Looking for advice with well problems...

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by corndude, May 16, 2021.

  1. corndude

    corndude New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2021
    Location:
    NorCal
    We moved here about 8 years ago and about 5 years ago began having our first problems with our well. The main symptom is that it the water would come out orange and there'd also be some small grey pebbles that would wreak havoc on my sprinkler. It would come and go, but it's become more of a problem over time.

    We've had the well people come out three times to tell us what's going on and they say it's iron, collect their $200 for looking at a bucket and then leave. I then came across one fellow by happenstance that was some sort of well remediation expert and he said it sounded like there was some erosion higher up and that when the static water level reached a certain point, our constant drawing up and down with regular use would cause dirt to fall in. He also said that eventually we'd need a new well, but something we could try is to install 4" casing inside our 6" and extend it all the way down, then dump pea gravel between the 4" and 6" casing to help stabilize the collapse and also provide a degree of filtering. So that became the plan, someday...

    Things have been great for close to a year, but it's be going south for about a week and then it all went south this weekend with tons of dirt and rocks and I think something may have either plugged up around the pressure tank, or the pump died, or something weird with the mud, because the pressure tank would have good pressure, then run to a dribble, then I'd close the faucet and it'd fill for 20 second, then it'd have good pressure, then back to a dribble.

    So, I hatched a three phase plan. First phase was to raise the pump asap, second was to do the bandaid repair, third being the new well. I setup a Harbor Freight 440lb winch to a bar on the ceiling of the pumphouse and yesterday began raising the pump. It raised about 3" and then the winch motor stalled, so I went back and forth with the winch and got it about 6" up and noticed that I was able to give complete slack to the sling and it didn't go back down. Went back and forth a little more and then it was free, with the winch having no problems stalling anymore.

    Something I noticed immediately was that there was already 4" casing inside the 6" casing. There's nothing keeping it centered and you can just wobble it around. The top of it is maybe 3" below the top of the 6" casing. This all seemed weird and made me wonder if the previous owner of the home had been having the same problem and tried to work on it the same way, but never poured any pea gravel between the 4" and 6" casing. Anyway, I was eventually able to get the pump all the way out.

    Next we went to Home Depot and grabbed some string and roll of measuring tape. The water level is about 64ft below the top of the casing and the rest of the well goes about 92ft beyond that for a total depth of about 156ft. Measuring the end of the well pump down the black poly tubing to the well cap measures about 157ft. So I guess that explains why the pump was hard to pull out? Interestingly, the pump wasn't really dirty at all, just a couple little rusty spots around a couple fasteners. Maybe pulling it up cleaned it. Pump is a 4" Franklin 224309203. The house was built in 2004, so I'm guessing it's the original pump. Also noticed there was no torque arrestor or safety rope.

    My plan now is to get a yard of pea gravel tomorrow and try to fill the gap between the 4" casing and 6" casing, plus cut at least 20ft of tubing. I bought a cap for the 4" casing so I don't have to worry about gravel going down there, but I know it's going to be a pain to get the gravel in the gap, need to make a giant funnel or something. I'm also worried the pump is no good anymore because of how it was acting with making good pressure and then going to a dribble, but I didn't let that go on very long, maybe ten minutes, then I killed the breaker, which wasn't even warm and has me slightly hopeful. The pump also had killer pressure the week before when the water was starting to get dirty and it was just yesterday when it was acting up. But there's also been a rattling sound from the pipes going from the well cap to the pressure tank and I don't remember hearing that before. If it's not working, I figure the worst case is that I waste some time having to pull it out again.

    Sorry for the wordy post, been a lot going on and just trying to capture it all. Any comments/advice? I'm thinking maybe I should order a 1hp 3" pump to give things a little room in there, while continuing with my bandaid repair.
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    That's the motor. There is another label for the "wet" end (pump).

    So if that PVC sleeve is intact going down, then I would not think the pump would have hung up as you pulled it. Do you get the well cleaned out? I don't know. Maybe the pump got hot enough to melt a section of the pvc? I don't know if that could happen.

    You might be better off with a Grundfos SQ 3 inch pump.

    I think you should run your water through a filter or screen before sending to your sprinklers. Take the rocks out. It could be a "wye" filter.

    It is usually best to not have a torque arrestor or safety rope.

    Pea gravel would be way too course to filter out sand.

