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I recently had to turn on the electric for a shared well in my name. I got a bill and it's as high as what my house bill is. The well is the only thing connected to the electric in the well house. We rewired it and replaced the pressure switch hoping to fix it.

Any suggestions what to do next?

Please keep in mind I know nothing about these, just want to relay info to my husband.

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Is the well pump actually running constantly? What does the pressure gauge show? Normally it should cycle between 40 and 60 psi (though could be +/-10 depending on how it's set). Cycling fast usually indicates trouble with your pressure tank. Never reaching the high shut-off point indicates excessive water use -- could be a leak. You should try turning off the valve after the tank going to the house(es), and see if the pump shuts off, then hook up a garden hose to the sed valve that should be on the tank and run water from there to see if the pump acts normally. – gregmac May 22 '13 at 22:45
yes, its running constantly, 20 psi with 40/60 psi. shut all water valves off and its still running constantly – Beth Peden May 22 '13 at 23:02

If this is a submersible pump in a fairly shallow well and it is running continuously and only putting out 20psi, you have several possible problems:

  1. The impeller assembly is coming apart and there is excessive internal leakage in the pump.

  2. There is a leak in the pipe leading from the pump to the well-head, either the pipe has split, or the barb fitting nipple in the top of the pump has a hole corroded in it. The pump basically is recirculating the water back into the well.

  3. Submersible pumps with iron pipe to the wellhead that use a below frostline casing fitting have an o-ring in the slider coupling assembly that can rot and cause a leak back into the well.

  4. Not sure where the main water shutoff valves are. Are they in the pump house or at the residences? Any unexplained water bubbling out of the ground with quicksand like mud?

Note: A leaking foot valve will have one of two effects. On an above ground pump, you will lose prime, on a submersible, if there's air leakage, you get a slug of air into the system every time the pump starts (chugging faucets, etc).

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sounds like #1 impeller is dead or worn and if it wasnt before with the pump running constantly it probably will be now. – UNECS May 23 '13 at 8:09
Bad/dirty check valve in pump? – Wayfaring Stranger May 23 '13 at 16:24
No check valve problems. The check valve (foot valve) only operates when the pump is off, and when leaking, just means you get a slug of air into the system on pump start if there is a pinhole somewhere. – Fiasco Labs May 24 '13 at 0:53
@UNECS in my case, there were nylon strings in the cold water that ended up in the filter, followed by an oil slick when it destroyed the motor seal. Nylon impeller, not sure if the impellers went or one of the bearings came apart. – Fiasco Labs May 24 '13 at 0:59

I am surprised no one mentioned at leak in the pipe from the well to the house(s). That can cause quite a bit of water usage. Look for water standing between the house and the well. It helps if you know roughly where the pipe runs. A couple years ago I hit almost 90 dollars in usage in one month. Normal is around 25 dollars.

From there either start digging down following the water or hire someone. Fixing the pipe is usually easy. A couple brass fittings and a short piece of replacement pipe is all that is needed.

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