Pump Won't Stay Primed

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by ErikWP, Apr 13, 2005.

  1. ErikWP

    ErikWP LawnSite Member
    Posts: 14

    I have a shallow well about 26' with a check-valve (which i replaced, but did not help), and a 1hp pump. I drained the pump for the winter, and now it is very hard to prime. When it does prime it looses prime after an hour or so, and will blow the breaker if I am not around to shut it off, since it won't re-prime itself. Any suggestions? Please help.
  2. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,713

    If this is on a well point, the time may have come to clear out the intake screen. 26 feet lift is near the limits for a shallow well pump, and you don't want it working any harder than it has to. Another way to reduce the workload on a pump is to restrict the outflow, but that's likely to have an adverse affect on the sprinkler system operation.
  3. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,563

    you have a leak somewhere in the suction side. the most common place is at the threads of the pump.
  4. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956

    I always use Gav pipe at the pump and then go to PVC. This has saved me the problem of over heating causing leaks. Before doing this I would get thread leaks on PVC right at the pump. Yes it cost more to install, but so does call backs.
  5. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,713

    Man, you warm-weather guys get away with murder!
  6. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956

    Wet Boots

    PVC well casing and suction line are SOP in Zone 10 and Code. But remember we very seldom freeze and then only for a very short time. I go Sch 40 above ground and all suction lines. I am one of the few that will do that.

    I am now semi retired and will not renew my Irrigation license. Two major problem here are the lack of good techs and low ball pricing on new installs for contractors. I never did new installs because we have three guys in town fighting to do contractor work. They charge $1,100 for city water hook ups. I can't buy the supplies for that to do a good job. So I just don't fight them. One of them is famous for removing the back flow after inspection.

    Yes I realize you Northern guy have issues that we can't imagine. Freeze Line and hard pan soil are two I can think of.
  7. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,697

    Did you ever get that one right!!
  8. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,713

    On pond-fed systems, we do the same thing, although with a brass check valve mounted on the suction side of the pump. On a galvanized steel well point, though, some suction sides were done entirely in brass and galvanized steel, which also makes it harder for a casual thief to steal the pump.

    We like our hardpan. Keeps the weekend warriors out of the battle. :p
  9. crosson lawn

    crosson lawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 107

    I also have a similar problem. i do lawns but this is my yard. i haven't been serious about my own lawn until this year so i haven't used my irrigation since i moved in 3 years ago and i am guessing that it wasn't used before that for about 5 judging from the leaves on the ground. well about 7 oak trees and a large fire of leaves later i am ready to have a good lawn. i primed the pump and replaced all heads and the system has been working for 2 weeks. now it loses prime so i use a guzzler to try to prime it because i put a check valve in at the pump...didn't work. so i went to the well yes i dug it up and cut out the 2 inch 90 and i figured i would prime it so i ran a water hose to it and tried to fill it up but it takes all the water i can give it. what does this mean????? is my well dry and do i have to drill deaper???
  10. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956


    As Wet as we have been this year I would hate to thing the well went dry. Yes April and May are normally very dry. We have had very strange wet weather this year. Is the pump new of old?? Are all the suction lines tight etc. The impeller on the pump may be woren out. I am not really a good irrigation guy, so others may have better Ideas.

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