New pump for well water still spurts air

The Associated Press
Friday December 15, 2000

Q: I recently replaced the old galvanized storage tank from my well pumping system with one that has an air bag to separate the water from the air. Since then, whenever I turn on the water faucet, air spurts out of the spout along with the water. Do you know what’s wrong? 

A: In all probability, you did not remove the snifter and the drain and Y-fitting from your well system when you switched to the new tank. These valves were installed on well systems that used submersible pumps and a water storage tank with no membrane separating the water and air in the tank. These valves introduce air into the tank to replenish the air lost through turbulence and absorption. 

An air cushion at the top of the tank acts like a spring, and as water is pumped into the tank, the air is compressed.  

The compressed air forces the water from the tank to the spout. Without the air cushion, the tank is waterlogged and the pump performs as if no tank were used, wearing it out prematurely. 

In a properly operating system, the pump is stopped by a pressure switch, and the snifter on the check valve opens, allowing air into the pipe.  

The water slug between the check valve and the drain and Y-valve drains into the well.  

When the pump is activated, the air slug is forced into the tank. 

When a storage tank with an air bag or diaphragm is used, the water and air are permanently separated, so it’s not necessary to introduce air into the tank. 

Since you did not remove the snifter, every time the pump is activated a slug of air is sent into the tank. The excess air escapes every time water is drawn. 

Remove the snifter and see if that solves the problem.  

Back out the snifter with a wrench and replace it with a pipe plug.  

If this doesn’t work, remove the drain and Y-fitting. However, because the drain and Y-fitting are 7 to 20 feet below the well’s top, you might need to hire a professional well installer to remove the fitting. 

Q: I have a TV room in my basement. The room is hot during the summer months. We have a dehumidifier in the room, so we thought the room should be cool.  

Could you please tell me why it’s hot down there? 

A: The room is hot because of the dehumidifier. 

A dehumidifier is basically a small self-contained air conditioner.  

An air conditioner discharges the heat removed from the circulating air and from the compressor to the outside, but a dehumidifier dumps that heat into the room. 

If the TV room is small and the dehumidifier runs continuously, it discharges enough warm air to heat the room.  

It makes a room more comfortable by lowering the relative humidity. 

You would be better off with a small, wall-mounted air conditioner.  

This unit also removes excess humidity and cools the room. Even though the TV room is in the basement, a section of the foundation wall is generally above grade. If it is a concrete block wall, an opening can be cut in the foundation for an air-conditioning sleeve, or an air conditioner can be installed in a basement window.