Water shuts off well/pump

Discussion in 'Pumps and Wells' started by dmbe618, Oct 22, 2018.

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  1. Oct 22, 2018 #1

    dmbe618

    dmbe618

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    Hi all.

    I’m hoping somebody can help. We have a pump and a well. About a month ago I was in the shower and the water just shut off. My husband went down and checked it in the water came right back on. It kept doing this each time we use the water it will be on for maybe six or seven minutes and then it shuts off and comes back on. My husband went and replaced the pressure gauge the valve the nipple. What happens is the water goes down to 40 goes up to 60 and drops back down and seems like it’s working just fine and then it drops all the way to zero and then goes all the way to 40 again and starts all over.
    I’m not even 100% sure I am explaining it in the right terms. I’m just looking for a little guidance. My husband typically fixes everything around here and is good at it. But he doesn’t seem as concerned about this as I am So that’s why am reaching out looking for some help.Can anyone offer some advice on what it sounds like is going on? We just had the pump replaced about seven years ago.

    Thank you!
     
  2. Oct 22, 2018 #2

    Jamesplumbing06

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    Starter relay maybe fixing to go out. If you have a 2 wire pump then you have to replace pump. If you have a 3-wire pump. Then you have a grey box hanging on wall above pressure tank. With 2 relays and a contact. Change the whole box is easiest. But could be the tank lost air. The gauge is just a messenger of sorts. Doesn’t really have a function for well to operate. Check the switch. Littler grey box attached to water line in front of tank. If it’s clicking with no water response then likely your stater relay. If no clicking until just before water restarts then it’s the switch. Never seen the tank cause this but there is a first time for most everything.
     
  3. Oct 22, 2018 #3

    Valveman

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    Seven years is the average life of a submersible pump. They build in seven years worth of on/off start cycles, and when you use up that many starts, you will need a new pump. If it is a three wire with a control box you maybe lucky enough to just replace the start cap this time. That going down to 40 and starting, then going up to 60 and shutting off is a pump cycle, and too many of those and you will need a new pump/motor. Cycling also breaks the bladder in the tank, burns the pressure switch and control box, wears out the check valve, and causes water hammer that can break lines. Eliminate the cycling on and off and your pump system will last many times longer than normal.
     
  4. Nov 1, 2018 #4

    donald_w

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    Here's a more basic explanation. The pressure switch is usually set to turn on the pump at 40 PSI and shut off the pump at 60 PSI. Your pressure tank is pressurized to a certain PSI to maintain pressure in the system. Your tank pressure should be a bit below the 40 PSI (like 38 PSI). If the pressure drops below the 38 PSI you will lose pressure in the system - the gauge will go to zero. That seems to be what's happening to you. The pressure switch is not starting the pump until the water pressure drops below the tank air pressure. It could be that it just got out of adjustment. Check the air pressure in the tank (using a tire gauge). Try setting the pressure switch to start at a slightly higher PSI (there are two adjustment nuts and instructions under the cover). If that doesn't work, then start looking at the above suggestions such as a bad switch relay or bad start capacitor.
     
  5. Nov 2, 2018 #5

    FishScreener

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    Most likely cause: The bladder in the pressure tank has failed, and the tank is full of water. This is causing the pump to short cycle.

    Check the pressure in the tank, by turning off the pump, bleeding off the water pressure, then checking the precharge pressure. You say your pressure is going from 40 to 60-psi, which indicates you have a pressure switch with 40-psi cut in, and 60-psi cutout.

    The precharge on the well tank should be 38-psi, the pump cut in pressure minus 2-psi. If it is low you will need to charge it with compressed air. This should be done, with a faucet open. If the bladder has failed, you won’t be able to get the pressure to come up, because the air goes past the bad bladder and into the system.

    If you know the delivery rate of your pump, you can go to the Welltrol site, and use their online calculator to determine the correct size of tank(s) to keep your pump from short cycling.
     
