Check valve inconsistent operation

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by brokensword, Feb 22, 2021.

  1. brokensword

    brokensword New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2021
    Location:
    Michigan
    Hello,

    I signed up to learn a bit more about my well problem. Last November, my well pump began short cycling. Not knowing much but doing some online reading, it seemed it might be the storage tank. I turned the pump off so as not to burn up the pump and called a well guy. Before he came out, the pump stopped short cycling (I forgot I'd turned it back on and was surprised to not hear it cycling). Since the well guy was coming out anyhow, I had him inspect and adjust the storage tank as that wasn't the problem. He said it might fail anytime, so I was prepared.

    Fast forward to a week ago when the problem started again. I'm assuming this is now related to the check valve. I have no idea if there's one or two of these nor where they are, but would like an expert here to at least tell me if I'm on the right track. The well guy told me it was probably sediment/rust/whatever interfering with the check valve and it cleared before he got there. This time, it took a week of turning the pump off, on for about an hour a day to do dishes, showers, etc and then off again, before the check valve cleared yet again. I'm wondering if this 'debris' getting caught is from the well casing or might it be from the supply pipe? I don't have any pressure problems, no sediment, no water quality change, no bubbles in the water, no air-water spitting; just the cycling.

    So, the well was put in in 87, was serviced ~94 for something similar (was a rusted supply pipe at the water line) but that's it. The pump is a Red Jacket brand and has been there since day 1.

    Am I right in thinking if I have the well guy back out and they replace the pump and supply pipe, that this debris will hurt the new pump and cause similar problems? I'm just trying to understand better before the repair happens.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Post a photo that includes the pipe coming from the well, the pressure switch, the pressure gauge, the input to the pressure tank, and the check valve.

    Also, is there a control box (electrically between the pump and the pressure switch)?
     
  3. Sponsor

    Sponsor Paid Advertisement

     
  4. brokensword

    brokensword New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2021
    Location:
    Michigan
    I hope these are the pics you wanted; they show what I have in the basement. My well 'head' is located about 15' outside the wall, is about 18" above ground. I believe it's 'pitless'? I have two check valves inline to my softener, if that's of any importance. My pressure switch has always been set for 40/60. I have 1" poly coming underground from the well. Let me know if you need more info.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    If you are not seeing any chunks of rust or sediment, the check valve is probably failing from the pump cycling on and off too much. Check valves fly open and slam shut with each pump cycle, which shortens there life. As a temporary stop gap you could add another check valve before the pressure tank. This will probably cause water hammer on pump start, but will keep the pump from cycling on when you are not using any water. The check valve at the bottom of the well will need to be replaced to solve the problem. Most people will replace the pump while they have it out. Then if you will replace that tank with a PK1A kit using a Cycle Stop Valve, it will prevent the new check valve from failing and has many other benefits.

    pk1a-md.jpg
     
  6. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Check valves on the way to your softener do not matter for well operation, but if you have such check valves, you need a thermal expansion tank to accept the water that expands when the water heater heats.

    You should not have a check valve between one at the pump and the pressure tank. I did not see one in your photos, but you have insulation that could hide one. Also, it is a little hard to relate your 3 photos to examine the whole path. If you have a check valve in that path, let us know where.

    Then you need to set the air precharge to 38 psi. The air precharge is always measured and set with the water pressure zero. That tank having a problem is the usual cause of fast cycling. You did not describe how fast.

    A potential deficiency is that the pressure switch may not see the same pressure that the pressure tank sees. There should be a short large path between the pressure switch and the pressure tank if the path has water flow. The nipple up to the pressure tank does not need a big path, but it needs to not be clogged.

    So what happens to the pressure gauge during this quick cycling? Does it fall to 40, and does it rise to 60 psi? How rapidly?

