Well Manager® FAQ

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1. What do the terms “well yield” and “low yield well” mean?

A simple definition of well yield is the rate at which water flows into your well from the surrounding aquifer. Yield is expressed in gallons per minute (gpm). Whether or not your well will be adequate to operate your home, farm, church, or other property will depend on the gpm requirement of that use.

A low yield well is any well that cannot maintain proper levels with the connected use without over-pumping. Over-pumping occurs when water is withdrawn from the well faster than it is coming in; it is the number one reason for premature well failure. Low yield is a term that is relative to the relationship between the amount of water required for use in your home and the well production on average. For example, a 5 gpm well is usually sufficient for a 2 ½ bath ranch house with standard plumbing, but it would be a low yield well for an eight-thousand square foot house with several bathrooms and a 20 gpm master bath and shower.

This does not mean that the well you have will not supply what you hope to build, it just means that it will not do the job while operating under a standard well system. Well Manager® systems will work for a very large house with an irrigation system using a 5 gpm well, as well as a substantial home without irrigation on a well with a yield of only 1 gpm. A standard 2 ½ bath ranch house with 4 occupants would not be sufficiently supplied by a quart per minute well using a standard well system but could provide excellent service using a Well Manager® System operating the same well.

Find more on our patented Well Manager® Systems in our products pages.

2. What is so different about Well Manager® and why does it cost more than other systems?

Question: I have seen other tank systems advertised on the web for less money. I do not understand what is so different about Well Manager® or why they cost more.

Answer: Many of our other customers have the same question, but in response, we propose another question: Why do you think there are so many personal testimonials on our website when other vendors boast about past accomplishments with little to no customer testimonials?

Well Manager® customers are so excited about the change in their lives that our product has brought them, and they are happy to share with the world that their money was invested properly. Reading through our testimonials you will find that it isn’t just new customers that recommend Well Manager®, but the owners who have waited two, three or more years before putting their feelings on paper are still thoroughly satisfied with the system. You can read one testimonial from a customer who struggled with the decision to buy Well Manager® here.

When considering options for your low yield well, please be aware that atmospheric tank water storage systems are both tried and true. This type of system dates back to the Roman Empire and is still widely used across the globe today. Atmospheric tank water storage systems have a pretty poor reputation in the United States because of previous problems with contaminated water. A more detailed explanation can be found on this topic here.

If Well Manager® were just another tank system, then the United States and Canadian governments would not have issued patents for the technology. It cannot be found elsewhere for half the price. Well Manager® is protected by two patents in America and one in Canada because it is so effective that it can replace a tank system that has 8-10 times more storage, and because it can provide a more reliable water supply even while using a lower quality water source; in fact, many of our customers have switched from those other tank or cistern systems to our Well Manager® system for just that reason. Feel free to read what Ron Keissler of Weston Colorado had to say by following the link.

A Well Manager® costs more because you get more. Most of the time all our customers need is either a properly sized, installed, and set up Well Manager® system or our less expensive Herculan ConstaBoost™. If we feel that your well or piping needs repair or drilling before the installation of our system, we will notify you during an initial evaluation.

We will interpret your well records, review the symptoms and history you report, examine the equipment installed in your home (using customer-supplied digital pictures if you desire to provide them), and make a transparent recommendation at no additional charge. If you buy one of our systems, you will receive a 50-page manual with pictures explaining what each part is and what it does. The manual includes helpful illustrations, as well as start-up and troubleshooting information. The entire manual is written in easy-to-understand English.

Well Manager® controls are UL listed, so you will have no problems with the electrical inspection when you install our system in a new home (or on any other job that requires a permit). Other systems have controls that might lead you to believe that they, too, are UL listed; however, upon close inspection, it can be found that only a power cord or other small component is UL listed, which will not fool your electrical inspector.

We provide telephone assistance for technical questions, to set up the timing for your well, and to instruct you further on how to interpret the information your Well Manager® is providing about your well water levels and the aquifer to which it is connected. Our phone service allows you to detect changes due to drought or heavy rainfall and adjust to them. If there are problems with equipment, then help is as close as your phone or computer during and after the warranty period (even on weekends). The Well Manager® control panel is designed so that we can tell you what is wrong over the phone; in most cases, we will be able to remotely inform you on how to recover your water quickly.

