High Pressure then Low with Strange Noise from Control Box

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by moebis, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. moebis

    moebis New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    NJ
    Out of nowhere the water pressure in our house jumped really high. I summoned the courage to go into the crawl space and find the pressure gauge (in line with the pressure tank and pressure switch). It read 85 PSI. I couldn't figure out how to adjust the pressure switch, so I left it alone for about 2-3 days, and then all of the sudden the pressure went from 85 psi down to 25-30psi and the Solid State Switch or QD Control Box was making a buzzing noise for about a second every 15-30 seconds (it wasn't doing this during the 3 days of high pressure). I figured it was the Control Box and called the company that installed it 19 years ago to replace it. He snapped in a new box and said it was still making a noise (I couldn't hear it), but he insisted it was a problem with the pump itself. I didn't feel like spending $1000 to replace a pump so I told him to wait while I get my wife (she asks good questions, so I figured maybe she would think of something I'm missing).

    Long story short, I bring my wife outside, and they are already pulling the pump out and telling me that it was the pump and it would have to be replaced anyways. So they replaced the 1/2 hp pump, the control box, the pressure switch and put air in the pressure tank. I'm now wondering if we were scammed. My wife and I started talking, and wondering if all it needed was a new control box or pressure switch. Do these symptoms sound like something a failing pump would cause? They took the old pump away (I wish I had kept it), but I still have the old Franklin-Electric control box. I'm thinking if I plug the old control box in, and everything keeps working then I'll know they did the right thing by replacing the pump, unless this problem (buzzing noise) is also caused by the pressure switch. If it starts to buzz again, then maybe I was scammed. Any thoughts anyone? Thanks.
  2. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,425
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    The little nipple going to your pressure switch was probably plugged up to start with. Then your pump could not shut off as it should. The high pressure was from the pump doing all it could and dead heading against the high pressure. This means there is no flow to cool the motor, and the motor burns up. Then the control box goes to clicking and buzzing every few minutes, trying to restart the bad motor. The motor is destroyed, and the control box probably burned up trying to start the burned motor. You will be lucky if the high pressure didn't also burst the bladder in your tank. And if you didn't replace the pressure switch and clean out the nipple it was attached to, it can all happen again.
  3. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,244
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    The cause of the noise was the pump's overload kicking on and off. The cause of the pump failing may have been that the pressure switch stuck on, causing the pump to deadhead for an unknown period of time.

    If someone worked on your house without your permission and then demanded payment, yes, you did get cheated only if because you were not given a choice. The contractor should have properly diagnosed the problem and then offered to repair it for a quoted price.

    Normally when a pump is replaced it is a good practice to replace the control box, pressure switch, and bladder tank all at the same time.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2010
  4. moebis

    moebis New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    NJ
    Thanks

    Thanks guys for your quick diagnosis. I feel much better now. We did get a good price for all of the repairs, so I don't feel that bad. You're right, he should have slowed down a little, explained the problem more and quoted a price, they really seemed to be in a rush. It was the end of the day, it was kind of an emergency call, so I'm glad they were able to fix it. With my help, the job took like 45 minutes (new pump, new control box, new pressure switch and they just refilled the air in the pressure tank bladder).

    It's taken 3 days for the water to clear up, I was running the water outside to try and flush it out. I finally put the water softener back online yesterday (I didn't want them on trying to soften tea-colored water), around midnight last night I set both softeners to do a manual regeneration. The water looks good today. Thanks again, this message board is great.
  5. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    After 20 years it was time for a change anyway. Be grateful they did it so fast and clean. Ask them if they think the tank is shot too - is it 20 years old?
  6. moebis

    moebis New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    NJ
    Yes, I am grateful, it's just an expense we would have liked to push back to a later date if possible. They just said they needed to pressurize the badder in the tank and they hooked up an air compressor to it.
  7. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Check the tank pressure in a few weeks again with the pump off and no pressure.
  8. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,425
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Pump guys are always in a hurry. Every job they get is an emergency because someone is out of water. Pumps always quit at the most inopportune times. Friday at 5:30 PM, Christmas eve, just after all the in-laws show up, or a new baby is in the house. Murphy’s law you know.
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