Float lever sticking & power to jet pump problem

Discussion in 'Pumps and Wells' started by Zanne, Mar 26, 2013.

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  1. Mar 26, 2013 #1

    Zanne

    Zanne

    Zanne

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    I have a rather old well system although I had to replace my compressor and the pump that brings water up into the cistern/holding tank as well as replace my actual water pump twice.

    The lever on top of my holding tank keeps sticking so that even when the float is all the way up, it does not trigger the compressor with the pulley wheels to shut off. When the tank is full it continues to run so I have to go outside (sometimes in the middle of the night with a flashlight), go through several gates, and then reach in and tap the metal lever (attached to the electric lines) up and it shuts off. But before I realized this was a problem, I didn't go and do that. First the edge of one of the pulley wheels sheered off and I had it replaced, but then the motor died and I had to get a new one. Then, because the compressor was broken and the pump was trying to pump an empty tank, the motor burned out on the jet pump.

    I was without water for 3 weeks because my old pump guy seems to have developed Alzheimers and forgot to come out, despite the fact that I called him repeatedly. I finally found a new guy but by the time he came out it was a weekend and I ended up getting a crappy Countryline brand pump. Stupid thing cracked a rod in a piston within 2 months and I had to replace it with another brand. I'll have to try to remember which one-- it was the pump I had before that lasted over 15 years. I think it is something like Lenovo...

    I told the new pump guy about the lever sticking and he suggested putting vaseline on the metal rod attached to the float to see if it was just sticking. That didn't work and it seems like the problem is the part attached to the wires-- which I do not want to touch.

    Now another problem has arisen where my jet pump just stops working and I accidentally discovered that when I pulled up on the electric lines going to it, it flashed lights and started running again. It would stop and I would pull up and it would kick on again. I don't know if the wires or loose or if it is depressing a button or what the deal is. I don't know if I should just tape the wire so that it keeps exerting the same amount of pressure or if I should call the pump guy to check the wires.

    When I replace the batteries in my digital camera I can take pictures if necessary.

    I've also noticed the floor in the pump house is often damp, but I don't know if it is because of humidity or because my cow tore a hole in the corner of the structure and rain gets in. I live in a very humid climate. I didn't see any signs of leaks anywhere.

    Could the moisture be affecting the power to the jet pump? I really don't know much about pumps so these are probably dumbo questions.
     
  2. Mar 26, 2013 #2

    Valveman

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    A picture might help us understand more what you have.
     
  3. Mar 27, 2013 #3

    Zanne

    Zanne

    Zanne

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    Ok. I'll have to see if I can find the batteries for the camera and go out there in a bit. I'm hoping it will warm up a bit before I go outside.

    I took the pictures but now it is taking awhile to upload them. Can I just use IMG tags to post them here?
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
  4. Mar 27, 2013 #4

    Zanne

    Zanne

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    Photos:
    Here is the jet pump. I don't know why I thought it was an L name. That must have been something else. It is a Gould pump.
    [​IMG]

    This is the part where the wires go in. I pull up on the wires when the pump isn't working and a green light flickers underneath and it turns back on.
    [​IMG]

    Here is the lever for the float valve on the cistern
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The repair guy took the little gray box off when working on stuff and it never got put back on. I think it had to be on before the wires were hooked in or something because I couldn't get it to go back. The yellow wire goes to the compressor pump.
    [​IMG]

    Oh, and here is the moisture on the ground. It seems to be concentrated toward the corner where my cow made a hole.
    [​IMG]

    Just for fun, here is a shot of the pump house taken from standing outside the doors:
    [​IMG]

    We don't have the water softener installed yet because I don't know how to fit it in there and would have to get someone to hook it up. The space is very cramped.
     
  5. Mar 27, 2013 #5

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    What your calling a compressor I believe is a Piston Pump. I didn't think it was possible to buy one anymore. They are kind of an antique these days.

    You could do a lot better with an electric float and a solenoid valve in the cistern. It would be much more dependable than that old float switch.

    Apparently the wires are loose in the pressure switch on your Goulds pump. I suggest getting that fixed before something gets zorched.
     
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  6. Mar 27, 2013 #6

    Zanne

    Zanne

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    Ahh! I didn't know what it was. The pump guy just kept referring to it as a compressor and motor or something. I was rather frazzled after not having running water for 3 weeks. I didn't even know there was another option for pumping the water in to the well.

    If you think that thing is old, you should have seen the dinosaur of an airconditioner I had replaced two years ago. The company that made it went out of business in 1973. The air con guy said his aunt and uncle used to own my house and that he thought they had that thing put in during the 40s or 50s. I wish I'd taken a picture of it before it was removed.

    I've never even heard of a solenoid valve before. How much do they cost and what brands are out there that are good?

    Yeah, I figured something was loose. I'm no electrician so I didn't want to touch it too much. I should give my pump guy a call. His father has been undergoing chemo for bone cancer so I know things are tough right now. Would the pump guy be the one to install the solenoid valve?
     