  6. Nov 5, 2018 #6

    Valveman

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    Tank calculators will show how large a tank you need for 1 minute or preferably 2 minutes of run time. However, even 2 minutes on and 2 minutes off is a cycle every 4 minutes, and there are 1440 minutes in a day. Doing the math you can see the larger tank size can still cause 360 cycles per day, which will kill a pump and a bladder in a tank. These so called calculators only show you what size tank is needed to make your pump and tank last an average of 7 years. Those charts are made with planned obsolescence as the most important consideration.
     
  7. Nov 5, 2018 #7

    FishScreener

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    Well tanks are designed and intended to limit short cycling and thus excess wear of the pump. And, sizing is a trade off between cost, physical foot print, and efficiency.

    I’m responsible for a bunch of small water systems, which are running, well and pressure tank systems. We have pumps, and tanks that are fifteen and twenty years old, still running fine. I haven’t found a better way to size the pumps and tanks than the Weltrol software.
     
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  8. Nov 5, 2018 #8

    Valveman

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    You should try this one.
    https://cyclestopvalves.com/pages/minimum-pump-run-time-calculator

    The only way to improve on the old pressure tank/pressure switch method is to be able to eliminate the cycling while the system is using water. If you take care of a bunch of pressure tank systems, a few CSV's on those systems would make your life much easier. I haven't used the welltrol method of sizing a tank for over 25 years. I also had lots of problems and stopped using the Variable Speed (VFD) type pumps 25 years ago. Eliminating the cycling solves lots of problems that where inherent with the old pressure tank method, and can make pump systems last longer while using much smaller pressure tanks.
     
  9. Nov 6, 2018 #9

    Diehard

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    You neglected to mention that the referenced run time calculator is for a different approach. As I recall your system allows the pump to run constantly, at or near shutoff head, when the flow demand is above a particular minimum. And uses a pressure regulating valve to control system pressure. Minimizing pump start/stop frequency. With the understanding that a centrifugal pump draws less power at or near it's shutoff head.
     
  10. Nov 6, 2018 #10

    Valveman

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    Wasn't neglecting to mention anything. Thought I was explaining it well enough. There are several "different approaches" now that make big pressure tanks and there "sizing calculators" obsolete. With the old pressure tank only method, you only had control of the pressure setting to start and stop the pump. The CSV doesn't change that, but adds the ability to control the amount of flow the pump is producing. With a CSV the pump will run continuously and produce exactly the same amount of water being used. This solves the one major problem with the old pressure tank only method, which allowed the pump to cycle on and off repeatedly and destructively to supply the amount of water being used. Cycling was the main problem with the old pressure tank only method. The CSV solved that problem, therefore it is important to understand how to size a tank accordingly.
     
  11. Nov 6, 2018 #11

    Jamesplumbing06

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    I checked that out and remembered installing one a few months back. They don’t stop cycles. They stop short cycle. The chart actually says for a family of 4 at 50 psi pump cycles 18 times. You still have a pressure switch and pressure tank. Just a smaller pressure tank and a regulator to allow pump to run full time water is called for. Not degrading it just regrading it. It’s good if you don’t have room for big tank. But a family 4 needs roughly 200 gallons of water a day. Any pump will still have to pump 200 gallons that day. So if I have a 47 gallon draw down tank set perfect. My pump cycles 5 times a day. Just runs for a good 3 minutes to catch back up each cycle. Doesn’t eliminate anything. Actually adds a second regulator. That plastic thing is nothing but a regulator for running water. Not better just smaller and different and yes easier.
     
  12. Nov 6, 2018 #12

    Valveman

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    There are lots of benefits to a constant pressure system. It is like anything else, if you have lived with a big tank and all the problems that go with for a long time, you just think it is normal. Many people tell me they didn't notice the pressure bouncing from 40 to 60 over and over while they where using water, until they installed a CSV and experienced constant pressure for the first time. Once they go constant pressure, they never go back. From then on they will feel/see the pressure fluctuate at any place they stay. Once they realize how good the pressure can be, they miss it when they don't have constant pressure.

