Clogged well screen

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by norsky63, Dec 6, 2007.

  1. norsky63

    norsky63 New Member

    Dec 6, 2007
    I have a flowing well on a farm that was drilled in the 40's. It has a steel 3" casing and just flows out the top. Its down to about 1 gpm. Is their a way for me to try clean it myself ? The well is about 95 feet deep. Its not hooked up to any buildings just used to water cattle Thanks
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2007
  2. Rancher

    Rancher Guest

    If it's just to water cattle... how much do they drink, more than a gallon/minute?

    It could be your artesian source is being over used and you will never improve it.

    Well screen on a 3" well?

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  4. norsky63

    norsky63 New Member

    Dec 6, 2007
    I plan on running 150 - 200 head this summer. I am just guessing their is a screen.
  5. Rancher

    Rancher Guest

    If it flows out the top and there is no pump in the well, or pipe down the well I doubt if there is a screen, the 3" pipe is probably slotted.

  6. sammyhydro11

    sammyhydro11 In the Trades

    Dec 20, 2006
    Well Drilling-Test Borings-Water Treatment-Well an
    you might want to call a local well company. There are some developing procedures that could be performed on the well but it requires knowing exactly what type of well it is before you can do anything.

  7. jer

    jer New Member

    Jan 5, 2008

    you could try 5 gallons of peroxide and if it is getting a build up in your slots or screen it should get it going again. A fellow next to me had the same problem and the guy from the water center came out forced air down to lower the water and then poured in the peroxide and the forced about 200 gallons of water down and the just let it sit and pretty soon he had a good flow again. Not sure what type of peroxide he had.

  8. masterpumpman

    masterpumpman New Member

    Mar 26, 2007
    Consult and Teach Well Drilling Internationally
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Clogged well screen?

    It's possible the well point/screen is corroded with calcium, rust (iron) or possibly the aquifer just doesn't supply what it used too!

    There are well drilling mud supply companies that supply chemicals that is used to clean and sometimes restore wells to their original capacities and sometimes more flow.

    Look up or for more information on these chemicals.

    However, I don't recommend using chemicals as a DIY project. I recommend this is for professionals ONLY!

    FYI: Milk Cattle usually drink 8 to 14 gallons per cow per 24 hours!
  9. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Oct 20, 2005
    New Hampshire
    If you have electricity available you could drop a pipe down the well and install a 1/2 HP shallow well jet pump. If the static level of the aquifer has dropped down the point where it is near the top of the well, then lowering the level with a pump should substantially increase the flow.

    You can test it with a pump, even if you need a generator to run it, to see how much water you can pump without pulling the water level in the well below the level where a shallow well jet will work. If you can pump 6 to 10 gallons per minute with a pump without dropping the level below about 25 ft down then the problem is probably the aquifer and doing something to the screen will probably not help much.
  10. Rancher

    Rancher Guest

    A 3" well doesn't have a screen, and if it has a well point & screen then it no longer exists above the casing.

    That's true, however they're called Milk Cows, not cattle.

  11. speedbump

    speedbump New Member

    Jul 15, 2005
    Water well and pump tech.
    Riverview, Fl.
    This well may or not have a screen. It may also have a Bremer Check Valve on top of the screen which would negate the use of chemicals or air.

    If you had a way of hooking a garden hose to the top of this casing so you could try to force water down, you might find out if it has a Check Valve or not.

    Flowing wells are dependent on the aquifer's water level to make the flow possible. As this water level falls, the flow height falls as well. So if you had a hundred gallon per minute well, it still may only flow the 1 gpm. You could add pipe to this well vertically to see how high it can actually flow. This might give you some idea of how much actual pressure there is pushing this water out of the well.

  12. conis

    conis New Member

    May 20, 2009
    First, dumping muratic acid (hydrochloric) down your well will contaminate ground water if not totally eat your point.

    Firing a .22 down the well will induce lead fragments leaching into your water. Both are old school and there are far better remedies.


