Power outage leads to well pump failure

[Well Pump]The power was out in Southwest Albuquerque for 3-4 hours Sunday afternoon and evening.

After the power came back on, our well pump didn’t pressurize our system. The pump was running, but not bringing up any water. The is the second problem we’ve had with this pump. In the first incident, the pump wouldn’t turn off *after* pressurizing the tank.

We’ve learned a bit about well pumps since then. With an above ground pump, if the water level gets low enough, the pump needs to be primed. Priming a well pump involves putting just enough water into it to get it started, after which it self regulates. This was our first time trying to prime our well, and after 15 gallons of water poured down various pipes we decided we didn’t know what we were doing. An hour of research later, we decide in the morning to:

  • fill up every available container with water at Caer Aisling. (‘s other domicile up the road a bit.)
  • Call our insurance company and start a claim, in the event we needed to replace our pump.
  • Call a well company to bring a well technician out to evaluate the situation.

Our garden is the one thing most at risk from lack of water. It consumes 10 times the water we use directly, and must be watered at regular intervals to avoid heat exhaustion. Normally, the whole thing is on an automatic drip irrigation system, but with no water pressure we needed to hand water.

Gilbert, a well technician that we have conversed with previously, showed up at 10:00AM. After we agonized all night, and worrying about the problem all morning, he fixed it in 20 minutes! When the water level in our tank gets low enough, the pressure regulator stops functioning. The pump essentially sucks air in circles. He turned off the pressure regulator long enough to bring some water into the tank as part of priming it. After that the well system began to behave normally.

Unfortunately, we’ve developed a new leak in the tank. It now has a steady drip drop of water coming out of it. Gilbert also reports that the pump needs new bearings, as ours are grinding. Basically, our pump needs to be overhauled.

We’ve had plans to convert the entire system to solar power, which involves purchasing a new pump. Our new well tank is already sitting in our yard waiting to go. It looks like those plans just accelerated!