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Community and Q&A

Check valve in between well and pressure tank?

DIYJester | Posted in Mechanicals on

I’ve lived in my home for about 4-5 years and have always wondered if the random cycling of my well pump could be do to me not having a check valve between the pump tank and the well/pump.

The house was pre-existing, but I really question the ability of the pump to hold the pressure in, let alone to not have any small leaks in the piping all the way up from the well in the ground.

Do these pumps have check valves built in normally? I would think if I were letting that amount of water into my home for that amount of time I would have noticed a wet spot on a wall, ceiling, or floor.

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Many brands of submersible pumps include built-in check valves. For those that don't, pump installers usually install a check valve in the well, immediately above the submersible pump.

    Some installers, but not all, also install an indoor check valve near the pressure tank. Here is a link to an online discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of multiple check valves:

    If you suspect a problem with your pump's check valve, you should call a plumber. I agree with your assessment that it is unlikely that your home's plumbing has an unnoticed plumbing leak.

  2. Jon_R | | #2

    Closing a valve located just before your interior plumbing and watching for cycling will indicate where the problem is. My guess is that you have a leaking check valve.

  3. DIYJester | | #3

    Thank you for your answers. I think I'll install a gauge downstream of the isolation valve after my pressure tank and shut the valve and turn the pump off overnight. I should be able to compare the pressures on either side before and after to see if the leak is in the system or the well (assuming the valve holds).

    The well has only been in service about 12 years. Is that a normal amount of time for a check valve on the pump to last before failure?

    It seems like the $1000 or so that it's going to take to lift the pump and replace would be better spent by putting the check valve farther up the system and adding a vacuum break to allow the well to drain back? I say this basing it on a 12 year life. My water is extremely hard (27 grains) so this may have played into fouling the check valve's seat. Because of the hardness, I'm also guessing my well is a bit deeper and under a limestone bed in an aquifer.

    Thanks for any input.

  4. Jon_R | | #4

    Evidently drainback with vacuum break is done. Needs the right air relief valve to keep the air out of the house plumbing when the pump starts up. If you have iron in your water, expect some precipitation.

    It might also be that adding a water hammer arrestor that uses a bladder would make double check valves OK. Less re-pumping of water than drainback.

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