    47 gallons of draw down would take two 86 gallon tanks. Those will cost from $1000 to $3000 depending on the brand and whether or not you pay to install or DIY. That is a couple thousand more than you would have to spend as a CSV and small tank will do as good or even better job. We are not talking about the difference between 5 and 18 cycles per day. For house use only a pump won't cycle much no matter what size tank you have, as the house only uses 200 gallons per day. But if you fill a pool, run a sprinkler, or water anything for long terms, the 5 to 18 cycles per day can turn into hundreds of cycles per day. That is when a CSV really shines.

    You would love the constant pressure in the shower, even if you don't have any outside water uses. With a couple of big tanks, the shower pressure would be gradually decreasing from 60 to 40 the entire time you are in the shower. Even though that actually give you an average of 50 PSI, the pressure will hang at the low pressure for a long time. With a CSV and a small tank the entire shower will be at a constant 50 PSI. That may not sound like much difference, but again, people who have experienced the difference tell me with a constant 50 PSI, they no longer even need soap in the shower, as the constant pressure will just blast the dirt off.

    Then of course there is the problem of all your water sitting in a rubber bag for long periods of time when using big tanks. Where the little tank a CSV delivers water fresh from the well all the time. Starting and stopping the pump at full flow using big tanks also causes water hammer, breaks fittings, and wears out check valves, which doesn't happen with a CSV. If you keep up with the pump industry you will see that all the pump manufacturers are pushing variable speed pumps with small tanks. The CSV just makes a constant pressure system less expensive, more reliable, and longer lasting than the variable speed stuff.

    Sure the old 57 Chevy with a four on the floor was one of the best automobiles every made, just like the old pressure tank systems were good. Putting an automatic transmission in a 57 Chevy would be a big improvement. A CSV is just an automatic transmission for the old pressure tank only systems. But if you never tried an automatic transmission, you will just keep changing gears because you don't know any better.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
  13. Nov 7, 2018 #13

    Diehard

    Diehard

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    Sorry but I was just thinking that if someone didn't know what a CSV system was, they would think that was a better calculation for the pressure tank systems.
     
  14. Nov 7, 2018 #14

    Diehard

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    I don't get it!
    The 57 chevy's didn't have four on the floor. It came with a 3 speed standard or 2 different automatics.o_O

    EDIT: Although I am not one of them, there are still a lot of people that prefer driving a standard.
     
  15. Nov 7, 2018 #15

    Jamesplumbing06

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    I think he tried to find a relation to his point. Still don’t understand what’s so great. And I have researched the crap out of it. On their website. I dunno still can’t see any difference in parts. Except smaller for tighter spaces. I hear the logic. But if you change his “csv”. To conventional then he still isn’t wrong. Conventional needs calibrated to match each device. Csv is ready to plug and play. But still has potential to uncalibrate. And uses the same logic. Reducing pressure exiting system and the system has pressure in reserve to keep up while pump keeps that higher pressure built up. No gears to change on conventional. Just a smart enough plumber. To build this device on site.
     
  16. Nov 7, 2018 #16

    Jamesplumbing06

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    But valve man. I don’t need another novel sales pitch. I see how it works. And there is no different parts except csv has a plastic regulator leaving system. I don’t like plastic Valves on a rigid system. And it’s cheaper than conventional. Can’t argue that. But when you try to sell Ice to eskimos then you better bring some different ice
     
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  17. Nov 7, 2018 #17

    Valveman

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    Everything in a pump system is destroyed by the pump cycling on and off. The bladder in the tank goes up and down with each cycle until it breaks like when bending a wire back and forth. The pressure switch points burning is usually one of the first indications of too much cycling. The start cap and relay are the next thing cycling will take out. Some people use multiple check valves, which causes water hammer, but helps split the abuse from so much cycling so the check valve will last a little bit longer with all the cycling. And of course the pump/motor is the most expensive part that is regularly destroyed by too much cycling. Then there is the annoyance of the cycling causing the pressure to swing from 40 to 60 over and over, which plays hell with instant water heaters staying light, and is aggravating to the person in the shower.

