I Am 99% Sure I know the Problem, But I Don't Want To Admit It.

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by daavewaard, May 9, 2014.

  1. daavewaard

    daavewaard Member

    Messages:
    45
    Location:
    California
    Without going into every detail, here is the setup: A 30 year old residential well just short of 300 feet.

    1 1/2 hp Gould pump installed Jan 2003, supposed to run at 9-10 amps...running at 11.4 to 11.7 until the control box shuts it down. Max amps is rated at 11.5 amps.

    2. I have isolated the pressure tank so that the pump sends water only to the tank...not into the house or external hose bibs.

    3. When I turn on the power, with the pressure at zero and the new pressure switch points closed and active, the pump will raise the tank pressure to 35-38 (pressure switch factory set at 40-60), sometimes closer to 30...never even reaching 40. The pump will continue to run in this mode from 1 minute to several minutes until the control box shuts it down.

    4. Clear water is available if I send water to the house and open a faucet, with pressure showing at 30-38 for a short time.

    5. I have a Pump Saver installed and it seems to be working fine but never activating...the green light is always on and to get the pump started again I need to reset the control box reset switch.

    Thinking............ see below for my conclusion.......



    I suspect the pump's check valve 300 feet underground is not working to hold pressure or to let it increase.

    So...my questions:

    1. If/when I pull the pump how can I look at the check valve and prove it has failed. Is there a field test?
    2. If/when I pull the pump is there anything I can do to get more life out of the motor (running at too high an amperage).

    Thanks!!! Dave
  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,838
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I would more suspect a hole in the pipe than a bad check. I've never heard of a check preventing the pump from reaching pressure.
  3. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,239
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    A bad check valve normally causes the system to leak down when the pump turns off, which you have not stated is a problem. A leak in the drop pipe can cause the system to run continously because it will not reach it's cut-off setting. Neither explains what is causing the overload to trip. I suspect the pump is going bad.
  4. daavewaard

    daavewaard Member

    Messages:
    45
    Location:
    California
    Yes, there is a slow leakdown after the pump is shutoff. I few minutes ago I filled a bathtub for my lovely and all too patient wife and then turned off the power. The pressure was about 30+ and slowly...over several minutes fell to zero. Both a bad check valve and a hole in the 2" PVC (which was last checked in 2003) could cause the leakdown, correct? And, of course, a tired motor could cause the lack of total pressure, correct? So..multiple issues simultaneously and without warning?

    Thanks to the two quick responders.
  5. tvl

    tvl New Member

    Messages:
    138
    Location:
    South Carolina
    If it was like the pump I replaced a year back, your pump motor is probably fine, but the impellers have become severely worn. Of course, this has nothing to do with the leak you may be expereincing, but it would explain why the pump has trouble reaching the desired pressure.

    Check out this link: http://www.terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?52234-Pump-is-dying
  6. daavewaard

    daavewaard Member

    Messages:
    45
    Location:
    California
    A few more thoughts here re my last post. Obviously, my comment that things have sprung up without warning is more like the bad things that could have happened already finally did.

    Does anyone have a wiring setup where if the pump was running but the homeowner would be surprised at this (because at the moment no water is being used) there is an alert light inside the house? Such a device would have alerted me to a problem much sooner. Is there a "water flow alert device"?
  7. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    856
    Location:
    ct
    Yep, your electric bill. If the pump is running and not building pressure, it will be reflected on your electric bill big time.
    Or you can run some lamp cord from the control box back into your house somewhere and hook up an inexpensive light that is on when the pump is on.
  8. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,926
    Location:
    IL
    There are pressure switches with a "Low Pressure Cut-Off turns pump off at approximately 10 psi below cut-in". This would not give you a really early warning, but I suspect it would have tripped before you noticed the problem. You have to manually hold a lever on the switch to start the pump again, until the pressure rises above the cut-off frequency. Cheap easy, but not ideal.
  9. daavewaard

    daavewaard Member

    Messages:
    45
    Location:
    California
    Great ideas actually, thanks!