When you buy a Well Manager® system you will get a system that is ready to run, with everything it needs to run having been previously installed (as opposed to a kit that requires you to build the system following their direction manual). There is no pump or float switch to buy or install. The Well Manager® Manual teaches you about your well, well pump, and the components of the Well Manager® System. It includes everything you will need to know for running our Well Manager® successfully with an aquifer that has failed to supply you using conventional systems thus far. You will learn that it is not the size of the tank, but how you operate the well that determines how much water is available for your family. In most cases, timing is set up at installation and requires no further adjustment (except for in very low yield situations). You may speak with us a few times per week for two or three weeks, so we can better help you with minor timing adjustments before we arrive at exactly the right settings for your well.

Though we speak a great deal about timing, you will soon find out that a Well Manager® system is much more than a simple well timer. It combines a number of measurable parameters like flow, pressure, and time in a way that puts you in control of a seemingly uncontrollable situation while protecting your pump in the event that your timing set up becomes inappropriate no matter what the reason. You can read more about How a Well Manager® Works here.

Well Manager® Controls are made to last forever. There is no printed circuit board that can fail and make the system inoperative until it is replaced. Our controls are hard-wired, relay logic, and have readily available digital components that plug in. Everything in the control can be replaced for easier repair. In most component failures there is a way to make the system function while you wait for parts; our technicians can help you with that and parts are always in stock for immediate shipment. If need be, replacement parts can be found in the marketplace locally or on the internet.

In short, a Well Manager® system is a patented, readily serviceable appliance with a UL listed control that sets in place, connects to the well and water pipes, and can automatically manage your well. It also protects your pumps so that you have the water you need when you need it. Thousands of people across North America and elsewhere are happy with their Well Manager® systems, and we can ensure that you will be too!

3. What is the difference between a Well Manager® system and a Pumptec control?

Question: I have been researching the web trying to decide what to do about my low yield well. What is the difference between a Well Manager® and a Pumptec control?

Answer: A Pumptec control is a device that monitors motor load and electrical connections to protect single-phase motors against low voltage, rapid cycling, low yield wells, air or gas locked pumps, drops in water levels, a clogged well screen, broken shaft or couplings, and worn pump parts.

More simply put, Pumptec is a motor protector that shuts the pump motor off for a selected period of time if the well is pumped all the way down, or when one of the other listed hazards occurs. Well Manager® is a time-based tool designed to maximize the output of your well, manage the delivery system, protect the well and delivery pumps against certain occurrences, and protect your well against damage caused by over pumping.

When used on a low yield well, a Pumptec turns the well pump off to protect the motor if the well has been pumped all the way down, and it will not allow the pump to come back on until the user’s selected time interval has expired.

If there isn’t enough water at the end of the set time to satisfy demand, the pump will remove all of the remaining water from your well to recycle again. Eventually, it will have enough to fill the tank or raise the pressure to cut it off. To protect your low yield well’s pump in such a situation, the well must be pumped empty. Pumptec is used on systems that store water in pressure or atmospheric tanks.

Operating a well like this is called over-pumping, and it can severely damage your well over time. SEE: Well Manager® and the Environment for a more detailed explanation.

Well Manager® works to keep your well as full as possible and collects only the production (or a portion of it) to keep the well producing more water. Well Manager® is designed for use with atmospheric storage systems and can be set to collect the entire production of a well or limit the amount to be withdrawn.

Pumptec is a protective device, and Well Manager® is a management tool. Each is good at what it does, but they do different things. If you have a low yield well, our Well Manager® system can bring in more water without burning up the pump.

4. Is 1 ½ gallons per minute enough water to supply my home?

Yes it is. A 1 ½ gpm well can provide 2,160 gallons per day. With a Well Manager® system, this is plenty of water to supply even the most elaborate home if irrigation is not a consideration. This may not be the only consideration, though. Some municipalities have an ordinance which says you must have a certain minimum gallon per minute yield for each specific size household. To get approval for a larger bedroom home, you may have to go to the local Board of Health and ask for an exception for the use of an engineered system to meet the peak demand requirement.

5. What is the difference between a Well Manager® system and a buried tank system?

Question: I have heard that sometimes well drillers build a system consisting of a 500-gallon atmospheric storage tank from which they then pump water to the house using a second pump. How is this different from a Well Manager® system?

Answer: Once in a while we see one of these custom made systems being described.

These systems consist of a large unpressurized storage tank (usually 500 gallons or larger) which receives water from the well. The tank is equipped with two sensors: one for high water and one for low water. The high water sensor would be set near the top of the tank, say at 450 gallons, and the low water sensor would be set at a reasonable low water level, possibly at 300 gallons.

As soon as the low water float starts the pump, it will run until the high water sensor shuts it off. The high and low settings are determined according to the amount of water one could expect to pump without risking the pump by emptying the well.

