Frost free control fluid for outdoor wells

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kRaSh1979

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Ok so I've been researching and calling around and trying to get an answer to my issue.
And I came across several recommendations for this forum.

First, some background information.

I have a well that was installed over 25 years ago, and roughly 250ft down in a rural area.
The wellhead and controls are all located outside and above ground.
The pressure tank is mounted next to it under ground.
In the past several years, I've replaced the pump, the underground pressure tank, the control box inside the well head, and just recently the gauge and pressure switch.


The recent part is the current problem.
When I replaced the broken gauge I noticed a little bit of green fluid drip out of the pipe.
Upon firing the well back up it never made it over 34 PSI and the pump never shut off.
My original pressure switch was a 30/50 outdoor sealed switch.

Not sure if the gauge was bad or if the switch was bad, I went and replaced the switch.
Not a bad idea since the switch was old and the contacts were worn.
As before, when I removed it more of this green liquid dripped out.
This time when it fired up it showed even less pressure, 15PSI.

Being that I already had the new switch wired, I replaced the gauge again, and again more liquid dripped out.
Now when I turned the well on I was getting less than 5 PSI.

Not being a complete idiot I quickly figured out it wasn't the switch or the gauge, but the loss of this green fluid causing problems.

I checked around with local well guys and they all said it's supposed to be just water, and that the green stuff was probably dirty water and that I should try to clean out that pipe.
Well I prefer second opinions before I start something like that.
So I checked around the web, and everything said the same thing.

Then I came across this patent which explains exactly what I have.

According to patent #US4664185 they use a diaphragm and a type of safe antifreeze to apply pressure to an outdoor gauge and pressure switch instead of water which could cause breakage in winter.
http://www.google.com/patents/US4664185

This makes much more sense to me.

So my question to you all is where do I get this non-toxic antifreeze for well switches?
 
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Reach4

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polyethylene Propylene glycol antifreezes are not poison. I suggest this search engine search:
safe antifreeze propylene
RV antifreeze is generally that kind and does not have the additives that PG car antifreeze has.

I don't know about your system.
 
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kRaSh1979

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polyethylene glycol antifreezes are not poison. I suggest this search engine search:
safe antifreeze polyethylene
RV antifreeze is generally that kind and does not have the additives that PG car antifreeze has.

I don't know about your system.

According to the patent description it uses "non-toxic antifreeze control fluid".

And the fluid that came out of the pipe was definitely NOT regular automotive green antifreeze.
It was a clear dark green, and it evaporated very quickly upon dripping onto the plastic tarp, within a minute or two.
 
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PumpMd

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It is a freeze proof device for your pressure switch, we have a few of them around, the green stuff is what keeps it from freezing (non-toxic)and it cant get air in lines or it wont work properly. I will ask my uncle about how to get the green stuff tomorrow at work.

A 2-wire pump would have been better for your setup because no control box to put in your well head which is not the best place for one but we do use a pressure switch in the well head to keep it from freezing down by the pitless adapter on a clear flexible line without the freeze proof device.

Buy you a point file next time you are at Napa, O'Reilly or Auto Zone for the contact points on a pressure switch. Just dont forget to turn the breaker off and I would still double check with a voltmeter.
 
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Valveman

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The surface of contact points is designed to enhance conductivity. It is not a good idea to file off the special surfacing.

“Contacts are typically silver plated over the copper. The reason this is done is that the material will oxodize, no matter what it is. While the conductive properties of copper and silver are similar, silver oxide is a great conductor while copper oxide is a very poor conductor. Sivler oxide looks like a brown coating on the contact surface, you do not want to remove that layer, doing so will remove some of the silver and if the copper is exposed the resulting copper oxide will lead to heating and eventual failure.”

“If a contactor cycles too much you need to be thinking about something else.”
 

kRaSh1979

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This is what my setup looks like:

Sticking out of the wellhead is the gauge and switch I was talking about.

WellHead.jpg
 

kRaSh1979

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It is a freeze proof device for your pressure switch, we have a few of them around, the green stuff is what keeps it from freezing (non-toxic)and it cant get air in lines or it wont work properly. I will ask my uncle about how to get the green stuff tomorrow at work.

Did you find out about the antifreeze from your uncle?
If so, can you tell me a name, brand, or post a picture please?
 

PumpMd

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"Baker" (1-800-523-0224)was the name he gave me for getting the green stuff but if you can't get it through them, you should be able to get it through a pump supply house for pump installers.

I also added some pictures of a light duty pressure switch/light duty contactor, and a heavy duty pressure switch. Notice how they are different contacts on the heavy duty. Light duty pressure switch has no problems with a point file and good luck on trying to fit one on a light duty contactor. If you dont believe me you can call this number (1-800-724-6343) Square D:D
 

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intersound2005

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Hi,
so i just did the exact same type of thing.
I changed an exterior pressure switch and during the process the green control fluid proceeds to run out of the pipe while i switched out pressure switches.
when i turned the pump back on, the guage only read up to 20 psi and pump never shut off.
Worried i might blow water lines on my older double wide i shut it off promptly.
So my question is, what do i do to make the pressure switch register correctly?
I filled the 1/4" back up with control fluid which maybe helped just a little.
Am i missing something?
 

