Well pump issues

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by mihomeowner, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. mihomeowner

    mihomeowner Member

    Messages:
    44
    Location:
    Michigan
    Have been having well pump issues for a couple days. Water was intermittent... sometimes would be fine, but other times nothing. So I finally popped the cover off the pressure switch. We had a lightning strike to a very close tree a few months ago. Lost some TV's and network cables. When I took a look at the pressure switch, I could see some "charring" that I also saw inside some of the other electrical devices that got lost. The wire that had the charring was one of them leading to the well pump

    So I thought, this shouldn't be too hard, and replaced the pressure switch. But I am still having issues. I've checked the voltage going to the well pump and it's 240v, so that should be fine. I don't have an amp-clamp so I can't check the amps. But the well pump should be energized and right now it's not even able to get up to 40psi. So after a couple hours of troubleshooting, I am guessing my well pump might be dead. Could it have died a few months later due to the lightning strike? It's a 10 year old pump, but the fact that I saw some "charring" on the pressure switch leads me to believe the well pump got hit as well.

    Now my question, I am going to get a well guy out here because we don't have water. I have a 1.5hp well pump. Assuming it's dead, is there any advantage to upgrading the pump? The pump was previously on a 30-50 psi but when I changed the pressure switch I went to 40-60psi (and changed the air pressure on the bladder).

    This is my current pump:
    http://waterpumpspro.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=109_171_173&products_id=4353

    It's a 2-wire. Thanks for help
  2. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,418
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    If the pump is running and getting up to 40 PSI, you probably have a break in the water line somewhere. Most burning or charring in a pressure switch is from too much cycling on and off, not from lightning.
  3. mihomeowner

    mihomeowner Member

    Messages:
    44
    Location:
    Michigan
    Got the well guy out here. We took of the cap (something I probably should have done before). One of the wire nuts for the well pump was melted and fused together, like a ton of electricity had gone through it (aka lightning strike). He thought maybe we could just replace the connection with a new wire cap, but that didn't work.

    There was no break in the water line. The pump was getting up to 40 psi, but just barely. It would cycle on and off and act weird... never getting close to 60 psi. So the well guy pretty much assumed the well pump was shot. Got a new well pump in there and everything is acting normally now.

    With the melted/fused wire cap, I am surprised that the pump lasted this long. The lighting strike was about 4 months ago. Of course the well pump is a pretty contained unit, I was curious to see what kind of damage was on the electrical input of the pump but you can't see it. I am pretty sure the charring on the pressure switch is from the lightning strike, not too much cycling.

    Hopefully the insurance company covers the well pump.
  4. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    883
    Location:
    ct
    Wire nuts in the well....how cheap can you get?

    I wouldn't be surprised if the motor was dying a slow death and the increased amp draw melted the wire nut.
  5. mihomeowner

    mihomeowner Member

    Messages:
    44
    Location:
    Michigan
    How is it suppose to be wired?
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,897
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Originally I had the twist-on kind but it kept fraying the stranded wire whenever I would break/make the connection. Finally I tinned the stranded wire with solder and switched to Marr connectors.
    [​IMG]
  7. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,418
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    A pump man would use un-insulated butt splice connectors and heart shrinks or good electric tape, the same as if it had been an underwater splice.

    It is rare for a bad electrical connection to let the pump run “a little bit”, like getting the pressure up to 40 PSI. Usually the pump will either run or not. But a loose connection can work like a resistor, only allowing some of the current to get to the motor. Then the pump may still pump water, just not as much as if it were getting full power.

    Glad you got it working.
  8. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    Ooh, those I like. Thanks for putting a name on them.
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