    I have a 23',1.5" driven well,3' coarse-screen stainless point. 3/4hp pump. Check valve is at the pump. The check valve input is from a T above the galvanized well casing. Above the T is 1' of PVC 1.5" with a 1.5" PVC ball valve. This makes priming and maintenance extremely easy. All the plumbing between the check valve, well and ball valve is PVC held in place with rubber collar slip over "unions" and hose clamps. Since this is in the suction side, they draw tight when the well is being pumped. I can remove the entire "T + valve" assembly in under two minutes if I need to.

    This well is driven into an aquifer ahead of a spring. Water quality is outstanding however because it is a shallow well, the point requires cleaning every 5-7 years ( well has been in for 35 years). And because of this, see above... Why make a day job out of something that takes only a few minutes without pipe wrenches? In the 35 years I have used this well, I have replaced the point 3 maybe 4 times,. Probably when I didn't have to, and before I wised up. Point gets clogged so pull the whole thing and replace it, right?

    My water isn't profoundly hard. Some iron... but calcium build up is this #1 issue, and it will completely plug a point regardless of how coarse the screen is.

    It had been ten years. I noticed the pump running three/half minutes to recover with corresponding high electric bills. After the following cleaning, I am down to 55 seconds with a 50 gallon bladder tank, 35-50 psi on/off.

    I went to the local grocery and bought 5 gallons of ordinary white vinegar. 5% acid (non toxic). $13.00 invested. If vinegar will clean a coffee maker, why won't it clean a well point? Guess what. IT DOES!

    Phase one: I opened the well. Water was very slow escaping during "de prime" = Point plugged. I dumped two gallons down the well and let it sit (well open) for 8 hours. I then used a portable air compressor with well closed to "pulse" the vinegar back and forth through the point. Reprimed the well and flushed it. Now I am down to 2 minutes from 3.5 minutes.

    Phase two: Open the well again the this time primed it with 2 gallons of vinegar and closed it. I let it sit over night 15 hours. Next morning open the well. WOW! I had an eruption and got a face full of vinegar! Gas had built up from the vinegar eating away at the calcium and I assume, because of the pressure, had forced it's way into the gravel cone around the point. So 35 years of calcium crud in the cone has also been cleared. Gave it another pulsed air purge and reprimed the well. This time, however, the well was taking water about as fast as I could prime it with a garden hose under pressure. So I know the point is open. Flush the system. Now I am at 1:15 minutes on recovery.

    Phase three: Repeat phase two. This time I used a "drain king" with water under pressure to finish backflushing the well. A drain king is an expandable bladder used for purging clogged drains. Or you could use a cap with a female harden hose coupling. Reprime and flush system. Now I am at 55 seconds which is about a 70% improvement from where I started. I don't think any further improvement is likely. I am satisfied.

    One other option I was going to attempt was to scrub the inside of the point. Which I am not sure is necessary now.

    From Lowes, I bought a 1.5" ID stainless wire brush, normally used to clean copper drains to be sweat fitted. I removed the plastic handle and inserted the wire loop it into the open end of 1/2" cpvc tubing, held in place with a screw through the tube. For extensions, 5' CPVC sections with corresponding male/female threaded plastic couplings, each of which further secured with a sheet metal screws to remove any chance of them becoming unthreaded while down the well. The top section contains a female garden hose connection.

    The idea being to push this brush down into the point , add water pressure and up and down to scrub the inside of the point, using pressure to bring crud up and out of the well at the same time. Might be an option if Vinegar doesn't do it for iron build up.

    Sometime we over look the easy way of doing things? I can also tell you that Vinegar really clears the old sinuses, which also got purged during the pressurized eruption. If you prime with vinegar and cap the well, stand back and release the pressure slowly or else you will be wearing it!

    Good luck!
    TomZ likes this.
  13. Delp

    Delp New Member

    May 8, 2014
    Could you please tell me how many PSI you injected into the well? Many thanks.
  14. John magierowski

    John magierowski New Member

    Aug 7, 2016
    Have you ever heard of shooting a pistol down a well to unclog it
  15. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Mar 15, 2006
    Pump Controls Technician
    Lubbock, Texas
    Yeah people try a lot of silly things, and that is one of them.
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