Constant Pressure/Variable Speed System Cycling A Lot

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TZinPA

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We've had a Franklin Electric constant pressure/variable speed well system since 2012 and there have constantly been issues with it. Recently it has been turning on every 43 seconds. It's a Subdrive2W. We drained the pressure tank (20 gal Wel-X-Trol) and recharged it to about 60 PSI (as noted on the pressure tank). We checked the pressure/transducer switch and it seems to be working correctly/not plugged up with debris; however, when we turn off the power to the well pump, there is water still coming through the check valve that is before the pressure tank/flowing towards the pressure tank? We've noticed the pressure switch/transducer is set a little before 60 PSI (with a constant pressure system, we're not sure if this switch was set correctly) so even with the water shut OFF at the house, and the well pump on, the pump kicks on about every 43 seconds. When the water to the house is ON, it turns on about every minute to a minute and a half. We're thinking we need to replace the check valve, again?--Any other advice as why the water is still coming in through the check valve towards the pressure tank?

Secondly, we've had 2 well companies work on this system. The first company, the installer, initially set the pump at 1/2HP. The second company who replaced the check valve the first time set the pump at 3/4HP. So we contacted Franklin Electric (FE) and they advised to check the OHMs which the result with the red and black wire is between 4.2 and 4.5 so FE said it is a 1/2 HP pump. Then we contacted the initial installer and they said it's a 3/4 HP (even though they initially set it at 1/2 HP). The well produces 20 GPM. After contacting both FE and the initial installer, we found a small sticker on the well pressure tank reflecting Franklin Submersible 3/4HP, 230Volts. Ultimately, we are confused at what HP our well pump is and wondering if the installer placed the wrong sticker on our well pressure tank about our well pump. Wouldn't testing the OHMs be the most trusting way to find the actual HP of a well pump? Any advice?

Lastly, I've been reading about the CSV and wouldn't mind just eliminating this constant pressure system and replacing it with a CSV, but I'm not sure what needs to be replaced and if using a standard pressure switch can be used correctly with the Subdrive computer board and how to do it (wiring). The initial installer said a standard pressure switch can be installed to the computer board, but of course he charges a $100 service fee on top of $100/hr labor, plus parts. Any advice for installing a CSV or a standard pressure switch with the Subdrive?

The pictures are the Subdrive2W controller and the other picture is the current set up with the Flomatic check valve and pressure/transducer switch. The pressure gauge doesn't work so I have to attach another pressure gauge to test the PSI. I've been looking at pictures of installed CSV and wondering if the CSV replaces the check valve?
 

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Valveman

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We've had a Franklin Electric constant pressure/variable speed well system since 2012 and there have constantly been issues with it. Recently it has been turning on every 43 seconds. It's a Subdrive2W. We drained the pressure tank (20 gal Wel-X-Trol) and recharged it to about 60 PSI (as noted on the pressure tank). We checked the pressure/transducer switch and it seems to be working correctly/not plugged up with debris; however, when we turn off the power to the well pump, there is water still coming through the check valve that is before the pressure tank/flowing towards the pressure tank? We've noticed the pressure switch/transducer is set a little before 60 PSI (with a constant pressure system, we're not sure if this switch was set correctly) so even with the water shut OFF at the house, and the well pump on, the pump kicks on about every 43 seconds. When the water to the house is ON, it turns on about every minute to a minute and a half. We're thinking we need to replace the check valve, again?--Any other advice as why the water is still coming in through the check valve towards the pressure tank?

Secondly, we've had 2 well companies work on this system. The first company, the installer, initially set the pump at 1/2HP. The second company who replaced the check valve the first time set the pump at 3/4HP. So we contacted Franklin Electric (FE) and they advised to check the OHMs which the result with the red and black wire is between 4.2 and 4.5 so FE said it is a 1/2 HP pump. Then we contacted the initial installer and they said it's a 3/4 HP (even though they initially set it at 1/2 HP). The well produces 20 GPM. After contacting both FE and the initial installer, we found a small sticker on the well pressure tank reflecting Franklin Submersible 3/4HP, 230Volts. Ultimately, we are confused at what HP our well pump is and wondering if the installer placed the wrong sticker on our well pressure tank about our well pump. Wouldn't testing the OHMs be the most trusting way to find the actual HP of a well pump? Any advice?

Lastly, I've been reading about the CSV and wouldn't mind just eliminating this constant pressure system and replacing it with a CSV, but I'm not sure what needs to be replaced and if using a standard pressure switch can be used correctly with the Subdrive computer board and how to do it (wiring). The initial installer said a standard pressure switch can be installed to the computer board, but of course he charges a $100 service fee on top of $100/hr labor, plus parts. Any advice for installing a CSV or a standard pressure switch with the Subdrive?

