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View Full Version : UPDATE!!!! FOR THOSE OF YOU WITH OLD WELLS.....



everafterfarm
Aug. 20, 2011, 03:57 PM
Have you had success with having the screen cleaned?

Pump is fine, trying to suck with no luck. Had the jet replaced and all was working correctly, but just a tiny trickle of water coming out. Repair guy says the screen must be clogged, but clearing it out doesn't work often so we need to just replace the whole well. I don't know why he did not test for the clog when he had the jet out, nor did I know to ask them to, a friend's hubby was in the well business for many years and he's the one who asked me if they tested for a clog and that they should have when the jet was out. We are going to use a different company whatever needs done, as these people did not show up on 2 different occasions and "first thing in the morning" to them means around noon and one guy did not know how to tell the different sizes of wrench(not kidding!). I do not know how old the well is, but it's a 2" and at least 15yrs old I'd say, but could be as old as 30.

Sooo, is he right, or can you get the screens cleaned out most of the time?

gumtree
Aug. 20, 2011, 05:10 PM
This may sound silly but are you sure there is water down there? Wells new and old can go dry or take a very long time to “recharge” after being drawn down even though it worked fine for years. It is good to know how much “standing” water there is in the pipe and how far from the bottom the pump is. This can be done by dropping a weighted string down to the bottom then pulling up by sliding the string through your fingers until you feel it getting wet. Mark and measure. Doesn’t sound like your repair people are too sharp. Always go with a Well digger not plumbers. If they did pull and drop the pump they should have paper work stating how deep the well is, what the standing water is and how deep the pump was placed. Had the same thing happened in a house I had in the Rockies, no problems for a couple of years and then all of a sudden we had no water or just a little bit. The “recharge” cycle changed and we had to wait longer after a lot of use.

everafterfarm
Aug. 20, 2011, 05:29 PM
Yes, we are sure the water level is fine. The pump is above the ground in our "pump house".

MrChunk
Aug. 20, 2011, 09:12 PM
Most plumbing contractors in my area do not recommend putting any money into a jet pump. Replacing it with a submersible pump will most likely save you headaches in the long term.

WildBlue
Aug. 20, 2011, 09:25 PM
I'm having trouble following this--is he talking about a clog in the actual well screen (if you have a screened interval instead of open hole) or a clog in whatever downwell tubing is attached to your pump? (Sorry, only familiar with wells that either have a downhole pump or a temporary surface rig.)

If it were a well screen problem, caused either by dimished aquifer recharge or a clogged well screen, I'd expect to see (after some period of not using water) water come out as normal then taper down to nothing as the water inside the well casing is pumped out faster than it can be replaced. Lather, rinse, repeat. If the overall flow is steady, but less than previously, it sounds like a problem with the in-well supply to the pump.

everafterfarm
Aug. 20, 2011, 11:29 PM
He was talking about a clog in the actual well screen.

It just suddenly stopped pumping water even though the pump was running and trying to get water. Called repair guy, he tried to prime it thinking maybe just an air bubble, no luck so he said the jet was bad and needed replaced and all would be well(no pun intended). Replaced jet, pump still trying to work and prime, nothing really going on other than the water the guy was pouring into pump to prime it was just getting sucked away. At one point a tiny trickle was coming out, but that's it. Which is when he announced the screen was clogged, cleaning it never works and we need a new well. After hearing some of your replies so far I am thinking I just need to bring in another company to have a look. I realize I don't know jack about wells, but this repair man really seemed clueless and lazy!

WildBlue
Aug. 21, 2011, 08:19 AM
So, when you said the water level is fine, you meant the water level in the aquifer *outside* your well is fine. I thought you meant inside, since that would be the place you could actually check it (with a water level meter or the old rock-and-string).

If it's a problem with the WELL, definitely talk to a company that installs wells in your local area. That last bit is important--you need someone familiar with your local soils, so they have a good idea of what probably happened to your well (plugging can be caused by fine particles, minerals forming new rock, even by algae--all of which have different responses). You or they will also need to talk to whoever installed the well (if you don't know it, your county should have the company on file if your well is registered for drinking water) to get the construction specifications. For example, mine doesn't actually have a screen--it's just an open interval in rock. If yours is screened across sand, then it could easily point to a fine particle problem someone might be able to address by surging and swabbing. Good luck.

