Do I have an accident waiting to happen with my well motor

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by paul06, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. paul06

    paul06 New Member

    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    Aiken, SC
    :cool:
    Hi:
    This is my first post on this forum. I am a home owner and a fairly good DIYer. Here is my story:

    Just when you think you have the world by the horns and are comfortable in your ability to handle maintenance around the home, WHAM ! something happens that you know nothing about. It is my well water system. I am trying to glean as much information about this as I can. Two days ago, I lost my water supply. I went out and flicked the breakers and pushed the reset button on the bottom of the control box. I had water. I was so proud of myself. Hours later, the water quit again. I called the person who put in the pump [2-16-2004]. He said that my control box was bad and had to be replaced. He did that. However, he said there is a problem. The amp reading from the control box was 12.0 . He said that usually it was around 10 to 11. The control box had a max of 11.5. I asked him what all that meant. He said that the motor was going bad. I do feel that working on the well is a job of a pro; however I like to know what he is talking about, so I have browsed the internet and found this forum . If you could help me understand all of this; Does this reading mean the motor IS BAD or could there possibly be other things that I should be looked at before having the motor replaced, which I understand is major job. What should I do. Thank you. PS I have pix and will try to upload them. If the are not sharp enough to be read, I can give you a higher resolution. Thanks again

    Attached Files:

  2. Waterwelldude

    Waterwelldude Well driller,pump repair. and septic installer

    Messages:
    303
    Location:
    Texas
    Running 12 amps for that pump is not that bad. We have had them running 12 for years.
    The box may say 11.5 but 12 is not out of range far enough to worry about.
    The problem was more than likely just a capacitor ( the black round tube next to the silver one)
    but some of the well people that are not sure of there work will just change the whole box.

    I wouldn't worry too much about it.
  3. paul06

    paul06 New Member

    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    Aiken, SC
    RE: Accident going some to happen

    Thank you for your reply. I feel better. The well man led me to believe that my motor was going bad. Interesting that you mention the capacitor. If I remember right, the first time I called him I believe he mentioned the capacitor. The next time he said he would come out and replace the box. Possibility he did this for the profit I do not mind paying profit, but do not like being "taken". The next time I have a problem, I will be more attentive to what he says, and/or get a second opinion. Thanks again.
  4. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,457
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Don't feel better just yet. A bad capacitor is usually just the first sign of a problem. It could also be the starting relay, as it gets just as much use as the start cap. Burning a start cap or relay means the pump has been cycing on and off a lot. Pumps are designed to last an average of 7 years, by making them just strong enough to survive 7 years of cycling on and off. Yours is about this old so, I would say your motor is damaged as well. When the windings in a canned stator motor get hot and swell, they don't go back to the original size. The rotor drags on the laminations and causes a little extra amperage. The dragging rotor leaves shavings in the motor which furhter shortens the life of the motor. Save your money, you are going to need a new motor soon. If you want them to last longer, you have to eliminate the excess cycling on and off.
  5. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    That is a 1 OR 1.5 HP control box. I do not see what size motor he has. If it is a 1 hp motor pulling 12 amps, its time for getting ready for a pull, plus the box will be compromissed soon.

    The pity is that your well guy seems to have only checked running amps. Ask him to follow the franklin "AIM" manual for testing the motor windings, and you will have an "MRI" of your motor. Or ask why he did NOT do that when he was there. Also see if he checked ohms, resistance in the drop wires to ground. Only then did he test your motor. Amps are just a start.

    Have you checked your pressure tank to see how often the pump is starting and how long to fill that tank?
  6. paul06

    paul06 New Member

    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    Aiken, SC
    Wow! for the money it cost for a well, seven year life does not seem fair. I have no idea about the cycling on an off. Is there a way I can tell what the cycle times are without being in front of it and keeping track? What is an optimum period for the well to cycle? They told me the cost of replacing the motor was $1000 - 1200 if they had to replace the control box also which was replaced on Aug 23rd.
  7. paul06

    paul06 New Member

    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    Aiken, SC
    I will check with the wellman and ask him these questions. How do I check the pressure tank to see how often it is starting. I would take for granted when the motor stops the tank is full, but I do not know how empty the tank is when the motor starts, and if the tank is at the same level each time the motor starts. However, it seems from the last two posts, that my motor is indeed going to fail soon. Is the cause of the motor going bad caused by the cycling?
  8. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Go to watersystems.org and read up on system operation. Check your drawdown by filling 5 gallon buckets just after the pump shuts off. You should get about 20-25 gallons with your tank. Depends on the on-off pressure settings. Perhaps you need a new tank or to have the pressure adjusted. Also see the stickie section at the beginning here about tanks.

    Also find out what the HP of your motor is. Do you have heavy water use and irrigation?
  9. paul06

    paul06 New Member

    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    Aiken, SC
  10. masterpumpman

    masterpumpman New Member

    Messages:
    729
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    You're right, watersystems.org web site is for sale! As Valveman said you may have a pending larger problem. It could be a motor or it can sometimes be an electrical leakage in the wire or splice in the well. Lots of times if the wire in the well is leaking the installer will reverse the wires (move the top end of the wire to the bottom). six years isn't a normal life for a pump motor however lightning and pump cycling will shorten the life of a motor. Have a trusted licensed and hopefully NGWA Certified pump/drilling contractor check the amperage and ohms of the pump/drop wire.
    If you use water in small amounts, the cycling will shorten the life of your pump, control box, pressure switch and tank bladder.
    Because Valveman manufactures the Cycle Stop Valve he didn't mention it but I will! If the tank bladder checks out OK you might consider installing a Cycle Stop Valve www.cyclestopvalve.com. This valve will lengthen the life of all components (that aren't already damaged) and give you city like constant pressure (Your wife will love it). This valve isn't expensive!
  11. jimtum

    jimtum AAW

    Messages:
    57
    Location:
    Decatur Tx
    From the look of the sticker you have a 1 1/2 hp pump. It should also have this listed on the front of your control box. The start capacitor is like valveman said an indicator of something else going wrong usually. In my pump pulling experience most pumps are between 10-15 years old when we pulled them. If you can turn on a faucet outside and go to where your pressure tank is and watch the pressure switch for short cycling. The pump will cut on and then cut off in a matter of seconds. If this is the case then you will need to check the pressure tank. Turn off the pump and drain the tank, once you have drained the tank check and see how much air is in it or just shake the tank. If it is full or you hear water moving around in the tank then you have a bad bladder and this is making your pump short cycle and will shorten its life. Also most well companies will sale you a control box because they make more money by selling you one for 90+ dollars instead of a 17.00 capacitor.
  12. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    The site you want is watersystemscouncil.org and this is a non profit and a fantastic source of information - Its not for sale, but I am having problems with downloads today. In another thread valveman gave a real link to the site when I mentioned their great well share form, free, online. So with a bit of work you should find it.
  13. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,457
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Just because the watersystemscouncil is a non-profit organization, doesn’t mean they are non-biased. Nothing could be further from the truth. Members of the council are the heads of manufacturing for pumps, motors, tanks, and water well accessories. It cost a lot of money to become a member. Look at the bottom of this page. http://www.watersystemscouncil.org/joinNow.php

    Only the members get to decide what is on the web page. So you get to hear what the big manufacturers of pumps, motors, tanks, and accessories want you to hear. There is some good stuff and some not so good. Take everything with a grain of salt.
  14. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Non profit org's usually ARE the most biased due to their benefactors dreams. But a lot of great info leaks out through the cracks. Sounds like they have not addressed CSV type valves in the data.
  15. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,457
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    They ask me to, so I wrote a whole section on "constant pressure". I explained VFD's, CSV's, shuttle valves, flow switches, etc.. They didn't use any of it because it is contrary to selling more pumps and big tanks. Just makes that web page about 20 years behind the times. They only added the electronic pressure switch because one of their high paying members makes it.
  16. paul06

    paul06 New Member

    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    Aiken, SC
    I have been hard at work digesting the information given so for

    Ballvalve - As to what HP my motor is, I do not have a clue. Nothing on the metal tag round the motor. Went to the site of the Gould pumps. I was able to bring up my tank only. Still looking however. Also, I checked the "drawdown" as you outlined. Here are my results:
    ON/Off Pressure 40-65
    Time is takes tank to fill up - 57 minutes
    Amount of water taken from when the pump shuts off to when is starts again - 19 gal.

    Jimtum - I have not checked the tank pressure yet. That is next on my to do list.

    To you All: Thank you all for the great advice you have given me. I feel so much more knowledgeable than when I posted my first question. I have only scratched the surface, as I have more tests to do and much more to learn. Thank again for then and in advance.
    Paul

    Attached Files:

  17. Waterwelldude

    Waterwelldude Well driller,pump repair. and septic installer

    Messages:
    303
    Location:
    Texas
    The last picture at the top of the thread and the pic you just posted tells the HP. It says it is a 1.5 hp motor.
  18. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    The life of a submerisble pump depends on many factors, including the integrety of the insatllation, the quality of the water and the size of the tank. Cycling can and will lead to premature failure but sandy water or water high in minerals and iron also play hell with pumps. Don't forget the pump itself which vary a lot in quality. I guess that the average life is around 10 years give or take but in reality I have seen far more pumps that have lasted 10 plus years than pumps that lasted under 10 years and of those that failed prematurely, poor installation or failure to replace waterlogged tanks is the most common cause of failure.
  19. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Okay, time to budget a new pump. 57 minutes to pressurize 19 gallons of water? Unless you meant 57 SECONDS, its time to get out the gloves and pull that thing out. You have a real "gas hog" unless your pressure tank is 500 gallons. The 19 gallons part sounds reasonable.

    The 12 amps on what appears to be a 1.5 HP pump is not so bad, but unless you have some restriction in the line along with worn impellers, or an entirely WRONG pump in term of stages vs. depth and tank pressure, you will need some serious study of the correct pump for your set-up. It is all to common for a quick and sloppy pump guy to set the wrong pump for the property because he had it handy and wanted to not order the correct one. Your pump likely needs more stages, i.e. the ability to produce more pressure.

    You might try and reduce the on off setting to 20 - 40 psi or less and see what the new pump up time is.
  20. paul06

    paul06 New Member

    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    Aiken, SC
    Not the news I was wanting to hear. Let me give you a rundown on my pump cycle:
    65 reading to 60 = 2 minutes
    60 tp 55 = 10 minutes
    55 to 50 = 11 minutes
    50 to 45 = 15 minutes
    45 to 40 = 19 minutes total 57 minutes

    I will reduce the onoff setting to 20 - 40. How do I do this?

    What should the cycle be for 19 gal approx?

    Throughout this thread, I have had comments about the wellman that put in the well and checked it when I had my problem. Actually, I have no idea what his credentials are. He was putting a well in at our granddaughters a short ways away, and we asked him to do ours also. I realize now that was not the smartest move. How do I get a good wellman, if whaqt you say is true and I will need to replace?
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