Family Member Touched Screw Driver to Well Pump Relay Caused Arcing

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Apr 22, 2024
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Two days ago, the water suddenly quit working. There was no water pressure, only what was left in the pipes. It was as if the power had gone off. So I shut off the breakers, and a family member went and whacked the relay a few times with a screwdriver. I turned the power back on, and the water worked. He attributed this to his whacking. Water worked fine for a day, but today it suddenly quit working again.

So what does he do? Go whack the relay again without turning off the power. To my horror, I saw the lights flicker in quick succession. I honest to God, thought he got electrocuted. I ran outside; thankfully, he was perfectly fine somehow. He said the screwdriver started arcing off the relay. The breaker did not flip when this happened. From what he said, he touched the screwdriver to the top coil looking part of the well relay.

I'm sure this damaged the relay, but relays are cheap. I'm concerned if it could have fried the well pump since it's connected to the relay. Water hasn't worked since, but it wasn't working before.

Update four hours later: Water just started working again out of nowhere. There haven't been any kind of fluctuations in the water pressure that I've noticed. It either seems to work fine or doesn't work at all. I'm hoping it's the relay that's causing the problem. The relay looks in poor shape; it's started rusting (live in the rust belt) and has grime buildup from being under the house.
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The overload in the motor is tripping and will automatically reset after a time and water just magically comes back on. I am not sure if you are talking about the start relay or the pressure switch being whacked. But it is just coincidence as it comes back on when the overload cools down, not from whacking. I would replace both the pressure switch and pump control box as they both get destroyed from the pump cycling on and off too much. Then if the overload keeps tripping the motor has started as many times as it is going to and needs to be replaced. All this can be prevented by using a Cycle Stop Valve to control the pump, which makes everything last longer and work better.