Submersible Pump stops - works again after power disconnected

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

  1. Blitzen

    Blitzen New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Washington State
    What a great forum!
    I have looked through the old and the new forum for an answer and did not find one that quite fit my problem.
    The specs on my well are:
    Goulds
    2 HP
    Well:
    138 ft
    14.5 Gal. Per Minute
    13 ft drawdown after 4 hours
    300 feet of 1.5 inch pipe to pressure tank.
    10 gauge wire to the pump from the tank
    Dug in 2003.

    The problem is that after using 50 gallons of water or so my well pump will suddenly shut off. I will then disconnect the connections by way of the pressure switch, count to 15 and reconnect and water starts flowing again. When this starts to happen I get less and less water before the pump cuts out.

    -I have tested the voltage at the pressure switch and there is current going to the pump.

    -I have pressured up the system to 50psi and turned off the electrical and the output pipe from the pressure tank for a week at a time and it is still at 50 when I return so there seems to be no leak down from the pressure tank.

    - I have replaced pressure switches

    Is the pump over heating?
    Is it having to push too much water through the 1.5 pipe to far for the pressure tank?

    :confused:
    Thanks for any ideas!
    Blitzen
  2. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,584
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Try just waiting a minute or two and see if it doesn’t come on by itself. I think the overload in your motor is tripping, and it will reset itself in a few without disconnecting the pressure switch. If this is the case you probably need a new motor. You need to make sure that the capacitors and relay in the control box are still good, but the average number of cycles a submersible can survive takes about 7 years. You said installed 03 right?
  3. Blitzen

    Blitzen New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Washington State
    Thanks Valveman...yes 03.
    You are right that it will reset itself.
    Usually though I am using the water and it trips and then I run out of pressure. It seems to take a long time to go back on by itself.
    I only use this pump once a week as it is on a piece of property I have so it does not get used that often even though it has been 7 years.

    Is there anything to the idea that pushing water 140 feet up the well and then 300 feet through the larger pipe (it might even be 2" I can't recall but it was bigger than 1") be wearing the motor out?
    I will look around on how to check the capacitors and relay.
    Is there any other way to determine what it might be short of just replacing the motor?
    Thanks again!
    Blitzen
  4. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,584
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    The length or size of pipe is not a problem. Usually cycling on and off is what destroys pumps. Such a lightly used pump should last much longer. It could very well be a cap or relay in the box. After making sure the box is good, you can use an ohm meter to check for a short down hole. Then use an amp meter to check the starting and running amps. If there is no short and the amps are good, then it is probably the control box. Could also be low voltage causeing it to trip on startup. Check voltage at start up. I wouldn't pull the pump until I tried a new box or knew the box was 100%. Ohms are checked with the power off. Volts and amps are checked with power on, so be careful.
  5. Blitzen

    Blitzen New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Washington State
    Thanks Valveman you have been a huge help.
    I will check out the box and let the forum know the results.
    I hope you know you are a great asset to everyone here with questions!
    Blitzen
  6. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Check your running amps through one complete cycle with a clamp on ammeter. Thats a big pump and may not be sized correctly for your useage. Test running amps while you are using water in the way you normally do when it shuts off on overheat. Test running amps with the outflow restricted to say 5 GPM.

    Contrary to your thinking about the big pipe, the pump may want MORE restriction.

    Read the franklin AIM manual online for box test info. Notice the differences in FLA and SFA for various types of control boxes.

    If you finally pull the pump I would add a flow inducer sleeve- that could be half your problem now.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  7. Blitzen

    Blitzen New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Washington State
    Thanks ballvalve! ..I am thinking I will check the box first (I actually need to figure out how to test the electrical. I have the equipment to test it I just don't really know how to use it). I have 300 feet of the one inch pipe that I think I will go ahead and hook up if I don't find something obvious with the box. It is 1" coming out of the well and then to 2" (or whatever it is) to the pressure tank.
    After reading some of valveman's website about multiple check valves I think I will do the new pipe without any check valves. The pipe now has 3 check valves ..one at the pressure tank, one 100 feet from there and another 100 feet from that one.
    I realize this is too many now thanks to valveman's site.
    I will read the Franklin manual.
    And THANKS!

    (I won't be able to get to it until this Sunday)
  8. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    I would'nt get up any hopes that the checkvalves are your problem, unless one is plugged up. Ideas about checkvalves can start fistfights, and Franklins Aim manual even reccommends them every 200 feet or so. Many codes mandate them, so its a real pro-choice issue. If you have 2" pipe to the tank you can keep it and save the 1" pipe - why change it? If you choose to dislike checkvalves you can just remove the guts or remove them altogther.

    I dont understand why guys believe check valves cause weird problems on the surface by a tank, when plain tanks and airmakers used them and continue to do so today without any issues.

    Every pump Mfgr's book calls for a checkvalve every 200' or so - and they do not make check valves or sell them. So go figure.

    SWING checkvalves are bad news, so if you have them, take them out.
  9. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,584
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Standard pressure tanks with air makers need a check valve above ground. But they drain back several feet of water when the pump shuts off. Then there is air before the second check when the pump starts, which cushions and eliminates water hammer.

    With a bladder tank, the line stays full of water. So if you have ever seen or heard the water hammer that happens on pump start, when the bottom check leaks back or fails, you will understand why more than one check valve is not a good idea. If nothing else, the leaking bottom check causes a negative pressure below the top check. This negative pressure can cause contamination to be drawn into the water line from the part of the line that is underground. There are only two kinds of valves manufactured, those that leak and those that will leak. So if you don’t have this problem when the system is new, it is only a matter of time.

