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Old February 6th, 2019, 10:24 AM
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Any Hydro Engineers Out there?

Here is my situation.

1) I have a water well that is weak in its production the well is 140’ deep and has a submersible pump. We just replaced this pump after 25 years. This problem existed prior to installation of the new pump, but replacing the pump has brought it back to the forefront.

2) Over 20 years ago, we installed a 2000 gallon holding tank (note this is not a cistern as it does not catch rain water) to allow the well to maintain a reserve to meet demands. Sometimes I need to haul water to put in the holding tank, when the well is dryer or demand is higher.

3) Since the well serviced the house independently for a few years, and the holding tank was installed later. The well line comes into the house makes a u-turn and hooks up to the line going out to the holding tank. This is where the problem is.

4) There is a third line coming into the house from the holding tank that ultimately supplies the house. There is no problem of air/pressure on this side of the system. All house lines are fine.

Description of the “U-turn”
The 1” well line comes into the house and expands to an 1 ˝ galvanized pipe. Within 4” of the expansion there is a “T”.

Looking at the “T” left to right.
  1. Well line coming in from left,
  2. exiting on the right is 6” of 1 ˝” pipe with a faucet on the end of it
  3. The 90 degree part of the “T” is facing upward and connects to a 13” black plastic 1 ˝” pipe which then enters a 90 degree elbow to a 1 ˝” black plastic pipe running about 80-100’ to the holding tank.
The Problem

When the well is pumping, I can open up the faucet on the right side of the “T”, and no water comes out. In fact, it will draw air in from that opening for almost 2 minutes. The usual pump cycle is 3-4 minutes long. If any water does come out of the faucet it is a mere trickle, and no way near what a 10 gal/min pump should be putting out. Obviously, I am creating a vacuum or air pocket.

Any suggestions on why this is occurring or how to fix it? Do I need to put a small blatter tank on the line, or put a check value in?
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Old February 6th, 2019, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Troys Toy 70 View Post
Here is my situation.

1) I have a water well that is weak in its production the well is 140’ deep and has a submersible pump. We just replaced this pump after 25 years. This problem existed prior to installation of the new pump, but replacing the pump has brought it back to the forefront.

2) Over 20 years ago, we installed a 2000 gallon holding tank (note this is not a cistern as it does not catch rain water) to allow the well to maintain a reserve to meet demands. Sometimes I need to haul water to put in the holding tank, when the well is dryer or demand is higher.

If you don't have a check valve in the house is your storage tank leaking back? That would indicate a leak in the supply line

3) Since the well serviced the house independently for a few years, and the holding tank was installed later. The well line comes into the house makes a u-turn and hooks up to the line going out to the holding tank. This is where the problem is.

4) There is a third line coming into the house from the holding tank that ultimately supplies the house. There is no problem of air/pressure on this side of the system. All house lines are fine.

Description of the “U-turn”
The 1” well line comes into the house and expands to an 1 ˝ galvanized pipe. Within 4” of the expansion there is a “T”.

Looking at the “T” left to right.
  1. Well line coming in from left,
  2. exiting on the right is 6” of 1 ˝” pipe with a faucet on the end of it
  3. The 90 degree part of the “T” is facing upward and connects to a 13” black plastic 1 ˝” pipe which then enters a 90 degree elbow to a 1 ˝” black plastic pipe running about 80-100’ to the holding tank.
The Problem

When the well is pumping, I can open up the faucet on the right side of the “T”, and no water comes out. In fact, it will draw air in from that opening for almost 2 minutes. The usual pump cycle is 3-4 minutes long. If any water does come out of the faucet it is a mere trickle, and no way near what a 10 gal/min pump should be putting out. Obviously, I am creating a vacuum or air pocket.

Any suggestions on why this is occurring or how to fix it? Do I need to put a small blatter tank on the line, or put a check value in?






How much head are you pushing and what's the new pump rating?

