Well Troubleshooting FAQ

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1. How does a well pressure tank operate and how can I tell if it is working correctly?

A bladder pressure tank contains water and pressurized air that is separated by a membrane, which is also called a bladder. A bladder pressure tank is precharged at the factory to last anywhere between five and seven years. It works through water pressure changes.; as the pressure rises and decreases the volume of air in the tank expands and contracts. If the air is too low, the tank will need to be recharged periodically. The downside of a bladder pressure tank is that they do not provide useful water storage in any capacity.

Bladder pressure tanks maintain your desired water pressure range within the distribution system itself. It minimizes pump-cycling, which prevents frequent switching off and on, protecting it from damage. They also protect against the water hammer.

To troubleshoot, first take the following steps:

  • Check the air charge on your bladder pressure tank.
  • Disconnect the pump from its power source.
  • Open the nearest faucet and drain the tank.
  • Check your tank’s pressure; place a tire gauge on the air charging valve located at the top of the tank.
  • If there is more than two psi below the lowest pressure in the range, add air pressure to the tank using a tire pump or air compressor.
  • If the pressure is two psi above the pump cut-in pressure, release some of the air pressure.
  • Use a soap solution to see if the air charging valve has any leaks.
  • Re-start the pump and run through a normal cycle to verify the setting.

*Note: If the pressure drops in your tank, the bladder may have a tear or hole in it!

If your tank is filled with water and cannot run properly, it may be waterlogged. A waterlogged bladder pressure tank can cause the pump motor to turn on and off too frequently, which can shorten the lifespan of your pump. It can also cause your water to taste or smell off if your tank contains stagnant water due to the bacteria that forms when the water settles. If a tank remains waterlogged for too long, the inside walls can weaken from corrosion and cause tank failure.

Some of the potential causes for your tank to become waterlogged include:

  • Sediments (like iron and manganese) that coat the surface of a bladder may cause it to harden and become less flexible. They can plug the fill or draw line, preventing the tank from filling and emptying regularly.
  • High levels of chlorine can cause your tank’s bladder to become brittle and less flexible.
  • Tanks sitting directly on the ground often rust and lose structural integrity.
  • Chlorinators give off corrosive vapors that cause the tank to rust.
  • When working with bladder pressure tanks, it is important to read and follow the Manufacturer’s Safety Warnings!

2. What are the differences between a jet pump system and a submersible well pump system?

A jet pump is an older style of technology that draws water from the well to the pump. One-line jet pumps have a single water line that generates about 50 psi at average water levels. Two-line jet pumps have two water lines to facilitate the simultaneous drawing of water and returning of a portion of the water back to the well. This style allows for more lift from greater depths than a single line jet pump.

A submersible pump pushes the water as opposed to sucking it up to the surface. Those who already have a two-line jet pump system are able to hook up an electric source to power the modern submersible pump. This style of pump allows for the extraction of water from up to 400-foot depths, which is over three times deeper than a dual-line jet pump.

3. What causes well yield decline?

Well yield can be affected by many different problems, including biofouling, mineral incrustation, and over-pumping.

The following are some of the most prevalent issues that our customers run into and some solutions we recommend:

  • Mineral Incrustation:Mineral incrustation occurs in shallower water table aquifers that have high quantities of dissolved minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium. Changes in pressure and temperature occur as water is pumped from the well, creating the ideal environment for these minerals to precipitate and cause casing, liner, and screen damage.Mineral incrustation is an issue that is manageable through preventative and routine maintenance practices. When you reduce the water pumping rates and include longer pumping intervals, you can also reduce the effects of mineral incrustation.
  • Biofouling:A number of nutrients (including oxygen) in your well and its surrounding aquifer will increase during the installation and pumping processes. Iron bacteria (and other kinds) can populate quickly in such conditions, forming a gel-like biofilm. Biofouling is typical where biofilm accumulates enough to reduce water flow, in turn, leading to low yield and water quality.To eradicate your biofouling issue, you can use a shock method of introducing chlorination to reduce the biofilm buildup.
  • Corrosion:The metal casing surrounding your well can be corroded quite easily by chemical substances commonly found in water. A drilling contractor will need to choose a casing material for your well that is suitable for your water supply. In situations where water is corrosive, plastic casing liners and stainless steel well screens are often the best solutions.
  • Aquifers:The formation of a well can be a source of its issues. The aquifer your well uses to retrieve water from may have sulfate-reducing bacteria that causes tank corrosion. Like with other bacteria, a shock treatment will help.A decline in water level can affect your well yield due to lack of recharge. Rain and melted snow are what supplies aquifers with water, and when it is low to much water can be withdrawn. You should always maintain your well by checking its water level to identify water level trends in your area and to spot problems with aquifer depletion before it damages your well system.
  • Over-pumping:When water is withdrawn faster than an aquifer can supply, then you are over-pumping. When water is used faster than your well was designed for, it is also considered over-pumping. Over-pumping is by far the most common well-related issue leading to early well failure. Not only does it deplete the aquifer, but it also contributes to corrosion, biofouling, and mineral incrustation. It can increase the rate at which sedimentation enters the well, clogging the water’s entrance to the well and restrict (or even block) its flow.Well management that prevents over-pumping can do a great deal to mitigate these problems. For more information, please refer to http://www.wellmanager.com/pumping-can-result-well-contamination-yield-decline/.

