pressure switch line blew off - please help

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by moray, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. moray

    moray New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Washington
    We recently moved into a home on steep hill. We use city water, but due to the elevation from the street, a multi-stage jet pump (HMSF Series - 1-1/2 HP) is used to increase the water pressure. A few days ago, a small hole appeared in what I believe is the pressure switch line, near the attachment to the pump head. A repairman cut out the damaged section and reconnected it. Today the entire line blew out from the pump head. Can anyone help us figure out what is going on here? Is this a DIY repair? Is there any way that the pump can be bypassed until the line is repaired? We would love to get our water running again. Thanks!!

    Here are some pictures:
    http://headworld.net/pictures/water1.jpg
    http://headworld.net/pictures/water2.jpg
    http://headworld.net/pictures/water3.jpg
    http://headworld.net/pictures/water4.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2007
  2. alternety

    alternety Like an engineer

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    Location:
    Washington
    I can't really see how the tube connects. What is it; rubber? It should be easy to find new tubing and you can see what connectors are involved. It may just have had the attaching fixture installed incorrectly or not tightened sufficiently. Assuming there is not a problem that has caused excessive pressure to be generated.

    That pipe has to be open to the switch and not have anything stuffed in it from the work done on it or deposits in the pipe. I am guessing that with the tube disconnected, the pump keeps running because it sees only a low pressure. You have a lot of pressure tank volume there. Short term you could let the pump run and turn it off at the breaker panel. When the pressure goes low again; giver another shot. Not handy, but you will have water.

    If there are a set of valves to bypass the pump, is there enough city pressure to work in a limited fashion until it is fixed?
     
  3. Sponsor

    Sponsor Paid Advertisement

     
  4. moray

    moray New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Washington
    Thanks so much for the suggestions, alternety! I don't see any clear way to bypass the pump via valves, and have been thinking about your idea to just run the pipe for a few minutes as needed until we get this situation resolved. The main problem with that approach is that water tends to shoot out of the pump body (where the pressure switch tube should be connected). Aside from the water mess, can running the water in this mode damage the pump?

    In response to your question about the connection, as far as I can tell the hose is made of plastic and is connected to the pump with a compression fitting. The compression nut is still attached to the pump body, as is the compression fitting. The tube has just blown out of the compression fitting, which makes me think that the guy who originally cut out the section with the hole and reattached it did something wrong in reestablishing the connection. Everything on the other side of the tube (near the pressure switch) is still intact.

    Here's a schematic showing how the parts are connected:

    http://www.puitsdeuxmontagnes.com/pdf/manu-LT2.pdf

    We have the shallow well installation (Page 2, Figure 3)

    Does this seem like just a simple problem with the tube connection, or something more significant related to the pressure dynamics of the pump itself that I should get checked out by an expert? I really don't know much at all about pumps or plumbing, so I'm not even sure if this is something that a general plumber would be equipped to service.

    Thanks again for your help with this one!
     
  5. speedbump

    speedbump Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2005
    Occupation:
    Water well and pump tech.
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    Your pump is misapplied. You plugged the return hole in the front of the pump. This hole is meant to be used in conjunction with a shallow well jet in your application. A 1/2hp jet pump would have worked better and used much less electricity. If you are going to stay with this pump, buy copper 1/4" tubing and the proper fittings and you won't have any more problems with the tubing.

    bob...
     
  6. moray

    moray New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Washington
    Thanks Bob - very interesting! We just moved in to the house (built in 99), so don't know when the pump was originally installed or why they did what they did. Can you explain a little bit more about what you meant when you said that the pump was misapplied?

    We live up the hill from the main water line, so we are just using this pump to boost the city water pressure.

    So would you recommend that we just replace the plastic tubing with copper and leave things as they are, or do something more significant?

    Can the installation of the pump be changed at this point, or would we need to buy a new one?

    We have pretty limited water pressure at the top of the house as it is (that is, when the pump is working), so we're definitely open to making significant changes if that would increase the water pressure or considerably improve the efficiency of the unit to cut down on wasted electricity.
     
  7. Rancher

    Rancher Guest

    The tube that goes to the pressue switch is plastic, therefore it must have a brass insert in the tube where the nut and ferrel is, so it won't blow out. I'm guessing the repairman didn't use one, go to your hardware store, buy some 1/4" line, 2 new nuts, ferrels, and inserts replace the entire line.

