Low pressure problems.

Discussion in 'Pumps and Wells' started by Thislilfishy, Apr 21, 2013.

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  1. Apr 21, 2013 #1

    Thislilfishy

    Thislilfishy

    Thislilfishy

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    Think I need a new pump, but before I go through that I thought I'd check here.

    Info: 125' Well with submersible pump and external controller. 35gal pressure tank inline sediment filter. 230v 1/2hp Franklin pump.

    Problem: Suddenly during a storm we lost water pressure at all the fixtures in the house. Not a total loss, just very low flow on the main floor and almost no flow on second floor (toilet wont refill).

    Trouble Shooting:
    I figured that we had a clogged pipe somewhere as we have very hard water, and the existing plumbing was insane, the area above the water heater looked like a screenshot from the windows pipes screensaver. So replumbed about 24-30' of 1/2 copper which I planned to do anyhow. Nope, no change. Changed sediment filter, nope not it.

    Okay, next I tested the pressure switch and confirmed about 35psi on pressure tank, but the tank was obviously empty. All good, noticed the pressure gauge was stuck at 70psi. So I replaced it, now we are getting somewhere. 12psi steady, with all taps open or closed no change. Left for an hour or so, needle didn't budge. Confirmed voltage to controller. Changed water pipe feeding pressure switch..well...kinda broke it off so had to replace it. 'T' at tank not plugged. Drained all pressure with pump off, turn everything off, turn pump on an almost immediately goes to 12psi no higher. Okay, pressurized pipes to 30psi, and watched. Doesn't drop after an hour, and takes a few minutes to reduce it back to 12psi with a tap open, so pressure tank is doin it's thing. Turned pump on, opened well cap, no leaks at pitless, also didn't hear anything. Although I doubt you are supposed to.

    Theories: control box is stuck on start mode, as i noticed the capacitor seems to have leaked a bit, although testing voltage drop appears normal. Or impeller is wore out and pump just can't make it up to pressure. Anyone else have any guesses.
     
  2. Apr 21, 2013 #2

    Thislilfishy

    Thislilfishy

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    Ruled out controller, no love. New controller brought pressure up to 18psi only. So, guess we need a new pump. Ah well, this sucks.
     
  3. Apr 21, 2013 #3

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    Wells & pumps; not a... Professional

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    The only thing you didn't check is what is probably the problem. The pipes the pump is hanging on. Electrolysis eats holes in the pipe generally where the pump and drop screw together. If this is the problem, you obviously have a check valve somewhere between the holes and the tank. That is the only way the system could hold pressure.

    If this happened over night, the holes must have got real big in a big hurry, or for some reason, the pump ran for several hours without moving water, and nuked the impellers. A pump running without moving any water develops heat pretty quick. It's trying to lube and cool the pump and cool the motor.

    So it's probably one or the other. You have to realize, the pump is the only thing that can make pressure. The tank just stores it and the switch just does what it's set to do; turn the pump and off at preset pressures.
     
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  4. Apr 22, 2013 #4

    Thislilfishy

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    Turns out the well it closer to 200'. So this is likely true. Hopefully we will find out today.

    Ian
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013
  5. Apr 24, 2013 #5

    Thislilfishy

    Thislilfishy

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    Turns out the well was 155' deep, and the original pump was at 148'. No wonder I had so much sediment. The total damage was catastrophic:

    New items:

    Schaefer 5 gallon(?) 1/2hp 230v Pump with control.
    140'x1" Poly pipe and pump wire
    Flexcon FL12 Pressure tank
    New Pressure tank T with sediment valve pressure switch and gauge.
    Complete well flow test

    Now, the cost! $3500CAN!!!

    I think I got a little dinged on that, even though they gave me a break on the labour. That said, of the dozen or so people we called, they were the only ones to return our call. Then they showed up the same day and I had running water by the time I got home, so even though it wiped out my rsp account, they did very good work. Sometimes you just gotta pay the piper.

