Pump is dying

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by tvl, Jun 3, 2013.

  1. tvl

    tvl Member

    Messages:
    139
    Location:
    South Carolina
    OK ............. I have a question or two, but I do not want to make this a long thread. So, just in case anyone wants to see more information from the past, click on the following link; otherwise skip on down to my new comments:


    http://www.terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?46400-Is-my-pump-beginning-to-show-signs-of-Failure&highlight=

    In an effort to make this as brief as possible, I will only make brief statements:

    1- For the past couple of years I have suspected something was "brewing". I did learn that our well's water table has dropped somewhat and I have been monitoring the level closely with the aid of a high resolution pressure gauge and 1/4" tubing run down into the well.
    2- Last year, being the worst and dryest, I found the water level was dropping to a level which only left the pump submerged about 18 inches. I do have dry well protection, but to the best of my knoweledge, it doesn't appear the pump ever ran dry.
    3- Last year I had complained that each sprinkler zone was running about 5 PSI lower than the previous year. So, I was wondering if our pump may be failing. Most agreed the drop in water level caused the lower pressure.
    4- This year it is not as dry and things are looking better. Our pump is consistently staying submerged under about 9 FOOT of water as opposed to last years 18 INCHES. I have been checking this daily!!! However, each sprinkler zone's pressure has dropped another 4 PSI this year. That's a total of a 9 PSI drop in two years!
    5- So, I was confused .............. water table has increased and staying steady, but yet another 4 PSI drop in pressure????
    6- About a week ago I put all new nozzles on one of the sprinkler zones. This did not help the pressure for that zone at all. So, that proved it wasn't worn nozzles!
    7- So, I kept wondering if this was a sign of a failing pump
    8- Today, I noticed the water would not cut on. The breaker was not tripped; the contacts at the pressure switch were closed; 240 VAC was at the control box.
    9- I removed the cover to the control box and ALL resistance values to the pump were within the specified value. I replaced the control box cover and the pump began running ............. however, I noticed the water volume was not normal and the pressure gauge was fluctuating somewhat. Shortly thereafter, the pump quit running.
    10- I removed the control box cover, did a few more checks and then replaced the cover. Once again, the pump did the same as before ..... but, I was able to get an amp draw reading this time. The amp draw began at about 10 amps; and just before the pump tripped itself out again, the amp draw increased to 19 amps. This particular pump generally ran at about 8.5 amps.
    11- So, I'm thinking the pump motor is OK. However, the pumping part is dead.

    * The entire pump needs to be replaced. It is 18 years old. Everyone agree?
    * Most importantly, I believe this dying pump has been the reason I have seen a decrease in pressure for the past two years. Replacing the pump will most likely return my sprinkler zone pressures to a normal state. Everyone agree?

    Thanks so much!
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2013
  2. tvl

    tvl Member

    Messages:
    139
    Location:
    South Carolina
    OK, Well guys ......... I need your opinion:

    Based on the amount of water our well supplies AND the amount of water our sprinkler system zones were designed to output, I want to purchase a pump that is as near identical to the present one as possible.

    Current pump:
    Sears model # 390.284040
    1 HP 230 VAC
    1.5 inch discharge
    Stages: 10
    13.5 GPM at 100 feet AND 11.9 GPM at 150 feet - 40 PSI discharge pressure


    Proposed pump (if I am interpreting the booklet correctly):
    Flint & Walling model 4F10A10 (Cast Iron Castings) OR 4F10S10 (Stainless Steel Castings)
    1 HP 230 VAC
    1.5 inch discharge ??
    Stages: 15
    13.3 GPM at 100 feet AND 11.9 GPM at 160 feet - 40 PSI discharge pressure

    Questions:
    1- I will not use a Sears pump ... heard they are no longer as good as once before. What about the Flint & Walling?
    2- Is the extra price in a stainless steel casting justifiable?
    3- The F&W is a 15 stage versus my present 10 stage pump. Yet the GPM appear almost identical. What does the extra 5 stages provide?
    4- Does the F&W appear to be an almost identical replacement? I want our sprinkler system to continue getting the volume and pressure it was designed for AND I do NOT want to put any additional burden on the existing well.
    5- And last, is it BEST to go pick the pump up yourself OR is UPS shipped a safe alternative? The nearest well company that sells this particular pump is about 70 miles up the road. Shipping would be easier, but I wanted your opinion first!

    Thanks again!
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2013
  3. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,549
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    The curve on those two pumps are very similar, even though the number of stages is different. F&W is a good pump, and SS is always better than CI. And yes a 1 HP pulling more than 9 amps means you have a problem.

    Oh yeah, and shipping a pump is OK as long as the freight carrier doesn't destroy it. It happens, so insure it.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2013
  4. tvl

    tvl Member

    Messages:
    139
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Thanks Valveman!

    Dadburnit .......... I'm having trouble locating a 3 wire F&W nearby OR the local folks will only sell to dealers/well drillers. I have one other lead that I hope will work out.

    I have located one dealer who carries a Shaefer pump and states it is a very good pump. Any comments on this brand?