    How about a single photo that includes the pipe coming from the well, the pressure switch, the pressure gauge, the input to the pressure tank, and the check valve? Maybe a picture from above could show those things. If you could add markings, that would be even better. https://terrylove.com/forums/index.php?attachments/img_4-jpg.37834/ is somebody else's setup, as an example.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021
  7. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Occupation:
    Semi-Retired
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    A problematic tank manifests as a short fill cycle. A problematic check valve manifests as a normal fill rate but the pressure dropping while there is no water use. How fast it drops and subsequently, how short the pump cycles depends on several factors; pump GPM, tank size, diaphragm integrity, proper precharge, and rate of flow back to the well.
     
  8. brokensword

    brokensword New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2021
    Location:
    Michigan
    I'm uploading an overhead view with markings; hope this helps. There is no checkvalve under any of the insulation. I've no idea re any thermal expansion tank--I'm sure I don't have one. This is the way the plumber initially set everything up and I haven't had any problems iin 33 years. At least, none I know of. What issues would result from NOT having such a tank?
    Over the years, I have not had the well routinely serviced and am sure the tank was probably low on air pressure during that time. I've had leaks associated with toilet tanks, hose faucets, sprinkler valves and I always assumed my problems were because of those. But it's winter and there isn't any of those type problems, once I eliminated any leaky toilet tanks.

    The cycling, this time, was about every 5 minutes. It slowed toward the end of the week and has now stopped entirely. So I'm assuming the check valve was not closing properly and it was clogged just a bit.

    The well guy in November reset all the air tank parameters.

    Before the man came out in November, the pressure would rise normally from 40 to 50 then shoot up quickly to 60 and it would stop. Then it would quickly fall back to 50 where it would then slowly fall to 40 and the cycle would start. Not sure exactly when, but I used to have a hard clanging when the water stopped from the pump. Now, no sound like that. Since the guy fixed the tank pressure issue, the water takes longer to fill (he told me it would do that) but it's quiet and even and relatively slow. A week ago during this current problem, the water would slowly (over 5 minutes) fall from 60 down to 40 then cycle again.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. brokensword

    brokensword New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2021
    Location:
    Michigan
    Thanks for the response; I plan on asking the well guy to install a CSV. I was reading your other posts after posting mine, where you talk about CSV and thought it should be applied to my well situation. I've never heard of such and doubt if the original well digger put one on as this CSV sounds relatively new, yes? The guy told me most pumps fail in the 11-15 year range and I was lucky to get 33 years out of it. There's no doubt about installing a new pump when he gets here and all the drop pipe too, yes? I was wondering if putting in a new pump would see the same 'debris' clogging the checkvalve as my original pump is seeing? Or is this debris/rust/whatever coming from inside the drop pipe? Seems more reasonable to me.

    Also, the well guy expressed some concern over getting it all out of the well (pump, drop pipe, etc) because it has been in so long without servicing. Is this a major concern i.e. is a new well in my future? I hope not, the cost would be a lot more than I've set aside, but...

    The well is 150', btw, 4" iron casing, 1" galv drop pipe, Red Jacket (not sure the hp) pump. All 33 years old, though at least one piece of gavanized is 25 years old.

    Another question; is this CSV a normal part? That is, if I tell the guy I want one, no problem getting it? And, does it install at the pressure tank (from your pic, that's my guess) or at the pump?

    Thanks for taking an interest in my problem!

    Michael
     
  10. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Occupation:
    Semi-Retired
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    The following might be due to that.
    The following is a symptom of not having the correct precharge.
     
  11. brokensword

    brokensword New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2021
    Location:
    Michigan
    Well, the man tested the tank, fixed any air pressure problems and it's been working fine until a week ago when the short cycling started again. He indicated a failing checkvalve, so I'm going by that info. The problem I had 7 years into the well was similar (I think; it was a long time ago) and it proved to be a rusted piece of drop pipe at the water line. The hole was allowing the water to backflow. This time, it doesn't continue once whatever is clogging the checkvalve is flushed. As of now, everything is working but I know it's only a matter of time and I'd rather have the man come out and replace everything in the winter when he can drive up on my yard without damaging much (I'm a landscaper, so...!)
     
