Deep Well Jet... Burnt out?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by astronot, Oct 9, 2004.

  1. astronot

    astronot New Member

    Oct 9, 2004
    Hi all,

    I'm not very good at this stuff, but I've been fighting with my low-producing, sand-filled well for over a year so I've gotten pretty deep into this stuff as of late. We inherited this well when we bought the house without any knowledge of these issues. That said, I'm going to try my best to describe my situation and problem. If any more info is needed, please don't hesitate to let me know.


    Approx 48', age unkown, gpm approx 1.5 (tested 18 months ago).


    Sta-Rite ALC-30L Deep well jet > bladder tank > galv. pressure tank > filter > house

    The control valve on the pump is maintained just barely open because of the well production problems. Brass venturi/foot valve at the bottom.

    Every few months the control valve clogs and has to be opened a bit to clear it out. Once I've had the foot valve stick open and had to bring everything up to clear it. At that time I replaced all of the fittings on the venturi and the fittings to the front of the pump.

    Recently we lost water again. Pump had lost prime, and after 5 gallons went down and didn't prime it, I suspected the foot valve again. Pulled everything up, replaced the brass valve with a plastic spring-loaded one, reinstalled, primed, and turned it back on. The pump wouldn't build pressure.

    After that I suspected the impeller was bad, causing the loss of prime and likely the foot-valve sticking, so I pulled the pump out, dismantled, and replaced the impeller, diffuser, and various gaskets. Hooked back up, started it, and it seemed to build some pressure but leaked water out of the casing.

    Because of the leak, which seemed to come from inside and not on the motor-head seal, I pulled it apart again and checked the backing plate. The ceramic washer in the center had shattered (probably when I was taking it apart). I replaced the ceramic washer/gasket and the spring in front of the pressure plate. Put it together, primed, started, no pressure. Maintains prime.

    So now I'm suspecting that the motor is burnt, so I pull it off and start it up. Impeller turns. So I suspect that the plastic foot valve doesn't work with my venturi and won't open or something, so I pull it all out and put the brass valve back on. Put it together, prime, bla bla. No pressure. Maintains prime.

    Now I'm kinda at wits end. I know there's about 15' of water in the casing down there, so if all works it should build at least some pressure before dropping out. I'm thinking now that the motor is spinning the impeller, but not under load, so the motor may be bad. I would appreciate any advise you kind folks could provide, as I can't really afford a new pump right now, much less a new well.

    Thanks a lot!
  2. jerryel

    jerryel New Member

    Oct 15, 2004
    Believe I'm no pro but had a similar problem on a deep well pump after a lightning strike that went down the casing.

    Anyway the well man said the pump causes a whirlpool effect stirring up the sand and then it sucks it in. To keep from digging a new well he pulled it up 20' still way below the water level and that helped but not enough so I had to have a new well drilled (375'). My faucets were clogging with sand and also the back of the toilets it was so bad. I had to have the pressure tank cleaned out too all the lines flushed.

    So you can try just raising the foot up higher, clamp it off and then trying it for a few days...If you don't run out of water and the sand problem is fixed then cut and shorten the pipe permanently.

    Otherwise it souds like you need a new well which isn't very expensive for your depth.

    Maybe a real "pro" will answer you though.
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  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    That ceramic "washer" in the middle is the shaft seal and it has to be replaced as a complete unit. If it is not perfect you will get little or no water from the pump because it will just suck air. There are many other places that could leak air in a pump system and it can be very difficult to find some since they will hold against pressure but leak when subjected to the pump's suction. I would install a water level sensing system that would shut the pump off when the water level dropped to the point where the pump would lose its prime. That way the control valves could all be opened fully and you would not have to guess at the setting to keep water in the well.
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