    I am not a pro.
     
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  4. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    So, what you are saying is the pump was buried in the muck at the very bottom of the well. Without the pump being suspended a distance above the bottom of the well, it will not be unusual for the pump to draw in silt and small stones and deliver them to the home's plumbing.

    Usually not needed or recommended. Those can lead to problems in raising the pump and if they had been present, the pump may have gotten stuck in the casing and you may have been unsuccessful in removing it.

    You didn't mention the depth the 6" casing was installed to.

    When the pressure would drop to a dribble, was the pump actually running? Assuming a pressure gauge is connected to the same nipple supplying the pressure switch, did you see any pressure on the gauge or did it drop fully to 0? Sediment and debris may have mostly blocked the nipple feeding the pressure switch so the pressure switch will not sense the system pressure as quickly as the pressure is changing and therefore, the pump may be being activated after the pressure tank is already empty. Suggest removing the nipple that is supplying the pressure switch and pressure gauge to ensure it is not blocked. Also, ensure the opening(s) in the tank Tee where the pressure switch and gauge are threaded to, are not blocked.

    If the pump motor was buried in the bottom debris, no water will have circulated around the motor which can lead to overheating and the motor shut down by the motor's built-in thermal protection switch. Once the thermal switch is sufficiently cool, it will reactivate power to the pump motor until it overheats again.

    When operating your own well, you are the water supplier responsible for the water's safety and treatment. It is advisable to obtain a comprehensive lab test so as to determine the current condition and the quantities of contaminants contained so as to assist to determine if treatment is actually needed and if so, the types of treatment that will be effective. National Labs offer a Standard Well WaterCheck package that would be appropriate. http://watercheck.myshopify.com/?aff=5
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2021
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  5. corndude

    corndude New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2021
    Location:
    NorCal
    Roger that, will look for that info as well.

    I think it could have been silt, because the super fine silt that collect is pretty gnarly. I've scooped out handfulls from the back of the toilet before. It sometimes looks orange and confuses people with iron, but the iron tests come back low and if you let a bucket sit for a few weeks, the water is clear and it all settles to the bottom.

    Doing a ton of reading, it sounds like it can melt the PVC and cause friction.

    I haven't cleaned out the well and don't really plan to unless there's a compelling reason to save this one. I figure if I can raise it 20ft, it should buy us enough time to sort out a new hole.

    Yeah I don't like the idea of this 4" pump in 4" casing either. Seems like it wouldn't draw as well, possibly have cooling issues, plus it'd guide all particulates right towards the pump. I'd love to buy something nice, but $1000k+ is a tough pill right now. After some reading, I'm leaning towards the Tuhorse for hopefully filling the gap between junk on Amazon and the proper pieces of kit like a Grundfos.

    I use this: https://www.amazon.com/iSpring-WSP-...words=100+micron+filter&qid=1621218816&sr=8-3

    The 100u version and it works okay. I still end up going through maybe six sprinklers a year.

    I did not know this, thank you!

    It should probably help with the small grey rocks/chips? Main goal is the hope that it stops/slows the collapsing.

    That's okay, I'm definitely not!
     
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Occupation:
    Semi-Retired
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    My guess is the pump was not set at the bottom initially but that the bottom filled in with muck. I would bail or blow out the well to get back to the original depth otherwise the muck will continue to be sucked up by the pump.

    Pea gravel is a bit of a generic term and does not specify the actual size of the stones. Also pea gravel suggests smooth rounded stones that do not filter well. What is needed is small crushed stone or coarse sharp sand.
     
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  7. corndude

    corndude New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2021
    Location:
    NorCal
    Measuring the well depth and the poly tubing, they sure seemed to be the same length, so I *think* it was stuck in the silt, but I kind of expected to see the pump look a mess and be stained, but it looks surprisingly clean. Probably cleaned up on the way up I imagine.

    This is great, two less things to worry about!

    That I don't know. I'm sure it's open bottom because that seems to be common from what I hear from the neighbors, I just don't know how much. One thing I did hear from a fellow down the road that was around when the previous owner built the place, was that he thought the well was 200ft deep. If true, then it'd have filled in about 43ft over 17 years, which I have no idea how outlandish that sounds.