  12. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Occupation:
    Semi-Retired
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    CSV has been around for decades.

    If the well casing is large enough to install a flow inducer sleeve, ask the installer to install an extra long one. Any debris falling down from above the intake will be diverted by the sleeve.
     
  13. brokensword

    brokensword New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2021
    Location:
    Michigan
    I figured since I could fix all three easily, ususally washers and seals, it was more wear and tear than anything else. I did know, sort of, that the air in the tank must be affecting how fast/slow the water flowed in. In most other areas, I've been proactive but I've little experience with wells and maybe was turning a blind eye, to my detriment. No doubt from all this I'll be a lot more attentive. Is there a 'usual' service schedule that might mitigate some of the long term issues? I.E. as in pulling the pipe and pump every X years?? I tend to be a 'if it ain't broken, don't fix it type of guy' but understand paying attention to most home maintenance issues. I ALWAYS know the 'sounds' in my house and am sure I caught this cycling (as well as Novenmber's) quickly. That's how I know when the sprinkler valve/toilet valve/hose faucet is leaking.
     
  14. brokensword

    brokensword New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2021
    Location:
    Michigan
    That's a helluva good idea; thank you! I'm taking notes so I'll be prepared when he arrives. Sort of been waiting for him to call since we agreed to wait until after last week's cold snap was over. Been inconvenient but not undoable during that time. Now, I don't know how long I have but figure better sooner than later.
     
  15. brokensword

    brokensword New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2021
    Location:
    Michigan
    also; is 4" large enough?
     
  16. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Your 4" iron casing can probably be cleaned up just fine. Use all sch 80 or Sch 120 PVC and the pipe won't rust out next time. No matter how long your pump last, it will last longer when using a Cycle Stop Valve to limit the cycling. The CSV has been used in well systems since 1993. However, many pump guys have not heard of it because the pump manufacturers try to keep it a secret. The CSV is disruptive to the pump industry since it makes pumps last longer and uses smaller pressure tanks. People who make a living selling pumps do not like CSV's. But the CSV is the best thing for the home owner for that reason as well as many others.
     
  17. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Occupation:
    Semi-Retired
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Pulling the pump periodically is overkill. The tank precharge should be checked periodically. Monitoring for frequent cycles should be continuous. In my house, I deliberately strapped the incoming water line to the floor joists so that I can hear when the pump runs. I have an old security camera recording the pressure switch and gauge so I can quickly review the pump cycles. I also have another camera on my sump pump for the same reason.
     
  18. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Occupation:
    Semi-Retired
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    A 4 inch casing does not leave room for a sleeve. You could have the casing scrubbed when the pump is pulled.

    The CSV should cut down on debris getting motivated and sucked up since it greatly reduces the high volume surging.
     
  19. brokensword

    brokensword New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2021
    Location:
    Michigan
    I see from watching the whole video, it installs at the tank, so I answered that one myself. This is an ingenius idea. Sure wish my original well digger had used one of these.
     
  20. brokensword

    brokensword New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2021
    Location:
    Michigan
    okay, noted. And since I now know how to do the pressure tank adjustment, I can put that on my list of maintenance items; thank you.
     
    LLigetfa likes this.
  21. brokensword

    brokensword New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2021
    Location:
    Michigan
    is this scrubbing an expensive thing? Any other method to keep debris from getting in, using 4" casing size?
     
Similar Threads: Check valve
Forum Title Date
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life. Check valve on Suction side of Pump Sep 18, 2021
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life. Well leaking down Bad check valve? Wont consistently build pressure Aug 17, 2021
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life. What is this- check valve? Pressure Regulator? Jul 12, 2021
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life. Check valve direct? Apr 8, 2021
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life. Drill hole in check valve shutter ? Mar 14, 2021

Share This Page