I need more pressure, Scotty!

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by porkweez, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. porkweez

    porkweez New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2015
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I've never been impressed with our water pressure, but accepted it. Recently, I decided to try to help it. I turned the pressure controller clockwise, but still can't improve on the 22/42 range. I emptied the pressure tank and found the pressure low (12psi) and added air to get it up to 38psi (WelFlo factory setting), but that hasn't helped. If I turn the controller nut several turns, it does keep the pump running, but the gauge won't rise above 42. The pump keeps running and running, until I return the controller nut back and it shuts off. It appears that the pump is working, the controller is working, and the tank is working. Why can't I increase my water pressure? (By the way, pressure is good while pump runs; but I don't suppose running the well pump constantly is a good idea... not the way things were designed.)
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Let me guess--- your house is on a slab, you have a jet pump, and you are irrigating 2 acres with your pump.

    Actually the slab part is irrelevant in this case.
     
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  4. porkweez

    porkweez New Member

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    Jun 27, 2015
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Not on a slab; the waterworks are in the basement.
    No idea what kind of pump I have. (It's an older home (parsonage) and we moved in 18 months ago.)
    No irrigating; though we water a few potted plants on the deck occasionally.
     
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I presume that means the pump is in the basement, and it is a jet pump. I presume that one pipe goes to the shallow well or well point.

    One thing that can happen with jet pumps is that the jet gets clogged. There is a cleanout plug. Sticking a piece of coathanger wire or electrical wire (12 gauge) can unclog this. https://terrylove.com/forums/index.php?threads/well-pump-not-building-pressure.48089/

    If you have two pipes to the well, then the jet is down the well, rather than with the pump.

    With a jet pump, you set the air precharge to 3 or 4 psi below the cut-in. If you notice a stutter in the water pressure as the pump goes on, drop the pressure another psi.
     
  6. porkweez

    porkweez New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2015
    Location:
    North Carolina
    inside_water.JPG outside_water.JPG
    Sorry; I meant the pressure tank, softener, plumbing is in the basement. There's a well outside, the kind covered with a big fake plastic rock. Maybe there's a cleanout there? See photos attached.
     
  7. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    You have a submersible pump. Your pump is down the well.

    Stop using water as a test. When you shut off the pump, or it shuts off, does the pressure hold at 40 psi or whatever?

    Your pump may be bad. It happens. Ask neighbors for a recommendation on a well and pump person.

    What do you know about the well. Depth, pump placement, well diameter.

    To work around the problem for now, try setting the pressure switch to 15/35. In that case, the air precharge would be 13 psi (2 psi below cut-in).
     
  8. porkweez

    porkweez New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2015
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Yes; the pressure holds until a tap is open. I don't know anything about the well. Is there anything I can do to service the submersible pump? Do those two square fittings atop the well cover give me access to anything?
     
  9. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Either the pump is too small, is worn out, or you have a hole in the pipe. A submersible pump should be able to build as much pressure as you want/need.
     
  10. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    The pipes and pump are hanging from the galvanized tee that is partially hidden by insulation. That plug on top could be used to screw in a piece to lift the assembly by.

    You might want to allocate $1500 or so and get this professionally attended to. Take photos, but stay out of the way. Note how where the water line is. Take photos of the labels (2 per pump usually) on the pumps.

    This is not to say you could not do this with some help. But the well pro would have this fixed in a day. You, I think a month and have no injury would be optimistic. What do you think?

    If you were in a freezing area, you would have a pitless adapter. Those can make it easier to pull and replace a pump, but they are seldom used in non-freezing areas.

    You might want to get rid of the galvanized pipe. PVC downpipe with stainless steel couplers are usually a good choice. For the top tee, use brass or stainless steel.
     
  11. porkweez

    porkweez New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2015
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Ok; quick question before I consider the expense of professional help...
    Since the controller and gauge both stay south of 44 psi, no matter what I do; how probable is it that both controller and gauge are faulty and should be replaced?
     
  12. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    The controller is probably fine, but the start capacitor has a limited life. It is a non-polarized electrolytic, if that means something to you. That could be replaced...

    But once the pump starts the start capacitor has done its job. The controller will not cut down on the gpm or psi.

    However, what info is on the controller? That should tell how big the motor on the pump is. And based on that, we might be able to make some guesses regarding well depth. For 1/2 and 3/4 hp pumps, 2-wire (no controller) pumps are pretty popular. As the hp goes up, the more likely you will want a 3-wire pump with a controller.

    You might talk with a neighbor or two about their wells. The wells and pumps in the same residential area are often at a similar depth. Not always.

    Gauge? They are cheap, and not so reliable. Note that when your water pressure is higher than the air precharge pressure, the water pressure and air pressure are pretty close to each other. That is a good way to compare the calibration of your gauges.

    You can get another gauge with a garden hose thread as a backup for comparison too.
     
  13. porkweez

    porkweez New Member

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    Jun 27, 2015
    Location:
    North Carolina
    The controller is a Square D Pumptrol 9013 FSG 2 marked 30 50 inside. controller1.JPG It has 2 wires going out to the well pump.
     
  14. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    That is a pressure switch. You have a 2-wire pump, so no controller. A controller for a 3 wire pump would be between the pressure switch and the pump.
     
  15. porkweez

    porkweez New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2015
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Ok; I see.
     
  16. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    One thing that could provide info is to measure the current drawn while the pump is delivering water. A clamp-around ammeter is the tool of choice.
     
  17. porkweez

    porkweez New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2015
    Location:
    North Carolina
    No clamp-on ammeter. Any way to use a multimeter with 2 probes for that?
     
  18. Texas Wellman

    Texas Wellman In the Trades

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Occupation:
    Owner of a Water Well and Pump Repair Business
    Location:
    SE Texas-Coastal
    I’m curious why a house being on a slab is relevant to any problem with a well? Also how does a pump being on a pitiless make anything easier? From all the posts on here about problems with pitiless units I can assure you I have zero problems pulling anything with a normal well seal.
     
  19. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I said that it was irrelevant in the same post. I understand that the humor was lost. The facts that it was a submersible and the well was not doing a lot of irrigation were relevant.

    You can pull the well pipes and pump without having to unscrew the fitting that is holding up the string. It's like having a plug and socket for power.
     
  20. Texas Wellman

    Texas Wellman In the Trades

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Occupation:
    Owner of a Water Well and Pump Repair Business
    Location:
    SE Texas-Coastal
    You don’t unscrew anything unless you want to. You pull everything out, well seal and all. It’s a $20-30 part. I normally leave the well seal on and remove and replace once the pipe is out and laying just above the ground. In fact I don’t even bother trying to loosen the bolts or anything. Just pull straight up does the job usually.
     
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