Caring for Your Well
In general, wells require very little maintenance. Awareness of how your system operates can alert you to potential problems. Catching a problem when it is small may save you money by averting bigger problems. For instance, a pressure tank that has failed will put more strain on the well pump and should not be ignored. Pumps are designed to last a very long time, but their life span will be reduced if the rest of the system is not operating correctly.
If you are suddenly out of water be sure to check the circuit breaker or fuse for your pump, make sure that all pipe valves are open that should be open, and check any filtering devices that are installed after the pressure tank to be sure these are not plugged.
When you need to call a professional for help there is pertinent information you should have available to tell your service company. First of all, is the well a drilled well with a submersible pump or a driven point well with a pump that is above ground?
What is the size of the diameter of the well casing? Drilled wells in the northwoods are 4" on up. A lot of older wells were installed with a 4" casing and can present a challenge when the submersible pump goes bad.
Will the service company be able to back a truck up to the well if necessary? While most pumps can be pulled by hand, some pumps may need to be pulled with a pump hoist located on the back of a service truck.
Do you know the depth of the well or who the original installer was? These items are helpful for the service company in determining what kind of equipment they will need to service the well.
DRIVEN POINT WELLS
What is the size of the diameter of the well casing? Driven point wells in the northwoods are either 1-1/4" or 2". If the well was installed by a licensed professional it is probably a 2" well. Many homeowners, especially in the past, have installed their own point well with 1-1/4" pipe purchased at the local hardware.
What is the brand name and model number of the well pump? Jet pumps used on driven point well systems vary greatly. Pumps purchased in hardware stores may not have parts readily available for them.
Is the pressure tank attached directly to the pump? On some installations, the pressure tank may be mounted below or directly above the pump. In most standard installations, the pressure tank will be connected after the pump to your water supply line for the building.
What is the brand name and model number of the pressure tank? This information can usually be found on the name plate of the tank. There are varying sizes of pressure tanks and not all brands are of equal quality. Most pressure tanks used today are captive-air tanks meaning a diaphragm on the interior of the tank separates the water and air to achieve a pressurized environment. Also common are galvanized tanks that use an air volume control valve to release excess air.
What symptoms is your system showing? When a pressure tank goes bad you may not notice it right away as you will usually continue to have water at your faucets and outlets. Common symptoms include the pump cycling on and off rapidly as water is being used or the pump turning on every time you use even a small amount of water. A normal cycle on most pressure systems is a gradual decline in pressure to a low setting at which point the pump kicks on and refills the pressure tank to a high setting, usually about 20 pounds of pressure higher.