Well controls?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by JoeG, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. JoeG

    JoeG New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Hi all, I must first say, AWSUM site....Lots of great info here for the do-it-yourselfer!!! :)

    I just bought a house with a well and have a few ?...

    First, This is a drilled well with a submersible pump. I have no idea how deep or HP....when the last owners left the house they took all well controls, tanks, and such out of the garage....I need to do a water test before I go ahead with this purchase....With all controls gone, I see the incoming water line from the well (Black plastic) in the garage (It is just cut and laying on floor) and the electrical wire (Also cut and laying there) Can I just rig a garden hose to the black pipe with a clamp and go ahead and turn on the well pump and just let the water run through the hose in the driveway?...I understand that I must let it run wide open since there is no pressure switch and such to stop the pump...If so what should I be looking for as far as how long should it run wide open to be considered a decent well? Are there gauges to check gpm and such that I can purchase?

    Second, If it checks out ok then at a later date I will be purchasing a holding tank, pressure switch(SquareD?) and whatever else is needed....


    Just so I understand, I have read every post on the forum, and the wiring coming from the well is in sight in the garage.

    If the pump is 220v and has a 2 wire system (2 black and 1 green) then I will only need a holding tank and a pressure switch, correct?

    If it is a 3 wire (red, black,yellow, and green) then I will need a holding tank, pressure switch, and a control box, correct?

    Any and all advice you guys can give me for testing this well prior to purchase would be great ;)

    I thank each person that responds to these questions in advance....


    Joe G
  2. Pumpman

    Pumpman Pump Sales

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    So. Cal
    You are correct about what you need for a 2 and/or three wire pump.
    If you have a 3 wire pump, you will need a control box just to run the pump. It will contain the necessary capacitors, relays etc., the motor needs.
    A 2 wire pump, on the other hand, will run simply by powering it up.
    You could run the pump with just a hose attached, but be careful. Submersible pumps can build tremendous pressures. The hose could be whipping around, ready to leave a welt on the first person it hits.
    Pretty crappy, in my opinion, that the owners took all the well controls.
    You might consider having the well tested by someone with experience in this. You don't want to buy a house, and then find out the well won't support it.
    Ron
  3. rshackleford

    rshackleford New Member

    Messages:
    284
    Location:
    Eastern Montana (The Bakken)
    When testing the well flow you don’t need anything more complicated than a five gallon bucket and a stopwatch; however, it is important to measure well drawdown while doing the flow test. For drawdown you typically need some special equipment (a sounding meter) and these meters are pretty expensive. You might hire a qualified person to do this.

    The bad part about removing all of the controls is you don’t know what your horsepower is and therefore don’t know what control box to get. The other thing is it could be an old, old pump and motor. Many years ago a two wire pump truly had two wires and a three wire pump really had three wires. Also, you will have to do some investigating at the circuit breaker to see if you can tell if it’s a 110 Volt or 220 Volt motor. You should be able to tell based on the breaker type.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2005
  4. PEW

    PEW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    487
    Don't know under what the circumstances you bought the house.

    But, if the house was put up for sale with a function well and pump system, they had no right to remove it. And, you would have recourse against them.

    Paul
  5. JoeG

    JoeG New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Thanks for all the great info guys....

    This house was a bank repo and sold as is..I knew there were no controls when I bought it, but you can bet if it was a private owner that took all this stuff i'd be one shi**y mofo :) ....Some things I have found out is that it was built in late 1999, which puts the well installation at around 5 years old...It is 220 ...And there are no markings on the well cap...There are 3 houses there all in a row that were built at the exact same time so I think I will talk to the neighbors and see if I can locate the well driller that way...If not can I buy a control box that is bigger, to cover 1/2, 3/4, and 1 hp pumps? Thanks all ;)
  6. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    See what the neighbors have for a pump and your's will more than likely be the same. No you can't buy a one size fit's all control box. The overloads are different if in the box. Some were in the motor and some in the box. If the house is only six years old, the odds of having anything but a Franklin motor are slim to none.

    Are you sure you have a submersible pump? It could have been a shallow well jet pump.

    I do sell pumps and tanks etc.

    bob...
  7. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Is the Pump in the Well?

    The control box is a small part of the system. Are you sure the pump is in the well?

    You might be able to check the size of the motor by checking the resistance across the leads with a digital Ohm Meter. A home owner should have a Volt/Ohm meter and know how to use it, and if you are going to work on your own pump you may want to get one with the clamp-on Ammeter feature. Check between all pairs of leads if it is a 3-wire; red-black, red-yellow, and black-yellow. Black-Yellow is usually the main winding and Red-yellow is usually the start winding in a 3-wire system.

    Franklin Electric Manual:
    http://www.franklin-electric.com/Manual/contents.html

    http://www.franklin-electric.com/Manual/AIM_13.htm
    The link above is to Table 13 of the Franklin motor site. You can compare the resistance values that you measure to try to find the size of the motor. You should also determine the wire size to the motor and try to estimate the length to the pump to correct for the wire resistance. You should make very good connections when measuring resistance because you are trying to measure small numbers. Cable resistance is on page 43 of the manual.

