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Water Pump/Pressure Switch

Discussion in 'Troubleshooting and Repair' started by tcarterg, Jun 17, 2011.

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  1. tcarterg

    tcarterg

    7
    0
    Apr 6, 2011
    I woke up this morning and had no water. I went to my tank and my gauge was a 0 PSI,
    i can override the pressure switch, which is a 40-70 switch, and held it open until my tank reached 50psi, than I let it go. It grew in PSI very very slowly. After an hr I lost my water again and went back to find the tank back at 0 PSI.
    I went to my pump and checked for continuity going down to the pump and had it. I checked for power out to the pump but had nothing (obviously, because the pressure switch had shut it off) but i checked power at the switched and had a full 240volts coming in and going out.

    My educated guess is that the switch is bad. If you agree with my assessment, my question is: is there anything special i need to know about replacing the switch, or is it as simple as it looks (ie: mirror wire new switch).

    If you disagree that my switch is bad, what do you think it is? Should i do more diagnosing?

    Thanks!
    Carter
     
  2. poor mystic

    poor mystic

    1,061
    30
    Apr 8, 2011
    If the switch is the cause of the problem, then bridging the terminals for a moment when the pump should be operating should start the motor.
    To bridge the switch safely I'd take the power off, wire a temporary jumper across the switch terminals, and put power back on for a moment.
    What kind of switch is it?
     
  3. daddles

    daddles

    443
    3
    Jun 10, 2011
    The pump should come on when the water pressure drops sufficiently. If it doesn't, it's likely the pressure switch. They're easy to replace.

    Unfortunately, it sounds like you have a leak in your system somewhere -- otherwise, once the pump pressurizes your pressure tank, it should stay at that pressure until someone/something opens a valve. It could also be a bad pressure tank, but they're pretty easy to diagnose.

    You don't want a leak in your system, as it means your pump will run more frequently and you'll have to replace it sooner (I've replaced the pump in my house twice in 25 years).

    You can troubleshoot where the leak is, but if it's in the pump, pump's pipes, the pitless adapter, or underground between the house and well, it takes more work to find. The first task is to eliminate all plumbing fixtures in the house as the source of the leak. I did this around 20 years ago by hooking up a chart recorder to monitor when the pump came on (I monitored the current). Then, every night I'd valve off a different thing in the house. I finally convinced myself that there was no leak in the house. I confirmed this by installing a check valve under the house (that was fun, cutting a thread on 1-1/4 inch pipe in the crawl space) -- the running of the pump when nothing was being used stopped. I verified the pitless adapter wasn't leaking (shine sunlight on it with a mirror) and checked the pump. My pump is only down 120 feet, so I can pull it out myself (but it's much easier with a strong helper). I convinced myself I had an underground leak somewhere, so I had a plumber run a new line from the well to the house (the labor was running the pipe under the driveway). That fixed the problem and it's worked great over the last 10 years or so.
     
  4. tcarterg

    tcarterg

    7
    0
    Apr 6, 2011
    Update: Installed new switch and didn't fix the problem.

    I have a huge tank, and a massive well. I'm pretty sure there is no leak, because if i close off the valve to the house and let the tank fill up. It takes ages, but it gets up to 60psi and holds. If i open the valve to the house the PSI drops (understandable) but holds and goes back up, SLOWLY, but so slowly that if i turn on a faucet it can't keep up and will eventually drop below 30psi and the switch kicks in.
    1: Pump is bad/going bad
    2: Well is dry

    Any ideas?
     
  5. poor mystic

    poor mystic

    1,061
    30
    Apr 8, 2011
    (in response to the request for ideas) :)

    Maybe you could just put the valve on the entire house and test that first.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2011
  6. daddles

    daddles

    443
    3
    Jun 10, 2011
    Remember we can't see your house and know what you know. Adjectives like "massive" and "huge" and "ages" don't mean anything. Thus, quantify if you can.

    I'd be glad to help you try to troubleshoot the system, but you need to be methodical in stating what you know and don't know and the experimental data you collect. I've had to troubleshoot and fix my well and water systems (I also built my ditch pump and irrigation system) a few times, so I have a little practical experience (but it was a decade or more ago, so I'm rusty).

    First off, give us an exact problem statement that succinctly explains what the problem is and how you reproduce it. It would be wonderful if you included a schematic of your system, indicating what you know for sure and what you suspect. This sketch is crucial, as it helps you analyze symptoms and form hypotheses.

    Again, remember we can't see what you see, so also be patient with us -- you may have thought you said something already, but we might have missed an important clue. So the best tool is a good, accurate schematic with a list of known and unknown facts (and things like the IS and IS NOT of the famous Kepner-Tregoe troubleshooting method).
     
  7. tcarterg

    tcarterg

    7
    0
    Apr 6, 2011
    Today I pulled up my pump and the check value was bad, also the pump was sitting in mud (which I discovered after replacing the valve, dropped the well back in and mud being pumped into my filter. After razing the pump 12inches it's working.

    I do have an issue now where my new pressure switch (a 40-60) is cutting off at 50psi, but not cutting off even at 0psi. Could this be because of something i did when installing it?

    @daddles: while yes adjectives like, "massive" and "huge" carry no real/strong meaning because they are relative, they are also in relation to superfluous information. The depth of my well is not an issue here, i was stating that it was massive and didn't want to pull it if i didn't have to. If you want numbers, <300feet. by 'ages' i mean approx 3.5minutes when all my other wells take 20-30seconds to reach 40-50psi.
    You're absolutely right about giving analytical and straight forward data. I apologize if my information was/is all over the board.
     
  8. poor mystic

    poor mystic

    1,061
    30
    Apr 8, 2011
    Hi there tcarterg ;)
    I'm glad to hear of your success, and sorry to say that the first thing that occurs to me in the matter of your new, faulty pressure switch is that it may have mud in it. :(
     
  9. daddles

    daddles

    443
    3
    Jun 10, 2011
    Hi, tcarterg -- glad to hear you found the problem. I wasn't chastising you about the adjectives -- it's just that you have to remember that we haven't seen what you've seen and any factual information about the system helps us form a mental image of what it is and how it's working.

    You may want to take the pressure gauge off and test it (you'll need some compressed air and a regulator) to measure where it switches on and off. I have the perfect test tool for it -- I wish we were neighbors, then I could help you with it.
     
  10. tcarterg

    tcarterg

    7
    0
    Apr 6, 2011
    @daddles: Wish you were in the neighborhood too man. Thanks for you help and advice, i understand what you meant.

    @poormytic: I thought that might be the case, also, what about mud in the check valve? would that be something i should be worried about?
     
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