My initial thought is the old pump was...well....old and the new pump probably isn't as good as the old one was when it was new. Pump manufacturers blatantly overrate pumps

Is there a check valve before the first valve and if not does the tank leak back to the well? That would indicate a leak in the line

Last edited by allyolds68; February 6th, 2019 at 10:51 AM.
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Old February 6th, 2019, 10:55 AM
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Problem existed from day one of installing the line from the well to holding tank about 20 years ago. Never could figure it out. So it doesn’t relate to new pump, other than to say I had the well repair guy stumped as to why my this would happen.
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Old February 6th, 2019, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by allyolds68 View Post

Is there a check valve before the first valve and if not does the tank leak back to the well? That would indicate a leak in the line
No check valve on this line, once it exits the house after the u-turn. The 1 1/2 pipe travels underground for about 80-100 feet to the tank and drops at least 10 feet in that distance. There may be a slight dip of hump in the line where ground has settled over the years but nothing to create significant back flow.

My guess is that there is some type of reverse Venturi effect going on from going from 1” (well line) to 1 1/2” (tank line)but I still do not understand why it is sucking air in.

Also.. When the pump is running and I go outside and look at the holding tank, you can see a little movement at the surface level of the water. If I go back in and open the faucet at the “T”, and go back outside and look at the surface level of the water inside the tank, there is a lot more ripples and it is easy to see water is going into the tank. Go back in close the faucet at the “T” and go back outside to look at the surface level in the tank, and it goes back to bearly able to tell.
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Old February 6th, 2019, 11:55 AM
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I think the pump is losing prime. You need a checkball upstream of the pump (as in vertically below its pipe a few feet below) to keep prime on the pump. The pump does not care what is past it.

It may be worth trying to fill the T faucet with a hose from the holding tank's delivery pipe (the new pipe). This will fill the system. You can then check a little while later and see if the water has left.

If the thing is leaking back down through the well pump, you could reprime via this method, then turn the well pump on for a temp solution, but I do think you need some checkballs.
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Old February 6th, 2019, 12:02 PM
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I had a well that was about 50 years old take a crap on me. The casing of the well pipe, after 50 years of centrifugal motion of the water in the pipe, wore a hole in the casing. This was the explanation given to me by the well company. My water flow went way down to about 1/2 gal/min or less.

Not saying this is your problem, but it *could* be.
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Old February 6th, 2019, 12:18 PM
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If the problem only occurs when the well is pumping then put a timer on the circuit powering the well so that it only pumps in the middle of the night. Since you have a 2000 gallon holding tank there's no reason for the well to pump during the day... unless you're filling a pool or something.

FWIW, my house is on a well and my water softener is scheduled to only run at night.
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Old February 6th, 2019, 12:50 PM
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It really sounds like you're sucking air. Have you verified that the pump is submerged when it's under load? Your water infiltration may be so low you're immediately sucking all the water column from the pipe

A submersible pump typically doesn't need a check valve. If it did you'd be sucking your storage tank dry in no time

Not that this should really effect anything but I assume your pump is controlled by a float switch in your storage tank and your storage tank is vented to the atmosphere, correct?

Last edited by allyolds68; February 6th, 2019 at 02:13 PM.
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Old February 6th, 2019, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by allyolds68 View Post
It really sounds like you're sucking air. Have you verified that the pump is submerged when it's under load? Your water infiltration may be so low you're immediately sucking all the water column from the pipe

A submersible pump typically doesn't need a check valve. If it did you'd be sucking your storage tank dry in no time

Not that this should really effect anything but I assume your pump is controlled by a float switch in your storage tank and your storage tank is vented to the atmosphere, correct?
I missed that it was submersible.
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Old February 6th, 2019, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Olds64 View Post
If the problem only occurs when the well is pumping then put a timer on the circuit powering the well so that it only pumps in the middle of the night. Since you have a 2000 gallon holding tank there's no reason for the well to pump during the day... unless you're filling a pool or something.

FWIW, my house is on a well and my water softener is scheduled to only run at night.

This gets my vote
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Old February 6th, 2019, 03:01 PM
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Is there a check valve at the submersible pump to prevent the tank feed line from draining back through the pump? The picture shows 2 because of the pressure tank, the one I'm referring to is the one at the pump.
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Old February 6th, 2019, 03:33 PM
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Where is your air tank in this system?
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Old February 6th, 2019, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by allyolds68 View Post
It really sounds like you're sucking air. Have you verified that the pump is submerged when it's under load? Your water infiltration may be so low you're immediately sucking all the water column from the pipe

A submersible pump typically doesn't need a check valve. If it did you'd be sucking your storage tank dry in no time

Not that this should really effect anything but I assume your pump is controlled by a float switch in your storage tank and your storage tank is vented to the atmosphere, correct?

