Delay from when pressure switch clicks and pump turns on

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by BillEbob, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. BillEbob

    BillEbob New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Austin TX
    Hi all.

    I have a 265 ft 1.5 HP submersible well pump with bladder tank. System is about 10 yrs old. Twice now we have been using water and all of a sudden the flow stops and then starts up again. No sputtering or air. Last time I ran out to the well house when the water stopped but the pump was already running. I did notice maybe a 10 second delay from when the pressure switch clicked to when I heard the pump energize. The pressure switch is new, 40-60 psi and I have replaced the start capacitor a few years back. I was going to take home a meter Today and run through the checking procedure on the control box.

    Since the problem is intermittent (has occurred 3 times in the last couple weeks) would checking the control box show any issues with the components?

    Pic of the control box attached.

    Thanks in advance for any help.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2012
  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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  3. BillEbob

    BillEbob New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Austin TX
    Thanks LLigetfa. Actually I did see that thread I was hoping mine was an easier solution.

    Below are the results from my control box check.

    Start Capacitor 105-126 MFD measured 106

    Run Capacitor 10 MFD measured 7.6

    Overload should not be over .5 ohms measured .58

    Relay Should be zero measured .57 ohms

    The run capacitor was off the most and the relay seemed a little high ( I'm a mechanical guy though, I usually shock myself around electricity). Could any of these be the culprit?
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Clamp on an ammeter and see what it reads during the first 10 seconds.
  5. BillEbob

    BillEbob New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Austin TX
    Looks like I have the same problem. I wasn't able to get a hold of an amp meter but everything now points to a bad check valve or a hole. It now takes exactly 30 seconds every time for the pressure to rise when the pressure switch cuts in. Doesn't seem like I'm getting any air. I was able to readjust the pressure switch to operate from 45 to 60 and even when I'm running several zones of sprinklers the system recovers before any noticeable pressure loss.

    Any problem with leaving the system running like that?
  6. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,426
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    There is a problem if your pump shuts off while you are running sprinklers. The cycling on and off will destroy your pump, motor, switch, control box, and is most likely why your check valve has failed. Taken 30 seconds for water to reach the top is not good but the real problem is that the irrigation zones do not match the output of the pump which causes cycling.
  7. BillEbob

    BillEbob New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Austin TX
    Sorry... I may not have described the cycle well enough. The system is now cycling properly at current pressure switch settings. Cut in at 45, cut out at 60. But when the pump cuts in it takes 30 seconds for the pressure to start rising.
  8. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    What sort of pressure tank do you have?
  9. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,426
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    I know what cycling is, and there is no such thing as “cycling properly”. If it ever reaches 60 and shuts off while the sprinklers are running, you have a cycling problem.
  10. BillEbob

    BillEbob New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Austin TX
    80 Gal pre-charged to 36 psi, Don't remember the brand.
  11. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    Location:
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    You are squandering drawdown capacity and needlessly stretching the bladder. The pre-charge should be 2 - 5 PSI below cut-in, not 9 PSI.
  12. BillEbob

    BillEbob New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Austin TX
    When I had the pressure switch set at 40 to 60, flow to my home would sometimes stop momentarily if I was using a lot of water since it takes 30 seconds for the pump to start increasing the pressure. Presumably due to a bad check valve at the pump. Running 2 showers or the sprinkler system would decrease the pressure in the system by 5 psi in 30 seconds. I realize the pump cycles more with setting at 45 to 60 but I don't have to listen to my wife when the water stops in the middle of rinsing her hair.

    I'm sure I'm going to need to have the system repaired eventually but for now unless I'm watching the pressure gauge everything seems normal.
  13. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,932
    Location:
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    Your stop-gap remedies and procrastination will only result in costing you more in the long run. Stretching the bladder, short, more frequent cycles, and water hammer on the checkvalve will exact their toll.
  14. BillEbob

    BillEbob New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Austin TX
    If I do pull the pump I'll probably replace it too since it's 10 yr old along with the check valves. If I do procrastinate (more than the week so far) how will it cost me more than that?
  15. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,932
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    By also needing to replace the bladder tank sooner.
  16. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    He cannot have a delay unless air is getting into the system, it seems. So where is the air going? Its not bleeding out from a air release valve.
  17. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,932
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Not true. The water column can fall in the pipe leaving a near vacuum in its stead. When the pump starts, it refills the pipe, hence the delay.

    This is similar to a mercury barometer except that the water column weighs less so that the column needs to be more than 30 feet tall.
  18. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,426
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    I’m with BV on this one. A vacuum in the pipe from a bad check valve would be like putting your thumb over a straw full of water. The water is under a vacuum but the water does not fall out the bottom. As a matter of fact the vacuum in a pipe fills up so fast when the pump starts, that water hits a second check valve and causes water hammer instantly. No delay.

    I am thinking a bad check valve and a hole in the pipe at the top of the well. The bad check valve lets the pipe drain out when the pump is off because the hole up top lets air in. When the pump starts, the air goes out the hole while the pipe is refilling. This causes the delay in flow to the tank. Not a normal problem but, stranger things have happened. :)
  19. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,932
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I didn't suggest that it would fall out the bottom. I do know my laws of physics. With a bad checkvalve in the pump or a hole in the pipe near the pump, the water in the pipe will stay about 30 feet above the static water table. If the OP has a deep enough well and the static water table is low there can be a lot of pipe under vacuum. Simple laws of physics says it cannot fill instantly.

    That's not to say that you cannot be right about both a hole and a bad checkvalve.
  20. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,426
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas

    I am sorry I haven’t mentioned this earlier, but you need to remove any check valves above ground. Without using water in the house, you will see that the pressure starts dropping the instant the pump shuts off. That will prove that water is going back down the hole, either because of a bad check valve or a hole in the pipe.

    If this is happening, it needs to be fixed. Your pump is starting on up-thrust. Water running back down the well is stirring up the well. If your pump restarts before the water is through running backwards, it will break the pump or motor shaft. Not to mention the water hammer and the actual waiting for water problem you are having. But maybe the most important reason is that the place where the water is getting out maybe a break or unscrewing pipe coupling, which could mean you could soon be fishing for whatever falls in the well.

    You can adjust the pressure switch and air charge in the tank to maintain supply to the house until the pump gets water to the top of the well. We do this a lot with soft start pumps. But with a regular pump, it is just a short term Band Aid that will leave you completely out of water at the most inopportune time.
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