PumpMd

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Hi,
so i just did the exact same type of thing.
I changed an exterior pressure switch and during the process the green control fluid proceeds to run out of the pipe while i switched out pressure switches.
when i turned the pump back on, the guage only read up to 20 psi and pump never shut off.
Worried i might blow water lines on my older double wide i shut it off promptly.
So my question is, what do i do to make the pressure switch register correctly?
I filled the 1/4" back up with control fluid which maybe helped just a little.
Am i missing something?

You do not want any air in the lines. What was the reason for changing the pressure switch out, did the pump develop more than 20psi before you changed the pressure switch out?
 

Ballvalve

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"Baker" (1-800-523-0224)was the name he gave me for getting the green stuff but if you can't get it through them, you should be able to get it through a pump supply house for pump installers.

I also added some pictures of a light duty pressure switch/light duty contactor, and a heavy duty pressure switch. Notice how they are different contacts on the heavy duty. Light duty pressure switch has no problems with a point file and good luck on trying to fit one on a light duty contactor. If you dont believe me you can call this number (1-800-724-6343) Square D:D

What in hell is this green stuff? Never saw it mentioned here or in any books on well installs. And how can it possibly work? What would keep it in the pipes and not slowly be removed/ absorbed by the water? Finally, how in hell can you install a pressure switch or pressure gauge and not have air in the lines? I never saw a switch or gauge with a bleeder valve on it .... also, since water pressure gauges are also air pressure gauges, and air is compressed in the line to the pump pressure, you get a reading with or without air in the system.

As for pressure switches, I go with valvmn. Touch the silver oxide and the contacts are on the way out. Brown and ugly does not mean burnt and bad. Melted and bright means failed or filed and soon to be so. I think I filed the points on my 68' Rambler Rogue, but that was in the good old days and 12 volts and sparkplugs you could see and touch.

Pump md might mean that the light duty pressure switches do not have silver coated faces and thus could be cleaned. BUt not with a file. The most I would do is use some 400 black paper very gently to remove any large encrustations. Good info on contactors: http://www.pempak.com/need/Contactor.pdf but again, if they need cleaning, they are being used beyond their rating, indicating a problem down stream.
 

Reach4

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What in hell is this green stuff? Never saw it mentioned here or in any books on well installs. And how can it possibly work? What would keep it in the pipes and not slowly be removed/ absorbed by the water?
It may be polyethylene glycol antifreeze mix. It could also be a glyserol (glycerin) mix. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycerol#Antifreeze Those are both non-poisonous.

I expect a diaphram keeps the water from mixing with the green fluid, while allowing the pressure change to be passed through.

[Edited to correct to polyethylene glycol as noted by Smooky below.]
 
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PumpMd

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What in hell is this green stuff? Never saw it mentioned here or in any books on well installs. And how can it possibly work? What would keep it in the pipes and not slowly be removed/ absorbed by the water? Finally, how in hell can you install a pressure switch or pressure gauge and not have air in the lines? I never saw a switch or gauge with a bleeder valve on it .... also, since water pressure gauges are also air pressure gauges, and air is compressed in the line to the pump pressure, you get a reading with or without air in the system.

As for pressure switches, I go with valvmn. Touch the silver oxide and the contacts are on the way out. Brown and ugly does not mean burnt and bad. Melted and bright means failed or filed and soon to be so. I think I filed the points on my 68' Rambler Rogue, but that was in the good old days and 12 volts and sparkplugs you could see and touch.

Pump md might mean that the light duty pressure switches do not have silver coated faces and thus could be cleaned. BUt not with a file. The most I would do is use some 400 black paper very gently to remove any large encrustations. Good info on contactors: http://www.pempak.com/need/Contactor.pdf but again, if they need cleaning, they are being used beyond their rating, indicating a problem down stream.

This who sells them and when I get back from my job, I will tell you how they work.

I talk more about the points on pressure switches in pump guys discussing whatever.
 

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PumpMd

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That cylinder on the bottom is a bladder basically,getting air into the lines doesn't let the green stuff compress right and they are probably having problems with air from the pressure switch because of the gap where it screws into the pipe up to the diaphragm(most people will just buy the whole assembly again with the pressure switch already installed) because of the troubles of getting all of air out of lines to make it work properly.


In pump installers discussing whatever, that pressure switch on the 3hp deluxe box that has a contactor was 14yrs old because it only uses maybe 1/4 - 1/2amp, so this pressure switch never got filed. We have been using a point file on light duty pressure switches since 1964, believe me there is no problems with using a point file on light duty pressure switches.

If want to talk about the points, put it on pump guys discussing whatever.
 

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Smooky

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Reach4 you mentioned polyethylene glycol but I think most RV/non-toxic antifreeze is Propylene glycol. Polyethylene glycol is made from ethylene glycol and that is used in polyester fibers & (toxic) antifreeze. Polyethylene glycol is a laxative. I don’t think you want to drink too much of that.
 
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