Your Well Pump's Suction Line Is Dry—What Happened?
Any well less than 25 feet deep falls into the "shallow" wells category. If your home has one of these wells, you most likely use an aboveground jet pump to pull water up to the surface. This pump resides in your home and utilizes a pipe known as a suction line to bring water from the bottom of the well. Under normal circumstances, the suction line must always remain filled with water.
Without water in the suction line, your pump will lose its prime. This situation will stop it from pulling in additional water and may also cause damage by allowing the pump to run dry and overheat. A dry suction line can have several causes, including problems with your well or problems with your pump, so it's crucial to determine the underlying cause quickly.
Why Your Suction Line Matters
Your home's pump cannot generate enough suction in the open air to pull water from the bottom of the well. In other words, a suction line filled with air effectively acts as a blockage, causing the pump to run continuously without bringing any water into your home. Your pump requires a continuous stream of water from the well to the impeller to operate effectively.
Shallow wells use a check valve at the bottom of the suction line to prevent water from flowing backward into the well. This valve ensures the suction line doesn't run dry and that your pump can generate enough pressure to pull water from the well. Suction lines must also be free of leaks since there's no pressure pulling the water up while the pump is off.
How Suction Lines Go Dry
Suction lines will generally only go dry for three reasons:
- Issues with the well
- Faulty check valves
- Suction line leaks
A faulty motor or impeller in the pump can also cause issues, but the check valve should still prevent the water from flowing back into the well. Instead, a dry line usually means the well water level is insufficient or that water leaves the suction line while the pump isn't running. Small leaks can introduce air pockets which will cause the pump to struggle, although it may still run.
What You Should Do About a Dry Suction Line
If you suspect a dry suction line, it's important to have your pump serviced as soon as possible. A dry suction line will inevitably damage your pump and may indicate a more severe problem with your home's well. Low water levels can also allow more dirt and grit to reach the pump, potentially causing more damage.
Contact a local well pump service to learn more.