Trouble Shooting not sure what to do next, where to go?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by dkrisp, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. dkrisp

    dkrisp New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Royal Oak, Mi
    My system:
    Currently working on my Well/Pump system I have a submersible pump in a 4" well fed to my house through the floor using poly piping, to a 20gallan bladder tank (amtrol) hope I spelled that right, then into a softener, then to the house.
    My situation:
    The well short cycles but I am not sure why basically I have a 40-60 switch on the system it will come on at about 38psi and shut off at 64psi however the time between shut off and turn back on is 40 seconds with no water running in the house. I have checked all lines in the house repeatedly (very easy in my house with everything open to basement.
    What I have done:
    I have checked the bladder tank it was at 18psi I pumped it back up to 38psi (this was done with pump off and water drained from system at the tank level. after I did this was when I found the short cycle problem. To cut the system in half I put a check valve in the water line between the poly pipe coming from the well pipe and the pressure tank. To my surprise this did nothing the system still sits there short cycling I figured there was a leak in the poly line outside the house or down the well pipe so with the check valve in line it should have held the tank at pressure but it didn't.

    I am lost on what to do next any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,588
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    That size tank should deliver about 5 gallons of water as the water is let out and the pressure drops from 60 to 40 PSI. If the tank is still good, you are losing 7 GPM somewhere. Adding the extra check valve was a good way to test for water going back down the well, and apparently it isn’t. So water must be going the other way. Put a ball valve on the line to the house and close it off. Then if the pressure still bleeds off, it is going somewhere between the new check valve you added and the new ball valve.

    I would think a 7 GPM leak would be easy to find, but I have seen stranger things many times. Also check that your tank is holding the 5 gallons it should. Just open a hose to a bucket as soon as the pump shuts off at 63 PSI. See how much you get before the pressure gets to 40.

    You still have a leak. But if the tank is waterlogged, the leak could be very small. If the tank is still good, then it is a big leak.
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,196
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Sometimes a bladder can have a one-way leak, where the water leaks across to the air side but then adding air does not push the water out so what you end up with is mostly water and a little bit of air on the air side. A drawdown test as valveman suggests will confirm that.
  4. dkrisp

    dkrisp New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Royal Oak, Mi
    Ok took all your advice and did the following:

    I shut off the valve after the tank and to the house all the piping is directly in front of me the pressure gauge is now going all the way to 80 psi before it shuts off then instantly drops to 60 then slowly over 40ish seconds again drops to turn on again. Once again this is with the check valve between the well and the tank and the ball valve between the house and the tank. I can also pick up the tank it is very light.
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,196
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Is the checkvalve you added between the pump and the switch/gauge or between the tank and the switch/gauge? Is all the piping between the checkvalve and tank visible?

    What type of checkvalve is it, spring loaded or swing gate? Are you sure the checkvalve is in good working condition?

    Have you verified that the water pressure gauge and air pressure gauges both read correctly?
  6. craigpump

    craigpump Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,093
    Location:
    ct
    Even if the diaphram is bad the tank should eventually fill. I'm guessing that there is something holding the new check valve open and there is a leak in the well.
  7. Smooky

    Smooky Member

    Messages:
    656
    Location:
    NC
    My first thought is it is leaking back into the well, if you know there are no other leaks. Could the water softener be stuck in a back wash cycle? You don’t have a Florida heat pump or water cooled ice machine etc? A few dozen toilet flappers leaking might cause a leak that big. When this happens at my house it means the spigot out by the hog pen has been run over and broken again. This is soon followed by the well going dry.
  8. dkrisp

    dkrisp New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Royal Oak, Mi
    Now you all see why I am so confused.
    The check valve is in the floor at the brass nipple coming from the well on the poly hose. it is before the pressure switch and the pressure gauge the house cut off valve is after the bladder tank between the tank and the softener, so the softener is taken out of the equation as well. The type of check valve I have is the same you put on the well pump at the bottom of the well and it is spring activated.
  9. craigpump

    craigpump Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,093
    Location:
    ct
    Post a pic?

    Still sounds like a leaky check valve
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
  10. dkrisp

    dkrisp New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Royal Oak, Mi
    I will pull the valve and see what happens
  11. dkrisp

    dkrisp New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Royal Oak, Mi
    I was able to work on this thing today my well is basically running 24-7. And now i am totally lost. I turn on the well it runs up to 60psi and now it never turns off the tank a 20 gal tank I can pick it up and shake it there is never any water in it. When I turn off the pump switch the psi instantly drops to 10 PSI and stays there. When i turn the well switch back on it shoots up to 60 psi and never turns off.

    please any words of wisdom
  12. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,196
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    If it says 60 PSI but the tank is empty then someone is a liar.
  13. dkrisp

    dkrisp New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Royal Oak, Mi
    i replaced the gauge because the old one was doing the same thing so gauge is good the pressure switch is also new. the psi say 60 but never goes over that and keeps running even when there is no call for water
    and the tank never fills yet I have water with good flow.
  14. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,196
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    If that were true, then 60 PSI water would have to fill the tank so then maybe your air pressure gauge is a liar.
  15. craigpump

    craigpump Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,093
    Location:
    ct
    I have seen so much sediment and iron in a well that the tank T, pressure switch and gauge have been completely plugged.
  16. dkrisp

    dkrisp New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Royal Oak, Mi
    I took of the pressure gauge and disconnected all the lines and replaced them and cleaned the gauge and pressure switch I basically have all new pipe from where the pump pipe enters the house to the bladder tank and nothing has changed. What is really confusing me is the tank why is it empty. I checked everything about it. While everything was disconnected no water in the system I checked the PSI of the tank it is 38 psi and with a 40/60 switch the tank should be filling but there is just no water in there. Could this be a leak at the foot valve or along the pipe in the well that just leaks so much water back down the well that it will not maintain the pressure to fill the tank or could the tanks bladder be collapse within it self it is 18 yrs old?
  17. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,196
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    That is the only plausible explanation left if the stated pressures are true. I still suspect that the air pressure is reading way wrong and the OP has way too much precharge. In his first post, he said "after I did this (add air) was when I found the short cycle problem".

    The fact though that the pump never shuts off means either the pump is shot or there is a leak in the pipe. Trivial to test for a leak with an air compressor and a pressure gauge you can trust.
  18. dkrisp

    dkrisp New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Royal Oak, Mi
    Well I am getting no where, Tomorrow I am going to rip this thing apart and find the problem. Is there a way to test the well pipe for a leak before I pull it out of the casing and the pump itself can it be tested in the casing? What about the bladder tank is there anyway to test it?
  19. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,534
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    You can fill the line with water and put some air pressure on it, and see if the pressure drops. Or just see if the water goes down after full.

    You could use air for the tank, test it the same way, watching for the pressure to drop.

    If You could add air to your Water Tank, from the water outlet of your pump, you could test the Input tank plumbing also.

    The output of the tank would need to be off, or the air will leak out at your faucets.

    Don't use a compressor that adds oil to the air.

    Have you tried to let all of the air pressure out of the tank to see if it would fill with water ?

    Is your check valve pointing the correct direction ? Silly question I know, but easy mistake.


    Good Luck.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013
  20. craigpump

    craigpump Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,093
    Location:
    ct
    Yep, thats easy. Pull the drop pipe up a few feet, make up a tee with a gauge and valve, put on the drop pipe and turn the pump on against the closed valve. The pump should build and hold over 100 psi depending on the size pump and depth to water along with the condition of the pump and pipe. If the pump makes pressure but loses it when the pump is turned off with the valve still closed, the problem is in the well, either the pipe, a bad fitting or bad check valve.
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