Water well drilling, pump service, and water quality
FAQ and Troubleshooting
I don’t have any water!
Here are some things to check:
Check the fuses – if they’re burned out, replace them. They’ll generally have a number on them that has to match. You can always take one out and bring it with you to the hardware store to make sure you get the right kind.
Check for power to the house. If your house doesn’t have power, your pump won’t work either. Also, does the stove power up completely? The stove and the pump both run on 220-volt power, and if your stove seems weak, you may have lost one “leg” of power. Power problems generally require an electrician or the power company, but you can always call us for advice.
If it’s winter, it’s possible that the water in some of the pipes is frozen. Frozen pipes can be thawed with a hair dryer (or other equipment), but take care not to melt any plastic parts.
Look for overloads (red buttons) – if you find any near the pump, push them to see if they have tripped.
If none of these work and you’re still out of water, give us a call for advice.
My regular pump guy said my well is dry!
You probably ought to read our dry wells page, or get a second opinion. In our 66 years drilling wells in the Magic and Wood River valley, we haven’t seen very many wells that have actually gone dry. Lots of times it can be a bad component or a mis-configured installation. (Pumps and wells can be tricky to plan, due to forces like friction loss and electric signal degradation.) What’s worse is that we’ve heard that the guy who sells you the replacement well fills the old one in before you can get a second opinion – so no one ever knows whether you really needed a new well or not. If your pump guy says you need a new well, your best bet is to get a second set of eyes on your system. It only costs a service call, and may end up saving you a lot of money.
My pump is acting funny!
There are a lot of things that can cause this. Listen to the pump – it should run for about a minute before it turns off, and only when you’re using water. If it runs for more than a minute, or if you aren’t using any water when it turns on, check around your house and property for leaks. (If you have a Smart Pump – you can tell if your pressure tank is slightly larger than a basketball – it will run most of the time. See the “tiny blue tank” question below.)
Leaks can come up in surprising places. Check sprinkler lines, pipelines, faucets, and toilets. (In the tank of a toilet, there’s an overflow pipe. If that pipe is leaking, you might not ever hear water running, but it can be enough to trigger the pump.)
My pump turns on every time I use the faucet!
This could be several things. If you have a Smart Pump, it’s completely normal! If you have a traditional installation, this could be a problem with the big blue pressure tank. Try thumping the tank with your hand – it should sound hollow, but if it sounds solid, there’s a problem. Here are some steps to fix a pressure tank problem.
Establish the start/stop pressure of the system. (Most of our systems turn on at 40psi and off at 60psi. Call us if you’re not sure.)
Turn off power to the pump.
Drain the water out of the system, and leave at least one valve open.
Check the pressure with a tire gauge. It should show 2 pounds below the start pressure. (So, for a Walker Water system, it should be 38 psi.)
Use a compressor to add air to the tank (if needed).
Turn on power.
I have a tiny blue tank, and a grey box with lights on it!
This is a Variable Frequency Drive system (also called a Smart Pump). Write down what the lights are doing – flashing, solid, number of flashes in a row, etc. Then you can turn off the power to the pump for 30 minutes or so, then turn it back on. If the problem comes back, give us a call. (Unfortunately, if a Smart Pump system fails, the repair will probably be expensive.)
I’ve got sand in my water!
There are a lot of things that can cause this, and most of them are down the well. First of all, if happens for a little while in the spring or the fall, it may be normal! As water flows through the ground, it carries a bit of material with it. You can always open an outside faucet and let it run until the water cleans up. If that doesn’t work, there are devices we can install into your water system that filter small amounts of sand, but if you’ve got a lot of sand it might take a more invasive repair. Or, you can call us and we can take a look at the system to see where the problem is, then give an estimate of what it’ll take to fix.
Can you do water samples?
Yep, we sure can. What would you like to test for? If you’re selling or buying a home, a bank will often require a potability test. (More info on potability tests can be found on the Realtors page.) Most of the water tests we take are for bacteria, nitrates, or nitrites. Any of these can indicatecontamination. If you’re concerned about the quality of your water, we can collect samples and interpret lab reports. If you have a contaminated well, we can discuss chlorine pumps and other systems to clean up your water. Check our Water Quality page for more information.
I heard you guys are the most expensive!
Well, sort of. Here’s a whole page that explains why a Walker Water Well and Water System costs more. We’ve heard stories about competitors who advise clients to get a price from us, and they’ll beat it by $100. And there are some of our competitors who cut corners wherever they can to get the price as low as possible. (We’ve repaired systems that had cheap plastic pipe installed, and it broke off when we pulled it – dropping a perfectly good pump to the bottom of the well. See our Rogue’s Gallery for examples.)
We believe that if you pay a little more up front, you get a system that works for years with fewer troubles. A Walker Water System will generally run 7 to 10 years without any problems, and some have run 30 years without a single service call. Plus, when we come out for a repair, we fully troubleshoot the system – so you don’t pay for a repair you don’t need. So you could get a well from the cheap guy, but you’ll probably end up paying more in the long run with repairs.
If you’ve had another guy out to fix your pump and you’re just not confident in his diagnosis, give us a call – we’re happy to give a second opinion.