Flow interuption

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by drtedave, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. drtedave

    drtedave New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I have a situation where the flow of water is interrupted in my house for about 10 seconds. It is a new(ish) (about 5 years old) and the well is the same age. From time to time (about once a day) the flow will start to decrease and then suddenly the flow stops completely for about 10 seconds. The water then comes back on at full force. It will remain good for the rest of the day.

    I have been in the basement by the pressure tank when this has occurred and it sounds as though there is a switch that is physically engaged when this happens and then it is released. My suspicions (and hope) are that this is an adjustment of some kind and not a call to replace the pump. Can some one guide me in what to adjust, how to adjust, and on what part of pressure switch do I make the adjustment?

    In addition, if I am making adjustments – is there anyway to raise the pressure in the household? The upstairs shower in the MB doesn’t really have enough umph.
  2. Deb

    Deb Plumber

    Messages:
    200
    Location:
    Idaho
    Deb

    Well systems can get complicated. And you cannot just start adjusting things. This may be beyond your ability to diagnose. Do you understand how the system works and the relationship between the pressure tank and the pressure switch? Do you know the HP of your pump? Do you know how deep the well is? Is this a submersible or a jet pump?
    You need to make sure that your pump can handle pumping to a higher pressure before you make any adjustments. The pressure in the tank needs to be adjusted also. You could have a faulty pressure switch or the nipple to the switch could be clogged. Have you observed the pressure on the gauge when this happens? Can you hear the contacts on the switch closing, but not producing water? Does anything get hot? Boy, there is just so much to all this and there is tons and tons that I don't know.
    Deb
    The Pipewench
  3. drtedave

    drtedave New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Thank you for your reply

    Thank you for your reply – I am grateful for the guidance. Let me see if I can be more specific and answer some of the questions that you have posed.

    “Well systems can get complicated. And you cannot just start adjusting things. This may be beyond your ability to diagnose.†– This is true and this the reason that I am seeking advice first; even if I opt to bring a professional in to diagnose the problem I would like to be first armed with as much information as possible. I like to make sure that I am educated on the subject to reduce the chance of being taken.

    “Do you understand how the system works and the relationship between the pressure tank and the pressure switch?†– I think that I have the basic grasp here. The pressure tank stores a “small†amount of water under pressure so that the household demand can be met when there is a call for water without having to first turn the pump on every time. The combination of the tank and the switch “tells†the pump when the pressure has dropped to a significant enough level that it requires to be refilled (turning the pump on). The switch turns the pump back off to prevent the tank from reaching too high a pressure level.


    “Do you know the HP of your pump?†- My Pump is a ¾ HP

    “Do you know how deep the well is?†– My finished well Depth is 405 ft. deep, the casing begins 2 ft. above grade, the static Water Level is 20 ft. below land surface, the pumping water level is 350 ft. below land surface, the well yield (when originally tested on August 4, 1999) was 6 gpm, the depth of the pump is 360 ft and it has a capacity of 7 gpm.

    “Is this a submersible or a jet pump?†– This is a submersible pump

    â€You need to make sure that your pump can handle pumping to a higher pressure before you make any adjustments.†– I am not sure how to check this can you advise?

    “The pressure in the tank needs to be adjusted also.†– I don’t want to make this adjustment until I have a better idea of what I am adjusting and the possible consequences. I personally feel that the cut on adjustment may set too low but I can not see an easy way to gauge that setting. It seems to be just a nut along a screw with no calibration what so ever. This will make it impossible for an amateur (me) to be able to make this adjustment and be confidant that I have not caused damage or disrupted a critical adjustment.

    Continued...
  4. drtedave

    drtedave New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Continued...

    “You could have a faulty pressure switch or the nipple to the switch could be clogged.†– if this is the case is this an expensive part to replace?

    “Have you observed the pressure on the gauge when this happens?†– I do not have the precise reading at the time that the interruption occurs. The pressure at rest is 59 PSI, normally this drops by about 20 Pounds, when the water stops flowing the pressure goes below the 38 PSI mark – but I am not sure how low.

    “Can you hear the contacts on the switch closing, but not producing water?†– I have not observed this phenomenon. I have only been in proximity of the tank once when the interruption has occurred. I did hear a physical engaging just before the water began to flow again.

    “Does anything get hot?†this does not seem to be the case but again I have only been in proximity of the tank once when the interruption has occurred. There was no sign of excess heat. I did try and “feel†around when this happened but keep in mind that the switch is covered (Square D) by a plastic cover that is not the best conductor of heat. Nothing is getting hot under normal operations.