Frank B
Aug. 22, 2011, 09:30 AM
From your original post, I have to ask who your plumber were? Larry, Moe, and Curley?

I almost hate to mention this, but here's a good-ol'-boy trick used in Florida to hopefully open up a clogged sand point. Only use it if your well casing is steel.

First, make sure there is standing water in the well at least several feet above the sand point, and any pump apparatus that's in the well casing has been removed. Then, fire a large-caliber wad-cutter round straight down into the well. The shock of the bullet hitting the water will either shake some of the sand clear or blow out the screen. Since the well wasn't working anyway, this is a last-resort try.

There will be a lot of back-splash, so be careful.

Susan P
Aug. 22, 2011, 09:56 AM
I live near gumtree just a little south in Chester County, PA. My well is very shallow and the water can be dirty sometimes but it's usually ok but a filter system does help. We also have a lot of iron in the water. Our well was already here when we moved in in 1979, wow do I feel old now. Since we've moved here there's been a ton of new development. Our water pressure was always very good, we have a high water table level which isn't as high as it used to be. When they drilled they must have hit a gusher because we still have good water pressure. I suspect we are on an underground stream with good volume. Our bigger problem is keeping water out of our house. We have replaced our well pump once maybe twice, I forget. We used to have a noisy pump in the basement, really bad and loud.Now we have a submersible pump and it actually has less problems. I'm guessing yours is also submerged. I have never had the kind of problems that you are having. I'm guessing you don't have enough water where they drilled. Make sure you get a knowledgeable well man to drill the next well. I have a newer well for my horses and it's over 200 feet down, also great pressure. Both properties are on high elevations also.


Have you had success with having the screen cleaned?

Pump is fine, trying to suck with no luck. Had the jet replaced and all was working correctly, but just a tiny trickle of water coming out. Repair guy says the screen must be clogged, but clearing it out doesn't work often so we need to just replace the whole well. I don't know why he did not test for the clog when he had the jet out, nor did I know to ask them to, a friend's hubby was in the well business for many years and he's the one who asked me if they tested for a clog and that they should have when the jet was out. We are going to use a different company whatever needs done, as these people did not show up on 2 different occasions and "first thing in the morning" to them means around noon and one guy did not know how to tell the different sizes of wrench(not kidding!). I do not know how old the well is, but it's a 2" and at least 15yrs old I'd say, but could be as old as 30.

Sooo, is he right, or can you get the screens cleaned out most of the time?

everafterfarm
Aug. 22, 2011, 10:23 AM
I would say Moe and Curley since one guy was "the leader" and one an idiot! Even Larry was smart enough to figure out the wrench sizes are printed on the wrenches!!

This was an actual well company too believe it or not! Not just a plumber.

Pump is above ground and there is plenty of water in the well. I believe it is iron inside, at least the jet was. We can't really try anything ourselves since we lack the contraption to pull out the jet to access the well itself.

At this point our best bet is going to be to gather up the money for a new well and have a different company come out and see what they can do with it. At least we will be prepared whatever the problem and cost. It could have been worse, at least the house is on city water, so we have several hundred feet of hose hooked up to one of the house outside faucets. That way I have water at the barn and enough hose to reach all of the stalls and the wash rack.

Susan P
Aug. 22, 2011, 10:40 AM
I'm surprised that the community that you live in allows both their water and a well on the same property. If they bring in city water to our area we are FORCED to fill in our well and buy their water. Isn't that awful? It seems to me that it's a violation of our constitutional rights. Glad to hear that you have some rights to use your well, if you can get it working again.




I would say Moe and Curley since one guy was "the leader" and one an idiot! Even Larry was smart enough to figure out the wrench sizes are printed on the wrenches!!

This was an actual well company too believe it or not! Not just a plumber.

Pump is above ground and there is plenty of water in the well. I believe it is iron inside, at least the jet was. We can't really try anything ourselves since we lack the contraption to pull out the jet to access the well itself.

At this point our best bet is going to be to gather up the money for a new well and have a different company come out and see what they can do with it. At least we will be prepared whatever the problem and cost. It could have been worse, at least the house is on city water, so we have several hundred feet of hose hooked up to one of the house outside faucets. That way I have water at the barn and enough hose to reach all of the stalls and the wash rack.

everafterfarm
Aug. 22, 2011, 11:00 AM
We did speak with the water company to see about just hooking up the well lines to our city meter. They said we are allowed to do it even on the same meter as the house since a barn is not an actual residence but the well would have to be blocked off so there would be no chance of backwash of well water into the treated city water. The cost to have that done is pretty close to a new well. We want to keep a well just to have 2 sources of water here, plus obviously the well water is free. Hooking up to city water would be a last resort for us, but at least it's an option.

pj
Aug. 23, 2011, 08:34 AM
I'm surprised that the community that you live in allows both their water and a well on the same property. If they bring in city water to our area we are FORCED to fill in our well and buy their water. Isn't that awful? It seems to me that it's a violation of our constitutional rights. Glad to hear that you have some rights to use your well, if you can get it working again.
SAY WHAT!!?
If they tried that here there would be war!!
Now if they put sewage and water on your road you have to pay for the sewer (by the foot) that runs in front of your property whether you use it or not but fill in your well....NO way.
That IS awful.

smurabito
Aug. 23, 2011, 09:22 AM
Yes screens do get clogged, yes they can be cleaned. It could also, depending on the type of well casing you have and the age that the well needs to be cleaned/redeveloped. Should not be a hard job for a well company to do. Then again if you have an old galv. well, it may be easier/cheaper to put in a new well. As far as jet vs sub. pumps either is fine, a jet is easier to change and not to mention cheaper, but depending on your water table a sub. might be the better option.
As for having the ability to tap into city water. That would also be my last resort. It is nice to have available, but why should you have to pay for the water usage when you have a well. It is not uncommon around here to have city/private utility water and have a well for non-domestic uses on the same property (ie lawn irrigation).
Good luck.

Unfforgettable
Aug. 23, 2011, 03:06 PM
From your original post, I have to ask who your plumber were? Larry, Moe, and Curley?

I almost hate to mention this, but here's a good-ol'-boy trick used in Florida to hopefully open up a clogged sand point. Only use it if your well casing is steel.

First, make sure there is standing water in the well at least several feet above the sand point, and any pump apparatus that's in the well casing has been removed. Then, fire a large-caliber wad-cutter round straight down into the well. The shock of the bullet hitting the water will either shake some of the sand clear or blow out the screen. Since the well wasn't working anyway, this is a last-resort try.

There will be a lot of back-splash, so be careful.

This does work...been there, done that.

SonnysMom
Aug. 28, 2011, 01:36 PM
Mr SonnysMom here, we have a well with a jet pump in the basement and encountered a problem similar to what you describe. Our jet pump has two lines that go down the well. fortunately ours are PVC, and the actual jet is only about 110 feet down, so we are able to lift it out ourselves. I am by far not a plumbing expert, but I'll share our experience as it may help.

On our well, the jet assembly consists of a screen where water is drawn in, a foot valve that keeps water from just falling out of the plumbing and back through the screen, and the jet nozzle / venturi assembly itself. Water is pushed down the smaller line to the jet assembly. The jet assembly turns the flow back up, through the jet, and into the larger line that goes back to the house. The acceleration through the jet assembly creates suction to draw additional water through the screen and past the foot valve. In our case, the jet nozzle itself became partially clogged, and we only got a trickle of water.

Turns out when we did some previous work on the well, the screen we put on the bottom of the jet was a cheapie that has slots to let in the water. Scale from the casing could fit through the slots, but not through the nozzle, hence a clogged nozzle, hence a really reduced flow. We poked the clog out (it was easy to see), put a better quality screen on with holes instead of slots, and now anything that can fit through those holes in the screen will fit through the nozzle.

The other trick on these jet pumps is priming them. You need to be able to open the system at a high point between the pump and the well and fill the tubing with water. If the foot valve is OK, then there is no rush, it should all stay. Fill one tube, let the air out of the other, and eventually both will be filled. Once both tubes are full, and I think there was something I had to vent on the pump itself, we were primed.