    Some states like Michigan understand this and make it illegal to have a check valve above ground. Other states like Nebraska have rules made by politicians instead of intelligent people, and “require” a check valve above ground to pass for code. I know of many people who have removed the above ground check after they pass inspection or after they start hearing and feeling water hammer on pump start up.

    Manufacturers want multiple check valves because they don’t want their pumps spinning backwards. They think if one check valve is good then two is safer. Actually a check valve holds better when holding back all the pressure instead of when the pressure is split between two or more checks. I also wonder if manufacturers want to create water hammer, as it is transferred all the way to the motor and will shatter a thrust bearing. But manufacturers wouldn’t purposefully try to make pumps fail, just so they could sell you another pump would they? Well it is either that, or they have never seen a pump installed to understand how they work in the real world.

    2” pipe is better than 1”.
  10. Blitzen

    Blitzen New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Washington State
    Yeah that is what I read and those check valves are coming off this weekend. I definitely fell into the camp of "if one is good two is better". :p
  11. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    I would focus on testing the box and amp draw with the pump flow restricted before digging into the checkvalves which are a very seperate issue.
  12. Blitzen

    Blitzen New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Washington State
    Ok, will do.
    Thanks
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2010
  13. Blitzen

    Blitzen New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Washington State
    I have a Franklin control box..it should be a 2hp control box correct?
    (I have a 2hp Goulds pump)
    I have been looking around the internet for a 2hp box just incase I need to replace the one I have but can't seem to find a 2hp box.
    Thanks!
    Blitzen
  14. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,584
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
  15. Blitzen

    Blitzen New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Washington State
    Wow, so it turns out there is a 3/4hp control box running this 2hp pump. It has been this way for the last 5 years. Would that explain the symptoms? I saw that it was 3/4hp and didn't do any additional electrical testing.
    This seems like a dumb question but does a 2hp pump requires a 2 hp control box?..just double checking...
  16. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    I would guess you have a 3/4 hp pump also, or a very foolish installer of a 2 hp pump. You need the correct box for the pump, thats a certainty.
  17. Blitzen

    Blitzen New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Washington State
    Thanks ballvalve for all of time you spend answering these questions. You are a great help!!!

    blitzen
  18. Blitzen

    Blitzen New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Washington State
    I figured I would update this post and get anyone's thoughts on the subject.

    Before replacing the 3/4hp control box with a 2hp control box for the 2hp pump, I tested the starting and runnng resistance.
    They were 12.1 and 3.6 roughly which is what the AIM Manuel said were for a 3/4 hp pump. SO this was surprising.
    The well information that came with the house said it was a 2hp pump.
    I went to the dept. of Ecology website and looked up well information in my area and found paperwork for my well and my neighbor's well, both were dug by the same guy.
    My well had a 3/4 pump and my neighbors had a 2 hp pump. My well had an air test done (3 gpm/ 126 feet/ 1 hour).
    I have no idea why I was given my neighbors paperwork.

    I decided to recheck the well, pipes, pressure tank thoroughly and found that the 1 1/4 pipe connection at the well was barely even connected.
    I literally pulled the threaded out without twisting it. This would explain all the bubble sounds I heard when the pump kicked in.
    It would explain the difficulty it had with developing enough pressure.
    The I went to the pressure tank and discovered it was waterlogged.
    I was able to get it out of the pump house and unscrew the air intake valve and drain it.
    I then pulled the bladder out of the bottom to see if
    had an obvious tear. I haven't found one yet.
    The bladder was covered both inside and outside by lots or rust and black goo.
    I have no idea what the black stuff is. Pulling a bladder was like delivering a calf or something (lol) very slimey.

    SO I
    1- installed a check valve at the top of the well
    2- Ran 300 feet of 1 inch pipe up to the pump house
    3- Replaced the 85 Gallon pressure tank with one that is 50 gallons
    4- Installed a ball valve on th eoutgoing side of the tank to experiment with water flow.
    5- Installed a pressure valve that cuts out at low pressure

    I turned it on and was amazed at how quite everything was.
    I filled 20 5 gallon water jugs up before it lost pressure and went below 28psi.
    I closed the ball valve quite a bit which lowered my pressure at the hose but th epump seemed to be able to keep up
    with as much watering as I wanted the rest of the day.

    If anyone has any suggestions or ideas I would love to hear them...especially concerning drawdow and flow as it seems I have a low producing well.

    Here are the two well reports. The first one is the paperwork that actually goes to my well.
    The second one is the paperwork I was given when I bought the property.

    [​IMG]

    *

    [​IMG]
  19. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Thanks for the feedback. Your well is a low producer and might not be enough for some lenders. Your neighbors report would look a lot better to a buyer, so you might have had an accidental on purpose agents mistake. Be glad you got the 3/4 hp pump, otherwise that well would be sucked dry quick.

    Sounds like you are good to go - good detective work. Others here might object to the checkvalve at the well head, but I use them too.

    The low pressure cut out switch usually works fine, especially for weekenders. But a pumpsaver is a good but expensive back up.

    I birthed a few of those nasty calves too, then started buying better bladder tanks. Never will open one again.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2010
  20. Blitzen

    Blitzen New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Washington State
    Well "accidental on purpose" would totally be par for the course considering all the other things that took place from the realtor..but that is another story.

    Is that the pumpsaver plus by symcom I see on the web?

    Would the cyclestop valve be worth looking into as well?

    I have been looking at the cyclestop site and it has a lot of good information, I am just not sure if it is something that would help.

    One last thing...where would I buy a better bladder tank?

    Thanks ballvalve.
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