    Page 44 of the Franklin manual gives the procedure for finding the main and start windings if the colors are not available.

    You should also check the insulation resistance to see if the pump windings are shorted to ground.
  8. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Home-built drawdown instrument

    If you can get to the top of the well you can measure the drawdown with a home-made setup. Procedure and parts as follows:

    1. Drop a weighted line down the well to find the depth to water and the depth to the pump. DON'T lose the line.

    2. Get a length of 1/4" OD plastic tube a bit longer than the depth to the pump. Get a 30 psi pressure gauge if water to pump is less than 70 feet, or 60 psi if water-to-pump is 70 to 140 feet. Also, get a bicycle pump or equivalent, and fittings/means with a Schrader valve to let you connect the pump and gauge to the top end of the tube at the same time.

    3. Fasten a weight securely at the end of the tube and lower it down the well. A piece of 1/4" copper tubing about 4 feet long, attached to the plastic tube with a ferrule type union would be a good weight and would not take too much diameter. Make sure the ferrule union is securely connected to the plastic tube.

    4. Lower the tube to the top of the pump and secure it at the top of the well, without kinks.

    5. Using the bicycle pump, slowly pump air into the tube until it won't go any higher. Stop pumping and wait until the pressure becomes stable.

    6. Read the pressure gauge. One psi is 2.31 ft of water above the end of the line.

    7. Operate the water pump and record the pressure and time as the water goes down. As the water goes down, the air will escape out the end of the tube, reducing the pressure at the gauge.

    8. Pump in a little more air and check it from time to time. Excess air will excape at the bottom.

    If you want to do a flow test you can buy a water meter from USABlueBook (800-548-1234) for $30.72 + Shipping. It is Stock Number 62276 and has 1" male straight pipe threads on the ends. If you are going to install it permanently you will want to get two couplings Stock Number 48816 at $4.97 each. Shipping is usually UPS Ground from Chicago and will go out same day if you order by 5PM central time.
  9. JoeG

    JoeG New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Speedbump, Yes it is a submersible, I went out to the well head and took off the lid to expose the wiring. It is the 3 wire system, (Red, black, yellow, and green)

    I already bought a tank, square D pressure switch, and all plumbing needed, including a pressure gauge....I am pretty well versed in shallow well pump setups as I have done about 5 of these, not an expert, but I can plumb everything just fine.....All I need to do at this point is to figure out pump size so that I can get the correct control box...

    Bob nh, rshackleford, Thanks , that is some great info on drawdown tests....

    Thanks also pumpguy......great info ;)

    I almost forgot, as I was walking to the well casing I tripped over a big metal lid .............Yep, you guessed it! City water :D I called the number on the lid and they told me it would be $1500.00 to tap into their line .....I would much prefer to try the well as I am partial to not having a water bill (Very rural area, water bill= VERY high!) I have my own Satellite company so I am very educated with an ohm meter,I will give this a try and talk to the neighbor about their setup......

    So at this point I think it would be smart to just figure out what size control box to buy and just try it out with no tests of any kind (Drawdown, gpm) and just see if it works out.....If not I NOW have an option that I did not know I had before...I will try the resistance values if I cannot contact neighbor.

    I'll post back and let you all know how this comes out...

    Man, this place is full of very smart people in the well industry!!Thanks for sharing :)
  10. rshackleford

    rshackleford New Member

    Messages:
    284
    Location:
    Eastern Montana (The Bakken)
    You can't go wrong with USABlueBook; they do a really nice job. Bucket and a stopwatch work just as well though. Be careful, though, most five gallon buckets are six gallons to the top. You could use a scale to calibrate you bucket. I believe it is 7.8 pounds of water per gallon. Someone please correct me if I am wrong on the weight. I usually round it up to eight. I guess my hydraulics class was just too long ago.
  11. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Water Constants

    Water weight = 8.34 Lb/Gal

    7.48 Gal/Cu Ft

    2.31 ft of head/psi

    1.0 BTU/Lb-degF

    3413 BTU/kWHr
  12. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Relief Valve

    One thing you didn't mention and may not have had on a shallow well jet pump, but is an absolute must on a submersible, is a relief valve. The relief valve must be large enough to discharge the total flow of the pump without exceeding the specified working pressure of the tank.
  13. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Around here, when you find city water run out in the country, they usually do that because the groundwater is contaminated with Coliform bacteria, due to septic tank problems in the general area. So maybe collecting a water sample from the well before sinking more money into it may be a wise thing. Also, there's no way to know there is a pump in the well unless you do the ohms and conductivity tests.

    And here, sometimes 4 strand cable is used down the well and you find a 2 wire pump. And you didn't say anything about 4 strand cable in the house; unless I've missed it.