    One more symptom to report. In my "waiting til the right moment to pull the pump" mode I am judiciously turning it on when we need to wash dishes and flush toilets...in the interim, huge amounts of air enter the system and then is pushed back out when I turn on the pump.

    Question: Does that air suggest any further ideas where the hole in my system is? Does that mean the check valve may not be the problem after all?
  10. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,838
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I had a former boss with that problem. He fought with the PoCo for months claiming that his meter was defective. He only realized the true cause when the hole enlarged to where the pressure was really low.
  11. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

    Messages:
    3,815
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    lol

    Fell off of my rocker on that one.


    Nice
  12. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,838
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I deliberately strapped a loop of the poly pipe to the underside of my floor joists to telegraph the noise from the pump so that I can hear it in the living space. Works well.

    I now have an IP cam with microphone so that I can look in on it from anywhere on the internet.
  13. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,838
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Oh look... 52 PSI right now.
    Selection_001.jpg
  14. daavewaard

    daavewaard Member

    Messages:
    45
    Location:
    California
    I knew the internet would tun out to be good for somthin'. Too cool.

  15. daavewaard

    daavewaard Member

    Messages:
    45
    Location:
    California
    And by the way...to add to my question below...I also have a Symcom Pump Saver that was installed on 2002. All through this episode its little green light has been glowing green. I don't really feel that it saved me much. As I mentioned, the control box shuts down the pump, not the pump saver. Any comments? Should I throw away the pump saver?

  16. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

    Messages:
    3,815
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    You may have a bad cap or relay in your control box.

    The control box has a current limit breaker that should open if it stays in start.

    The run winding may not be getting power, if it is a 3 wire.


    Good Luck.
  17. daavewaard

    daavewaard Member

    Messages:
    45
    Location:
    California
    Part of my learning experience here has been to test the capacitors...they are OK. I'm not quite sure I understand the comments on the control box, which I will look into, when I was asking about the pump saver. Do you think there is a linkage there? Thanks.
  18. daavewaard

    daavewaard Member

    Messages:
    45
    Location:
    California
    Another question has arisen regarding the pump replacement. I have a Gould 18GS 15412 and I am pricing replacements. The Gould SB series 18 "Brusier" is priced lower, which seems counter-intuitive , as it is described as beefier. Anyone with any experience with a Bruiser? Thanks.
  19. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    856
    Location:
    ct
    Bruisers are a piece of shit pump. Period. They were deigned so that Goulds would have a presence in the home builder/contractor pump market.

    I have had great luck with Franklin 3200 series pumps, but I question their loyalty to their distributors. I'm now using Grundfos 4" pumps with no issues so far.

    If you're getting air in the pipes, either there is a hole in the piping someplace or the check valve is leaking back. Given that you have low pressure, I would lean more towards a hole, but the pump could be worn and there could be some plastic from the impellers holding the check valve open.

    Did I say that Bruisers are a piece of shit?
  20. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,926
    Location:
    IL
    Regarding being able to detect this if it happens again, I don't know if any of the boxes designed to watch for a dry well test for this also. If not, it would seem to be a natural addition. I am guessing that since they already have current sensors, and I am pretty sure they have microprocessors, they should be able to add that function. For people who irrigate, the pump running for 6 hours continuously or even 24 hours could be normal. But for most people, I would think that a timeout function could be useful.

    However if you were motivated to do some wiring and construction, there are devices called time delay relays. Some are programmable. I would envision having one that accepts 240 volts input to close a circuit after the power has been applied for maybe 8 minutes continuously. I did not search enough to suggest a particular one, but I did search enough to know many exist.

    That said, the odds of this problem happening to you again after you pull your pump and replace the down-pipe and/or the pump would seem to not be particularly high. I wonder what the incidence of such a future failure is. Could it be 1%? I am guessing significantly less, but that is just a guess.
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