    “Boy, there is just so much to all this and there is tons and tons that I don't know.†– Here are some remaining facts that I have: The tank is a Wellxtrol (by Amtrol) Model Number WX-302, the factory pre-charge is 38 PSA, the max working pressure rating is 125 PSI and the test pressure is 125 PSI, the maximum pressure rating on the square D switch is 220 PSI. The Frankin Electric Control Box is model number 280 107 49. ¾ HP .55 kW 1 Phase 230 Volt 60 HZ Quick Disconnect Control Box. I do not have details on the motor as it is in the well and I do not have the paperwork available on that component.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,817
    Location:
    New England
    Does your system have any pressure guages on it? If not, if you have some service done, it might be a good idea to have one installed. If you have a hose bib near by, you can screw one onto that and check the pressure. It comes in handy to see if things are working properly.
  6. drtedave

    drtedave New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    New Jersey
    pressure gauge

    The system does have a gauge. That is how I am able to see that hte normal pressure level (no water running) is at 59 PSI. It is also how I was able to see the pressure drop below 20 pounds less than the standing pressure. It seems that normal function is that the switch turns on when the pressure drops by 20 pounds. The malfunction is somwhat described as the pressure drops under the 20 pound mark but the switch does not function until ~10 seconds after the fall in pressure (remember not every time just ~ once per day - usually in the morning).
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,817
    Location:
    New England
    I'm not a plumber, but work with a lot of electronics and things. Sounds to me that the switch is sticky...after sitting all night with no water demand, and not having to turn on, it takes more to cause it to switch on. After that, as long as it gets cycled fairly often from normal household uses, it does what it should. If I was going to guess, I'd say the switch needs to be replaced, but somebody with more experience may have other ideas. Don't know the price of a switch, or how much trouble it is to replace. How old is it? I'd guess that with knowing the age, and the symptoms you've described, somebody that works on them all of the time could give you a better idea if that is the problem. Good luck. One last thing, not sure how these things are hooked up, but the switch may activate a relay. The switch may be okay, and the relay is sticking. Can you hear the switch activate followed by a humm? that could be a relay that is sticking. By using a relay, they can use a switch with smaller contacts (thus less expensive)...just not sure how these things are configured.
  8. drtedave

    drtedave New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Jim thanks for the input! What you say makes sense to me. It also lines up somewhat with what Deb had said previously: “You could have a faulty pressure switch or the nipple to the switch could be clogged.†It could be some sort of debris that is causing the clog and forcing the "sticky" behavior as Jim has described.

    Since this system is only 5 years old (August/September 1999) I am having a hard time beliveing that the part has worn out. However, I have had to free my system (many of the airators screens and bathtub lines) from sediment. Is it possible that the sedimate pulled up from the well be "clogging" this part? Or is it possible that the sedimate is causing the switch to stick?

    If either of the answers to these two questions is yes then does it make sense that I try and remove the switch and clean it? or do I just replace it? If I replace it should I just replace the Sqare D switch, the switch and controler box, or the switch and its associated plumbing parts?
  9. drtedave

    drtedave New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Some more information

    The Presure switch is a Square D Class 9013 type F Pumptrol. It is set up in a T configuration. Water from the motor flows to the switch. From the switch it has two branches one to the tank and one to the supply to the house. The supply side has the presure gauge mounted. I may not be describing it too well, so I have two pictures to show the configuration better But I first have to reduce the size before uploadign them here. It will take little while.

    Additionally, this morning the problem occured and I counted the time the water remained off - it turns out that the ~10 second estimate was overstated. It stays off for more like 3 seconds.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2004
  10. drtedave

    drtedave New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Here are the two pictures of the configuration:

    Attached Files:

  11. drtedave

    drtedave New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Correction

    In an earlier post I said the pressure switch is a Square D 9015 type F. It is actually a 9013 type F. This was a typo I corrected the original post but just in case I cause any confusion.
  12. drtedave

    drtedave New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Any thoughts?
  13. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You need to check for a blockage of the nipple the switch is installed on and up in the bottom of the switch. When you have the water off and drained out of the tank, flush the tank by turning on the pump for a count of 5 seconds with the tank drain open leaving all the water drain out and then repeating until the last bit of water is a clear as you can get it. Before doing anything, run water and note the gauge reading when the switch contacts close and when the pump shuts off. Then with a tire air gauge check the air pressure in the tan to 1-2 psi less than the switch cmming on reading. That's the tall screw nut which moves both the cut-inn and out switch settings up by tightening the nut and down by losening it. The short screw's nut does the same but only on the cut-out setting. Maintain a minimum 20 lb difference. You don't need a new switch.