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates
  14. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    If the well pump is in fact a three wire (remember what Gary said about it maybe being a two wire pump.)and you want to give it a try. You can hook the black wire and the yellow wire to 230 volts, get a 230 volt start capacitor (161 MFD or so), jumper one terminal to the black wire and hold the red wire on the other terminal with some insulated pliers. Have someone hit the breaker and a ½ second after the power is turned on, pull the red wire off the start cap. At this point there should be water coming from the black pipe. If the pump is running rough, it may have needed a run cap which can be any where from 10 MFD to 120MFD. Since we don't know the horsepower until you get the ohm tests done the run cap is going to be a mystery. The start cap value is generally not an issue for a little test like this. But the run cap has to be very close to the needed value.

    An ohm meter can be very useful here, and if you can find out what size the wire is, this can also give some hints. If it is #14, you probably have a pump smaller than 1.5hp, #12 maybe a 1 to 1.5 and #10, you may have something closer to the 2, 3 or 5hp. This is assuming you don't live in the mountains and your well is 700+ feet deep.

    bob...
  15. rshackleford

    rshackleford New Member

    Messages:
    284
    Location:
    Eastern Montana (The Bakken)
    Water

    62.4 lbs/cu ft.

    449 gpm/cfs.

    I knew that much. I guess I should have done some unit conversion before my post. (449/60=7.48 g/cu ft would have got me there!) I am not sure why that 7.8 sticks in my head.

    On the water samples. You should contact a local testing lab. They will have special sampling bottles for fecal coliform tests. This is a really good idea and I am surprised it was overlooked for so long in this thread.
  16. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Are Neighbors Still Using Wells?

    One reason they run city water to areas with wells is ground water contamination from MTBE and other volatiles. My town has paid millions to put water lines to areas that have contamination.

    Coliform bacteria are usually not a problem in a deep well, and in any case can be taken care of with a chlorinator.

    The local health department should be able to tell you if there are problems with wells in the area. MTBE is soluble in water and usually comes from people dumping gasoline from cleaning parts, or from leaks from a gasoline tank. Other volatile compounds are usually from some dry cleaner or painter dumping solvents instead of paying to dispose of them properly.
  17. rshackleford

    rshackleford New Member

    Messages:
    284
    Location:
    Eastern Montana (The Bakken)
    I have seen fecal coli form problems in wells up to 100’ in depth. That particular well was made in gravel from surface to the bottom. No mater how much chlorination was done, the well continued to fail bacteria test. I would say there are special cases where waste could enter the ground water flow and contaminate a highly conductive aquifer. I know for sure there was a huge waste problem a mile up the creek. I would guess that Bob NH is right about bedrock formations being relatively safe from these bacteria, though.

    In or area the oilfield has ruined a lot of aquifers. Rural water has been developed and paid for by the big oil companies in these areas.
  18. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    After rereading your original post. I would say, if you can get the pump to run, run it an hour or so and then take the sample. It should pass. If not then chlorinate and try again.


    bob...
  19. rshackleford

    rshackleford New Member

    Messages:
    284
    Location:
    Eastern Montana (The Bakken)
    I sound like a broken record and I am sorry, but I cannot stress the point enough. There is a lot of good evidence that supports well chlorination. Ever well owner should chlorinate his well twice a year if not more. It is not hard to do. There is no reason to not just go ahead and get it done with. If you are going to be doing flow testing, it would be an ideal time to pump the chlorinated water out onto the ground rather than running it through the septic system. I can not be more adamant about the importance of frequent chlorination.

    There is a lot of evidence in favor of it. Just Google “well chlorination.â€

    Furthermore, as a person employed in the well service industry, I see a lot of customers forced into spending a lot of money without need. Pumps plugged up. Well rehabilitation and redevelopment. Complete well screen failure. New water wells. And so on.
  20. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Here in PA are rock bore wells are on average roughly 200'. We have a serious problem with Coliform bacteria contamination. Upward of half of all the wells will have a contamination in any 12 month period. PA has a fair number of wells, IIRC, we rank third in the US. Up until the 2000 census, we had historically had the largest rural population in the US; TX beat us in 2000.

    Up until about 4 years ago, I did a Coliform bacteria test with every water sample I took. Water testing was my only 'marketing'. As it still is with most dealers. In 1990 while working in water treatment for a company, I averaged 18 water tests per day five days a week. My well depth record for Coliform was 605'. Many deep rock bore wells are contaminated all over the US.

    shack, I'm one of only a few that do not support shocking wells but there are valid reasons to not do it casually. As an example, it can cause THMs that no homeowner will test for. It can cause pump and well production problems, along with other water quality problems.

    Do you know that the disinfection properties of chlorine are pH dependent? Chlorine raises the pH of the water, and as it does, chlorine loses some of its disinfection capabilities. See:
    http://www.designwater.com/PDF_Files/Diesinfection.pdf

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates
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