The pictures are the Subdrive2W controller and the other picture is the current set up with the Flomatic check valve and pressure/transducer switch. The pressure gauge doesn't work so I have to attach another pressure gauge to test the PSI. I've been looking at pictures of installed CSV and wondering if the CSV replaces the check valve?
I am sorry for your problems. You should be thinking about your work, the kids, or your next fishing trip instead of having to educate yourself about pumps. I hear these kind of stories everyday. Although constant pressure is a good thing, varying the pump speed is not the best way to get it. The Cycle Stop Valve was designed to replace the variable speed drives or VFD's I was having those kind of problems with over 30 years ago. For 30+ years they have been saying the "next generation" of VFD's is going to have all the bugs worked out. After all this time I am going to say Mother Nature or the laws of physics are never going to let them get rid of all the bugs in VFD's. If nothing else, they just have so many electronic components it just leaves a lot of opportunities for a failure. So, after 30 years we are still replacing VFD's with Cycle Stop Valves everyday.

Since you have the 2 wire version it is much easier to switch to a CSV. Just disconnect and remove the Subdrive and the transducer. Install a CSV1A set at 60 PSI in place of the check valve at the pressure tank. Install a regular FSG2 pressure switch and set it for 45/65. Install a new gauge also so you can see what is going on.

You may still have to pull the pump and replace the check valve at the pump. Failing check valves are just one of many problems caused by a variable speed pump. They even make special check valves just for use with VFD's because they have so many problems. But with the CSV, one good regular check valve on the pump is all you need. The CSV prevents the check valve from failing, not to mention the pump, tank, and everything else in the system.

A pump system like this with a CSV1A can last 30-40 years without any maintenance what so ever. See why pump guys are pushing those VFD systems and don't like CSV's? A CSV will make water dependably come out the faucet when needed for so long you will forget you even have a well.
 

TZinPA

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Thanks valveman for all of your information and response. Fortunately, we were able to fix the issue ourselves spending about $60 instead of over a $1000. The issue was the check valve before the pressure tank had failed (after 6 years). We bought another Flomatic check valve, a large wrench, and more black pipe, installed the new check valve, and thankfully it fixed it where the constant pressure isn't cycling every 40 some seconds. Our constant pressure system is working as it should, but I don't know for how long since the cycling due to the faulty check valve had to decrease its life span.
I'm assuming because of the low pH we have, there was some corrosion around where the plastic poppet would settle backwards not allowing it to close all of the way, plus there was a lot of play with the spring of the check valve. So now I'm thinking even when/if we change to a CSV, the CSV might have a short lifespan like the check valve we just changed, because of the low pH water we have causing corrosion over time.
We have a pH corrector but it's after the pressure tank and it's a good thing we do since we have copper plumbing. One thing we've learned over all of this is before you build or move into a house, get a water test first and become knowledgeable of what is in your water for possible water treatment, plus become knowledgeable of the water treatment systems so water treatment folks don't take you for a ride. I have well water and having water that has to be treated is costly and frustrating at times.
 

Valveman

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Low Ph is not what caused the check valve to fail. You should not even have a check valve at the tank. There is a check valve on the pump, which is the only one needed. However, the one on the pump has also failed or you would not be counting on a check valve at the tank. Since you replaced the check valve at the tank , the failed check valve on the pump is causing a tremendous vacuum on the entire line before the check at the tank. The vacuum can cause contamination to be drawn into the line, water hammer on pump start, and the check valve at the tank to fail again quickly. Check valves fail on the sub and monodrive systems with the switch, as the switch makes and breaks about 45 times a minute. Every time the switch makes and breaks the check valve opens then closes. 45 times a minute can be thousands of cycles on the check valve(s) and they don't last long. Also the flow and velocity with a VFD may not ever get high enough to flush out sediment, which settles in the valve seat and prevents it from sealing. They even make special check valves just for VFD's systems as they have so many problems with them.\

You won't have any of those problems with a CSV system. The spring in the CSV is not in the water and not affected by low Ph. The internals of the valve are Stainless Steel and plastic, which are also not affected by low Ph. When the pump first comes on the flow and velocity are enough to lift out sediment and keep the system clean. But the CSV reduces flow to 1 GPM to fill the pressure tank, which means the check valve is only open the thickness of a piece of paper when the pump goes off, which eliminates water hammer and check valve wear.

Every thing from the pump up, including the check valve will last longer when using a CSV. Of course this is exactly why pump companies offer many different VFD's but don't like Cycle Stop Valves.

You also need to educate yourself on pump systems so as not to get taken for a ride with VFD's.
 
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