    The brass part to the left of the tank tee is a check valve. You could have a leak in the line to it from the well and the gauge can not show the loss of pressure between the check and the pump or the next check valve if any other than the one in/on the outlet of the pump.... but you don't have an air in your water complaimnt so probably not.

    Depending on how much water you use your well could be going 'dry'. Meaning that the water level is falling to the inlet of the pump; which usually causes air in the water. But if you have a 6" well, you get 1.47 gals per foot of water but, your static water level may be way lower today than it was in 1999 or whenever the well was drilled. Especially if the neighborhood has a lot more wells today thanb back then.

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates
  14. Cool Javelin

    Cool Javelin New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Calculate pressure

    There is one more thing you should be aware of when changing water pressure. Care should be taken to properly calculate the "head" pressure.

    You mentioned the pump is some 350' down, but the surface of the well water is only 20 some feet.

    There is a pressure differential caused by gravity. Here is a simple calculator I found: http://www.gazza.co.nz/waterpressure.html

    I did a couple of calculations, the pressure at the surface of the well needed to achieve 60 PSI at the regulator (assuming the surface of the well is 20 feet below the regulator) is 83 PSI (approx..)

    If the surface of the well drops to 200', then you will need 161 PSI to get 60 at the reg.

    Even though the pump is 350' down, it will only see the PSI difference between the well surface and the regulator.

    There will be a 19 pound difference between the regulator and the upstairs shower (this can't be avoided.)

    It seems that if the pump is 350' down, the well diggers expected the surface of the well to drop thereby increasing the pressure differential.

    I live in WA, and my pump is only 40' below the earth surface. The well surface seems to be stable at 15' below.

    If you boost the pressure at the regulator, you will be boosting the pressure at the pump too.

    A few pounds plus or minus may be OK, just make sure to calculate the worst case to prevent pump/pipe failure.

    Mark.
  15. Mr. Phunn1

    Mr. Phunn1 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Newbie can't quite understand-Pressure switch cut-out

    Hi there,
    Trying to get the my water to stay on and the Square D switch just keeps giving me fits. System has just been replaced (by me) with all new Pressure tank. !00 PSI tank with HT30 designation, (50% larger that I had before) I have replaced all fittings including the inlet nip and and Pressure tank tree etc. There is a check valve in the pump line ( out near the well head) which is 75 feet away. Well is a 180 feet deep with a 220 Volt system (1.5HP?) and is feeding downhill from wellhead to entry point to house. It's 1" Plastic pipe from 10 feet below surface to basement entry point. The system feeds a single family dweliing with very condensed piping system with 2 middle aged adults. I have installed on demand water heater (Bosch) so no Hot storage in system. I have replaced all pipe at the new pressure tank including 1/4 inch feed to the pressure switch, a SQUARE D FSG2J20M4CP Universal pressure switch. it has provision for low pressure cut-off. It has two separate adjustment screws. One for Cut IN (Adjust nut down for higher cut-in pressure) and one for cut-out, Turn nut down of higher cut out pressure. I can get it to pump up to 45 PSI with no problem, and it will produce plenty of pressure for the system. (I do have a pressure gauge (new) that gives me good readings)
    MY PROBLEM is..when something of low volume usage like the washing machine, the water softner, or sometimes a toilet is being used, it seems to just drain pressure ever so slowly down to about 35 PSI and then the whole bloody mess dumps out and I have no water pressure at all. ZERO. It will not reset (This presssure swiutch has the reset lever on it) automatically, and so you have to run down and manually jump the system again.
    Thsi is a real bummer. I have tried a variety of settings, but I can't seem to get the right combo..and It's really starting to get to me.
    Notes: 1There is no check valve at the pressure tank/water inlet to the house, but there wasn't one on the old one either. I did notice that we get a little surge in the shower that is noticable, but it does no getnerally cut out. It's a low flow problem.
    I am hoping I jsut have missed something witht he switch setting..but this getting ridiculous. The sytem was replaced because of a bladder leak in the old tank that had the old pump cutting in and out way too often, and I was afraid of burning it up. (It's a Red Jacket-1.5 years old, the one prior to that went 15 years). So...the Classic...there I made the thing all new, and twice as big, with better components, and now it works have as good AAAAARRRGGGHHH Help me please.
    Thanks
    Jim
    Mr. Phunn1.
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