Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Air in Water Line

    I have a well pump (submersible) system, and in the last month I have been getting air in my water line. I checked the air pressure in my air tank two different times, and the pressure has not dropped. I have no leaks anywhere in my house, and I was wondering if this could be caused by a failed check valve that is located at the entry point of the water line into the house?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    6,062

    Default Re: Air in Water Line

    It is more likely that your pump is setting near the top of the water in the well and pumping air periodically. This often happens during drought conditions or when using water faster than the well can refill.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Air in Water Line

    It is happening in the winter, when our water table is up. Also, my neighbors with wells are not seeing the same problems.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    6,062

    Default Re: Air in Water Line

    The purpose of the check valve is to prevent the pressurized water in the house from running back down into the well. It only lets the water flow in one direction. If th check valve is bad the pump would pump up pressure, then with no water turned on the pressure would bleed back off into the well. It is generally quite noticeable.

    A faulty washer or spring in a cartridge type faucet will sometimes allow air to be sucked in when another faucet is turned on or a toilet is flushed.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1,131

    Default Re: Air in Water Line

    Without going into a complete explanation of how a well system is supposed to work, I'll attempt to hit on a few points that are probably relavent to the problem you're experiencing. (I may end up covering alot anyway) Will cover more than submersible pumps for others who may have this same problem and read the post.

    Don't know if you have a galvanized pressure tank (single compartment tank in which the water and the air-head share the same space) or if you have a bladder type tank (a tank containing a "rubber" bag which holds the water separate from the air-head). Whichever it is, the symptoms you describe indicate that there is some air where there shouldn't be and consequently it comes up the lines and into the faucets,etc.

    The fact that you say there is a check-valve just inside the house wall on the incoming/supply line likely indicates that something has been wrong/malfunctioning in the past and that check-valve was placed there in an attempt to remedy the problem (or reduce the effects of the problem). (There is one notable exception to that...which I'll get to in a moment)

    Whether you have a submersible well pump or a jet-pump.......either type will have some manner of check-valve already present in the system. In the case of a submersible pump, the check-valve would be located right above the well pump down in the well casing. In the case of a two-pipe jet pump system, there would be what is known as a foot-valve at the bottom of one of those pipes. A foot-valve is a specific type of check-valve. In either instance,if the check valve down there fails, it will allow the water contained in the pipe to fall back down into the well...........until it reaches the static water level in the well casing.


    If the supply pipe coming up from the well gets a crack or hole in it, the same thing will happen as with a failed check-valve; the water will leak down to the level of the crack/hole....or down to the static water level....depending upon just where the hole or crack is located. (above the static water level or below/under water)

    If/when this sort of thing happens, the water that exits the pipe will be replaced by air. The next time the pump kicks on, the air will be injected into your pressure tank. If you have a bladder type tank, this air is now trapped inside the bag with the water and has no way of escape except out thru the lines feeding your fixtures. Or...if you have a galvy tank with no air-water volume control on it (or one that is malfunctioning).....eventually the tank will become air-logged (too much air-head). When the air-head in this type of tank reaches a sufficient size......it will also eject the extra air into your house lines.

    If you have a submersible pump or a two-pipe jet pump (these are the two most common types of pumps and well systems out there) I'll guess that either the check valve down in the well failed at some point or the pipe developed a hole/crack in it......sometimes someone will install this second check valve inside the house to prevent the water in the pressure tank from draining back down the casing. By taking this "shortcut", they don't have to pull the pump/pipes, but instead put a band-aid on the problem. This band-aid approach prevents the water in the tank from being constantly lost down the casing, but doesn't necessarily prevent the water in the well pipes from draining back down and being replaced by air.

    The one notable exception to this check-valve only at the bottom of a well pipe would be if you have a shallow well single-pipe jet-pump. (Jet-pumps are always installed above the well where you can see them. Submersibles are below the water where you can't see them and there will only be one pipe involved.) These single-pipe shallow-well jet pumps will frequently have a check-valve where you see the one you describe. If this describes your pump and system, the check valve you see inside the house is either failing or you likely have a hole in the pipe down inside the well casing somewhere.

    (Yes, there are "other" well systems out there with check-valves in different places, but are so rare in general that I'm gonna assume you don't have one of these and so won't describe them.)


    Bottom line here is that you likely need to call a plumber familiar (and experienced) with well systems to come check this out. If you don't know who this might be in your area, you could try calling a local well-driller to get a reference.........or they may offer this service themselves.

    PS- Checking the pressure in your tank won't tell you anything at all about this type of problem or whether you have a proper air to water ratio inside a galvy tank. The pressure switch which controls the running of the pump will always keep the pressure in the range where it's supposed to be (provided that the pressure switch isn't malfunctioning and in need of replacement) and it doesn't care or know anything about proper air to water ratios. If it "sees" a call for water, it starts the pump and allows it run until it is satisfied again.

    Depending upon what you have installed for a pressure switch, this range of operating pressures will either be 20-40, 30-50 or 40-60 psi. When the pressure inside the tank falls below the lower number/psi of its range because you have drawn water....the presure switch kicks in the pump which then pumps water back into the pressure tank until the higher number/psi is reached.
    Last edited by goldhiller; 12-10-2008 at 02:34 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    6,062

    Default Re: Air in Water Line

    I'm not sure about ****hiller's area but in this area it is common to have the check valve at the house . However he has made a very valid point about a leak in the line from the pump to the check valve. As a matter of fact, 2 years ago I ran into one. The original installer had used a galvanized nipple attached to the pit-less adapter which had rusted through. I had to pull the pump up and replace it with a brass nipple. Don't try to remove the pump unless you a a "T" or you might drop it down the well.
    Jack
    Last edited by JLMCDANIEL; 12-10-2008 at 02:56 PM.
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1,131

    Default Re: Air in Water Line

    Quote Originally Posted by JLMCDANIEL View Post
    I'm not sure about ****hiller's area but in this area it is common to have the check valve at the house .
    A good point made.....and a bad assumption on my part concerning this "extra" valve the OP describes on the supply line. Mea culpa.

    The water table around here is fairly close to the surface and so the vast majority of static water levels are within 25' or so. Ours is usually around 18'. (Drawdown hasn't yet been a concern. The well replenishes as fast you can pump it out with a 12 GPM pump.) Of course, if a well is located up on a ridge, it will be farther down to water. If it's more than 200' to water ....a second check-valve (in addition to the one immediately above the pump)is both recommended and advisable. Probably wouldn't hurt to toss one in if the distance is 100' either.
    Last edited by goldhiller; 12-10-2008 at 09:57 PM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •