submersible well pump cuts on and off with pressure switch contacts closed

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by wellfed, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. wellfed

    wellfed New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Hey everyone,
    I just bought an old farm house thats been vacant for 5 years. The house is gutted to the bare studs and all plumbing and wiring is removed. I wanted to check the well so I dug up the water line next to the well and plumbed in a hydrant. I added a shut off valve between the hydrant and house to keep water from shooting through the floor. I then ran a wire from a 30 amp double pole breaker in the breaker box (which is still hot) to the well. When I flipped the breaker and opened the hydrant I immediately got a great flow of water... for about 8 seconds. After that the pump kicked off. After a little research I replaced the pressure switch (with a 30/50 psi switch) and drained the pressure tank and filled it to 28 psi. When I turned on the power the pump kicked on and ran for a few seconds then kicked off. After a few more seconds it kicked back on. It did this for several minutes until the pressure reached about 42 psi. I watched the pressure switch the whole time and the contact didn't break until the pressure reached 42 psi. Also, if I leave the hydrant open the pump still turns on and off every few seconds. So, why is my pump kicking on and off? I have no idea of the size, brand or specs of the pump. I chose the breaker size based on the wire size running to the pump and the fact that 30 amp was the only double pole breaker in the box. According to what records I could find the well is approximately 75' deep, and thats all I know.
  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,183
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    How many wires on the pump? Is there a pump control box in the circuit? Where is the pressure switch and tank in relation to the well and house?

    It sounds like the pump thermal overload is tripping. How long is the run of wire and what gauge?
  3. wellfed

    wellfed New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Its a 2 wire pump with no control box. The pressure tank and switch are both in a 5'x5' block enclosure with the well. The wire is 10 gauge and run is about 100' from the breaker box. Thanks for the quick reply.
  4. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,579
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Are you sure it is 240 volt? You could have 240 volt wired to a 115 volt motor, which would make the overload trip as you describe. Do you know the horse power?
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,183
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Ja, a 115V 1/2 HP pump can go 250 feet on #10. A 240V 1/2 HP pump can go over 1000 feet.

    For the distance you describe, #10 could drive a 5 HP pump which is a lot of pump for an 80 foot deep well.

    What if any high amperage single pole breakers are there in the panel?
  6. wellfed

    wellfed New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Kentucky
    I'm not sure on the horsepower or the voltage. I saw a big red and black wire disappearing down the well and assumed 220/240 volt (you know what they say about assuming). 20 amp was the biggest single pole breaker in the box. Is that enough to run a 110 volt pump? Thanks a lot for your responses.
  7. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,183
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    115V 1/2 HP pumps are common and one with a Franklin motor would draw around 12 amps so a 15 amp breaker might be too close for comfort but a 20 amp would be OK.
  8. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Try it on 120 volts and report back.
  9. wellfed

    wellfed New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Switched to the single pole 20 amp breaker and everything is working perfectly. I may be an idiot, or you may all be geniuses. Maybe a little of both. Thanks for the help everyone!
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