4. How do I disinfect my well water?

To disinfect a well and water system, you can use ordinary liquid laundry bleach for shock chlorination.

The following steps will walk you through the process:

  • Use a chart or table showing how much bleach to use for each diameter and depth of well to determine how much bleach you will need; we recommend an initial concentration of about 50 to 100 ppm.
  • Create an opening to pour the chlorine solution into your well (usually at the top of the well there will be a well cap to remove).
  • Pour the bleach into the well and allow it to circulate throughout the entire water distribution system, being careful not to get the chlorine on your clothes or skin (as it is an irritant). Do not use the water for several hours while it is being disinfected.
  • After 6-12 hours of the chlorine working on your well water, you will need to flush the chlorinated water out of your well and pipes. Make sure that the well water is chlorinated first, by checking that the water smells like chlorine. To remove the chlorinated water from your well and pipes, run a hose outdoors to a proper drainage area until the chlorinated smell completely dissipates.
  • Retesting after about three days will ensure the results you desire. Do not consume the water until the test reads “clean.”

5. How can I tell what is causing low pressure from my well system?

If you are having low-pressure problems from a well pressure tank system, there are a few tests you can try to narrow down possibilities.

Try these tests to find the source of your low-pressure problem:

  • Treatment equipment and filters that are undersized or poorly maintained can result in low water pressure.
  • Over-pumping or a drought can also cause your static water level to drop and lead to poor water pressure in the home. A lower static level in the well increases the distance that the well pump must lift the water, so it could be that your pump is reaching the limit of its lifting capability; it may not be able to produce enough flow to operate multiple fixtures at a time.
  • It could also be that there is something wrong with the pump itself.
  • If the well pump can satisfy the pressure switch in a reasonable amount of time and your pressure in the house is poor (even when the pressure tank is full), then the problem is the treatment equipment, a filter with a clogged cartridge, or a valve/other restriction between the pressure tank and the faucet.
  • If there is a bypass valve on your treatment system, then you can disregard the treatment equipment and remove the cartridge from any filter housing present to see if there is a pressure difference. If so, one of the bypassed items or filters is the problem. To determine which item is causing the problem put them back online one at a time testing the flow each time you do so.
  • To test the well pump’s ability to deliver, run a tub faucet or two and watch the pressure tank gage. If the pressure on the gage is reasonable but poor at the outlets, then this is another indication that the problem is between the gage and the outlet. To be certain that you are not being fooled, you will need to verify that the pressure gage works by turning off the well pump to see if the pressure on the gage falls off and then picks back up when the pump is restarted. Change the gage if it does not seem to be reacting properly.
  • If you get decent water pressure when the pressure tank is full but it becomes poorer the longer the water runs you may have a problem with the pump, a check valve, a leaking pipe, or the well itself may be damaged.

To do a simple well yield test, click on the following link for instructions: http://www.wellmanager.com/wellmanager_applications_yielddetermination.htm.

6. Will Well Manager® help solve my low pressure well?

A modern water system consists of a well, a pump and a storage tank. In most systems, a switch that is activated by water pressure controls the pump, and as water from the storage tank is used the pressure declines. As the pressure drops to a preset cut-in point, the switch will activate you well pump to replace the tank water used. The pump will turn off once the tank pressure rises to a cut-out point.

While system pressures can be set higher, most set-ups start the pump when the pressure drops to 20 lbs and turn it off when it rises to 40 lbs.