    I will keep searching for ther F&W in the meantime!
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2013
  5. tvl

    tvl Member

    Messages:
    139
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Finally, I got someone to sell me the F&W all stainless 1 HP submersible pump ............... and at a fairly decent price. I will have it in two days if UPS doesn't drop the ball
  6. tvl

    tvl Member

    Messages:
    139
    Location:
    South Carolina
    I need advice on the following!

    Important Question

    I will be putting the new pump in on Thursday, June 6th. After I pulled my old pump today, I remembered I had put a 1.25" check valve just above the pump. So, I had been running with two check valves ........ one was a backup in case the other failed. There was probably no more than 6 inches between the two check valves

    I have read that double check valves were a no no (one above ground and the other down in the well). However, when mounted in this particular fashion, would this be an acceptable practice? I need to know BEFORE I put in the pump tomorrow. Thanks for your input!

    What's the reasoning, if this is not an acceptable practice???

    Thanks for your input!
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  7. craigpump

    craigpump Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,046
    Location:
    ct
    The main reason a check valve at the tank is a bad idea is because if the check on the pump fails a vacuum will be created when the water equalizes between the drop pipe and well. That vacuum could in theory pull in bacteria laden surface water at the underground connections. That said, it is extremely rare to see a tank installation here in Ct that doesn't have a check valve on it.

    Two check valves within a few inches on top of your pump won't hurt anything.
  8. tvl

    tvl Member

    Messages:
    139
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Dumb Question:

    What is the purpose of this hole on the bottom of the Franklin Electric pump motor? My old pump also had the same hole on the bottom of it. Thanks!

    FW Pump_2.jpg
  9. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,549
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Just inside the bottom cap of the motor, there is a diaphragm. That hole lets the diaphragm see down-hole pressure. This keeps the pressure inside the motor equal to the pressure outside the motor, so the seal around the shaft on the other end doesn’t have a differential pressure to overcome.
  10. tvl

    tvl Member

    Messages:
    139
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Thanks so much Valveman & Craigpump for your replies!

    Late yesterday, I took apart the old pump. The impelleres were severely ..... and I mean severely worn! I don't even see how the pump was pumping ANY water. I will try to post a couple of photos later and get everyone's opinion.

    The motor appears great; even looks practically new........ turns easily with absolutely no binding and the resistance values are well within the expected range. Could this be considered a spare OR at 18 years old it would be best to just trash it??
  11. tvl

    tvl Member

    Messages:
    139
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Photo #1 = 10 stage stack
    Photo #2 = Best impeller of the 10
    Photo #3 = One can clearly see the impeller covering is becoming very thin
    Photo #4 = Basically how 7 of the 10 impellers appear


    Impeller Stack.jpg
    Impeller_1.jpg
    Impeller_3.jpg
    Impeller_9.jpg
  12. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,549
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Better check the stick up height of the motor shaft. The thrust bearing in the motor is probably out, dropping the motor shaft a 1/4", letting the impellers drag on the bottom. Everything else in the motor can check fine, but if the stick up height is low, throw it away.
  13. craigpump

    craigpump Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,046
    Location:
    ct
    You got your money's worth out of that one. As for the motor, stop and think how long it took to wear out the guts of the pump and the extra load that was put on the motor during that time. I think you would agree that throwing the motor away is a good idea.
  14. tvl

    tvl Member

    Messages:
    139
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Yes Valveman, there is a little up and down play on the motor shaft ................... a good 1/8 inch. I'm assuming there should be absolutely no up and down play in the motor shaft. Is this correct?
  15. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,549
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    A little play up and down is OK. The important thing is the 1.5" stick up from the top of the motor. It can't be shorter than 1.498".

    Either way Craig is right, you got all your probably going to get from that motor.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013
  16. tvl

    tvl Member

    Messages:
    139
    Location:
    South Carolina
    More Problems

    More Problems - Need your Professional opinion

    OK, I need some really good advice ............. I will try to make this really brief:

    1- For the past 3 or 4 years I have been posting here off & on about my suspicion of our 4 inch sand well possibly having some kind of problem.
    2- Well, this past week the 18 year old 1 HP submersible pump showed that it was on its' very last leg. As indicated in one of the above post, it was replaced on Friday.
    3- Either the new 1 HP F&W pump is a much stronger pump than what I had OR the old 1 HP pump had deteriorated much, much longer back and I just had not realized it ................ and the pump just did not want to give up.
    4- Last year I had mentioned it appeared the well may be going dry .................. but, this year things looked much better. Turns out, it wasn't much better this year, the old pump just could not pump as much water ............. as noted in one of the above post the impellers were just about shot.
    5- The new 1HP F&W pump pumps very well .............. and I am sure my old pump did just as well a few years back. However, the new pump can empty the well in a short while ............ remember this well is for our lawn sprinkler system, washing autos, etc. and nothing more. We have city water for the house.
    6- So, here is what I had to do today to keep the sprinkler system operation until I can get something else done. I first had to partially close the ball valve (roughly half way) to throttle down the flow. I then had to adjust the pressure switch so that the pump would cut off at about 52 PSI and cut back on at 34 PSI. I do have a 40 gallon water tank connected to the system. This means the pump runs for about 2 minutes and is then off for about 40 seconds until the tank empties and the cycle then repeats. I KNOW this is not the best approach and I do not like for a pump to cycle. The sprinkler system was designed for 10 gallons a minute .......... at about 50 PSI and up until today ALWAYS ran constantly.

