well pump turned up fried the day after the inspection

I did the General Home Inspection Saturday. 15 year old home, construction quality generally good. Home is on a moderate slope at 9000 ft. elev.

The toilet ran continuously when I flushed it, but jiggling the handle seated the flapper and it stopped. It turned out the water to the home had been off all summer (probably shrank or cracked the flapper). I didn’t touch any shut-off valves.
Before leaving I checked the home and the toilet was not running when I left. The agent checked the home the next day (Sunday), everything was fine… toilet not running.

The well contractor’s employee showed up to test the well today (Monday) and declared that the well was dry and he thought the pump was burned out. He said something about the toilet running continuously.
I haven’t seen the report and the office wouldn’t allow the agent to talk to the employee who did the well inspection and wouldn’t send her a copy of the report. The receptionist for the well contractor paraphrased the report to the agent over the phone.

I spoke with the owner/builder, a structural engineer who was UN-happy, who said the well held four hundred feet of water. I’m not a well inspector, but that sounds like a lot of water to me. Like a toilet would have to run for a long time to burn out the pump.

They’re not blaming me, but if I can help clear up the problem I’d sure like to.

Sounds like a job for Joe Farsetta

If it was septic then the bed should be flooded I would think .
That sounds like a huge amount of water .
Remember we not only have the Pipe but all the water in the aquifer to be pumped out .
Was the pump still hot if not then the well should have started to rejuvenate many questions .

Roy Cooke

The agent said something about 300 gallons and I’m guessing that’s what 400 lin. ft. of 6" (or whatever it is) of well casing holds. But you’re right Roy, it’s going to replenish. No one else there when the well guy was there.

It looked like a good sized field. Can a field absorb 300 gallons in… how long? The pump worked fine and the water wasn’t running in the toilet when I left.

I think maybe you’re right too, James.

During some of the dry months, I run my pump 24 hours a day for weeks at a time to keep my pond replenished. The pump is 26 years old. That is the difference. Old pumps had interior pieces made out of brass or metal, not plastic impellors and parts like the new ones. The well is 212 feet deep and usually has water up to within 15 feet of the top when the pump is not in use. I am lucky. I sit on top of an aquifer that is fed directly from the largest glacier on Mt. Rainier. Fresh and Cold.

I would call BS on some of the figures the owner/builder put out. If it only take 1 minute to fill a 1.6 gallon toilet tank, that is 96 gallons an hour. And if it ran for 40 hours say from 6pm saturday when you left to monday at 10am, that would be 3840 gallons. Just check the septic tank and call them on it.

I don’t know about their pump, but mine would be able to re-pressurize the system back to 60 lbs in a short time. It would then shut off until the pressure dropped to 40psi. There is the chance the pump recycled so many times the electronics burned out, but I don’t think the pump did.

I just heard from the agent. She went back over to the home and the breaker at the well panel was off. She turned it on… plenty of water!

She finally got through to the contractor (not the employee) and got a somewhat confusing, conflicted explanation. It gets kind of hard to track down the truth sometimes. What you say makes sense to me Stephen.

Sounds like the first well person didn’t know what they were doing. Also, should not have tripped the breaker, if it was actually tripped and not turned off.

Our well is 701’ and runs for several hours a day to feed storage tanks to house and watering system.

Funny how the HI ‘must have broke it’.

If the water level in the well was way down, close to dry, so that the pump could only pump a trickle of water, the tech would have turned off the power so as not to damage the pump. Once the well had a chance to replenish, the pump, once turned on would work fine.

The question at this point seems to be what ran the well so far down. Could a toilet running continuously do that? If so, how long would it take?

Sorry I don’t have more specs on the well and equipment but at this point I don’t want to raise the issue by asking questions.

Final result…

Cont. running toilet *can *run a well dry. when it gets close to dry the pump can suck up small peices of gravel which can bind the impellor. Tech shuts off power. When it has a chance to sit for a while, the well replenishes. Someone turnds power back on. The electical surge breaks the impellor free and everything is working again.

When the home has sat and been winterized, the flapper can dry and crack, causing the toilet to run continuously. Make sure it’s off before you leave the home.