Pressure won't bleed out of non-working well pump

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by debw1981, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. debw1981

    debw1981 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    reliance, TN
    We had a below freezing week at nights and I was running water constantly to keep the pipes from freezing; so the pump was working overtime. One morning, temperature between 29 and 34 degrees, the water just quits and the pump is quiet. Faucets are still open, go out to the above ground well house and the pressure gauge is still showing 40 psi.

    Following advice, I have replaced the control box and the pressure switch. All of this time, I have had the electricity to the pump turned off (except for testing). Meanwhile, outside temperatures have dropped to 19 to 30 degrees for 4 days with today being the first day for daytime above freezing (48 degrees, wow! a heat wave). Anyway the pump still wouldn't kick in today. Here's my questions:

    1. When I changed out the pressure switch, the little pipe it screws onto and which the pressure gauge sits atop was completely blocked with ice. Could this have been the original cause of the pump stopping?
    2. Its been a week and the pressure gauge is still holding a 40 psi...In the past, it has always gone back to 0 when I've got electricity to the pump. Could this be what's keeping the pump from starting --because it thinks its got water in the tank already?
    3. Any other ideas as to why the pump's not working (besides the --I don't even want to consider it--the pump motor is dead and needs to be pulled and replace)
    4. Any tests I can do with a volt meter?

    Thanks for any help you can give...

    deb
  2. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
    If the pump draws zero amps the motor may be burned out. If it draws high current the motor is stalled and the cause should be traced.
  3. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,281
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    I wouldn't believe the gauge if it there is any chance it was frozen.

    When the power is turned on, do the contact points in the pressure close?
  4. justwater

    justwater Well Drilling/Service

    Messages:
    327
    Location:
    FL/GA
    i think you solved your own problem! if the fitting the pressure switch is hooked to is frozen solid, the switch doesnt know the pressure is dropping and wont kick on as it should. i've thawed out a bunch with a hair dryer after midnight cold snaps around here. put a lamp in that pump house. you dont have to cook it either,.. just keep it above 32.

    if switch contacts are closed, pump should be running.. if they are opened, pump shouldnt be running .. *with power on of course*
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010
  5. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
    If you have one of those IR meters you could zero in on the sections of the pipe that are frozen.
  6. debw1981

    debw1981 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    reliance, TN
    Thanks for the quick replies! Off to work this morning...work for a toy seller and hours are from dark to dark. Will be out there Saturday morning to try and get it working and will examine the switch contact points and see what they are doing. At least now I got a starting point! And hope. Will let you all know how it goes. Thanks again...great forum! :)
  7. masterpumpman

    masterpumpman New Member

    Messages:
    729
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Many times when the pressure guage freezes it expands the bouron tube that moves the needle and it becomes inaccurate or it neverworks again. The pump and pressure switch is another matter. Sometimes a frozen water line causes the pump to continue running while moving no water and occasionally damaging the pump and sometimes the well itself. It's not good to let anything freeze.
  8. debw1981

    debw1981 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    reliance, TN
    Thanks to you all, determined that the it was indeed the well pump that died. A friend & I pulled it saturday and replaced it and the pipe and wire. Lucky for us it was only 130 ft and not the 300 ft the neighbors were estimating based on their well depths. Unfortunately it got dark before we finished. Still need to reconnect it to the pipes in the well house, prime it, and set the electricity back to it. Hopefully, all went well and we got it right. May have water by Sunday afternoon.
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,263
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    If the pressure gauge shows you have pressure, then the pipe from the tank to the house, and maybe several others also, must be frozen so the water cannot leave the tank. This is a VERY good possibility since the pipe to the pressure switch was full of ice also. There is NO WAY to diagnose whether you even have a pump problem until you get everything thawed out.
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