Yes it is submersible. When it the well was drilled hit water at 70’ drilled the pocket to 140’. So I have to assume that it is completely submerged. We did not measure the actual water level when we had the pump out. However, see below.

You are correct there is a float that is in the tank that cuts power off to the well pump if the tank is full. Plus, the well has a high water sensor and a low water sensor with a Warrick control unit. If the water level in the well is above the high water sensor it will pump to the low water sensor and shut off. If water is not above the high water sensor the well pump does not turn on. It is a neat set up been in place for over 20 years. We might have pulled the pump up a couple of inches with the new install, but is should be really close to the way it has been. So pump should be sitting in about 50’ feet of water.

Well repair guy didn’t think it was sucking air from the well as he could not hear any drain back after the well was done pumping.

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Old February 6th, 2019, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by joe_padavano View Post
Where is your air tank in this system?
Air tank is on the inlet line from the holding tank. The holding tank has a separate submersible pump in it to feed the house. Hooked up to the bladder tank and pressure switch. No problems on this part of the system.
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Old February 6th, 2019, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Troys Toy 70 View Post



Yes it is submersible. When it the well was drilled hit water at 70’ drilled the pocket to 140’. So I have to assume that it is completely submerged. We did not measure the actual water level when we had the pump out. However, see below.

You are correct there is a float that is in the tank that cuts power off to the well pump if the tank is full. Plus, the well has a high water sensor and a low water sensor with a Warrick control unit. If the water level in the well is above the high water sensor it will pump to the low water sensor and shut off. If water is not above the high water sensor the well pump does not turn on. It is a neat set up been in place for over 20 years. We might have pulled the pump up a couple of inches with the new install, but is should be really close to the way it has been. So pump should be sitting in about 50’ feet of water.

Well repair guy didn’t think it was sucking air from the well as he could not hear any drain back after the well was done pumping.

OK, now I'm confused. Your 2000 gal holding tank - is is pressurized or not? From your description of the float valve, I assume that is just a holding tank. That tells me that your well pump is just a "lift pump" and is not providing water pressure. If that is true, then there has to be a boost pump and an air tank downstream of the holding tank. Can you provide more info?

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Old February 6th, 2019, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Troys Toy 70 View Post


Air tank is on the inlet line from the holding tank. The holding tank has a separate submersible pump in it to feed the house. Hooked up to the bladder tank and pressure switch. No problems on this part of the system.
Ah, got it. So again, the line from the pump to the holding tank with the tee fitting and the faucet is not normally pressurized. The only water that would come out of the faucet would be any head pressure in the tank, or line pressure when the pump is actually running. Open that faucet when the pump isn't running and I'm not surprised it sucks air.
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Old February 6th, 2019, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by joe_padavano View Post
Ah, got it. So again, the line from the well pump to the holding tank with the tee fitting and the faucet is not normally pressurized. The only water that would come out of the faucet would be any head pressure from the well pump or line pressure when the pump is actually running. Open that faucet when the pump isn't running and I'm not surprised it sucks air. But is sucks at the faucet air while it is running.
Almost...see correction above.

Yes well pump is lift pump which lifts to the highest point in my case the house where the water immediately takes the u-turn and through whatever head pressure is remaining and gravity drops on about an 8% grade to the tank.

As to the check valve on top of the submersible, I do not know. May be that is causing more air to enter the system when the well pump is not on

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Old February 6th, 2019, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Troys Toy 70 View Post


Almost...see correction above.

Yes well pump is lift pump which lifts to the highest point in my case the house where the water immediately takes the u-turn and through whatever head pressure is remaining and gravity drops on about an 8% grade to the tank.

As to the check valve on top of the submersible, I do not know. May be that is causing more air to enter the system when the well pump is not on

OK, if the faucet is sucking air when the pump is running, that's a problem. Can you put a pressure gauge somewhere in the line from the well pump to the holding tank and see what pressure you're getting when the pump is running? The reality is, your well pump is the fuel pump and your holding tank is the carb float bowl.
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Old February 6th, 2019, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Troys Toy

As to the check valve on top of the submersible, I do not know.