    Judging by the rattling sound from the pipe between the well cap and the pressure tank, it sounded like it was at first, but then that sound faded as everything stopped working. And I would see the pressure slowly gauge rise when I'd turn off the spigot at the bottom of the pressure tank, then drop to near zero when the spigot was open. Was thinking the same about that little tube to the pressure switch, no doubt it needs cleaning being so small, will definitely do that, thanks. I think the tee is good, because I pulled of the pipe that's about 4" from the tee and peeked in there and it was all clear.

    Awesome to know. I'm hoping this pump is still working.

    It's a good message. It tested good when we first moved in, but we haven't been drinking this water since we started having trouble five years ago. It really sucks.
     
  8. corndude

    corndude New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2021
    Location:
    NorCal
    Wasn't planning on bailing it, but I might call the local well company today and get an estimate. They've come out twice and have done nothing, but were happy to take our money, so I might try to leverage that for a reduced rate. If not, no loss on my end.

    You were right about the pea gravel I was looking at. It's 1/4" to 1/2" and is round river stones, but your comment prompted me to look further and I see they have that same product which is crushed. They also have some crushed sand that's 1/4" and below, but my worry is that, since these little grey 1/16" rocks are making it through, I didn't want to put something down there that's just going to be sucked up.
     
  9. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Try this search in this forum using the search box above: slots gravel It's possible there is gravel farther down already, but they did not bring the gravel up high.

    You might consider a lower-HP pump mounted above the restriction.
     
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  10. corndude

    corndude New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2021
    Location:
    NorCal
    I'd love it if there were some gravel down there already! I envision filling the 156ft gap between the 4" casing and 6" casing as being...not very fun with material all over the place and taking forever.

    If the well remediation fellow is correct about the erosion happening close to the static water level, then I can't really put the pump above that.

    The current pump is 1.5hp and I'm guessing that you're suggesting the lower power with the thought that, since it's weaker, it'd be less likely to pull in debris falling around it? I'm totally fine with less power. There's something I'm confused about though. With the Franklin 1.5hp setup, it takes about 30sec to fill a 5g bucket, so I guess that's about 10gpm. When I look at the specs for the Tuhorse 1hp pump, it says 13.2gpm at 141ft and 10.6gpm at 190ft, which seems better than our current 1.5hp pump. I'm wondering if those Tuhorse specs are nonsense, or if our current pump has essenetially worn itself down to 1hp and replacing it with a new 1hp pump isn't really a downgrade in hp.
     
  11. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Iron in a bucket will oxidize and turn to rust particles. Those settle to the bottom. If you add some liquid chlorine bleach, that will accelerate that process a lot. A teaspoon would be more than you need, but more is OK rather than trying to compute. Click inbox, above.

    Also, there are ways to clean a well. Nu-well 100 pellets can dissolve iron iron deposits. Search, and read what you can about what an appropriate amount and method would be. Also try nuwell in your searches too. Nu-well 100 is their small offering that might be used on a small well. Search.

    https://www.aqseptence.com/app/en/business-areas/well-cleaning-products-johnson-screens/
     
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  12. corndude

    corndude New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2021
    Location:
    NorCal
    During one bad spell of orange water, we had our water tested by the well repair people and they said it had some iron, but it was low, and way low compared to what they thought it would be. Never heard of Nu-well, so thanks for that. Might be a good item for ongoing maintenance.
     
  13. corndude

    corndude New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2021
    Location:
    NorCal
    Alright, the people at the rock yard don't even know what I'm talking about with the crushed aggregate they have listed on their own website, so I think I'm just going to cut ~20ft of tubing and put it back and see if the pump still works, then start gathering parts to install a 3" pump

    Watched a video about that Grundfos SQ 3" pump and I think I'm in love. They're only about $200 more than the Tuhorse and they have waaaaaaaaay more features, including dry run protection, so that's looking pretty appealing right now. Plus it would allow the reduction down to 1" poly tubing and at ~130ft with a light pump, I'm thinking I might be able to pull the entire thing by hand.

    Something they said in the video was that you don't need as large of a pressure tank with it, but they didn't explain why, or discuss the amount of reduction. Right now we have a 60g and it's been abused with dirt over the years, so replacing it with something smaller would be great. Is a 20g out of the question? Our home use is pretty normal, except we do have a large garden area where I might leave the hose wide open for maybe a half hour, or run one sprinkler for a couple hours. I know pumps don't like cycling, so I always try to either use very little water at a time, or a lot.

