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Old 11-05-2020, 01:03 AM   #1
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Default Could use some tips on debugging Lake Water pump

I'm new to this property that I'm dealing with on this pump. I noticed the pump was running a lot a month ago when we viewed it. It's not holding the back pressure well enough. But it was getting by, just running a lot.

I did shut it off about a week ago to do some electrical work at the house. I had a heck of time getting it going again. Had to prime several times and it sucked in (or stirred up) a lot of sediment. The sediment clogged the toilet valve which I had to replace. It was back to getting by.

I just wanted another month out of it (if weather cooperates). I was going to add a backflow valve near the pump but was worried that might make it hard to prime. I also bought a new pickup for the end of the line that has a backflow valve in it.

I was gonna work on it and decided to let it go. Sure enough, I think the back pressure leak got worse and it lost it's prime. I'm hoping/assuming the pump is still ok. If not, it's time to close. It was free running for ~24 hours. Not sure how much water was still in it, but it was not building pressure.

The main hesitation I had working on it, is working with that stiff plastic line when it's cold out.

How would you find the back pressure leak?

I was thinking of just replacing the pickup valve and cross my fingers. Pickup is only in about 1 foot of water right now. Lake is down about a foot.

Should I just cut it off and whack on a new one?
Do I need to heat the tubing to make it pliable?

Should I put the backflow valve in near the pump?

Any other ideas appreciated.
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Old 11-05-2020, 02:47 AM   #2
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Arrow Foot Valve = Backflow Valve...

It sounds like your "foot valve" is leaking. Debris may have damaged the thin rubber seal inside, or it may have merely picked up a pine needle. (!)

Especially since the lakes are still lowering this late in the season, I'd add more hose to get the valve into deeper water. Use a milk crate and "zip" ties to get the valve clear of the bottom. Horizontal operation of the valve is OK.

The hose can be readily cut with a "bypass limb-lopper", which you may already own--stored away with your garden tools.

As you suspect, running the pump "dry" can damage the bearings. This will result in noisy operation or failure; however, the water already "up-pipe" could have kept the pump wet and cool-running.

To readily install a new foot valve, the hose should be heated. Dip the hose end into a pan containing very hot water.

Priming the pump can be done with a garden hose and a small "utility pump" ($60) immersed in a six-gallon bucket of water. "Crack open" the bleeder valve first.
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Old 11-05-2020, 09:00 AM   #3
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The el cheapo white plastic foot valve, cost about 16.95, actually works very good and has plastic cone with small holes to help keep the ooze out. Should be elevated up off the lake bottom, tied atop a big concrete paver block that has holes for threading the yellow polyethylene rope. Sometimes, a fliter type bag is secured over the stop valve and line end to help keep any sediment and ooze out of the water supply. Is this drinkable water, no, it is not drinkable but is good for the sink, shower, and toilet. Is it good for brushing your teeth ..... a good question?

The foot valve or stop valve is usually the problem and is always best to replace it when the pump runs too much because the old spring inside it has lost its springiness and became a weak spring. Can probably be done from a rowboat using a long handle hoe or something to raise up the water line and lift the foot valve end up onto the row boat. You cut off the old valve with a hack saw, making a perfect even, smooth, 90-degree cut, cutting through the black cpvc water line, and gently tap a new valve into the line end with Vaseline, a mallet, and two opposing hose clamps.


Don't mess with the factory setting on the 30-50psi pressure switch ..... you will regret it. For 30-dollars you can get a new 30-50psi shallow well pressure switch which is probably a smooth move.
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Old 11-05-2020, 09:28 AM   #4
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Yes, Iíve used the cheap white foot valves before. I had a pump in my boathouse in my last property that I used for watering grass, power washing docks, boat etc. Not for house water supply. The original valve was the same one the house came with that I bought 17 years ago and was still working.

I like the milk carton idea.

I like the hot water to soften plastic idea too.

Neighbor that shut the pump down for me said the pump was good and warm but not hot.

Thanks.
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Old 11-05-2020, 10:18 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by mswlogo View Post
Should I put the backflow valve in near the pump?
Don't put a back flow valve near the pump, use a foot valve.... the back clow valve near the pump just complicates maters. What is a reasonable thing to do is to put a valve in by the pump, so you don't end up draining everything when you have to work on the water line....
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Old 11-05-2020, 10:32 AM   #6
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Default Well pump

Agreed. Pickup should be in much deeper water and protected from sediment. Several here replaced the onshore pump with a well pump. Less servicing, NO noise at all since the pump is under water.
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Old 11-05-2020, 02:07 PM   #7
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Check your line for wear where it crosses the rocks into the water. Wave action can cause holes to wear into the plastic line. The problem usually shows up when the holes are no longer covered with water and air is sucked in when the pump runs.
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Old 11-05-2020, 07:02 PM   #8
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Default 2x

I double piped mine where the line comes over the rocks. Cheap, next time you cut or replace the line.
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Old 11-05-2020, 08:20 PM   #9
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Arrow Wave vs Wake...

Instead of a double pipe, I cut 1-foot oversized sections and threaded about a dozen sections over the intake pipe. Holes can't be worn through the pipe, as those loose sections rotateórather than be abraded by the rocks.

Quote:
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Check your line for wear where it crosses the rocks into the water. Wave action can cause holes to wear into the plastic line. The problem usually shows up when the holes are no longer covered with water and air is sucked in when the pump runs.
Years ago, it used to be wave action, but in the last few decades, the "action" has become violent wake action.
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Old 11-05-2020, 09:14 PM   #10
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Lots of fantastic ideas.

