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hohokuz

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About two weeks ago, my 3-year-old well pump stopped working during the day. After hours of troubleshooting (more like diagnosing) and one technician later, we temporarily fixed the problem by pulling up the cable going down the well maybe about 6 inches and fixing it at that height with zip ties.

This temporary fix was found by accident -- the technician had me pull the cable up in order to remove the rusted part of the wires. Once the cables were all connected, the pump immediately turned back on. Thinking that the rusted cables were what were causing the problem, we lowered (let go of) the wire and close the well cover back. We turn the faucets on to check if the pump would kick back on. It didn't. And so I go out, open the cover, pull up the cables, and the pump immediately works again. This process went on maybe three times until we brought zip ties to make the cables going down the well a bit tighter. At this point, I am thinking are the cables having bad contact somewhere down the well, similar to how the wired earphones had to be folded, pulled at just the right tension to have sound to both ears back in the 90s...

Anyway, fast forward two days. I wake up to no water in the house. I flip breaker switch to the well pump and crank the pressure switch. The pump comes back. Another two days, I wake up to no water again. I repeat... Somehow, the timing of well pump short outs coincide with our iron filtration system backwash schedule.

What could be the point of problem, or points of problem? Could it be bad contact at pressure switch, similar to this post from 2014, or something else? Could it be the well pump that needs replacement? Fyi, my local contractor quoted ~$10,000 to replace the well pump.

Thanks for any thoughts or feedback in advance!

Best,
Hohokuz
 

Valveman

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I can't imagine what pulling the wire up 6" would do to make the pump work unless you are pulling a shorted part of the wire out of the water. There should not be 6" of slack to pull up to start with. Need an ohm meter to check for a short, a volt meter to check the voltage, and an AC amp meter to see what the pump is doing. 10K to replace a well pump so you need to learn to trouble shoot and figure out what causes pumps to fail.
 

Bannerman

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Somehow, the timing of well pump short outs coincide with our iron filtration system backwash schedule.
Although I anticipate you would have mentioned it, is your well system equipped with a low pressure cutoff switch or other device to protect the pump Incase the pressure drops too low? If so, perhaps your backwashing iron reduction system is consuming a greater amount of water than the pump can provide, which maybe causing the supply pressure to fall below the low pressure setting so power to the pump is being shut down until manually reactivated.
 

Reach4

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$10000 sounds high to get a well pump replaced. Is there more to that story?

Your story is weird, but you knew that. Maybe a bad splice just under the well cap? I presume you have a pitless adapter. I presume there is no water pipe visible at the top of the well, but there is a conduit for carrying wires up into the well cap area.
 

hohokuz

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unless you are pulling a shorted part of the wire out of the water
I also thought this was a possible scenario... but the added complexity after pulling the wire up 6" makes it more confusing. I grew up in an apartment unit (outside of the States), and this is the first house that I purchased which happen to use well water... So my initial action was calling a company with 24/7 call service, made the earliest reservation, and paid about $650 for a temporary fix but learned new things during that.

I found really useful information from Terry Love Forums so I will definitely look into investing the meters you mentioned and explore. Also, I will setup another appointment with the well company that installed the well in my house three years ago. Thanks so much for your time and insight!
 

hohokuz

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is your well system equipped with a low pressure cutoff switch or other device to protect the pump Incase the pressure drops too low? If so, perhaps your backwashing iron reduction system is consuming a greater amount of water than the pump can provide, which maybe causing the supply pressure to fall below the low pressure setting so power to the pump is being shut down until manually reactivated.
What you describe sounds like what is happening here but I am not so sure if it is equipped with a low pressure cutoff switch or not... Like @Reach4 mentioned, it is so weird that these two things are happening back to back. If the water table went down for some reason, could it be a cause of these issues? I will try several things to try to troubleshoot by myself but I will most likely call the well company that installed the well in my house and setup an appointment with them to get some help.

Thanks so much for your time and expertise in writing your responses, @Bannerman and @Reach4!
 

Reach4

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Since you have the lever, we can deduce that your pump, or your well, cannot keep up with the backwash requirements of your iron filter. Your low-pressure cutout cuts out.

I would get a chair, and start a regen on the iron filter. Hold the lever to keep the pump on during the backwash. Watch the pressure gauge. How low does the pressure go? And how does the pressure vary during the backwash?

It is also possible that your well and pump can maintain sufficient pressure during the backwash, but there is a transient time when the pressure drops. If that, dropping the air precharge a couple of PSI may solve this. Replacing the pressure switch with one with no lever may solve this. Your observations of the pressure gauge during backwash will tell you what to do next.
 

Valveman

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A low pressure cut off switch can be a real pain, especially for someone new to wells. If it is being used to protect the pump from running dry due to a low producing well, a Cycle Sensor will do a better job and doesn't cause nuisance trips like the low pressure cut off. A regular pressure switch with a Cycle Sensor works best.
 
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