No water pressure when irrigation open

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A little history: I have a Sta-Rite SLE-L 1hp hooked up to a single pipe 2” deep well installed by previous owners. The pump was short cycling with no valves open, losing pressure rapidly and then would cut on to gain pressure, rinse and repeat every minute or so. Irrigation system was still operating fine, but clearly there was a leak or faulty check valve. Power went out, came back on an hour later and miraculously didn’t lose prime. Next morning, the pump is off and breaker tripped. Turned on the breaker and pump is humming but motor wouldnt spin. I assume the pump ran for some time, dry.

Replaced capacitor and at the same time, pulled the packer. The leathers were clearly worn and upon inspecting the packer, there was no bottom jet in the packer (how was this working before with no bottom jet?). I replaced the packer, new leathers. There was a check valve on the bottom which was replaced by a foot valve instead.

Primed everything, but pressure would skyrocket to 80-90psi and wouldn’t cut off. Replaced the pressure switch and that solved that issue.

Now the current problem: with the irrigation valves closed, the pump will come up to operating pressure (50psi) and hold. No more short cycling. BUT, when I open a valve, the pressure drops significantly and there is almost no water flow. I have checked the output from the pump and don’t see any obstructions. Ran the pump with the output pipe disconnected about 2ft away and the water flow is similar to a half open garden hose.

I pulled the pump apart, inspected the impeller, inspected the inside of the pump for debris, and inspected the suction and return ports. Everything looks fine, nothing clogged that I can see and nothing broken on the impeller.

What gives? How was the suction fine with the check valve instead of strainer, and with no jet? Could the foot valve be restricting flow? Is the pump just fried from potentially running dry and now isn’t creating enough suction?


New Chemotherapy, Enhertu. Started June 20, 2024
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Orlando, 32828
It could be a few things but it all seems to point to the foot valve or injector (jet). Foot valve is stuck open and the injector gets clogged up with debris.


Jets or injectors and a foot valve.
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Cary Austin
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Lubbock, Texas
If the pump ran very long without water it probably melted the impeller. I do not know how it was working without a jet in the ejector? Probably lost the ejector when you pulled the pipe. Foot valve and check valve are the same thing except for the screen. If the impeller is still OK I would guess the leathers are not sealing to the casing.
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