Jet Pump Loses Pressure

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by Volente Bill, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. Volente Bill

    Volente Bill New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2018
    Location:
    Volente, Texas
    I'm stumped...

    I pump lake water to a 2,000 holding tank which is now about 2/3rds full. From the tank to the house pump, I have a 3/4 inch line with a valve then a check valve. Following that I have a 1 hp Everbilt (Home Depot) convertible jet pump with a 1 1/4" intake and a 1" port out. The house has 3/4" pipes. So I'm using reducers going in and out. Following the pump is a 20 year old pressure tank. (The tank pressure is set to just about 28 psi when empty. Tapping on the side gives a solid sound below and hollow up top.) Between the pressure tank and the house are three valves, one whole house valve then to a T splitting the house into two zones, each with a valve just after the T.

    Last night, water pressure suddenly dropped, so I cut off the pump. I first checked water supply and the tank was about 2/3rds full. I then closed the valve to the whole house, drained that part of the system, and disconnected the pump. I opened the jet part of the pump and checked the venturi which was clear. I also removed the housing to the impeller and checked it. It moved freely and didn't look like it was distorted. After re-assembly and priming from the tank, I restarted it, but it would not build pressure past 20 psi.

    I'd had a similar experience about three months ago with a new pump, and replacing the pump had solved my problems then. So, this morning I went to Home Depot and swapped out the pumps getting the exact same model. After replacing the pump, with the whole house valve off and bleeding air from that part of the system through a hose bib, the pump built up to above 40 psi, then cut off. There didn't appear to be a pressure drop after waiting a few minutes. When I opened the whole house valve, the pressure dropped to zero and would not build up or was building very slowly.

    From there, I turned off the valves for both sides of the house. Pressure built up after about 5 minutes and the pump shut off. When I open the larger zone (kitchen, laundry, water heater, master bath), I cannot build up pressure. When I open the smaller zone (bath with heater & shower), pressure builds and the pump shuts off.

    I had to shower before work and hoped that was enough. But, when I took the shower, water pressure died half way through. Enough water was coming out to rinse off, but nowhere near regular pressure. There was also no air coming through the shower head which

    We've searched for leaks and open faucets or hose bibs, no sign (so far) of any leaks in either zone.

    The pressure switch appeared to be cutting in at 30 psi, then cutting off at 40 psi. Since there should be a 20 psi difference, I tried adjusting the cut off screw on the pressure switch up by about 5 psi. The pump would not build pressure past about 43 psi, so I adjusted the setting back down to 42 psi where it now shuts off.

    At that pressure, a compression fitting on the supply side between the check valve and the pump slipped off from the pressure. Probably because I had not properly tightened it. But, I did note that there seemed to be plenty of water coming out, so I don't think the water supply is the problem. That also made me think the check valve was ok, because it held enough pressure, but water still flowed.

    I wondered about the pressure gauge because it was flipping high and low as the pressure built up, reaching a high of about 50 psi just before cut off and settled at 42.

    Sorry, this is a long post, but I hope I'm giving enough info for you to diagnose the problem. New pump, plenty of water in the tank, old pressure tank, no apparent leaks anywhere, only half the house can build pressure but loses it quickly, isolated pump will build and hold pressure.

    Any help is appreciated, I have a wife and three daughters who like having water..., what am I missing?
     
  2. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Pump specs say it can build 67 PSI max. Shouldn't have a problem working at 30/50 or 40/60. Cycles on/off when using water from one line to the house, and pressure goes to nothing when using the other line in the house tells me the other line in the house has a big leak.
     
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  4. Volente Bill

    Volente Bill New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2018
    Location:
    Volente, Texas
    Thank you for responding! That's exactly what I thought. Closed side A off completely and side B builds pressure, so I have a leak somewhere in Side A. Take a shower on side B and pressure drops way down. Maybe I have two issues, big leak on side A and a bad install with the new pump?
     
  5. Volente Bill

    Volente Bill New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2018
    Location:
    Volente, Texas
    Update - Worked on it last night. Slowly opened the valve to side A keeping the gauge on the pump around 20 psi, filled that side with water, then bled any air from the system. Pump shut off at 42 psi and holds pressure. Watched it for 30 minutes to see if pressure dropped, no pressure loss.

    Open a faucet and there's normal pressure for maybe 10 seconds then it drops. Pump comes on almost immediately.

    Based on that, I probably need a new pressure tank. But even with a bad pressure tank, I should get decent pressure from the pump, right?
     
  6. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Yes. The pump takes a bit of time to build pressure. But once it started, it should be more than able to keep up with a single faucet.

    Set your air precharge to 4 psi less than the cut-in pressure for your jet pump. So if your pressure switch is set for 30/50, then set your air precharge to 26.

    Air precharge is set with water pressure at zero. At that point, the tank should be empty of water.
     
  7. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    if the pump comes on or goes off immediately the tank is bad. But a pump that shutoff at 42 is coming on a 22, which is all the pressure you are going to get. Turning the pressure switch up to 30/50 will give you a little more pressure.
     
  8. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    With a bad tank and the pump short cycling, the pump can quickly go into thermal overload and shut down.
     
  9. Volente Bill

    Volente Bill New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2018
    Location:
    Volente, Texas
    Thank you all for helping. It's 5am and I just finished pulling the Everbilt and replacing it with the old Flotec. (The Flotec's main bearing whines loudly and could probably go at any time, but it still pumps water.) Turns out there are no leaks in the house, the pressure tank holds and releases water (but is definitely old), and there's plenty of water in the tank. My only problem was buying a pump from Home Depot. Here's the rest of the story...

    I called Everbilt support and talked through it with them. I shut off the house isolating the pump and pressure tank. When I opened a valve to drain the system, pressure went down fast. Timing it, it took about 4 minutes to build up to 42. Support asked if the box was open when I bought it. It was taped shut, but the label had clearly been cut. He said they'd had problems with returns finding their way back to the shelves, so he said to go get another pump.

    Swapped it for an identical model and installed. Everything worked good flow at the faucets, held pressure when off, so no apparent leaks. Happy to be done, I took a shower and got cleaned up for work. Pressure dropped midway through the shower. Back at the pump house, the motor was humming, so I shut it down thinking thermal overload. Let it cool for a couple of hours, spun the motor with a screw driver to make sure it wasn't frozen up, then tried to start. Motor spins, loud buzzing, water moves but without much pressure, so I think I fried this pump somehow. I haven't called support yet, but this is too much.

    I still had my old Flotec with a loud bearing and a bad pressure switch, so this morning I got up and put it in place of the Everbilt. Water is back on in the house, pressure is decent, and the pump's bearing is pretty loud. Unlike any of the Everbilts, it actually pumps water.

    This site has been a big help, and I really appreciate the guys who answered. No telling how long the bearing will last in the Flotec, so I need to start shopping. What pumps/brands do you all recommend?
     
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