What should I do now? (virtical turbine with galvanized tank)

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by Darrel S., Oct 29, 2011.

  1. Darrel S.

    Darrel S. New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Oregon
    OK, here's the deal. Back in 1959 or so, my father installed a well system at the depth of 90 ft. He used a virtical turbine with a foot valve, (he thought it would be better to keep the column full so the motor wouldn't have to work so hard), a snifter valve, a check valve, and a steel tank.

    I always remember dad complaning about a "water logged tank", and he would have to drain water out of the tank and put air into it. This went on forever at about every 4 to 6 months. In 1995 my dad passed away and the well didn't get watched very good. In 1998 we had to have the motor re-wound because it cycled for too long and burt up.

    Fast forward to 2011: The tank, (painted steel 800 gallon horizontal tank), is now leaking at a weld seam on the bottom. There is also alot of surface rust on it. Not sure how much longer it will last. It drips about 1 1/2 times pe second.
    I purchased a good used 500 gallon vertical tank with a working "air release valve" (float style) half way up the tank.
    We have a gauge on the pressure switch (tank), and a gauge on the well head. Basically one before the check valve and one after. Right now the check valve is leaking. I know this because when I close the gate valve, between the check valve and the tank, the gauge on the well head drops to "0". After it sets like this for a while with the snifter valve removed, 15-20 min., I think that air has been drawn into the column. (When the snifter valve was removed there was water present)

    If air is bieng drawn into the column, then the foot valve is leaking...right? I hope it is, but is it enough?

    Is there any way to introduce air into this system without pulling up the entire well pump and removing the foot valve, or adding an air compressor?

    Please help us out here.
    This well has given us very good water, serves 3 homes and 2 shops, and never has it been drilled deeper. The other well's around us have been drill deeper several times, one is at 350 feet now.
  2. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    All of your air add devices can be above ground with as much pipe as you want to add tons of air. And you need a LOT of air.

    Putting it in the well is an old cave man idea where no one knows if it works or not.

    Buy an EXPENSIVE USA check valve and put it in.

    I would paint the old tank and easily accept the small leak and keep using it.

    http://www.deanbennett.com/stainless-steel-well-accessories-and-fittings.htm

    http://www.inspectapedia.com/water/WaterTankAir3.htm

    I never worked with such large plaintanks, but I know a schrader valve is not going to give you enough air - your air admittance valve likely should be a check valve.

    dads system has likeley never been correctly designed. Maybe Valveman can inform you - he plays with these giant tanks.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    If there is a real snifter valve, then there needs to be some sort of drainback, normally called a bleeder. As ballvalve said, the bleeder can be placed anwhere but us cavemen liked putting them in the well so the water that bled out of them would never become an issue. There also needs to be some vertical drop to the bleeder since it requires gravity to overcome the resistance of the line and snifter. The distance between the bleeder and the snifter/checkvalve governs how much air you might get per cycle.

    Why do you need such a large tank?
  4. Texas Wellman

    Texas Wellman In the Trades

    Messages:
    536
    Location:
    SE Texas-Coastal
    I know very little about line shaft turbine pumps. What horsepower is the motor?

    In 1959 submersible pumps were either in their infancy or not yet invented. If they were around, there were very few in existence. Lots of pump jacks, jet pumps etc.

    If it were my well I would replace the old line-shaft turbine with a good quality submersible. I don't know what your water needs are but you can get a submersible to give you the same amount of water with probably less trouble. It's likely that your pump is pretty well worn after being in service for 50+ years.

    As far as the tank goes if you already have a good used galv. tank then put it in service but you will either have to add an air maker to the system (easy) or drain it periodically.

    Good luck.
  5. Darrel S.

    Darrel S. New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Oregon
    maybe this

    I wonder if this would work? I'm not sure what size the small tank should be. The foot/check valve on top has a fine mesh screen to keep bugs and dust out. What do you think?

