well water

Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:24 pm

My faucets have been spitting some air for the last few weeks.
Hard to pin down if it is only after sitting not used all night or during frequent use. Seems to do it both times.
It is similar to shutting off the water for a repair and then having it spit when you turn it back on, except not quite as bad.
Pump is 220 V and at least 12 years old. It has a bladder pressure tank
that I put in 8 yrs ago. I am not sure what the air pressure is supposed ot be on the tank, I lost the sheet.
I have checked for leaks at barn and shop and see no moisture near buried lines going to these buildings. I did have the bright idea to bury the line 8-9 feet deep since I had a free backhoe so maybe it will be a while before the ground gets wet at the surface. I also listened to the well control one night and did not hear the pump run when no water was being used.
Any ideas???

Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:37 pm

Your water has lots of air dissolved in it and is releasing some air as the water warms up in your plumbing once inside the house. Particularly in the water heater! Cold water holds more dissolved gas than warm water, just like soda pop.

The excess air either occurs naturally in the aquifer your water is being drawn from or is being absorbed in your pressure tank due to a ruptured bladder. You wouldn't be getting air inside the lines due to a leak, too much water would be squirting out for any air to enter.

Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:44 pm

My family had a well growing up, and the holding tank didn't have a bladder on it like the newer tanks do. Over time, the air level in the tank would increase and when the water level got low before the pump would turn on, air would come out into the lines. Also, they had a pinhole in the incoming line and everytime the pump would turn on, it would pound some more water into the tank. Over a short period of time this lead to air in our waterlines.

One fix would be to turn off the pump and completely drain out the water/air in your tank and repressurize with compressed air.

Just a thought!

Mike in La Crosse, WI

Thu Nov 15, 2007 2:55 pm

Yep I'd go to the bladder tank,drain it and put some air pressure in it.Mine at my old house would need to be drained ever 6 months.Water leaked into the top part of the bladder.Or find some one who can look at the system real quick.Kevin

Thu Nov 15, 2007 2:58 pm

Anyone know what the air pressure is supposed to be?
It is a maroon tank from Menard's don't remember the brand
or required pressure. I'm at work, can get the brand tonite if necessary.
It's the cold water so the heater is not compounding the problem if it's trapped air.

Thu Nov 15, 2007 3:01 pm

As I recall most well sytems operate at 30 - 50 or 40 - 60 settings.

Thu Nov 15, 2007 3:46 pm

You should be able to determine the operating pressure if you have a pressure gauge at the tank. Watching the pressure gauge, run water until the well pump kicks on - that's your low pressure setting. Turn the water off and watch the gauge until the pump stops - that's your high pressure setting.

If your well pump is coming on too often, there is too much water in the pressure tank. You'll need to addair to the tank to displace the extra water.

Thu Nov 15, 2007 4:00 pm

Your initial air pressure should be whatever the lowest setting is on the pressure switch, regardless of the make of the pump. That will assure the most volume per cycle.

It's been over 50 years since I worked on one of the early submersible pumps but some had a unique system to add air to the tank. The line had a check valve and Schrader (snifter) valve near the tank to admit air and the drop line had a drain hole. For every cycle the line would slurp in a gob of air to be shoved into the tank on the next cycle. On the side of the tank was a float valve to let the surplus air out. This was called an Extrol valve. This system was intended to solve the opposite problem, the air in the tank being dissolved by the cold fresh water under pressure. That's the reason for bladder tanks... to keep the air and water separate.

Is your problem a new one? You may need a tank with an extrol valve instead of a bladder.

Thu Nov 15, 2007 4:35 pm

It just started a week ago and is so intermittant that it is hard to
find a pattern, such as only does it after sitting or only does it after washing three loads laundry etc. I do know it is only the cold, I can hear it when the toilet refills, the kids have it happen occassionally when they wash their hands. They use cold only, I use hot only and it doesn't do it for me.
I replaced the old waterlogged galvanized tank about 8 yrs ago with this bladder type and have had no problems til now. No other plumbing changes since Aug when I replaced a bath fixture, no air spits from AUg (and before) to Early Nov.

Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:44 pm

Pump in the well sucking air?

Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:46 pm

10 to 15 lbs of air pressure in the bladder. You will of course have to drain the tank, pressurize the bladder, then turn on the pump.

Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:51 pm

I have 2 thoughts, one is that the bladder has developed a leak and you are getting air from it. Second one is a pipe from the pump developing a leak along with the check valve in the pump leaking and sucking air back into the pipe.

Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:21 am

The pressure switches I have worked on and with have been Square D. They recommend 2 psi below the on pressure(low) . So if you have a 40-60 (40 on 60 off)switch your tank should have 38 psi in it . Most of the time it tells what pressure the switch is inside the cover.Unless its fell off. :roll: As did mine in my pump house.

Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:00 am

Is the water table falling from lack of rain in your area? Is there a nearby new heavy user of water sucking the table down and you are drawing in air from time to time? These are additional thoughts to those already mentioned.

Sat Nov 24, 2007 6:40 pm

Sand on the well point screen ??? Mine spits intermittently, but I'm not sure why. C