Anyone know anything about well pumps?

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ZHill

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Still doing my research on setting up my vineyard, but in the meantime I've been bored, and there is a well near my home that hasn't been used since the 1980's.

It's an old Ruth Berry jet pump system from the late 1960's. The pump still works and the tank still holds pressure, so I wanted to get this system up and running to test the capacity of the well ; I wanted to see if I could suck all of the water out of it. The Edwards - Trinity aquifer runs under our property, so this was more or less for an experiment so I could get an idea in the future how deep my irrigation wells for my vineyard would have to be dug. This particular well is 36 feet deep. I hit the top of the water at around 24 feet.

At first the pump didn't respond, so I finally managed to pull the lines out. The check valve was stuck shut and the spring on the valve had all but been destroyed, so I put a new spring on it from some old lawnmower parts that I had. Now when I try to prime the system the water level in the well rises all the way to the top of the well and finally stops about a foot below the ground. The tank doesn't fill or build pressure on its own unless I hit it with a compressor. I've had 50psi in the tank at one point for about 4 hours, and it held pressure no problem. There aren't any leaks in the tank except for a slow drip around one of the inlet pipes, which isn't a big deal considering how old this system is.

I'm in the process of ordering a new check valve just to see if that might fix the issue. They're rather cheap. The jet pump assembly itself didn't seem to have any problems when I pulled it off, despite its age. But I just can't seem to figure out why in the heck the water level would rise unless the pump is just pushing air down the pipes.

At first it rose because I was priming the pump and water was being fed into the well cavity ; that was obvious. After I was done priming, or attempting to prime, the water level went back down, and now the water level rises and falls, even when the tank only has maybe 15 gallons of water in it.

(I'm embarrassed about all of the junk lying around, but I've been tearing down a few old buildings and I'm still cleaning everything up.)




 
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AoifeLuC

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I have a well myself (500 ft deep ).and had some problems of breaking pipes. Its My main water supply and it's the same aquifer as the local water company. My dad was a plumber (wish I paid more attention to what he did) nonetheless...I believe connecting PVC pipe to your metal pipe will not hold very long. Metal to metal is best or vise versa pvc or pic. The glues won't hold and the PVC pipe will start cracking at the connecting points if pressure is high. I was told that... That's the extent of what know. I don't know but you might just consider buying a new pump.
 
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Floandgary

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Keeping it simple,,,, likely the "foot valve" allowing pressure water from the pump to escape the jet assembly. Or as was mentioned, a leaky pipe connection. Replaced mine with a good submersible. Most well "testings" involve being able to supply a predetermined quantity in a predetermined time,,,, eg. GPH
 

ZHill

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No cracks since 1965. It's all the way my grandfather installed it. The PVC may have been installed around 1975 though.

I'm going to install an inline water meter and pump as much water as the pump will allow, and basically do what you just said ; I'm going to time the GPH. That old pump shouldn't put a dent in the water level. It's only around 10gpm if it's still working properly. I'll buy a new pump a few months down the road. If it ain't broke don't fix it. If this system functions properly I may just let it stay as is until it dies. Jet pump systems are cheaper than submersible pumps. A good sub pump that'll do 25gpm is around $600, and that's not including pipe, reservoir, and fittings. I'm going to buy a new check valve and then I can just install a new jet pump system on the preexisting pipes. The irrigation well I'll have dug will run a submersible for the higher gpm ratings.
 
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ZHill

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Finally got the system up and running around 9pm this evening. I guess sediment had built up in the well, and I had to raise the valve about a foot so it wasn't sitting in mud. Once I did that the pump instantly started drawing water. I was impressed. The system hits 40psi in just over a minute. I was surprised considering the pump was made around 1965.

I found a new foot valve at Lowe's, and Lowe's botched the pricing online, so I wound up getting it for $6, which was great since it was listed for $26. For a project that I now have about $20 invested in, I'm satisfied. This thing is going to make a great temporary pump for keeping a livestock trough filled and watering the lawn. Our water from the city lines is horrible and taste really funky. We don't ever drink it because it's so bad. When the well finally settles and I run a few hundred gallons through the system I'll hook a line back up to the house for drinking and install a filtration system. I put sanitizer in the well before I closed it up. I'd imagine I'll have to do this three or four more times over the next month before I'd trust drinking any water out of it.

I'm going to rebuild the structure around it this Thursday.

 
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AoifeLuC

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Congratulations...
They do put lots of chemicals in city/community water. I didn't realize how bad it tastes until I watched my granddaughters animals while they went on vacation. Turned on their kitchen faucet to fill dogs water bowl and the chlorine was strong. You'll enjoy the taste and not having a water bill. :)
 
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ZHill

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I managed to get my shed started today. I had a few old posts around the yard that I decided to reuse. One of them was bent pretty good, and I definitely won't win the carpenter of the year award with this project, but I think once I'm done it'll get the job done. I think when the aluminum siding is on no one will be able to tell. I'm going to pull out the temporary screw I put in my top 2x4 and try to pull that bent post in a little bit when I get another day off of work. It created about 2" of extra space because of the bend.

I kept hitting bedrock with the auger, and my carpentry skills are fairly limited. At least it's squared and level, despite the deformations in the posts I used. I'm going to build a wall panel up front that has hinges so if I need to pull the pipes out of the well casing again I can just flip down the "window" and pull them up.

 
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endorphine44

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looking good, I've had to fix a few well pumps/lines that are a mix of old metal fittings and newer PVC. We use flexible water line and a nipple on either end to join the two. The flexible pipe can give a little when the pump kicks on or if there is movement in the line that might otherwise stress the PVC fittings...no more cracked PVC pipe.
 
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