particles through the system and stopped up the sprinkler heads and ran the pump dead-headed for the whole cycle. Not sure how this would cause the suction pipe to collapse but it's possible.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2010
  5. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
    I suppose, Gary, since he used your real name, that you have a case for defamation if you can show that your business or your reputation was harmed by these remarks.

    If not, I recommend the use of the "ignore" button on your "settings" page but you have to be logged on for it to work.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2010
  6. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2010
  7. chrt396

    chrt396 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Tampa Bay Florida
    Thanks guys!

    Thanks for the suggestions on what may be the issue and how to correct. It's kinda coincidental, that the night before, every zone was working at full pressure except the 6th zone which didn't ooze a drop. The one suggestion that states the possibility of that zone being clogged and the pump just sucked and sucked and the pipe collapsed is what I was thinking by using semi-calculated, half witted process of elimination. It was just a little coincidental that one night..one zone is dead and the pump remained running, so I turned it off and reset it to on. I forgot that the sprinklers came on the next morning, and for some strange reason, I thought the clog created such a pressure that the inlet pipe collapsed. I made a call to a well and pump guy that I know, and he thinks that the water table in my zone is just low. I have not bought that yet...and it may be a fluke, but I think the inoperative 6th zone is the culprit in some way. It's a sta-rite pump, so the quality should be fairly decent. The pump is about 6 years old. The pump has a pressure tank on top and a check valve in line at the intake at ground level.
  8. chrt396

    chrt396 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Tampa Bay Florida
    Texas wellman... It seems as if you have kinda confirmed the possibility that the sprinklers got clogged up with debris or some particles that.."Deadheaded" the pump. Suction but no give! ??? But...question. If the sprinkler heads are on the discharge side...how would the suction side on the other side collapse?? Stupid question..but wouldn't it just shut off with the pressure tank? I'm clueless!
  9. chrt396

    chrt396 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Tampa Bay Florida
    Sounds like something I could handle! Thanks!
  10. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,588
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Something clogged on the discharge side of the pump will just cause the pump to increase pressure until the pressure switch shuts off the pump. It would probably just be cycling on and off. Low water level in the well would cause you to suck air and lose prime. I think the screen on the points is clogged up or you wouldn't have enough vacuum to collapse the suction line.
  11. Texas Wellman

    Texas Wellman In the Trades

    Messages:
    562
    Location:
    SE Texas-Coastal
    Not sure about how the suction pipe would have collapsed due to the system being dead-headed. Since I really have never dealt with a 6-well point system tied into one pump I would think that all 6 points are clogging and the weakest pipe collapsed. Since you're running on a pressure tank the pump should not have dead-headed due to the sprinklers being collapsed but I don't know how your system is set-up. Does your pump operate only on pressure or could there be a bypass switch that automatically cuts the pump on. I'm not really all that keen on sprinkler control systems so I'll leave that to the experts.

    Before you go through all that trouble you could probably just pop the pump casing apart and take a quick look. If the impeller/diffuser is not melted or damaged and the jet is not clogged then the pump is probably fine. No need to hook up all that extra piping etc.

    I agree with valveman.
  12. Texas Wellman

    Texas Wellman In the Trades

    Messages:
    562
    Location:
    SE Texas-Coastal
    chrt396,

    Sorry to hi-jack your thread. I find it very annoying when people who either don't have any experience or other knowledge try to answer threads when they don't have any business answering those threads. I guess it's all part of the internet. The internet is drops of yes and no in a sea of maybe, you just have to be able to distinguish the "knowers and doers" from the all-knowers.

    Good luck, post back up what you find when you fix the problem.
  13. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
    I've seen completely wrong answers on the Web, but the sky didn't fall, so I think some of it is my problem. It could be a perfectionist streak in me, or a wish to control others, that I don't yet have under control.

    I used to publish my training and experience in my profile but I found out it does not make any difference.
    You can try to persuade. . .but the OP decides. . .using sound reasoning or unsound reasoning. . .what he or she will do in the end.
    One time I saw 15 people trying to convince a guy that he had a bad neutral in his house load center and he still wasn't convinced. The symptoms were classic and unambiguous. It was very frustrating.

    You do deserve credit for even wondering about your own opinion. I don't know if I've ever seen that on a forum - dogmatism usually rules the day.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2010
  14. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You sound like an anonymous someone that has been banned here for this type thing before.

    You might want to change your ways but tell me what you see wrong with my reply to the OP.

    Reading your later replies it sounds as if you don't know as much as you think.

    I have 18-20 years experience in pump work as a dealer and you know that but obviously don't believe it.

    So I suggest you stop the personal attacks and dazzle us with your knowledge, and point out any errors I make.
  15. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Let's get back on track here. A restriction in the discharge line is going to cause the pump to possibly short cycle and I say possibly instead of likely because if you crack your kitchen faucet open the pump will not normally short cycle so though you probably do have a zone that is plugged up, that is not what caused the suction line to collapse. Suction lines collapse because the pump looses prime and continues to run which heats the pump and water and effectivly melts the pipe so... You should be looking at problems with points being plugged or a lowered water level or suction leak(s) in the inlet lines. Not sure where you are in sunny florida but if you are anywhere near Venice you can give my brother in law a call, he does wells and sprinklers in that area.
  16. Texas Wellman

    Texas Wellman In the Trades

    Messages:
    562
    Location:
    SE Texas-Coastal
    No Gary, I've never been banned from here before. And you know what, I don't claim to be a know-it-all. I'm sure there is something you can find that I probably answered wrong or see things a little bit different than you. For instance, I do not agree with everything that Valveman has written or other well-drillers, but I don't see them as wrong, I just see it as a difference of opinion and experience. Shoot, my little area of knowledge doesn't hold a candle to a lot of other well guys.

    Lowe's has over 18 years as a pump dealer too but that don't make them any more an expert than anybody else.

    Thing of it is that I see you on here arguing with lots of others, but most of them seem to get banned, but you're still here. Looks a little like a pattern to me, but I ain't the one selling. I'm only here to help. I can't help but notice when one person continues to hand out bad advice over and over, even on the most simplest concepts, and then claim to be a pump person.

    So tell us again how a 220V pump uses half the energy of a 110V?
  17. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    That pattern you think you see, you might want to help yourself and pay attention to it.
  18. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    What does that have to do with what I told the OP about his situation? If you think I said something wrong, point it out. Otherwise lose the attitude.
  19. chrt396

    chrt396 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Tampa Bay Florida
    aawww!!

    I feel a group hug coming on here! :)

    I have a friend of mine that thinks the well ran below water table. He's an experienced water well driller. The problem is that his diagnosis is from out of state. He is on an extended vacation with his wife and has not seen the pump. In my mind..as I keep telling him..ALL zones except for one were working the night before. It is highly coincidental for the next day the pump inlet pipe to be collapsed and the system shut down. I think the way most things are fixed is to attack the obvious first..or the basics..then troubleshoot from there. I normally count on him for the right diagnosis...but as inexperienced as i am...I just cannot believe that all of a sudden the pump runs dry. There was no pulsating or unevenness of spray pressure...none. It was just perfect..until. I think I'll start with...
    1. fix the collapsed pipe
    2. replace check valve
    3. check zone six or disconnect for a cycle to check for problems
    4. if that is the problem..(zone 6) Get back on forum and plead for help!!
  20. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    That's a pretty good strategy. Just hang around and keep an eye on things for awhile if it does indeed pump again.
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