  7. Mar 27, 2013 #7

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    I would think the pump guy could install it. It's mechanical and electrical. The float is the same kind used on a sump pump. Upside down, the pump is off, rightside up, it's on. The solenoid valve is an electrical valve that either lets water flow or not depending on the angle of the float. It all runs on 24 volts. I have them on my site. You basically plug a 24 volt Wall Wart (transformer) into the wall plug, hook up two wires and run one of the to the solenoid valve and the other one goes in and out of the float and into the other wire on the solenoid valve. The solenoid valve is the same valve used in a sprinkler system.
    Here's a link to the diagram:
    http://www.pumpsandtanks.com/Helpful-Info/24_Volt_Float_System.htm
    Substitute the contactor that is on the left side for a solenoid valve.
    The three parts are located here:
    http://shop.pumpsandtanks.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=87
    They are three of the bottom last four items.
     
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  8. Mar 27, 2013 #8

    Zanne

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    Excellent! Thank you very very much! I'll have to talk to my pump guy about having that put in. One thing at a time though. If the board of health guy is available on Monday, I'm getting the new tank and field lines then.

    Out of curiosity, what do they use to pump the water into the cistern instead of the piston pump now? (I'm not going to replace it just yet since we just got it last year).
     
  9. Mar 27, 2013 #9

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    A Jet Pump is the best option. Since your only filling a tank, pressure isn't an issue nor is volume. So a 1/2hp would be plenty.
     
  10. Mar 28, 2013 #10

    Zanne

    Zanne

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    Again, thank you very much! I'll have to ask my mother if she remembers if it is a shallow tank or deep. I seem to recall that it may have been deep. I like the look of the vertical pump just for the fact that it seems like it would be easier to walk around than the current contraption. In order to get to my pump, I have to move that yellow wire on the piston pump out of my way and step around it. I am seriously thinking of wrapping electrical tape around where the wires go into that because there is a bit of bare wire on that and I don't like worrying that I'll get zapped. I don't know if I would, but better safe than sorry. I probably need a longer piece of wire than I currently have because right now it is a pain to maneuver into there.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Apr 2, 2013 #11

    Zanne

    Zanne

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    Well, looks like I'm going to have to call the pump guy sooner rather than later. Water stopped working and pulling on the cord didn't work. I tried turning the breaker on and off to see if that would help but still nothing. *sigh*

    If it had happened earlier in the day I could have called the guy, but it happened at a time that was too late to be calling him.

    I'm going to have a busy morning of phonecalls tomorrow.

    Edit: He's on his way now. He never heard of a solenoid valve before. I don't want to keep him long since he needs to go see his father in the hospital as soon as he's done here.
    Edit2: Turns out the big blue tank with a bladder in it was the problem. It was waterlogged and had to be drained. He wants to replace it with something made of fiberglass but it will take a few days to get the replacement. In the meantime he got the water working again and he fixed the float valve thing that was sticking. The lever was tightened too much so it took more pressure than the valve exerted to shut it off when the tank was full. He loosened some screws so now it shuts off on its own.
    I'm really hoping his father will be ok. He's developed blood clots in his lungs. Poor guy.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
  12. Apr 3, 2013 #12

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    Stay away from the Fiberglas tanks.

    A pump guy that has never heard of a Solenoid Valve would never get called back if it were me using him.
     
  13. Apr 5, 2013 #13

    Zanne

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    He is the ONLY pump guy that will come out to my house though. :-( I tried finding others and they all refused to come out, saying its "too far".
    The guy before him that worked on the pump and well system for over 20 years now has Alzheimers and can't remember to come out or call back or even answer the phone.

    What pressure tank would you recommend? Maybe I could find one at Lowes or Home Depot or something. I'm never going with another CountryLine product again though. So Tractor Supply is out. I need to figure out what the gpm output of my Gould pump is and figure out what setting the new pressure tank needs to be on. I wonder if I can look at the existing one and figure out what it is set at.... Or maybe the pump guy can figure that out.

    And I read something that identified the box with the wires as a pressure box or pressure switch box or something. Could it have been flaking out because the pressure tank had gone bad?
     
  14. Apr 5, 2013 #14

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    Pressure switches usually go bad because one of those Home Depot or Lowes tanks went bad (like 90% of them do) and cycled the pump so much it burned the points in the switch. There are three tanks on the market that are worth buying in my opinion, the rest are not worth mention. Zilmet, Flexcon and Well X Trol. I sell the Zilmet Tanks

    Your pump is a shallow well jet. It's capable of 10 to 20 gallons per minute depending on horsepower.

    You have to ask yourself if it's worth letting the only guy that will come out work on or possibly screw up your system or try to do it yourself.

    If you can take more pictures so we can see the entire system and where the different pipes go. That thing he called a compressor, might just be a compressor. If so, it's air lifting water up. I can't tell though because the pipes aren't all visible.
     
