Deep Wel Pump Using Too Much Electricity

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by Chicadita, Jan 26, 2013.

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How to save electricity on the deep well pump

  1. Service the pump

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Replace the pump

    0 vote(s)
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  3. Add a dedicated generator

    0 vote(s)
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  4. Go solar

    0 vote(s)
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  5. Add a storage tank

    0 vote(s)
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  6. High electrical use is common - learn to live with it

    1 vote(s)
    100.0%
  1. Chicadita

    Chicadita New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Paso Robles, CA
    I'm a new homeowner and my home runs off of a deep well. I was shocked at the end of my first month with a $430 electricity bill. Systematically going through the house and checking various things, we've determined that the well pump is too blame. It spikes the electricity meter. Looking through usage reports, we're way over where we should be at times of day when we use water (and the water heater uses propane, so it really is just the pump). I feel like something is terribly wrong, but searching the web for days, I've gotten nowhere.

    The pump is 1.5 hp, 10amp, and 230volts. This seems pretty standard for a deep well pump. Isn't it? There is no water storage tank because the well produces at a good rate. My first thought was to get a water storage tank to prevent the pump from having to spool up pressure every time a toilet is flushed. Two tank companies have been out and both have said adding a tank will do nothing for power saving. I'm puzzled by that. It seemed logical to me.

    I thought maybe I needed a more efficient pump? But when I look online, this seems to be as efficient as it gets for 1.5 hp. The well is about 400 feet deep. I think the pump is 100-200 feet down (I know I have it written down somewhere). I have no idea on the pump's age. If it is sucking so much electricity to run the shower (12 kwh) that PG&E puts me in the red for maximum use/overuse of power - what on Earth is wrong?

    I'm looking at adding a tank, servicing the pump, replacing the pump, adding a generator, or going solar? I don't know how to correct this when I can't determine what's wrong. But I can't afford $430/month in elecricity when I used to pay $60.
  2. craigpump

    craigpump Active Member

    Messages:
    1,027
    Location:
    ct
    Will PG&E give you power usage for the previous owner?

    How old is the pump system?

    There has to be a tank somewhere or else the pump would cycle on & off very quickly when the water is being used. The rapid cycling would cause the start windings in the motor to fail pretty quickly.

    There are numerous reasons why the pump is using so much power, it could be worn out, there could be a split or hole in the pipe, the spline coupler between the pump & motor could be worn and slipping or the screen on the pump intake could be plugged with iron. Any of those conditions will prevent the system from coming up to pressure and shutting the pump off.
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,128
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Why the poll? It serves only as a distraction. Anyway, if it is a poll you want, you missed one important option.

    Use less water.

    If the pump doesn't have a pressure tank then it is probably one of those VFD types. They have been shown to use more electricity. Take a look at http://www.cyclestopvalves.com/vfd-energy.html
  4. Chicadita

    Chicadita New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Paso Robles, CA
    Unfortunately, the previous owner was a church - no one has lived in the house for 10 years. It was used as an office and Sunday daycare during service. Previous use data wouldn't help any. Every scrap of information I got about the house was unreliable because no one person was really responsible for the house. The Duty Date says 00B19, which I think means it was built in 2000, in February, in OK.

    I think it has a small pressure tank at the surface. But it doesn't have any sort of storage tank.

    It creates standard pressure from the faucets (I think it was about 42psi) - the home inspector said it was good pressure and flow for a well without a tank. I hadn't really thought about a split or hole in the pipe, but I suppose that could make the pump work too hard to get the right pressure. Sounds like having it serviced might be the best course of action.
  5. Chicadita

    Chicadita New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Paso Robles, CA
    Pump Information

    IMG_5504.jpg Here is the tag from the pump. I don't know if this helps.
  6. wondering

    wondering Member

    Messages:
    106
    Could your power company be billing you under a different rate than residential? Since it has been a Church and a Day Care it may be billed at a higher rate?? Worth checking into.
  7. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,259
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    I think you need to start by determining how much the pump is running.

    If you have a hole in the drop pipe causing the pump to run continuously, the bill would be about right.

    When the pump is running, it could legitimately be using about the same amount of power as an electric oven set to bake.
  8. Chicadita

    Chicadita New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Paso Robles, CA
    Residential Rate


    I hadn't even thought of that, but it turns out no, we are being billed at a residential rate. Drat.


    We talked to a neighbor, and they said they cut their electricity bill by adding a pressure tank. Ours is 86 gallons. Does anyone have any thoughts on adding another pressure tank to fix the power crunch?
  9. Chicadita

    Chicadita New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Paso Robles, CA

    Running the oven (also electric) doesn't spike our power usage nearly as much as a 6 minute shower. I can have the oven on for an hour or more and it shows on our usage report over the usual amount, but running water spikes it at almost 3 times as much as the oven. Ir just doesn't seem right. I don't think the pump is always running becuase we really do see massive spikes when someone takes a shower.
  10. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,259
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    It would be easy for someone with a meter to test the pump to see how many amps it is pulling during normal operation.
  11. Chicadita

    Chicadita New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Paso Robles, CA
    The plate on it says 10.0 amps. Do you think it might be pulling more than what it was built to pull?
  12. craigpump

    craigpump Active Member

    Messages:
    1,027
    Location:
    ct
    I seriously doubt a larger tank will save on your electric bill after all the pump has to run to fill it. What a larger tank will do is extend the life of the pump motor through longer run times which promotes better cooling of the windings in the motor and provide more available water between run cycles.

    I hadn't thought about the difference in rates between commercial & residential rates. It would hard to imagine that a church would be on a commercial plan, but it is certainly worth looking into. You can call the power company and have them do an energy audit on your home to determine exactly what is using all the power.

    I have never seen a VFD installation without some type of tank. There could be one of those "in well" tanks installed on top of the drop pipe that can't be seen from the surface.
  13. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,128
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Hindsight is 20/20. It has since become obvious from the pic of the Franklin control box that it is not a VFD.

    If/when a pump is short cycling, it spends proportionately more time on the start windings. We know that locked rotor current is much higher than running current.
  14. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,259
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    That is the question. If it were only pulling 10 amps it would NOT be having a notable effect on your electric usage, unless it was running constantly. I would estimate that my well pump runs for about an hour a day cumulatively.
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