Water pressure tank pump recycling constantly on cut in

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by CCW95005, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. CCW95005

    CCW95005 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    California
    We have a water well. (The well pump is functioning fine.) There's a surface pump that takes water from our 5000 gal holding tank and pumps it into two pressure tanks in series. Working fine until today. The water pressure dropped in the house and when I went out to the well, the pressure switch that controls the surface pump had shut itself off. There's a little lever on the switch whose function is mainly to turn off the pump if there's no water coming in or other issues dangerous to the pump, and that lever had been triggered. I flipped it on and the pump started running. But instead of starting 20, 30, 40, 50 psi, it went to 60 psi right away and cut out several minutes later at 60. I turned on a spigot to see what would happen when the pressure dropped and when it got to 40 psi it started recycling on/off/on/off continuously with even a few sparks.

    I thought it might be the bladder pressure in the pressure tanks so I drained them and the gauge read 30 in one and 32 in the other - lower than it should be, probably, since the gauge had been increased to 40/60 - but I wasn't sure that that was the problem. I tried pumping air into the tanks - a long slow process - and got the pressures up slightly but it didn't make any difference.

    Now I can't get the pump to cut in automatically without that constant on/off cycling, so I flipped that lever to stop the automatic cut in/off. I was able to press the pad with a stick to turn on the pump and got the pressure up to 55 psi, so I don't think there's a problem with water supply.

    So my question is whether that sounds like a bladder problem or a switch problem. Thanks.
  2. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,259
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Once you see sparks coming from the contacts, it is time to replace the switch. I would also make sure that the inlet pipe to the switch is clean and clear when replacing the switch.
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,138
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    A pressure switch should be close to the pressure tank. I don't know how cold it gets there but it sounds like maybe the line before the tank froze or partially froze.
  4. CCW95005

    CCW95005 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    California
    Not cold here, so no freezing.
  5. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,549
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    I am guessing that even though you see 30-32 psi in each tank, there maybe water on top of the bladders. Or you could have a bad check valve or both.
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