Just moved in, water pressure drops to zero and takes a long time to build up

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by mjwalfredo, May 24, 2006.

  1. mjwalfredo

    mjwalfredo New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Hi All, have been reading and searching and decided to join this morning, looks like a great forum. I am having a problem with my water pressure running out completely and taking a long time to build up again.

    I just bought a house with a well and some type of pump that must be submersible or a jet pump. There is a Wellxtrol pressure tank with a bladder as well. Now bear with me because everything I have learned about wells and pumps has come from this website and others on the Internet.

    Here is the deal, when we use the water heavily, the water pressure will drop to zero. It seems like it takes a little while for the pressure to start climbing from zero and it takes a hell of a long time for the pressure to build back up. I am not even sure it even makes it up to the 50psi cut off.

    I replaced the old pressure switch which was a 50-20. I checked the pressure in the tank and it was a little over 20. The new switch is a 50-30 so I pumped the tank to 28psi like I have read on the forum. I thought that could have been the problem as to why my pump was letting pressure drop to zero before the pump came on.

    Now, the water pressure cuts out completely even faster than it did before. I am guessing because there is a smaller difference in the cut out and in settings and the pump is either not coming on when it should or is not pumping the water fast enough.

    As a side note, I also plan on replacing the nipple for the pressure switch. I could not get it off yesterday but it looked like water was flowing through easily so I didn't bother at the time.

    I am starting to think that the pump is needing a replacement or the pump may just need to be deeper. I don't think it is a problem with the pressure tank but I could easily be wrong. Does anyone have any idea what the problem could potentially be?

    Today I am going to watch the contacts on the pressure switch to see how often the pump is cycling when the shower is running since I have never been able to tell when the pump is going on and off. If anyone has any suggestions as to other processes to keep an eye on so I can provide more helpful information, please feel free to provide them. Thanks a lot! Phew, I havn't typed that much in a while, pat yourself on the back if you read all of it ;)

    -Mark
  2. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    Hi Mark,

    Either your well is not producing enough water for your usage or the pump needs to be lowered in the well if possible. Either way, you will need a well driller/pump installer to fix the problem. Unless of coarse you want to tackle it yourself.

    The pipe to the house should be disconnected and the well test pumped from the top of the casing to see what is happening. Then the pump will have to be either lowered or maybe you will have to replace/acid treat the screen if you have one.

    bob...
  3. mjwalfredo

    mjwalfredo New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Thanks for the reply Bob. I figured that the pump/well is going to have to be worked on, I was hoping someone would tell me differently though.

    Are there any tricks for the pressure tank and switch to ensure that we have running water most of the time until we can have the well/pump worked on?

    -Mark
  4. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    Nope, it's all up to the well and pump.

    bob...
  5. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I replaced the old pressure switch which was a 50-20. I checked the pressure in the tank and it was a little over 20. The new switch is a 50-30 so I pumped the tank to 28psi like I have read on the forum. I thought that could have been the problem as to why my pump was letting pressure drop to zero before the pump came on.

    Now, the water pressure cuts out completely even faster than it did before. I am guessing because there is a smaller difference in the cut out and in settings and the pump is either not coming on when it should or is not pumping the water fast enough.

    Make sure the pressure switch comes on BEFORE the tank runs out of water.

    Turn off the circuit breaker. Then SLOWLY drain the water from the tank while watching the gauge and listening to or watching the pressure switch. The switch should close when the pressure gauge is at least 2 psi HIGHER than the pressure just before it drops to zero, which indicates an empty tank.

    If the pressure switch doesn't close before the tank empties, then let some air out of the tank or INCREASE the pressure switch START setting.
  6. mjwalfredo

    mjwalfredo New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Well, after a couple of weeks of using the water, it seems that it doesn't completely cut out anymore, glad we got that fixed. We still don't feel like we have adequate water pressure, especially for using a fixture when someone is taking a shower.

    My roommate talked to his buddy's dad who lives in the same area and he claims that the water table has dropped in the area. He says that he added a 10 ft. section of pipe to his well and that made a difference in the water output. He suggested we do the same and I am wondering if this is a good idea....

    We have a submersible pump and the guy said he would help us add the pipe section onto the well.

    Is there any possible harm in trying this if we do it correctly?

    If we do decide to go through with it ourselves, what else would we need besides a matching diameter section of PVC pipe?

    Thanks!

    -Mark
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2006
  7. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    You may be able to do the work yourself if it's not too heavy. You will have to make a waterproof wire splice, add the pipe and wire and lower it down. I would test pump it up top first to see if it is pulling down or not.

    bob...
  8. mjwalfredo

    mjwalfredo New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Thanks for the reply Bob. I definitly agree that we need to run a test on the pump. I guess we could just pump the water out for a minute and and see how many gallons/minute it is providing...

    I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean by "pulling down" down though. Could someone please explain that for me? Thanks.
  9. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    Pulling down refers to the pump over pumping the well until the water level is at the pump inlet and you run out of water until the level can come back up some. This can also ruin the pump. If you do pump it off, it will take more than a couple minutes to do a good test. Let it go for at least ten minutes.

    bob...
  10. mjwalfredo

    mjwalfredo New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Thanks Bob, I will try this.
  11. mjwalfredo

    mjwalfredo New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Well it has been a long time coming but I got the problem figured out. I just thought I would share the solution because I thought it was rather funny.

    At the very beginning of this problem, my roommate said that ants had shorted out the connection to his pump at a previous residence but there was no way that ants could be causing our problems....

    Well after months of fiddling with pressure tank and switch and a whole bunch of other things, I had a plumber come out and snoop around. When he went out to the well to check the voltage, BINGO, he found that fire ants had eaten a hole through the electrical insulation and shorted out the wires.

    The pump now works like a charm and keeps up with our water usage pretty darn well. Even though I spent a lot of time chasing problems that didn't really exist, I would like to thank you guys for your help, I really learned a lot.

    And it wasn't all a loss, I was able to increase the water pressure myself from 11 psi to 33 psi because of your help. Thanks!

    -Mark
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