    Ian
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013
  6. Apr 24, 2013 #6

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    Wells & pumps; not a... Professional

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    lI'm not convinced you needed a pump. I am curious as to why they changed your drop pipe. Could it be that the old pipe split, cracked, rusted through (you didn't say what kind it was) or just plain had problems.

    They also changed your tank. Flexcon is a good tank, but I don't recognize that model # so I'm not sure what size it is.

    That's a lot of money for what they did.

    The fact that they put it two feet off the bottom leads me to believe that you have a low yield well which could have nuked the pump.
     
  7. Apr 24, 2013 #7

    Thislilfishy

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    It was a steal pipe (20' lengths) so it kinda made sense. I don't think the tank needed replacing, but at that point I didn't see the point of arguing it. I can't say what needed or didn't need replacing, glad to have water again, and no one else within 50 miles even returned our calls.

    Did it all NEED to be done, not likely, did they do good work and use quality equipment, yes. The old pump didn't have the wires taped anywhere, they taped every 2-3feet. Found out they also shocked the well, installed two check valves and flow tested at the tank, the kitchen and the bathroom. The old tank was pretty rusty on the outside (wellxtrol). The old pump was date stamped at 30 years old. So in the end I dunno, it's like I say at my job (service related), when in doubt, rip it out. The return trip when something else breaks down the line is just not worth it. So I was pretty pissed at the cost, I also considered how my customers feel when I send a bill for $800 to fix two broken bolts...US gas is expensive..multiply it by 2 and you get Canadian gas cost. Labour cost is crazy (took 3 guys to so the job) and so on. So I bit my tongue knowing if I had more time I could have probably cut that bill in half. But I have a wife and toddler that need running water. So, bent over, threw out the lube and took it.

    Ian
     
  8. Apr 24, 2013 #8

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    Well you got a good brand on the tank. And I guess it can't hurt to tape every 3 feet. 21' is what we do. Just keep it taught. The extra check valves were totally unnecessary.

    But hey, you have water and a lot of new stuff that should last a long time.
     
  9. Apr 25, 2013 #9

    Thislilfishy

    Thislilfishy

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    They just went by the manual which called for a check valve every 100'. Had my first shower this morning. First thing I noticed was I no longer felt a surge in water pressure when the pump came one (usually 2-5 times per shower). Although pressure didn't seem higher just constant instead of continually fluctuating.

    My second filter plugged after the shower, 5micron. The first filter is 50
    Micron. So I took the second one out for now.


    Ian
     
  10. Apr 25, 2013 #10

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    I wonder what Manual they are looking in?

    The reason the surge is gone is the new tank. It's not waterlogged like your old one must have been.
     
  11. Apr 25, 2013 #11

    Thislilfishy

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    It's in the pump manual, I read it myself as they left it with the paperwork.
     
  12. Apr 25, 2013 #12

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    What brand was the pump?

    Nine out of ten pump guys will tell you that one check valve is all that is needed except on very deep settings where the head pressure may exceed the check valves rating. The only other time I can think of is with a galvanized tank, one is needed near the tank to keep it aired up automatically.
     
  13. Apr 26, 2013 #13

    phishfood

    phishfood

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    Not questioning the truth of that, just wondering how a check valve adds air to the tank?
     
  14. Apr 26, 2013 #14

    johnjh2o

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    Phish, the way it worked before here were bladder tanks was, there was a check valve at the tank and another down the well. There was a small hole put in the line going down the well between the two check valves. When the pump turned off the water between the two check valves drained out of the pipe. Then when the pump cycled back on the air in the line between the two checks was pushed up into the tank. That would prevent he tank from becoming water logged.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
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  15. Apr 26, 2013 #15

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    John has it pegged. Then there was an air release valve on the side of the tank to keep the air level where it needs to be and to keep the air from getting into the plumbing.
     
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