HELP! I keep losing water

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by bitterbug, May 29, 2012.

  1. bitterbug

    bitterbug New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Indiana
    I had my tank and pressure switch replaced in December. Everything was working fine until a couple of months ago when my water went out. I went down, turned the pressure switch to "off" then to "start" and the water came back on and all was fine for a couple of weeks when it did it again. Same routine and then the water came back on. Now this is occurring at least 3 times every day. I remember that the pressure switch I originally had was a 30/50 and we put a 40/60 on....would this be causing the problem? Do I need to go back to a 30/50? Do I need a new pump? I honestly know absolutely nothing about my well and I just don't have the money to pay an expert to come and fix it, so I am doing my best to try and figure it out myself. Any feedback would be GREATLY appreciated!!!

    Thanks!
  2. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,462
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    It is just the low pressure kill on the pressure switch that is shutting you down. It could be that you are running out of water, losing prime, or the pressure tank has too much or too little air charge. Is this a submersible or an above ground type pump?
  3. bitterbug

    bitterbug New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Indiana
    It's a submersible pump. What would I need to do to fix it?
  4. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,462
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    With a sub you are not losing prime. Check the air pressure in the tank. Turn the pump off, drain all the water out of the tank, and read the pressure on top of tank with a tire gauge. Should be about 45 PSI and no higher than 48.
  5. bitterbug

    bitterbug New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Indiana
    Thank you SO much! I will try that after work.
  6. wondering

    wondering Member

    Messages:
    106
    Not to dispute Valveman, but the air charge should be 35-38 psi for a 40/60 switch? 45-48 would be too much air for your switch setting.
  7. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,462
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Thanks for catching that. I was on the phone with a person who had a 50/70 pressure switch, and typed in that air pressure setting here. Sorry, 35-38 air pressure is correct for a 40/60 switch.
  8. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,974
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    It sounds like what you have is a switch with a low pressure cutoff. On those, it is not possible to set the trip point which tends to follow 10 PSI below the cut-in. In your case with the new 40/60 switch, the trip point would be around 30 PSI. If your pump is not capable of keeping pace with the GPM of draw, the pressure can and will drop to the trip point. Ask me how I know!

    My wife has a soaker tub filler with full port valves that would sometimes drop the pressure below the trip point. The only way to lower the trip point is to lower the cut-in which was not acceptable. What I did was to replace the mechanical pressure switch with an EPS15/99 from Cycle Stop Valves. You can see a picture of one in valveman's avatar. It has a fixed 10 PSI trip point independent of the cut-in. The wife is happy and so am I because now she doesn't have to go into the crawlspace to hold the lever "just so" while giving me an earful over the phone.
  9. bitterbug

    bitterbug New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Indiana
    I put 45 psi in (before I read the rest of the posts) and the gauge keeps going crazy and then it turns off again. Will letting air out correct this issue?

    LLigetfa: should I go and get a 30/50 switch instead of the 40/60?

    Thank you all SO much for your advice and input. I am a single mother and not too smart when it comes to home repairs, but I am doing my best to learn!
  10. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,462
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Sorry I posted the wrong number and messed you up! Yes letting air out will help. Doesn’t matter 30/50 or 40/60, you just need less air in the tank than the pump start pressure.
  11. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,974
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    There are a few causes of a low pressure cut-off. Having too much air in the bladder is just one of the causes. If there is too much air, the tank runs out of reserve before or right about when the pump starts, the pressure will nose dive and trip the low pressure cut-off.

    If the pump cannot produce enough GPM to meet demand, the PSI could drop well below the kick-in setting on the switch even if there is the right amount of air in the bladder. If/when it drops far enough to trip the low pressure cut-off, the pump will stop and you will have to hold the little lever "just so" to reset it. Letting air out of the bladder will not fix that but you do have to set the air 2 - 5 PSI below the kick-in.

    You don't need to buy a 30/50. The 40/60 could be dialed down to 30/50 by turning the nut on the big spring CCW. They are all built the same, only the factory ships them with different presets.
  12. bitterbug

    bitterbug New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Indiana
    I got the psi lowered to 38 and it appears to be working (the dial isn't jumping all over and the water hasn't turned off yet). I hope that got it!!!

    Thanks to all! I am learning a lot and really appreciate all of the information :)
  13. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,974
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Just an FYI... the dial "jumping all over" is a symptom of no reserve left in the tank. This can happen for two reasons. 1, Too much air in the bladder or 2, Too low water pressure.
  14. bitterbug

    bitterbug New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Indiana
    Well, I didn't have a problem until today when the water cut off again. Does that mean that it is the pump that can't keep up and needs to be replaced?
  15. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,974
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    If you were happy with the 30/50 pressure before, then just dial back the big nut and let some air out of the bladder. Pumps run on a curve with the GPM falling off as the pressure increases and/or as the water level in the well drops. If you have a marginally producing well, putting in a new pump would not be of much benefit. It is possible however, that the pump is thermally tripping and that is why the low pressure cut-off is tripping.

    Replacing the pressure switch with one that doesn't have a low pressure cut-off or one like the EPS15/99 that cuts off at 10 PSI would eliminate or reduce the annoyance trips.

    Dry run protection using a Pumptec or Cycle Sensor is superior to a low pressure cut-off.

    http://www.franklin-electric.com/residential-light-commercial/protection/protection/pumptec.aspx
    http://cyclestopvalves.com/prod_sensor.html
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