Can a defective pressure switch cause other damage?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by optyman, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. optyman

    optyman New Member

    Messages:
    2
    I recently experienced a Square-D pressure switch that went bad. One of the two separate contacts within it (along with a spring) came loose and fell off inside it. No breakers were tripped. I cut the power and managed to push the contact back on. It cylced a couple of times, but was working loose again and eventually fell off a second time. Again, no breakers were tripped. As a temporary fix to allow us to have water, I pushed the contact back on and put a slight bend on the piece of metal that holds the contact and spring in place, and that seemed to work for several cylces. Eventually, like after several hours, it tripped the main circuit panel for the first time. It tripped once durign a 24 hour period. There were no shorts in the rigged up switch (the slight bend). Resetting the main circuit breaker once allowed us to have water for many hours of use.

    The next day I replaced the pressure switch with a new one (30/50). It has functioned for one week now without any problems...until this morning. The 220 main circuit breaker tripped again, but hadn't until last week, the day prior to putting the new switch on. So far, the breaker has not tripped again, but I believe it is just a matter of time. Did the faulty switch cause issues with any other electrical parts or to the pump itself? I reviewed some other posts, and there was mention of a capacitor failure or some relay problem related to another person's similar but different problem.

    When I replaced the pressure switch I shut the water valve off that leads from the well to the switch and shut another valve off that leads from the pressure switch to the air tank. I'll check the pressure in the tank when I get home, but I don't believe that the tank is causing an issue. It should be set at whatever it was when I started having this problem.

    Any help that you could give would be appreciated. Thank you.
  2. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,485
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Usually a burned pressure switch or points just falling off is a symptom, not the cause of failure. The failure is usually caused by cycling on and off too many times. Sometimes the pressure switch or the capacitor is the first thing to go bad but, the pump has had just as much abuse as the switch. Replace the switch and then the breaker or overload starts tripping, and then pretty soon it won't do any good to try and reset it, because the motor is also bad.
  3. optyman

    optyman New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Would you replace the breaker on the main circuit panel or the circuit breaker for the pump itself? I haven't taken that apart yet.

    I hear you that the pressure switch failure may be a result of some other problem. The pump is roughly 14 years old and the whole house well was also used for lawn irrigation (not a sprinkler system, but with garden hoses). Maybe usage is the culprit. I was considering installing a second air tank, daisy chained with the current one.

    Would installing a "Cycle Stop Valve" help me out? Not sure what this does.
  4. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,485
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    An extra pressure tank will only cut the number of cycles in half. The Cycle Stop Valve will eliminate cycling while you are using the garden hose, which is probably what caused the failure. The breakers are probably still good. It is the motor and/or the wire that causes the breaker to trip.
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