  15. Apr 5, 2013 #15

    Zanne

    Zanne

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    Thank you. I believe the Gould jet pump is 1HP. I'll have to see if there are any markings or documents that indicate for sure.
    I haven't heard back from my pump guy as of yet. I don't know if is father pulled through. He's been the guy that would come out on holidays and at late hours when everyone else told me I was s.o.l. and sometimes he didn't charge me for coming out.

    The compressor is hooked to metal pipes that pump air and get very hot. I have to make sure to wear long pants and not shorts so I don't burn myself on them when stepping over. I'll have to go get more pictures in a bit and maybe draw a diagram. The metal pipe goes in to the ground-- I'm presuming it then pumps the water from the underground well up into the cistern. The wires attach to the float valve lever. In this photo you can barely see the metal pipe coming out of the compressor with pulley wheels and going in to the ground. Lower left area of the photo.
    [​IMG]

    Now my problem will be getting a good pressure tank in time because I don't know any place locally that sells them and waiting for shipping might take too long. I've had issues with Fedex and UPS not being reliable and the USPS won't deliver out here. You'd think I'm in BFE. LOL.

    And now my septic tank installation is postponed because of a hangup with the board of health guy not getting faxes from the installer because the fax machine was out of paper for a week. /facepalm

    Also, has anyone heard of something called a Cycle Stop Valve (CSV)? Someone was saying they are better than the pressure tanks but I don't know anything about them or even where to find them.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013
  16. Apr 5, 2013 #16

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    Even with a constant pressure valve, you still need a tank. I sell the valves, but I don't think you need one.

    Is that pipe going into the top of the cistern coming off the backside of the two inch pipe that I can't see very well? Pumping air through metal pipes causes heat and I'm thinking that's the reason the pipes are hot. I think they are pumping air down the well through a smaller pipe going near the bottom, then the air lifts the water up and out of the two inch into the top of the cistern.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013
  17. Apr 5, 2013 #17

    Zanne

    Zanne

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    Ahh. I was just coming to edit my post because I realized the CSV is in conjunction with the tank. My pump constantly flickers on and then off then on and then off. I can't figure out if my tank is a bladder tank or a hydro pneumatic tank. Hopefully I'll be able to determine better from getting pictures.

    Hmm.. I'm not sure where that pipe is going. I'll have to go take a look and get pictures in a few minutes.

    Yeah, I figured the friction of the air being forced through that pipe was making it hot. I pondered wrapping something around it but was afraid whatever it was would melt or cause problems later on.

    I'll be back in a few minutes with more pictures.
     
  18. Apr 5, 2013 #18

    Zanne

    Zanne

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    Ok. Pictures:

    The top of the tank:
    [​IMG]

    The printed info on the tank
    [​IMG]
    I think it says V60 GE9013 and A25. Can't make out the small print and I couldn't see very well in the pump house as the light in there burned out. Note to self: replace light bulb.

    This is the printed info on the jet pump
    [​IMG]

    This shows how the pump attaches to the cistern and how the tank attaches to the pump. I don't know if it is the most efficient plumbing job.
    [​IMG]

    And this shows how that metal pipe from the compressor hooks in to that pipe that was asked about.
    [​IMG]

    Edit: Durr. I need to learn to read better. It is a 1HP pump.

    Ever heard of a Pside-Kick? Someone was recommending it on another forum, but I really don't know. Wile I was in the pump house the pump came on for two seconds, then off, then on, then off, then it flashed on rapidly with a click click click click click within a second. It does this constantly. I don't know if it is because of the pressure tank or what, but it is annoying.

    I was told that the tank itself was waterlogged and rusted. I wonder if Goulds still makes the tanks and if they are any good. This one lasted quite awhile.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013
  19. Apr 5, 2013 #19

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    OK,

    Good Pictures. That unit is an Air Compressor. They are air lifting the water from the well to the cistern. That tank was famous for waterlogging and is most likely the reason your pump is hammering on/off. Push on the top of the tank trying to rock it slightly. I'll bet it's very heavy because it's full of water. Cycling like that is real hard on a switch and motor. The suction on the pump should have been kept 1-1/4" instead of 3/4" and it could have far less fittings.
     
  20. Apr 5, 2013 #20

    Zanne

    Zanne

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    Thanks. Part of the problem is that there were numerous repairs over the past few years. The pump used to rock too much and would break the PVC loose from time to time and we would get the old pump guy to come out and fix it because we didn't realize at first that we could just patch it ourselves. The new pump guy got the pump stabilized better.

    I have no idea why the suction went from 1-1/4 to 3/4 or which guy did that. If really need to look stuff up on the proper way to hook these things up so I can do it myself. I put the air compressor in myself, albeit the guy at the store made it easy for me by adding a pigtail for free and explaining to me exactly how to hook it up, so it was easy. He was very nice actually-- kept his store open late for me because I called ahead. His store closed in an hour and my GPS indicated it would take an hour and 20 min and then I got lost, but he knew I was coming so he waited. Of course, it was nearly $700 for that thing so he got good money out of it. Hardest part (other than the ding to the bank account) was getting the metal pipe threaded in and at the right angle. I used teflon tape liberally.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013

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