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Old 11-26-2012, 04:59 AM   #1
hauker
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Default pressure loss + pump stops + draws power

I need help ... I have a weekend cabin with a well - a week ago Saturday I all the sudden had no water. I check the well pump: It didn't run. The breaker was okay, so I turned it off and on again. The pump ran, but produced diminished pressure. I didn't pay much attention to it for next few hours, but I lost water again the next day. I also realized that I had used twice the electricity I usually do over that period of time. I turned the power off over the week.

Returned this weekend and turned the power back on: Pump works, but give less pressure that expected. After the pump stops, I checked the breaker box and ralize that the pump is drawing power even though it's not running (I can hear and feel it when it does).

There are no apparent water leaks anywhere. I took the cap of the pressure switch and saw a lot of corrosion (see attached picture). What I have NOT done yet: Look at the filter (might be clogged with debris) or "jumped" the pressure switch to see if the pump runs better then.

What might be going on here? - Pump destroyed? Pressure switch needs replacing? ...?

FYI:
- the pump is a submersible one
- water has lot of iron and some sediment
- well casing in cast iron
- well was drilled 40 yrs back
- don't know the depth, but think 100-200 ft
- we've been in a drought for a while

Any help / guidance is highly appreciated ... thx.



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Old 11-26-2012, 09:40 AM   #2
chaseme5
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I do not have that much experience with submersible pumps. I mostly work with above ground jet pumps. But I do work with wells and have an electrical background. Your pump looks like it has a buildup of rust on the connections. This will cause an extremely high resistance on the load you are running. Which means very high power consumption with very low efficiency.

Any connection I use that comes in contact with water, I use stainless steel.
Try cleanning the connections with a wire brush.

40 years is a long, long time for a pump to be in service.

The actual pump or lines from the pump could be partially clogged and may need to be cleaned.

The pump probably need to be replaced or rebuilt due to its age and hours in service.



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Old 11-26-2012, 01:36 PM   #3
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When placing a pressure switch inside the well casing, the humidy causes the switch to corrode as yours looks. It is possible that switch is only letting half the volltage go to the pump. I would replace the switch. But I am guessing the real problem is a hole in the drop pipe.

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Old 11-26-2012, 04:50 PM   #4
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Thanks chaseme ... when I saw what was under the cover of the PS, that too was me first reaction: Corrosion probably changing resistance and creating creeping. But wouldn't that happen gradually (rather than all the sudden)?

"Wirebrush" is going to by problematic, though ...: tight space. What if I replaced the switch altogether or tried bypassing it ...? (I'll give the wirebrush a try, though)

For the record, the well is 40 yrs old. I bought the property 8 yrs back and have no records from the previous owner, but looking at the cables I assume that stuff (incl the pump hopefully) is newer (?) ... but I could be wrong.

Given the well's depth, I have a feeling pulling & rebuilding the pumo isn't going to be a DIY job ...

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Old 11-26-2012, 04:53 PM   #5
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Valveman ... yes, having the PS inside the weel is less than optimal IMO (no way to work on anything, humidity, ...), but that's the way it came ...

Do you think bypassing ("jumping") the switch would reveal if the PS is indeed the problem?
If there is in fact a "hole in the drop pipe", wouldn't I hear water falling inside the well when the pump is running? (haven't paid attention to it yet, but don't recall anything of that sort)

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Old 11-26-2012, 05:24 PM   #6
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Yes you can jump across the pressure switch, or basically twist the wires together, to see if the pump works. The hole in the pipe is going to be between the pump and check valve. So no air in the lines and no hearing water falling in the well. Just losing most of the water you need through the hole when the pump is running. If you get the pump to running, check the amps. Full load amps means a hole in the pipe.

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Old 11-27-2012, 10:06 PM   #7
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Pretty much the same answers as on my Forum. Second opinions are a good thing.

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Old 11-28-2012, 05:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valveman View Post
The hole in the pipe is going to be between the pump and check valve. So no air in the lines and no hearing water falling in the well. Just losing most of the water you need through the hole when the pump is running.
I see ... that would suck and require me (or rather a company to come out and) pull the pump ($$$) ... sigh ... I'll check the amps first, though (thx).

Thanks for the input ... here's my plan for the weekend:

1. Check the filter (whole house) - might be clogged
2. Bypass the switch to see if the pump can still produce pressure
3. Clean (or replace) the switch tosee if the pwr leakage stops
4. Check the amps when pump is running to check for hole in pipe
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Old 11-28-2012, 05:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedbump View Post
Pretty much the same answers as on my Forum. Second opinions are a good thing.
Thanks speedbump ... and agreed on both counts.


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