    Attached Files:

  6. Darrel S.

    Darrel S. New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Oregon
    I guess I could put the water from the bleeder back down the well, right?
  7. masterpumpman

    masterpumpman New Member

    Messages:
    729
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Wait for valveman's recommendation!
  8. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    We recently saw that on another post with the footvalve. Put a nylon over it. Looks fine to me.

    Put the water on a tree. Or to the chickens.
  9. Darrel S.

    Darrel S. New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Oregon
    better idea

    Here's a better one. I could use a 3-way electric valve, but it's more cost effective to use a check valve and a simple electric valve. I just seen a brass electric 3/4" valve for $20 on c-list today.

    Attached Files:

  10. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    The mechanical drain is simpler and only requires a visual to determine its function.
  11. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,473
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    A Whitewater compressor can be attached to the top of the tank and a probe drops in from the top. This will keep the correct air in a big tank.

    Adding a check valve at the top of a turbine with a leaking foot-valve will cause water hammer when the pump starts. You could use a control check valve with a Schrader valve at this location, and the Schrader will let air in the column pipe when the foot valve leaks back. Then you need a good Air Volume Control in the tank to let out the excess air.

    The foot valve leaking is going to be a problem no mater how it goes. When you pull it to replace the foot valve, I would replace the pump with a submersible. If the water level is shallow, the control check with a Schrader is the best solution. If the water level is deep, you are going to get too much air or water hammer, and it will need to be pulled.
  12. Darrel S.

    Darrel S. New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Oregon
    I talked to a well guy here in town and he said that the water is kept in the column by the foot valve to keep water on the shaft bearings, that are made of rubber, and that if they run dry they will fail. He also suggested a submersible or a compressor on the tank.
    I think I'll use the small tank and electric valve for my air induction. It seems the best way to go.
  13. masterpumpman

    masterpumpman New Member

    Messages:
    729
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Valveman said it best!
  14. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,473
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    The foot valve is leaking. So the rubber spiders will be dry each time the pump starts, and as you said, they will fail. If you don't want to pull the pump, I would add a Schrader to the above ground check valve to draw air into the column pipe as the foot valve leaks back, then use your electric valve as a prelube for the rubber spiders. A "prelube" valve dumps water down the column pipe about 30 seconds before the pump starts.
  15. Darrel S.

    Darrel S. New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Oregon
    mechanical drain?

    Is there a mechanical valve, like a 3-way automatic valve, that could be used in place of the solenoid valve, and the check valve just before it? I think it would be called a "control valve". This would be better than an electric valve.
  16. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,473
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    I know you don't want to hear this, but if your footvalve is leaking, you will have more than enough air in the column pipe to charge the tank. The problem will be that your bearings will not last from running dry a few seconds each time the pump starts. All water lube turbines without footvalves have a prelube system to prevent bearing damage. It has to be an electric prelube valve, because it is told to dump water to the bearings a short time before the pump is told to start.

    Either that or fix the foot valve. :(
  17. Darrel S.

    Darrel S. New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Oregon
    I'm going to replace the bad check valve this weekend. Not sure how much the foot valve is leaking, so I will put a vacuum gauge on the snifter valve with the pump off. Guess I'll have to watch and see what happens. Not sure what an acceptable reading would be. I don't think the foot valve is leaking that bad, or we would not have a water logged tank so often. The longest we have went was about 6 months before it became water logged. The shortest was about 3 months.
    More info on the shaft bearings: The fluted rubber bearings were all replaced with a high grade nylon type plastic when we had the motor re-wound, and the pump rebuilt. This advice came to us from a well pump rebuilder at the time. (this was done about 12 years ago)
  18. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    http://www.wellpro.com/catalog/TankAccessories.pdf

    Look at these bleeder valves.
  19. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Maybe just the schrader valve core needs replacing. Sometimes people screw up and put a tire valve core in it. Tire valve cores have a spring that makes it hard to open. A snifter valve core opens easier.
  20. Darrel S.

    Darrel S. New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Oregon
    Wonder if I could put the 3/4 brass bleeder in a "tee" with another "tee" welded to the first "tee" with a plug for access to th bleeder. Then the water from the bleeder could be piped back down the well. bleeder system.jpg
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