    Making irrigation zones sizes exactly match the pump is impossible. I hear from people all the time who say 3 zones keep the pump running, but all other zones cause the pump to cycle itself to death. It is rare as hen's teeth to have a conventional pressure tank only system without having one or many problems caused by cycling.

    Pump guys, pump manufacturers, and plumbers try to tell me they can size and install a "conventional" system that does not cycle and doesn't have all those problems. But their customers tell me they can't. Customers still don't like the up and down pressure swings, the water hammer, and having to replace their pump, tank, switch, etc., much too often. Of course that is what the pump guys don't like about the CSV as it cuts into their business. Pump guys I have known for 50 years tell me they will not install a CSV because it makes pumps last longer, uses smaller pressure tanks, and greatly cuts their repeat business and profits. The Internet is helping people figure out what "planned obsolescence" is and how to use a CSV to prevent it. Plumbers and pump guys don't like that they can no longer keep their customers in the dark as to how to improve a pump system. If even one of my customers came back and said the CSV didn't greatly improve his/her pump system you might have an argument. Everybody who has a CSV loves it. Water will come out of your faucet with either kind of system. But those who haven't tried a CSV may never understand the subtle differences that make a constant pressure system so much better.

    People with high use water systems who have to replace their pump, tank, switch every year or two because of cycling already know the CSV solves all the problems, as it has already made their pump systems last several times longer than normal. When you have a pump system that was being replaced every couple of years due to cycling, and that system has now lasted 20 years after adding a CSV, you will see how much is saved by eliminating the cycling. If the CSV can make a heavily used system last 20 years instead of 2, then it can make a less than heavily used system last a lifetime, which is really what the pump guys don't like about the CSV.

    I don't have to sell ice to the Eskimos. The Eskimos are standing inline to get this new kind of ice because of what the other Eskimos are saying about it. Here are just a few examples (with pictures) as people are really happy they switched to a constant pressure system.
    https://cyclestopvalves.com/pages/reviews
     
  18. Nov 7, 2018 #18

    Jamesplumbing06

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    Again I hear that it gives constant pressure more effectively. But on the website picture and the one I installed. There was a pressure tank. Pressure switch and 2 regulators. Each of these still cycle. And wear out 18-36 times a day according to that website. I don’t see a difference. In parts or results. That one I installed was pissed that they only get 50 psi. You know how long it takes to fill a cattle trough at 50 psi? He is my preacher. In the house every week. Also if it’s been around 50 years why is it still only on internet? A good product sells without explanation.
     
  19. Nov 7, 2018 #19

    SHEPLMBR

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  20. Nov 7, 2018 #20

    Valveman

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    OMG! Those haven't been around long enough to even know if they will last a year. Not going to be any better than the VFD systems I quit using in 1993. They are made to sell and make money for the installer/manufacturer, which is the opposite of a good thing for the homeowner. There are many many side effects of varying the speed that Mother Nature or the Laws of Physics will never let them solve. They are just too many inherent problems with pulse width modulation, harmonics, voltage spikes, and other things a VFD does that can't be solved. They have gotten better at Band Aids like filters, sleep mode, etc, but they still will never be able to solve the problems of VFD control.

    My guess is in a year or so they will have a new model of that out that is supposed to solve all the problems with last years model VFD. I have seen this happen every 18 months or so for over 25 years. The new models never solve the problems, but it takes you another year or two to figure that out. By then they will have another new model for you to try. People keep falling for it so they keep repeating it.
     

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