Your submersible pump likely has a check valve built in otherwise your storage tank would be leaking back into the well.

what doesn’t make sense is why your storage tank isn’t leaking back to the faucet (assuming it higher than the faucet)

Last edited by allyolds68; February 6th, 2019 at 06:23 PM.
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Old February 6th, 2019, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by joe_padavano View Post
OK, if the faucet is sucking air when the pump is running, that's a problem. Can you put a pressure gauge somewhere in the line from the well pump to the holding tank and see what pressure you're getting when the pump is running? The reality is, your well pump is the fuel pump and your holding tank is the carb float bowl.
See Joe, I should have started with the fuel pump analogy and I could have had everyone up to speed quicker. 😁

The only place I could put any pressure guage is just inside the house but I would need to tear apart the u turn. No easy place to put one. A good place for a question here. Wouldn’t the pressure change from the 1” pipe to the 1 1/2” pipe?
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Old February 6th, 2019, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by allyolds68 View Post

Your submersible pump likely has a check valve built in otherwise your storage tank would be leaking back into the well.

what doesn’t make sense is why your storage tank isn’t leaking back to the faucet (assuming it higher than the faucet)
I knew the old pump had a check valve, but I didn’t ask about the new one.

The storage tank is lower than the faucet. I will try to post some drawing to help.
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Old February 6th, 2019, 08:49 PM
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Old February 6th, 2019, 08:55 PM
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Note that once the line enters the tank it takes a 90 degree turn drops approximately 4 1/2 feet into a 5 gallon bucket. The bucket acts as a diffuser of sorts. However, I make this point as the end of the tank line would always be sitting below water level in the bucket even if the tank was almost empty.
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Old February 6th, 2019, 08:57 PM
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Old February 7th, 2019, 07:57 AM
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Troy,

I had a revelation at the gym this morning. To continue the carburetor analogy, your holding tank must be vented to atmosphere just like a float bowl. If the vent is clogged, the small pump inside the holding tank will eventually pull vacuum inside that tank, which would explain the suction at the faucet. Got mud daubers?
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Old February 7th, 2019, 08:59 AM
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I'm willing to bet the galvanized pipe is a mess on the inside and may have rusted on the inside.
1) Remove any galvanized steel pipe from your fresh water system, or any steel pipe for that matter. Plastic, copper, stainless or brass only!
2) Remove the faucet and see how rusted the pipe is inside. I guarantee after 20 years that galvanized pipe is a disaster.
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Old February 7th, 2019, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by TripDeuces View Post
I'm willing to bet the galvanized pipe is a mess on the inside and may have rusted on the inside.
1) Remove any galvanized steel pipe from your fresh water system, or any steel pipe for that matter. Plastic, copper, stainless or brass only!
2) Remove the faucet and see how rusted the pipe is inside. I guarantee after 20 years that galvanized pipe is a disaster.
Trip,

While I would agree that the galvanized pipe more that likely has rusted and should be replaced. The problem existed from the very first day I installed it years ago prior to any potential deterioration in the galvanized pipe.

Ironically, part of this discussion generated from the MAW change that part of the system so I can get water out the faucet if need to. If I keep everything the same only change over to copper or plastic pipe in place of the galvanized pipe, I would expect the same results.
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Old February 7th, 2019, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by joe_padavano View Post
Troy,

I had a revelation at the gym this morning. To continue the carburetor analogy, your holding tank must be vented to atmosphere just like a float bowl. If the vent is clogged, the small pump inside the holding tank will eventually pull vacuum inside that tank, which would explain the suction at the faucet. Got mud daubers?

Good ol mud daubers...fought them for years, but in this case they are not the culprit.

3 foot man hole on the tank. If the lid is off, the problem is still the same.