There are several differences between this type of system and a Well Manager®:
  • Because of time-based pumping, a Well Manager® uses a much smaller tank so that the entire system will fit in the corner of an average basement, utility room, or even a crawl space. The job-site built system requires a lot of space
  • The large tank system cannot automatically compensate for a drought as well as a Well Manager® can. With the job-site built units, if there isn’t enough water in the well to replace the 150 gallons needed to turn off the pump damage can result. If on the other hand, a Well Manager® is not pumping water during an on-cycle, it will turn off immediately and try again later.
  • A Well Manager® pump controller has status lights that tell you what is going on; they indicate when the power is on, when the well pump should be running, when the pressure pump should be on, when there is flow from the well, when the tank is full, and when the tank is too low. The job-site built system usually has none of those things.
  • The job-site system will be built with whatever parts are available at the time, but a Well Manager® control panel is built with the same readily available parts and is UL listed (which is an important feature when you need a certificate of occupancy and are trying to get the wiring approved by your local electrical inspector).
  • A Well Manager® is a packaged and tested system that can be installed in one day.

6. Our dream isn’t much good without enough water; what are our options?

Question: My wife and I just finished building our dream house. We have been extremely fortunate and were able to afford most of the things we wanted. The house has six bedrooms, five full and two half baths, a laundry, a magnificent kitchen and a mother-in-law apartment. It is everything we hoped it would be, with one exception. The first well we drilled was under a half gallon per minute and over 450 feet deep. The second was 2 1/2 gallons per minute and 400 feet deep. It didn’t make much sense to do anything with well number 1 so we didn’t even put a pump in it and the second well just doesn’t provide enough pressure to use even two of our bathrooms at the same time. My wife gave up trying to use our master bath shower with the two heads and body sprays. Our dream isn’t much good without enough water. Is there anything we can do?

Answer: From the sound of this story there isn’t much point in drilling another well; sometimes we have to do the best we can with the wells that we have. If you haven’t yet hydraulically fractured your first well in such a situation, you should get a price estimate on doing so. Hydrofracturing is a process which uses water pressure to open up existing fractures in your well and even create new ones. Often this can increase the yield of your well. For more information on Hydrofracturing (a.k.a hydrofracking ad fracking), you can read more here. If you have elaborate landscaping, you will need all the water you can get to keep your flora alive during a drought.

The Well Manager® system can be designed to supply the proper flow rate for you to functionally operate even your dream shower.

The single 2 1/2 gpm well will supply up to 3,600 gallons per day. Well Manager® systems are available for one or two wells, so you may want to consider combining your wells to get 4,320 gallons per day or more if the hydrofracking was successful.

7. Why is the water pressure from my well poorer than it was when we built the house?

Question: We had a 700 foot deep, 3 gallon per minute well that filled up to within 20 feet of the top when we built our home ten years ago. As more houses were built around us there were times when we would run out of water if I sprinkled the lawn. Now, with the drought, it seems that the pressure in the house is getting poorer as time goes on even though I no longer water the lawn. There are times when the pressure won’t climb much above 20 pounds, but I still get some water when I open the faucet on the first floor. What does this mean?

Answer: If the water level in the well has dropped considerably, as it may in a drought, the pump is working harder and will deliver less water than it used to. If the pump installer sized the pump to run out of lift before it comes out of the water, you would get the symptoms you are reporting as the well level drops. The pump is still pumping water, but it doesn’t have enough lift once the pressure builds to 20 lbs.

To test this theory, turn the pump off for a couple of hours and then turn it back on. If the pump tank fills up and shuts off, it’s a pretty safe bet that we were correct. A Well Manager® can help cure this problem because the storage tank is not pressurized, so the pump has very little back pressure to work against. Therefore it can deliver water from farther down the well. This means that in a drought, the water will have to drop much lower before you run out.

8. How can I maintain system pressure with my irrigation sprinkler system turned on?

Question: I have a well that works fine. But I had a sprinkler system installed and it drains the tank so fast that when it is running after about 5 minutes it will only hold at 20-25 psi until the sprinkler shuts off. What do I need to do?

Answer: This is a common question. When your water pressure is terrible, but you don’t run out of water, then you are probably trying to retrieve more water from the well than the pump can deliver. The pump does not have enough power to feed water to all of the outlets you are asking it to supply.

There are three possible reasons for this:

  1. There is a problem with the well pump (possibly a clogged intake screen or shaft bearings that are seriously worn).
  2. There is a problem with a stuck check valve in the pump discharge line.
  3. There is nothing wrong with the pump or a check valve. The real reason is the well is a Low Yield well.