    Does this chart look right, that a 1/2hp pump could deliver 10gpm at 100ft?
    https://www.aquascience.net/grundfo...60139-3-stainless-steel-submersible-well-pump
     
  14. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    It needs to be able to do 100' of lift and another 100' that converts to 43 PSI to have pressure at the house. You will need the 10SQ05-200. Then those pumps work great with a Cycle Stop Valve to stop the cycling and deliver strong constant pressure to the house. Without a Cycle Stop Valve the SQ pump needs as large a tank as any pump. I think they were talking about using a smaller tank with the SQE, which has the CU301 controller. That controller will allow the use of a smaller tank like a Cycle Stop Valve does. But you do not want the SQE or the CU301 controller unless you just like having problems and replacing an $800 CU301 controller every couple years. With a Cycle Stop Valve as comes in the PK1A kit you don't need the CU301, the pump will be just an SQ not an SQE, and you will be much better served for water.
     
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  15. corndude

    corndude New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2021
    Location:
    NorCal
    When you say 100ft of lift and another 100ft, are you referring to that as ground being 0ft, static water level at 100ft, then pump placement at 200ft? I think my specific situation will be static water level at ~64ft, then I plan to set the pump at ~130ft for now. Not quite sure how to map that on the chart..

    And from the options you've listed, definitely don't want to be replacing an expensive controller very often! Really I think I'd rather just have a large tank, than a valve that I'm guessing will probably have issues with the dirt/rocks that come up.
     
  16. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    The pump will only need to lift water from where the water level is located in the casing. Although the static level may be 64', the water level will usually become lower as water is being pumped out. To lift water 100' vertically @ 10 GPM will require the pump to produce 43 psi just to push the water to the top of the casing. To produce the additional capacity required to operate a 40/60 psi system, will require the 3/4 HP model that Valveman specified.

    With lifting the pump or bailing out the muck from the well, the pump will be less likely to draw up silt or stones. Suggest considering and investigating Valveman's CSV device for your application. Not only will a CSV eliminate cycling while at the same time allowing a tiny pressure tank to be utilized, the pressure to your faucets and appliances will be constant once the pump is running.

    https://cyclestopvalves.com/

    .
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2021
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  17. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Large pressure tanks don't hold much water. An 86 gallon size tank only holds about 20 gallons of water. You really can't put enough tanks on a well pump to stop the cycling. The more tanks the slower the cycling, but it doesn't stop. Some valves like the CSV1A are designed to handle more sand and debris than the pump can stand. But on the other hand using a Cycle Stop Valve to stop the cycling also stops the well from being surged up and down, which usually stops the sand and debris from coming in the well in the first place.
     
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  18. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Which chart... the graph, or the table? If using the graph, and you will use a 40/60 switch, add 14o ft (60 psi converted to ft of water) to the actual depths to make sure the pump will turn off when water level falls as far as the pump. It is ok for the gpm to be reduced at that point.



    If using the table, it is easier.
     
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  19. corndude

    corndude New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2021
    Location:
    NorCal
    Okay, 3/4hp it is. I've been emailing the aquascience folks trying to figure out why the 10Sq07-200 is more expensive than the 10SQ07-240, because it seems like the pump that can produce 10gpm at 200ft of dynamic head should cost less than the one that can do 10gpm at 240ft of dynamic head. I couldn't find a difference in the specs, so I'm wondering if there's a feature I'm missing.

    And okay, the CSV it is. Something I read about with the CSV is that it can increase pressure between the valve and the pump. With the 3" SQ, I'd like to use 1" poly tubing and the max working pressure is 100psi. No worries there?

    In case another noob finds this thread, these links were helpful:
    http://www.raincollectionsupplies.com/v/vspfiles/assets/images/tdh explanation.pdf
    http://mbmggwic.mtech.edu/sqlserver/v11/help/welldesign.asp
    https://www.tuhorse.us/total-dynamic-head-tdh-calculator/
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2021
  20. corndude

    corndude New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2021
    Location:
    NorCal
    Man I had no idea they were 20% capacity. I've added the CSV1A to the list. Information overload on this project!
     
  21. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Occupation:
    Semi-Retired
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    100 PSI poly is meant for sprinkler systems. Wells generally use 160 or 200 PSI poly.
     
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