Now, here are some of the variables that I think are causing the problem.
1) The increase of pipe diameter from 1” to 1 1/2” pipe. Which should slow the flow but increase pressure as the water flows to the tank.
2) Given the length of the 1 1/2 pipe, about 80’, there simply may not be enough flow (From my best estimate -pump is a 10gpm pump and pumps between 3-4 minutes should equate to 30-40 gal.) to completely fill the line with water. Thus creating air pockets/ and vacuum as a part of the line is not filled with water.
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Old February 7th, 2019, 04:51 PM
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I'm not an engineer, but I've lived with well water, both from submersible and non-submersible pumps, in every house in which I've lived. I've also drilled and repaired some of those systems, but am certainly no expert.

I think you may be on to something with your idea regarding the pump loop pulling air in through the spigot when your well pump is running to fill your holding tank due to a venturi effect caused by the increased pipe size with the T and direction change acting as the restriction/choke. Could then the increased surface action you see in the holding tank with the spigot open result from the aeration of the in-flowing water caused by the air being sucked in through the spigot? Does your holding tank fill more slowly or incompletely with the spigot closed? In other words is this causing you a water supply problem, do you desire to pull water out off the indoor spigot while the pump is running, or is it just your curiosity as to what's happening and why?

In any case, could you get an understanding of what's happening by building a working model of your setup using clear rigid pvc tubing to replicate your current system? You'd only have to replicate the system as it exists inside your house, so only a short section of 1" tubing, the 1 x 1 1/2 reducer, the T, the nipple and spigot (in the same size as your actual system), and the 1 1/2" tubing and elbow short suction of 1 1/2" tubing that heads out to the holding tank. You could supply water to your model using a garden hose connector and dump the outflow into a bucket, sink, or ground. Then you could see what's happening to confirm your theory.

If this is the problem, and if you desire to be able to flow water out of the indoor spigot while the pump is running, you could experiment with relocating the spigot to elsewhere in your loop - I would look at before the T in the 1"pipe or by tapping off the 1 1/2" pipe after the T.

Good luck and let us know what you find!
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Old February 7th, 2019, 05:12 PM
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For some of these theories to work here you are proposing that the water takes a right hand turn at the T and doesn't pressurize behind the spigot thereby creating a venturi effect and a suction? Is that what I'm hearing?
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Old February 7th, 2019, 05:13 PM
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As a data collection method, I'd unscrew the spigot from the tee and temporarily install a pressure gauge there to see what's going on when the pump is running. I still think that given the configuration of this system, you won't get much pressure at the spigot even with the pump running. That's why well systems have air tanks. Without a pressure tank to build against, the pump isn't going to create a lot of pressure - it's dumping into a holding tank at atmospheric.
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Old February 7th, 2019, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Partagas View Post
I'm not an engineer, but I've lived with well water, both from submersible and non-submersible pumps, in every house in which I've lived. I've also drilled and repaired some of those systems, but am certainly no expert.

I think you may be on to something with your idea regarding the pump loop pulling air in through the spigot when your well pump is running to fill your holding tank due to a venturi effect caused by the increased pipe size with the T and direction change acting as the restriction/choke. Could then the increased surface action you see in the holding tank with the spigot open result from the aeration of the in-flowing water caused by the air being sucked in through the spigot?


Does your holding tank fill more slowly or incompletely with the spigot closed? In other words is this causing you a water supply problem? Yes, the water moves faster through the pipe once the spigot is open when the pump is running.

do you desire to pull water out off the indoor spigot while the pump is running, or is it just your curiosity as to what's happening and why? Originally, it was a redundant source option. IE if for some reason I could not get water out of tank, I could at least get it from the well. Since it hasn’t work for 20 years, you can see I haven’t used that option. I am going to redo it, but just courious to what is going on. I do not think the spigot is the problem, but does provide an opportunity to vent the system. So... In theory putting an immediate 90 in from the 1” to 1 1/2” in place of the T and spigot would still create the problem. I just would no longer have a chance to vent it.



Good luck and let us know what you find!