Here is a little background, so you understand why #3 is a real possibility:

A well is simply a hole dug or drilled into the ground into which water pours, runs, leaks or dribbles, depending on local geology. The rate at which water runs into the well is its Yield. You cannot remove water from the well faster than it comes in for any length of time, without pumping it empty which will result in NO WATER coming from the sprinkler or anywhere else.

If you are the original homeowner or if you have lived here for several years and there has been no noticeable change (degradation) in plumbing performance then I’d bet the yield of this well is inadequate to directly supply your sprinkler system. If you are new to the home, then any one of the three are a possibility.

Why not just throw a bigger pump in the well? Because, if this is a low yield well, you will change the complaint from “I have poor pressure” to “I run out of water!”

When a well is constructed for a home, the hope is that it will provide enough water to feed all of the plumbing and possibly a landscape irrigation system. The well driller has done everything he can to make that happen, but in the end, he can only provide what nature has to offer. So what does one do when the well nature provides has a 2 gpm yield but the house presents an 8 – 15 gpm need? If a pump large enough to feed the home were installed the family would run out of water, and if the pump were sized for the well yield (2 gallons per minute), then you’d have a hard time taking a 3 gpm shower. The pump installer will most often choose a pump that will supply one bathroom ( maybe a 5 gpm pump) and rely on the water stored in the well to make up the difference between what you are using, and what the well is producing.

Example: If you have a two gallon per minute well and a 5 gpm pump, then the pump will provide a decent shower if you don’t use more than one bathroom at a time. For every minute you shower you use 1 more gallon than the well is producing. A 6” well contains 1.5 gallons of stored water for each foot of water in it, therefore, every minute you shower the well level goes down two-thirds of a foot. A 10-minute shower might draw the well down 6.66 feet. If other plumbing is also being used, then the well level will fall a little faster. You are not likely to run out of water because the pump won’t provide enough pressure to use enough plumbing outlets for that to happen (which is also why the sprinkler isn’t running the well dry).

If you have lived there long enough to know that plumbing performance has always been the same (indicating the likelihood that this well is inadequate for this use), then you have 3 choices: cease using the irrigation system, drill another well (if the odds are good that you will find a yield adequate for your sprinkler system), or install a Well Manager® which offers a guaranteed result.

How do you decide what to do? Try this: Have you ever discussed water with your neighbors? Are there other homes in the neighborhood that have sprinkler systems? Do any of them have weak pressure? Can they run two showers at the same time or turn on the washing machine while someone is in the shower? Have they been told by someone that there isn’t enough water in their well to run a sprinkler system? Did they have difficulty finding an adequate well when their home was built? Asking around can reveal a lot of beneficial information!

Knowing how many zones are in your system, how many heads are in each zone, and the discharge rates of each head (usually marked as a decimal number on most of the heads) will enable you to calculate the amount of water required each day to operate the system, the pump size needed to properly run it, and the well yield required to directly supply it. The well yield requirement, along with the information you find asking around, can give you an idea as to the odds of being successful drilling a new well with a yield adequate to directly supply your system.

The information on the irrigation system would allow us to tell you the minimum well yield required to run the system with a Well Manager® system. A simple well yield test will tell you whether your well is adequate. The yield required by a Well Manager® is only a fraction of that required to supply an irrigation system directly from the well, so the odds are that this will work. In any case, we can tell you up-front whether or not we can solve your problem and exactly what performance you can expect before you pay a dime.

Wouldn’t it be great to run your irrigation system and shower at the same time? A Well Manager® can provide enough water to do just that!

9. Should we drill a new well or install a Well Manager® and buried tank system?

Question: When we built our house, the well we drilled was really inadequate. We have been living with it since then because we just didn’t have the money to do anything about it. Now that our financial situation is changed we are wondering if we should drill a new well or consider installing a Well Manager® on our existing well.

Answer: If it is uncommon where you live for a well to be this poor, then I would consult a well driller and get his input. If, on the other hand, poor wells are common in your area it may pay to think about a Well Manager® system instead.

The first step in making the decision should be a test to see how much water your well is producing. If it is making 3/4 of a gallon per minute you will have over a thousand gallons of water per day. If the well is producing less than that, the choice depends on the odds of a new well being better. It is possible to live with a one quart per minute well, but only if you have a Well Manager®. A 1/2 gallon per minute well can be fairly comfortable if you do not expect to water outdoor plants.