This is hopefully, just temporary to get to end of season.
With this weeks weather I’m so glad I didn’t close yet. What a week.

If for some reason I need to run the lake water next summer I’ll apply some of the mods suggested.

I got a new foot valve, 10” feet of tubing, a few unions and clamps.

I hope to avoid going in the water I do have a wet suite and booties. But that might not cut it.

I have an old percolator I’m gonna use for hot dipping the tubing.

One thing I did on my prior pump was I did put a back flow valve near the pump but I replaced an elbow (on the lake side of the added back flow) with a T and a Valve off that new tap so I could still prime the line. Worked pretty good. But I didn’t want to get into adding all that.
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Old 11-06-2020, 12:34 AM   #11
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Default 100 vs 100

If there are 100 pumps, there are 100 different hook ups. They all work.
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Old 11-06-2020, 08:23 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Descant View Post
If there are 100 pumps, there are 100 different hook ups. They all work.
And they are all similar. 1”-1.5” Poly line, with a foot valve/screen. Most need priming.

Probably the biggest variation are folks that use submersible well pumps. Which is a pretty cool idea and something I’d consider long term if I was gonna continue with lake water. No priming
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Old 11-06-2020, 08:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mswlogo View Post
And they are all similar. 1Ē-1.5Ē Poly line, with a foot valve/screen. Most need priming.

Probably the biggest variation are folks that use submersible well pumps. Which is a pretty cool idea and something Iíd consider long term if I was gonna continue with lake water. No priming
Another plus for the submersible well pumps is you cannot hear them. I have one at a commercial property and it works fine. The pump at the house is in the basement and you can hear it whenever it goes on.
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Old 11-06-2020, 07:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LIforrelaxin View Post
Don't put a back flow valve near the pump, use a foot valve.... the back clow valve near the pump just complicates maters. What is a reasonable thing to do is to put a valve in by the pump, so you don't end up draining everything when you have to work on the water line....
Just a different perspective on this. I have a back flow valve at the pump and also a foot valve at the end of the line. This prevents the water line from being pressurized. Rationale is that if there is a small leak in the water line (particularly over rocks or at the foot valve or other fittings) the line doesnít leak the water and the pump doesnít cycle on and off, as is what the OP is experiencing. Instead, the only thing that happens is the pump might suck up a bit of air from a small leak (of course, if itís a large leak all bets are off and it can lose the prime).
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Old 11-06-2020, 08:33 PM   #15
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And, a problem with the underwater pumps, located down the end of the intake line, is they require 110v electricity that can result in a drowning by a water/electric buzz zone when someone gets buzzed and loses ability to swim ....... buzzzzzzz !
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Old 11-07-2020, 01:50 AM   #16
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My pump was increasing unable to get to full pressure causing me to adjust the turn off pressure downward. Also running longer. I purchased the pump rebuild kit for my model for a fraction of the price of a new pump. Now the pump is like new.
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Old 11-07-2020, 10:02 AM   #17
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Does the pump rebuild have a new replacement impeller because I think the impeller can get worn down or something?
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Old 11-07-2020, 06:58 PM   #18
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All fixed.

When looking last night I was surprised how shallow the pickup was at and figured that caused it. This morning I cut off the end and added 8 feet and a new foot valve.

I go to prime it and water is pouring the back. It was disconnected!
So I reconnect it and it just wonít prime. Just wonít get above 25lbs. But every time I shut it off I hear a little gurgle where I reconnected. So I replaced the whole section which had a couple unions. The tubing they used was 160psi the stuff I bough was only 100psi.

After that it primed right up. No more back pressure leak.

There was an odd cut in the line right near the foot valve which I think was the back pressure leak.

Now it only runs when water is used. Amazing the pump still works.
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Old 11-08-2020, 11:12 AM   #19
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Here's a good shallow well pump repair story:

A neighbor was on his third day trouble shooting the very problematic shallow well cottage water system that sucks the water up and out of Lake Winnipesaukee.

By the third day, had totally dug up the underground cpvc 1 1/4" line expecting to find a crack in the line, somewhere, but no cracks were found.

What was the problem? He discovered that a chipmunk had stored acorns inside the line which blocked the line ..... ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
................

For priming if it ever loses prime, I hook a garden hose up to the outside garden hose faucet, and run the hose into the lake with a 1/6-hp utility pump attached, into the lake water, to get it filled and primed ..... after saying a prayer to the shallow well pump system gods.
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Old 11-08-2020, 01:01 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Does the pump rebuild have a new replacement impeller because I think the impeller can get worn down or something?
Not only the impeller can get worn down but also the jet nozzle. After about twenty years of service my plastic nozzle was seriously worn. A rebuilt kit comes with impeller, nozzle, gaskets and seals.
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Old 11-08-2020, 05:54 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Descant View Post
I double piped mine where the line comes over the rocks. Cheap, next time you cut or replace the line.
Our last two leaks were from the hose rubbing on rocks. Doubling up the hose helped a little but piling rocks on the hose where it entered the lake kept the hose from moving. Haven't had a leak since.
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Old 12-31-2020, 05:43 AM   #22
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Lightbulb Diagnosing "By Ear"...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TiltonBB View Post
Another plus for the submersible well pumps is you cannot hear them. I have one at a commercial property and it works fine. The pump at the house is in the basement and you can hear it whenever it goes on.
I like knowing that water is in use. (That someone has arrived home, and might need help with the groceries).

A pump that starts up at night is also a handy diagnostic tool to determine plumbing faults.
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