Resolving An Issue With Air In Your Water Well Discharge Pipes

Posted on: 10 August 2016

If you have a water well on your property, then you are living in one of the 15 million homes in the United States that relies on a well to supply water to the home. You then likely know that water moves from the well to your house with the assistance of a well pump. Most wells have submersible pumps that require very little maintenance. However, issues sometimes spring up with the pumps, and the presence of air in your water lines is one sign of a well pump problem. Before you make an appointment with your water well specialist, make sure to troubleshoot the problem on your own. Investigate and make simple repairs by yourself and with the help of a well professional to solve the air problem first.

Investigate Your Water Pressure Tank

Water wells are connected to holding tanks called water pressure tanks. These tanks will discharge water quickly when you turn your faucet on, and they will also create good water pressure so fluids are dispelled at a constant speed. Water pressure is created with the assistance of an air pocket. Most tanks have air bladders that are small vinyl pockets that are pre-filled with air. Other tanks contain free air pockets that sit on the top of the tank and force pressure down on the water.

Most air bladder systems will not cause air to mix with the water in the pressure tank, unless they form a leak. Leaks may be noticed also if water pressure drops considerably and air comes out of your faucets for only a short period of time. Replacement of the bladder is needed in this case. 

If you have an air over water pressure tank, then air will release into the water if the tank is overcharged. Overcharging is when there is too much air and pressure in the tank. The water pressure placed on the air pocket will force air out of the tank and into the pipes. A typical overcharging situation will occur occasionally and resolve itself when the excess air leaves the tank. However, if the tank has sprung a leak, then water will escape, air will keep entering the tank, and air in your water lines will be a constant problem. Check around the pressure tank for signs of leaks, like pooling water under the tank. Replace the tank to solve the leak and air issue.

If you do need to purchase a new water pressure tank, make sure that you add the right amount of air to the tank to prevent future issues. 

Look At Check Valve Problems

Your well pump will force water up a long pipe and into a device called a pitless adapter. The water leaves the adapter, flows through a pressure gauge, and then moves into the pressure tank. The pressure gauge measures pressure and flow and forces the water pump to turn on and off based on pressure values and water needs. 

When the pump turns off, water will start to fall back down into the water discharge pipe connected to the pump. If the water is able to move backward through the pump, then this creates suction and air is pulled into the device. This air is then discharged with water when the pump turns back on again. A small device called a check valve sits close to the well pump. The valve closes when the water starts to flow backwards so water cannot flow back into the pump. 

If the check valve breaks or fails to close, then air will enter your water lines. It can be difficult to determine whether or not the check valve is broken or not. However, you will see a distinctive pattern of air bubbles when the valve no longer works. Specifically, you will see a large volume of air releasing from your pipes several minutes after you turn the water on. Water will release from the full pressure tank first and the air will move up through the pump discharge pipe and make its way into the tank and the water lines attached to your home. This will take a few minutes, and it will happen every time you turn your faucets on. Look for this type of discharge and schedule a check valve replacement if you notice it. 

For more information and assistance with your air problem talk with well pumps servicing companies in your area.