Homes that have a bladder-type pressure tank will store anywhere between 5 and 46 gallons of water depending on its size before it is low enough that the well pump will turn on to refill it. Whether you experience a low yield or an adequate yield will depend on how many gallons per minute (gpm) your well can provide, and how many gpm your pump can deliver.

If you have a low yield well and low-pressure water, you may have trouble with your water stopping after long showers or frequent use. A Well Manager® can effectively prevent you from running out of useful hot water, as well as other low-pressure associated problems.

To read more information on low yield wells and how Well Manager® increases well yields, visit: http://www.wellmanager.com/pumping-can-result-well-contamination-yield-decline/.

7. Does Well Manager® provide well repair?

If you have been experiencing low pressure or shortages in your property’s well water, then you may be wondering what you can do to solve the problem. Knowing whether you need to repair your well, drill a new well, or install a Well Manager® system to fix the poor performance of your current well is something that is best left to a professional.

Here are a few guidelines to follow in making your decision:

  • If other wells in your area do not encounter the same problems, then you should consult a well driller to have an evaluation done. The driller will be able to inform you if you need a well repair, or if a new well needs to be drilled.
  • If it is common for local wells to operate poorly, then you might want to consider investing in a Well Manager® instead. You should first investigate how much water your well is producing.
  • Around three-quarters of a gallon per minute provides over a thousand gallons of water a day. If your well isn’t producing that much, you will need to choose between having a new well put in and getting a Well Manager® system. With Well Manager®, you can even live on a one quart per minute well.

Our priority is your ability to achieve higher quality well water in the quantities you need to operate your household efficiently. A properly sized and set up Well Manager® (or even our less expensive Herculan ConstaBoost™) can resolve well yield and pressure issues in cases that do not require the installation of a new well.

Well Manager, LLC. can help you to interpret your well records and reported symptom history. When you call us out to your home or office, we will examine the equipment present to offer you transparent advice. You can also send us digital photographs online for us to evaluate at no charge.

If you choose to have one of our products installed, you will receive a manual with informational text and graphics explaining each part and process in detail. The manual supplies our customers with everything you need to know to start running your system, as well as a section dedicated to troubleshooting. We made sure that our manuals are easy to read and come in standard English.

8. Why is a Well Manager® system installation better than a well pump repair?

When you experience low water pressure, dirty water, or no water at all you will be confronted with the decision of repairing your well, drilling a new one, or making your well more efficient with a Well Manager® system or our less expensive Herculan ConstaBoost™ solution.

Limited water pressure and a failing water supply are usually caused by the following reasons:

  • Your well pump could be broken: A well pump repair might be needed to achieve more water and greater water pressure. Shaft bearings wear over time and are a common cause for repairs.
  • Your well pump could be clogged: The pump’s intake screen or may have gotten clogged with debris, sedimentation, or bacteria and could need to be properly cleaned.
  • Your check valve may be stuck: There is a check valve in your well’s pump discharge line that could have gotten stuck.
  • Your well is a low yield well: Often low yield wells are mistaken for other well problems, when they just need the right equipment to run right.

A Well Manager® system installation can be better than a well pump repair because it is cheaper, just as effective, and doesn’t require the invasive drilling of a new well. Over-pumping of low yield wells causes well failure, and Well Manager® prevents over-pumping while providing the right amount of water for your home. It is the only system that works in tandem with the natural hydraulic cycle to flexibly deal with well yield variations. By collecting smaller amounts of water at regularly timed intervals, Well Manager® can withdraw just the right amount of well water for your use.

For more information, you can read more about low yield wells on our website. Customers can call us and speak to a Well Manager, LLC. technician at (800) 211-8070 in the United States and at (1-609) 466-4347 anywhere else worldwide.

9. Does Well Manager® help with well water problems?

It is more typical than you might expect to have well water problems with low yield wells, especially in geographic locations that do not receive much rainfall. To solve well water issues, property owners turn to larger storage tank systems without knowing that a Well Manager® can provide a less expensive and more efficient solution.

Storage tank systems over-pump your well, leaving your water source depleted and your pump exhausted. It leads to an ever declining well yield and no water. When there is water in a large tank that cannot turn over quickly enough to avoid warming, algae and bacteria growth can rapidly develop.

Well Manager® can save both your pump and your well from potentially being rendered useless. Please refer to the above questions and answers for more information on how Well Manager® increases low yield well production.

You can also visit the Well Manager® Case Studies page to see how Well Manager® has resolved many unique well water problems for homeowners all over the United States.