Last edited by Troys Toy 70; February 7th, 2019 at 08:37 PM.
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Old February 7th, 2019, 08:15 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by TripDeuces View Post
For some of these theories to work here you are proposing that the water takes a right hand turn at the T and doesn't pressurize behind the spigot thereby creating a venturi effect and a suction? Is that what I'm hearing?
Yes, it acts just like an old gas can that had the flip open vent. Start poring and the gas comes out slow, open the vent and dramatic increase in flow. If the pump starts pumping and I open the spigot, you can hear the water flow increase dramatically in the pipe and see it in the tank. Shut the spigot and water flow decreases dramatically.
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Old February 7th, 2019, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by joe_padavano View Post
As a data collection method, I'd unscrew the spigot from the tee and temporarily install a pressure gauge there to see what's going on when the pump is running. I still think that given the configuration of this system, you won't get much pressure at the spigot even with the pump running. That's why well systems have air tanks. Without a pressure tank to build against, the pump isn't going to create a lot of pressure - it's dumping into a holding tank at atmospheric.
I think I will try this, but in theory would the gauge ever show any pressure since it is obviously creating a vacuum? I know this is where data collection comes in.😇.

My son and I were working in the garage on other things and talked about the pump. I ran the pump and was showing him what I was talking about. We both agreed moving the spigot directly next to the 1” line would be the best place to get water out of the spigot, but if the spigot is shut it still seams that the water flow to the tank is hindered.

Whatever the reason, I think ultimately I will need to put a small bladder tank at the top elbow before the line goes out to the tank.

Last edited by Troys Toy 70; February 7th, 2019 at 08:39 PM.
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Old February 8th, 2019, 07:05 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Troys Toy 70 View Post


I think I will try this, but in theory would the gauge ever show any pressure since it is obviously creating a vacuum? I know this is where data collection comes in.😇.

My son and I were working in the garage on other things and talked about the pump. I ran the pump and was showing him what I was talking about. We both agreed moving the spigot directly next to the 1” line would be the best place to get water out of the spigot, but if the spigot is shut it still seams that the water flow to the tank is hindered.

Whatever the reason, I think ultimately I will need to put a small bladder tank at the top elbow before the line goes out to the tank.
The thing is, it can't be creating a vacuum when the pump is running, so I think opening the spigot is the problem. I'm not sure if your sketches are roughly to scale or not, but is the holding tank below or above the spigot? If it's below, then I can see how opening the spigot can suck air. If above, then I can't see it. In any case, if you want a faucet there, I'd run one from the pressurized side of the system.

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Old February 9th, 2019, 07:19 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by joe_padavano View Post
The thing is, it can't be creating a vacuum when the pump is running, so I think opening the spigot is the problem. I'm not sure if your sketches are roughly to scale or not, but is the holding tank below or above the spigot? If it's below, then I can see how opening the spigot can suck air. If above, then I can't see it. In any case, if you want a faucet there, I'd run one from the pressurized side of the system.
Tank is lower than the spigot. Now exactly how lower I am not sure. I would guess 2-3 feet of drop to the tank. Today is a full day, but maybe tomorrow I will get the transit out and double check. Too much topographic elevation changes in the space between spigot and tank to draw to scale. I can tell you that the well line coming into the tank elbows down for at least a 4 1/2 foot drop.
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Old February 9th, 2019, 09:46 AM
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When you can, run the pump and see what it puts out at the pipe pouring into the holding tank. That's what matters, not what comes out of the u turn faucet.

This is acting like there's pipes in there you don't know of.
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Old February 9th, 2019, 02:49 PM
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I am no expert at this by any means and this is only my opinion based on my experience and if I understand your question.

I believe the weight of the water in the 1.5" line going down to your holding tank is sucking more water than your pump can push (siphon effect). Basically like sucking on a straw in a soda can and cutting a slight hole in the side of the straw. You will get air into the straw through the hole instead of soda coming out through the hole as you try to drink. I understand there is a pump pushing the water but believe the siphon pressure or vacuum is more than your total pump pressure. I believe the easiest way to get water out of your spigot is to restrict the flow of water at the end of the 1.5" line going into the holding tank either by installing a water pressure regulator or a shut off valve and partially closing it. You can check this theory by installing a pressure gage at the spigot, as Joe suggested, and checking the results before/after restricting the water flow going into the holding tank. This valve will also allow you to see your true pump pressure after lift and friction loss at the spigot.

You could always calculate it out using pump pressure/line size and length/friction loss/lift/etc. but I would just install a 1/4 turn valve at the end of the 1.5" line.

Good luck with it.
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