    So, here is what I need to know:
    1- Is the well salavageable? With the well seal raised about 10 inches, I can put my ear near the opening and it sounds sort of like a water fall going on down inside. The well is 145 feet deep and the driller put two 20 foot sections of "strainer' on the bottom. I say strainer, the 4 inch pipe appeared like it had very small cuts from one end to the other. I've never seen this type pipe at Lowe's, etc., but I am sure it is a standard for well drillers. Can these slots get clogged over time and simply "starve" the well of water?
    2- My two neighbors on either side of me are having no issues. One has a well that is about 100 feet and the other has a well that is the same depth as mine. Is this a good sign that our stream probably isn't drying up? For many years our static water level was 111 feet AND did not drop even when sprinklers were running! The well is 35 years old.
    3- Now the static water level is about 117 feet and as indicated, drops a lot. And yes, lots of folks have put in wells in our neighborhood over the years.
    4- Based on what I have stated, would it be worth having a driller drop a camera down in the well to determine what is going on? Or, no matter what, it would be difficlut to "fix"?
    5- Or, is it time for a new well?
    6-And finally, if I have to run our new pump as described above for about a month or so, would that be acceptable? I don't want to ruin the new expensive pump nor do I want to let the lawn suffer ......... nothing but sand here.

    Oh, by the way ............ the well has always pumped a small, small amount of sand. However, today after about 2 hours of run time I estimate the filter had about 1 full tablespoon of sand ............. I caught a little of the sand as I purged the filter. Cant't lower the pump anymore as it is already 1 foot from the bottom and has been like that for years:

    All comments appreciated .... and feel free to ask questions

    Pumping Sand.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013
  17. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,164
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Just close the ballvalve a little more so that the pump stays running. If you slow down the flow a little more, you will probably bring up less sand and the well might keep up.
  18. tvl

    tvl Member

    Messages:
    139
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Thanks LLigetfa!

    I really do not want to close the ball valve any further because:

    1- I'm not so sure this is good for the pump ........ long-term or short-term? This pump was designed to deliver a certain amount of water, which I have already altered and I don't feel "good" about closing the valve any more.
    2- Closing the ball valve naturally decreases water volume, but also increases pressure .............. which is one of the reasons I adjusted the pressure switch. Being new, this pump can certainly deliver high pressure. Once again, I wouldn't feel comfortable running the sprinkler system at maybe 70 PSI.

    Although my current setup may not be the best, it appears I have met a happy medium for now ............... water output somewhat altered along with adjusting the pressure switch so that the pump cycles periodically is buying me some time ................ not to mention the well isn't runnning dry. And, I do know for a fact the water level is dropping to about 17 INCHES above the pump INTAKE before cycling.

    Please keep those thoughts coming ............... hopefully some of the well drilling experts will chime in shortly and answer my questions from the earlier post.

    Thanks again!
  19. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,164
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    It is standard practice to use a dole valve to limit flow and it just makes the pump think it is deeper than it is. That is how a CSV works.

    My pump is being flow limited by my micronizer which has a port that is smaller than a pencil. Without it, the pump will pull up sand. By cycling your pump, you are probably surge developing the well and so may bring up more sand. If you are lucky, the find sand will go through the screened casing and the coarse sand will eventually form gradient layers. If you are not so lucky, the screen will clog and you will lose recovery rate.
  20. tvl

    tvl Member

    Messages:
    139
    Location:
    South Carolina
    That is what I am wondering if has already occurred ............. the screen has become clogged, which is "starving" the well of a proper recovery??????

    And as mentioned earlier, if this truly is the case, can the well be repaired OR it is just about as cheap to simply drill another well??????

    Update: Just went out to check and clear filter ........ LLigetfa appears to be correct. I am pumping more sand than usual; a lot more. The filter is like the one pictured below. Generally, after each days sprinkler cycle (about 6 hours total run time) the filter has maybe a teaspoon full of sand. This has been the case for quite some time now. But today, the filter was about 1/3 full!!

    LLigetfa: If I were to close the ball valve even further, that would also increase the water pressure ............. which is why I adjusted the pressure switch earlier. I really believe our sprinkler system will encounter other issues down the road with higher pressures. It was really designed to be run at 40 to 50 PSI. A catch 22 situation; correct? I may be better off simple leaving the water system off ................ which isn't what I wanted. I was hoping to buy time while I negotiated a repair or new well.

    And another thought: If I knew the well would not deteriorate any further, I could simply buy a new lower rated head for my new pump. The one I have now is rated for 10 gallons ................ a 7 gallon pump may fair well, run constantly as it should and not deplete the well. At least this is my thinking!

    For Valveman: you were right - the stick up height of the OLD motor shaft was shorter than 1.5 inches by a full 1/8 inch

    Vu Flow.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2013
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