FAQ

Why doesn’t my pump shut off?

If you have a JET-PUMP there are 6 basic reasons for this condition:

  1. The impellers are worn
  2. A vacuum or pressure leak
  3. Your sand point is plugged
  4. Jet or venturi is plugged
  5. Faulty pressure switch
  6. The water table has dropped

If you have a SUBMERSIBLE PUMP there are 5 basic reasons for this condition:

  1. The pump is worn
  2. The water table has dropped
  3. There is a leak
  4. Intake is plugged
  5. Faulty pressure switch

I need to have a well abandoned/sealed, now what?

You may have come across an old well on your property or it could be that you have received a notice from the local health department that you need to seal a well no longer in use on your property.  What is the reason the old well needs to be sealed?  Out-of-service wells can pose potential safety hazards and threats to the ground water if not sealed.  Casings in the well may deteriorate and rust.  Wastes associated with stables, chicken houses, dumps, etc., that are located over an old well may flow straight down to the aquifer, causing contamination.  In addition wells 3 to 5 feet in diameter create a physical safety hazard for construction equipment, people, and animals.

Indications that you may have an out-of-service well on your property include:

  • Pipes sticking out of the ground
  • Depressions in the ground
  • Out of use windmills
  • Small buildings that may have at one time been a well house

The next step is to contact us, our licensed professional technician will come out and locate the well.  Requirements vary for each county in Illinois, most require that a permit to seal the well be submitted to the Health Department, along with the appropriate fee.  Once we have received the permit from the Health Department we will schedule with one of their representatives and you (the homeowner) to seal the well.  Any pumps, pipes related equipment, or blockages will be removed from the well.  It will then be fill from bottom to top with the approved sealing material.  Once all work is complete you will be provided with a Well Sealing Affidavit form (which gives you documentation that your well has been sealed by a licensed well pump contractor).  We will mail the original affidavit to the Health Department for their records.

How old is my well and water system?

With just a little help from you, we can usually identify what kind of equipment you have, the make and model and approximate manufacturing date. There are a variety of hidden and scripted date codes. Just call and we will tell you where to look.

What is a drilled well?

A drilled well consists of a hole bored into the ground, with the upper part being lined with casing. The casing prevents the collapse of the borehole walls and (with a drive shoe or grout seal) prevents surface or subsurface contaminants from entering the water supply. The casing also provides a housing for a pumping mechanism and for the pipe that moves water from the pump to the surface.

The quality of materials used in well construction is an important factor. Casing must meet certain specifications, since substandard pipe does not have sufficient strength to withstand driving without potential damage to the joints. Such damage may allow shallow or surface water to enter the well.

The casing must also have a drive shoe attached to the bottom to prevent damage during driving and to make a good seal with the formation. In some applications, a grout seal of cement or bentonite may also be recommended to prevent contamination.

Below the casing, the lower portion of the borehole is the intake through which water enters the well. The intake may be an open hole in solid bedrock or it may be screened and gravel-packed, depending upon the geologic conditions.

Once the well is completed, it is bailed or pumped to develop the well and determine the yield. Many areas need further work after drilling to remove fine material remaining from the drilling process so that water can more readily enter the well. Possible development methods include compressed air (blowing), bailing, jetting, surging, or pumping. The quantity of water (yield test) is usually measured during development. The minimum test time is one hour.

After proper disinfection, the well is capped to provide sanitary protection until it is hooked into the customer’s system. Well caps require an air vent. The purpose of the vent is to equalize the air pressure between the inside of the casing and the atmosphere, and to release unpleasant or explosive lighter-than-air gases. If such gases are present and the well is enclosed in a building or confined space, the air vent should always be extended to the outside atmosphere. The vent pipe must be shielded and screened to prevent the entry of foreign material such as insects into the well.

What is a well cap?

A well cap is an approved manufactured cover of cast steel, aluminum or PVC. It is fastened on to the well casing with bolts and a rubber compression “O” ring and gasket. Both are incorporated to make a water tight and vermin proof seal. Well caps are also vented with a brass or stainless mesh. A female threaded port is used to tie in and insert electrical cable. Well caps must be State approved.

Am I allowed to work on my own well?

Of course you are. You must comply with all the statutes and construction codes designated by you state. Can a friend install my pump? No! Only a state certified, registered and licensed contractor is allowed to drill wells or install pumps. What about a plumber? Plumbing, well drilling and pump installation are 3 entirely different trades. Many plumbers pose that their credentials are qualified in pump installation. Only plumbers having attended certified continuing education classes and those that have requested to be identified and recognized by the state are qualified and acceptable. Demand to see a plumber’s state license bearing the letter “p” verifying he or she is a qualified pump and water supply system installer.

My water sample failed, Why? And what now?