All that said, I expect that a competent plumber with jet pump experience may find your problem easily solved, possibly by unclogging the nozzle and putting on a more suitable screen.

Good luck.

everafterfarm
Aug. 28, 2011, 08:13 PM
Mr Sonnysmom,

That sounds just like how our well works. The well guy who looked at it said either the jet was bad or the pump was shot and he did not think it was the pump(pump is working perfectly). So jet got replaced, thought all would be well(no pun intended). he could not get it to prime, so he said the screen was clogged and you can almost never clear them so we just needed to dig a new well. Now I am wondering if anything was wrong at all other than it needing primed in the first place because your priming does not sound anything like what he did!

He unscrewed the pressure meter thing, you know the little gage that tells you the pressure, and put water down there until it stayed full and then turned the pump on. That's all he did. He did it several times and declared it still messed up. There was no turning any other valves or other such things! When my hubby gets his bonus in a couple of weeks we are having another company come and look at it. Waiting until the bonus means if it does need a new well then we can have all the money ready and they can just do it right away and just get this over with. Wow, I really think the company I used really were the Moe, Larry and Curley!!!

SonnysMom
Aug. 28, 2011, 11:01 PM
As advertised, I am by no means a plumbing expert. The first time I tried to prime our pump, I tried to fill it through the bleed hole on the pump. which on mine is not far from the pressure gauge. That was real tough to fill any amount of water in that little hole. In our case, with the well about 50 feet from the house, and the assembly about 100 feet down, with our size tubing, I think I calculated that I would need 6 to 7 gallons of water to fill the tubing to be able to prime it. I could be way wrong on the amounts, but the point is that priming the pump is way more than a gallon or 2.

Here is a link to a procedure for priming a well that you likely would be able to do.

http://www.inspectapedia.com/water/Prime_The_Well.htm

It involves using a garden hose and a washing machine hose to get water from a "donor building" into the plumbing of a "recipient building". Only regular spigots get opened. One on the donor building to send water, one on the recipient building to let in water, and one on the recipient building to let out air.

Even if this procedure does not work, the site has lots of good ideas and explanations for what may be wrong.

Good luck.


http://www.inspectapedia.com/water/Prime_The_Well.htm

everafterfarm
Aug. 30, 2011, 08:50 PM
Have you had success with having the screen cleaned?

Pump is fine, trying to suck with no luck. Had the jet replaced and all was working correctly, but just a tiny trickle of water coming out. Repair guy says the screen must be clogged, but clearing it out doesn't work often so we need to just replace the whole well. I don't know why he did not test for the clog when he had the jet out, nor did I know to ask them to, a friend's hubby was in the well business for many years and he's the one who asked me if they tested for a clog and that they should have when the jet was out. We are going to use a different company whatever needs done, as these people did not show up on 2 different occasions and "first thing in the morning" to them means around noon and one guy did not know how to tell the different sizes of wrench(not kidding!). I do not know how old the well is, but it's a 2" and at least 15yrs old I'd say, but could be as old as 30.

Sooo, is he right, or can you get the screens cleaned out most of the time?

UPDATE:
WENT TO THE feed store today to yes, get feed. Was talking to one of the guys there about my well problems.He said he would look at it as he used to be an engineer on oil drill rigs and "a pump is a pump". TOOK HIM ABOUT 10 MINS TO GET IT WORKING AGAIN! Cost me 1 whole can of Pepsi! The thing just wasn't being primed correctly and the air tank thingy needed air. So I'm happy to report that all is well here(pun intended!) and now I can use the money set aside for a new well to remodel my old bathroom!!!!!

jawa
Aug. 30, 2011, 09:22 PM
Yeah!! For kind people in the world!! And YEAH for you finding someone who actually knew what they were doing!!

SonnysMom
Aug. 31, 2011, 07:55 AM
Mr SonnysMom here again... Glad to hear it's working, and that it turned out to be easy to fix. It's great to get a 2nd opinion from someone who actually knows what they are looking at. Even if he couldn't fix it, at least he could give you an idea of how extensive a fix might be needed.

Guin
Aug. 31, 2011, 08:42 AM
Great news! And I hope you're going to call whoever runs the company that sent out the first set of idiots to tell them what the problem was. :rolleyes: