Submersible Pump Problem

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by latreche34, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. latreche34

    latreche34 New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    California
    Hi everyone, I have a 4" shallow well it is 22' deep and I have 10' of water level, I have installed two 4" sub pumps so far with no luck, the first one was 1/2 HP 110V 1 phase, the second one was 1 HP 230V 1 phase, both pumps barely get the water to flow at the top of the well about 1 gpm, Are both pumps defective as I bought them from the same online seller, or something wrong with my well, Please help.
  2. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    ct
    First off, it makes no difference if the pump is 115 or 230 volt as long as the incoming voltage matches the motors voltage rating.

    Second, there is only like 5/8 of a gallon per foot of 4" pipe, multiplied x 10 feet for a total of 5.8 gallons.

    My money is that the well only makes about 1 gpm
  3. latreche34

    latreche34 New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    California
    You mean the recovery rate of the well? but how come the pump never run dry, I let it run for 2 hours and the level of water still 10 feet. I guess I have to go jet pump route, any thoughts ? I also want to mention that the second pump that suppose to be 230V it runs but it doesn't pump water @230V but when I connect it to 110V I get water coming out in the same rate as the first pump about 1 gpm
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2014
  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,296
    Location:
    IL
    Can you monitor the water level during the symptom? If the water stays high during that time, then I guess there is a blockage. I expect the water does not stay high, and that Craigpump is right.
    That comment makes me wonder if you really have a submersible pump, but instead have a shallow well pump. A submersible pump is down the hole.
  5. latreche34

    latreche34 New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    California
    yes it's down the hole about 2 feet above the bottom of the well, I can't monitor the water level when the pump is running but I did this test, When pump is running I pull it up from the discharge pipe for about 5 feet up and pump was still sucking water.
  6. mliu

    mliu Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    California
    This tells me you have some kind of mismatch or other electrical issue. What are the specific make & model of each pump? Are they 2-wire or 3-wire? How did you change the electrical supply from 110V (for the original pump) to 220V (for the current pump)? What switching or controls are there in the electrical? Have you put a voltmeter on your electrical supply to read the actual voltage (both while the pump is off and while running)? Have you put a voltmeter on the wires at the connection to the pump leads to measure the voltage when the pump is running? Have you put a clamp-ammeter on the pump leads to see how much current is being drawn while the pump is running?
  7. latreche34

    latreche34 New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    California
    It is not an electrical problem, All voltages are correct using a voltmeter, I just found out after doing some research that If depth-to-water (from top of well down to water’s surface) is too shallow for a specific model, The pump can cavitates. It makes sense when power has been reduced from 230V to 110V the pump cavitates less therefore more water, I guess my well is not suitable for a submersible pump, My next test to do before I return the pump is to install a control valve at the discharge pipe to chock the pump si if I can create a pressure in the discharge line and see how the pump behaves
  8. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    ct
    How many gpm is the pump you are trying to use?
  9. mliu

    mliu Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    California
    Your shallow well is suitable for a submersible pump. But you will need a throttling valve to maintain a proper amount of backpressure on your pump in order to eliminate upthrusting:

    I have been working on two shallow wells (each ~30 feet deep with static level of ~8 feet). I have pressure gauges at the top of the well head and use throttling valves to maintain proper backflow. I recommend that you use globe valves instead of gate valves for this purpose. The additional benefit is that, by throttling the output, you reduce the rate of flow which is important for a shallow well.
  10. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,296
    Location:
    IL
    He would not want to use a 1/2 HP 5 GPM or a 1 HP 10 GPM pump. A 1/2 HP 18 GPM or maybe even as low as a 10 GPM would be OK I think.

    I don't know how the symptoms would be to use the pump made for deeper wells. I had thought that upthrust was the problem, and did not think cavitation would be happening. Interesting symptoms.

    "yes it's down the hole about 2 feet above the bottom of the well, I can't monitor the water level when the pump is running but I did this test, When pump is running I pull it up from the discharge pipe for about 5 feet up and pump was still sucking water."
    That sounds like a useful test, but suppose we model the well as having 1 GPM of water entering. Even with the pump at the bottom, it would quickly exhaust the well. Now if that were the case, we would still expect to get a good burst of water while the well bore gets emptied. That presumably is not happening. So your thought of something not right with both pumps has merit.

    Do post the GPM ratings on the 2 pumps, or the model numbers.
  11. latreche34

    latreche34 New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    California
    the first pump was Flotec 1/2 HP, returned to seller, the second pump is Aermotor 1 HP, both pumps output about 1 GPM at the top of the well @ 110V, However the Aermotor pump (230V 1 Phase) is outputting way less when connected to 230V, Both pumps are rated way way above 1 GMP see for yourself, Also I did install a throttling valve, it does raise the pressure at 1/4 of turn but it doesn't change the GPM, Every time I return a pump I pay $40 shipping back, Very frustrating.
    I hope the seller in the above links is a scammer selling defective pumps, Otherwise I don't have any other option besides the jet pump.
  12. latreche34

    latreche34 New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    California
    Here is pictures of the installation of the first submersible pump

    Attached Files:

  13. latreche34

    latreche34 New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    California
    More pictures, note the water flow at the end of the pipe

    Attached Files:

  14. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    ct
    Where to start...

    When was the last time this well was in use?
    Given the severe drought Cal is in, 1 gpm may be all you're gonna get.
    There isn't enough water in that well over the pump to create enough up thrust to damage the pump
    You're buying shit pumps, FloTek and Aermotor come off the same assembly line
    You're using a "safety" rope, and if you "secure" it to the pipe with those wire ties..well you may never get anything back out of the well.
    You didn't give the model # of the pump, but based on the pics it looks like either a 7 gpm unit. Wayyyyy more pump than you have water for.
    If you can't get a submersible to work, you'll never get a jet to work either
  15. latreche34

    latreche34 New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    California
    The model numbers are in the post 11 links, just click on the brand, This well use to have a 1 HP jet pump that was non operational when I bought the house and the foot valve was rusty and clogged so I removed all the piping and get rid of the broken jet pump and all the piping, The water level in the well has been the same for the last 4 years 10 feet from top casing to water level and 10 feet from water level to the bottom of the well, I did not zip tie the safety rope only the electrical cable. Now if the water supply was the problem in the well, how come the pump never run dry? Also if pump rated for 10 GPM @ 100 feet, why it gives 1 GPM @ 20 feet, why not run full capacity and slow down to 1GPM when the well is low in water ? I'm open for suggestions what is the best submersible pump in your opinion to use, I will have the last shot on this well before I put a permanent seal on it and forgot I have a well.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
  16. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    ct
    Don't wire tie the wire either...

    My feeling is that there just isnt enough water in that well to do anything with. 10' of water in a 4" well is just over 5 gallons. By the time the pump puts water the surface it is probably almost cavitating (an amprobe would tell you) and the 1 gpm is the yield of the well.
  17. mliu

    mliu Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    California
    For the two 30' low-yield shallow wells that I've been dealing with, both have FloTec 1/2HP 4" submersible well pumps. These are nominally rated at 10 GPM. They are both 230V, but their comparable 115V model is otherwise identical in specifications. I see no reason why the FloTec pump you first tried would not have worked; the second 1 HP pump is overkill for such a shallow well.

    OP, when you first start the pump, do you see a burst of high-flow water out the discharge followed by the 1 GPM low-flow? Or is it always just a 1 GPM flow, even when the pump first starts? From what you've described so far, it doesn't sound like your pump is draining your well of water. I would think if that were happening, then you'd first see 5+ gallons pump out at a very high flow rate, followed by a lot of gurgling, spurting, and intermittent flow at the discharge as the pump sucks air. But one way to be sure would be to run a garden hose into your well as the pump is running. If your hose is flowing more into the well than what's coming out the pump's discharge, then you know you're not overdrawing the well.

    From your description of the symptoms, my guess is that your problem is one of pump intake obstruction. A 4" diameter Sch40 PVC well casing is 3.99 - 4.03" in internal diameter. The FloTec pump, for example, is 3.78" in outside diameter. The pump's intake is at the midpoint of its body, which means water below the pump must squeeze past the motor housing to get to the intake, while water above the pump must squeeze past the impeller housing to get to the intake. Subtracting the cross-sectional area of the pump body from the internal cross-sectional area of the well casing leaves you with only 1.34 square inches of space for the water to flow. That is the equivalent of a 1-1/4" Sch 40 PVC pipe, so it should be fine. But what if there are mineral deposits or some other build-up encrusting the inside of the well casing? I don't know how likely that is for your well, but I've read that when a well is repeatedly pumped dry (as is common for shallow, low-yield wells), that mineral scale and slime bacteria can build-up on the casing, particularly on the screen or the part of the pipe that is slotted. You mentioned that the old pump was rusty and clogged. What was clogging that old pump?
  18. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,296
    Location:
    IL
    http://www.flotecpump.com/ResidentialProduct_fl_hw_4S_FP2211.aspx says OPERATION RANGE: 20' to 150' The Aermotor T-series 12-10012 stage is for a well much deeper than yours. Attached is a snip from their lit. huge3.png
    The 12-30 would probably have been OK.

    I am not saying this is the cause of your problem. Your first pump selection was probably OK or close to OK. I still wonder if it is not a matter of how much water the well can provide. Maybe it is something else. I am confident that the 12-100 was not an appropriate selection. You would be working "off of the chart".
  19. latreche34

    latreche34 New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    California
    Thank you guys for the help, First off, when the pump kicks in there is no burst in pressure it is the same exact flow shown in the above picture I did let it run for at least 3 hrs with the exact same flow, no gurgling nothing

    Good idea however I will try this, I will inject a hose from city water and see if pump adds at least half of that amount of water to the existing flow

    By using a flash light when the pump was out I see the casing is clean and straight all the way down to the water level, beyond that I don't know, Do you think it is necessary to start thinking about cleaning up the well, I can make a brush disc with 3" diameter and use a long rod attached to my drill and what do you recommend for re-slotting the well casing? maybe a 3" cutting disc? I tested the water with meter and was reading 720, so I know I have a hard water.

    Only the foot valve was all rusted out I think it was made of cast iron, and was too close to the bottom of the well, the old white PVC sch 40 had a black stain from the well never being used for years I guess, I m using sch 80 grey PVC now and one 20' piece only.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
  20. latreche34

    latreche34 New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    California
    You're right this pump is overkill, But I thou the problem was the pump is not powerful enough, That's why I upgraded to 1 HP, But I get the exact same result as the first one if hooked up to 110V, My next test will be add city water hose to the well and route all the water coming out the pump back to the well, I will let you know as soon as I do it.
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