Signs of contamination are not always obvious, contaminated water does not always look, taste, or smell differently.  When your water sample is turned into the laboratory it will be tested for the presence of coliform bacteria, which are normally present in the intestinal tract of humans, birds, and mammals.  This bacteria is always found in sewage, and is generally present in surface water and shallow ground water.  Coliform in a water sample usually indicates that pollution is entering the water supply and that organisms which cause intestinal diseases may be present or may gain entrance to the supply.  Water that contains Coliform bacteria is unsafe to drink.  A sample that is found to be positive with Coliform indicates a contaminated well.  It will require an immediate disinfection/chlorination in order to kill the bacteria.

Your water sample will also be tested for Nitrates.  High nitrates in the water may be an indication of natural and environmental contamination associated with your well.  A disinfection/chlorination would also be required if this is present in your well.

 

Can I take my own water sample?

Yes, sample bottles are available from your local Dept. of Public Health, or at our facility. Please remember to get sampling instructions and time your sample around laboratory hours and incubation times. The best time to take and submit a sample is usually on Mondays or Tuesdays. Samples sitting over weekends are not preferred. If you prefer the confidential results of an in-home water sample rather than a public laboratory record, a sample can be sent to an out of state certified lab to be processed. Please contact us for pricing and to schedule an appointment!

What is a chlorination?

The purpose of shock disinfection is to destroy bacterial contamination present in the well system.  At Prairie State Water Systems, we use professional grade chlorine or Sterilene in order to disinfect the well.  During this procedure you will be without drinkable water, so be sure to have sufficient bottled water on hand to drink and an alternate location to shower for the duration.

The chlorine will be added, chlorinating the well from the top to the bottom.  The water that is in the well from the well to the house and back to the well will then be re-circulated.  Then the chlorinated water will be brought to the house.  The chlorine will then sit, this is ideally for 24 hours.  Our technician will return the next day to properly flush the system.  Flushing the well can take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours depending on how long it takes the formation to clear itself of the chemical.  Once the flushing is complete we will re-sample your well and send the sample to the laboratory.

I don’t have a storage tank in my house… so where is it at?

All water systems require a pressure tank, and size does make a difference!

There are a few types of storage tanks out there. The most functional tank is the captive air or bladder type tank. Most bladder type tanks are completely maintenance free and come in a variety of sizes to accommodate the water pump. Some tanks are buried when there is no other alternative. Unfortunately, most burial tanks are attacked by natural soil acids and rust out several years after installation. If the iron, mineral content and pH of your water is not aggressive, a burial tank may fit your application. The labor to replace a burial tank will require a back hoe or some type of excavating equipment. Pretty costly! To service or replace a tank inside is simply a service call.

How often is my pump supposed to run?

It doesn’t hurt your pump to run as much as it does to cycle or turn on and off rapidly. A water-logged tank is the single most common reason for pump failure. If you’re concerned, we can coach you over the phone on how to balance, calibrate and adjust your system to maximize efficiency and performance.

How do I size a tank?

A pump’s life is gauged on the amount of times it goes on and off. If you can reduce the on and offs ( or cycles ), you will increase the life of your pump! To accomplish this, you must have a correct tank size. A good rule of thumb and all manufacturers recommend that a pump should run at least 1 minute from cut in to cut out. For pumps over 3/4 horsepower, 2 minutes is recommended. To properly size a tank, you must know the rate in gallons per minute that your pump will pump. Most residential pumps are rated at 10 GPM ( gallons per minute ). Need help? Advice is free.

So what’s the difference between Lowes, Menards, Home Depot and other mass merchandisers and us?

Great… now we have to prove ourselves! All mass merchandisers have purchase power far beyond the means of any local service and repair firm. Truckloads of economy and below trade standard pumps, parts, tanks and fittings are available without explanation as fast as your Visa card can process. All they have to do is sell it. They don’t have to install, adjust, calibrate or balance anything! They are not called upon to design a system that fits your needs or calculate performance curves that provide efficient and cost effective operation. The only guarantee you have is your receipt – the labor’s on you!

Plan on taking it back? Guess again. If your pump even appears used or previously installed, it’s yours to keep. No returns on used merchandise. Most likely you’re helped by a young, well intended youth having not the slightest idea of anything but cost and bigger must be better. You are well off taking the money you might have saved and buying a proven nationally know product, by a nationally known manufacturer, with a real guarantee by a contractor who is certified and licensed, who is proud to look you straight in the eye at the coffee shop or grocery store. It doesn’t cost… it pays!

Can I have my tank and pump controls moved inside where it’s dry and won’t freeze?

Yes, and quite easily, too! Well pits have been the single most cause and source of contaminated water supplies. Extending your well casing out of the well pit, free of surface water and contained stagnate water will reduce the risk of contaminated water. Moving the tank and controls out of the well pit to a controlled dry environment will prolong the life of the system, as well as provide easy service and repair.