pump keeps blowing circuit breaker

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by renrag, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. renrag

    renrag New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Probably a simple question for those in the know, which isn't me. I have a .5 hp Flotec inexpensive shallow well suction pump pumping out of a 1.5 inch driven well in sand country about 75 feet from a fluctuating reservoir lake. The system has worked well for about 5 years. Now I am having a problem with the pump running about 12 minutes then tripping the circuit breakers (2 30 amp breakers). I isolated the air tank and the pump shut off OK but when I put the air tank on line and the system calls for water the pump runs about 12 minutes until the circuit breaker kicks it off at about 35 psi. It seems to me the pumps should run forever without tripping the breakers. Is my pump going bad or do I have other problems? Any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011
  2. muldoon

    muldoon New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Muldoon, tx
    If the breaker was tripping immediately, I would think a short. However since you say it runs for 12 minutes, I think a reasonable explanation would be one of two things.
    If your well pump is clogged or obstructed the motor will work much harder to spin, thus it would draw more current and create more heat. This could explain the situation. Second guess, and easier to check. Poor connection. If electrical wires get loose from the contacts they will generate more heat (which is current draw). Check the wiring connection at the pressure switch, and for grins, check the connections inside the breaker box as well. Be sure to be aware of electrical safety on that second guess,..

    I am not a water professional, just a homeowner.
  3. WellWaterProducts

    WellWaterProducts In the trades

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    Northwood NH
    The correct way to measure the current is with an ammeter. That's a large breaker. What size wire do you have? I'm also betting that the motor has a built-in overload.
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,826
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    12 minutes continuous can generate a significant amount of heat on a jet pump. If the insulation on the windings are failing, the expansion of the windings can cause them to short, raising the current draw. The other thing that comes to mind is if the motor is staying on the start windings, it would really heat up. I don't think it could last for 12 minutes though if stuck on the start windings.

    A good voltmeter and clamp-on ammeter to test is essential but I suspect the motor is on its last legs.
  5. WellWaterProducts

    WellWaterProducts In the trades

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    Northwood NH
    Next time the breaker trips, the power should be left off and then the pump should be felt for excess heat. If it feels very hot, then it is too hot. I would also take the back plate off the motor and see if anything conductive is out of place.
  6. renrag

    renrag New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    10 gauge wire. I've never been aware the pump motor has kicked off on an overload. Probably I would have noticed that. I'm also not aware the pump gets physically hot, it is stuck underneath a cabinet and at the corner of two very cold concrete walls. I will check wire attachments tomorrow, both at the pump and at the breaker box.
  7. renrag

    renrag New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Thanks muldoon, you hit it right on the head. Today I killed the main electrical and took the cover off the electrical box. I then removed the dual 30 amp breakers and one wire came out right away. I put the wire back in and tightened up the screws on both breakers and reapplied in box. Ran water, pump kicked on, after 7 minutes the pressure switch kicked the pump off. Thanks for the help. This site is great for us do it yourselfers who think we know more than we do!!!
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