    Rancher
     
  8. speedbump

    speedbump Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2005
    Occupation:
    Water well and pump tech.
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    The pump you have if used properly would have a jet bolted on the front of it. With the jet adding more pressure to what you have now, you could be looking at possibly100 psi. You can add that to the incoming pressure for total pressure. I don't think you would be needing that kind of boost. A shallow well jet pump 1/2hp for instance would pump up to ten gallons per minute and add up to 60 psi to your existing pressure. So that might be the better way to go. The Sta-Rite pump you have is overly expensive and has a motor that will fit ONLY that pump. All other pumps on the market use one of two popular motors that are far less expensive when replacement is necessary. As a matter of fact, the 1/2hp jet would be less expensive than the motor for the Sta-Rite.

    bob...
     
  9. Mr_Pike

    Mr_Pike New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Whats with all the pressure tanks? Or am I missing something here?
     
  10. moray

    moray New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Washington
    Right - sorry for not explaining that! The house had to be built with an indoor sprinkler system since we're on a really steep hill with a winding driveway (not good for the fire trucks).
     
  11. Mr_Pike

    Mr_Pike New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Location:
    Nebraska
    I see, well then I agree with the above suggestion, replace the rubber hose with the correct copper line for a bullet proof fix. Just take all the parts with you to the hardware store, and they should be able to help you out.

    If you don't feel comfortable doing that, I would call the person back who "Fixed" it the first time, and let them know what happened, even people who do this kind of work every day make mistakes on occasion.

    As for the pump mis-sized, non jet question, it would be something to file in the back of your mind, so when this one goes down the tubes, you know what to replace it with. Unless that is, the difference in your electric bill would pay for a replacement now. Speedbump? would it be worth replacing this now, or wait?
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2007
  12. moray

    moray New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Washington
    Thanks for the input. As far as the guy who repaired the pump a few days ago, it was someone from a fire sprinkler company. I didn't realize that the pump was pressurizing both the sprinkler tanks and the domestic water, and wasn't sure who to call. After trying several plumbers (who said that they wouldn't touch anything related to a fire sprinkler system), I finally found these guys.

    Anyway, after this repair didn't hold, I called them back to see if they could come back out and make another repair. They basically refused, and insisted that it wasn't their problem since the pump was also technically a part of the domestic water supply. They still felt justified, however, to charge close to $500 for making the initial service call. Keep in mind that the repairman was only here for 50 minutes, finished before 5pm, and his repair only lasted 2 days before the whole hose blew out of the pump. (Initially there was just a pinhole in the tubing.) I called to contest the charge, but still haven't heard back from "corporate". We haven't paid the bill yet and aren't quite sure what to do. Sorry to rant, but do you guys think this is fair and/or have any suggestions?
     
  13. speedbump

    speedbump Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2005
    Occupation:
    Water well and pump tech.
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    Even though bigger than need be, it's a fine pump (one of the best) so if the electric bill isn't too bad, just wait for it to go bad. I said it's a fine pump and it is, but it's not fun to work on. It's probably one of the hardest pumps to work on. So replacement after failure would be the best thing in my opinion.

    I was wondering why so many tanks too.

    bob...
     
  14. moray

    moray New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Washington
    Thanks speedbump!
     
  15. speedbump

    speedbump Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2005
    Occupation:
    Water well and pump tech.
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    I forgot, No I don't think that's a fair price or fair at all. Since they seem to have been trying to rip you off, I would not pay the bill. They will be getting in touch with you soon trying to collect and that's when I would do my protesting.

    bob...
     
  16. Phil H2

    Phil H2 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Location:
    Tujunga, CA
    Moray,
    In the picture, it looks like the compression nut has been tightened as far as it can go. This is not good. For $500, the least they should have done was replace the sleeve/ferrule (or it is easier to replace the nut & sleeve). I suspect they did not have the part. It looks like a Parker Poly-Tite fitting ( http://www.parker.com/EAD/displayCa...Y-TITE&subcatid=5262&viewtype=1&sMode=Details ) but their are other manufactures with similar looking fittings. Without the specific parts for the fitting, they should have replaced the fittng (and/or both both fittings and tube) with something else that would work. Compared to $500, The cost of 2 new fittings (unless they have parts for those specific fittings) and a new tube would be negligible. If the tubing already sprung one leak, it would be best to repace the whole piece. If they did not have the proper parts, they should have gone to the hardware store and bought something that would work.

    Rancher: The fitting has a built in tube support so an insert is not necessary or possible.
     
  17. Mr_Pike

    Mr_Pike New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Location:
    Nebraska
    I would try a Handyman Service next.

    Nothing that I can see here would require a licenced plumber in my state at least. You will probably find the rate to be closer to $50 rather than $500.

    Your local codes may vary, but repairing a pressure switch or even replacing any of the parts (pump, motor, pressure tanks etc,) would require a plumber here.
     
  18. moray

    moray New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Washington
    Thank you all for the help and suggestions. I'm happy to report that we were able to get someone else out to completely replace the whole pressure switch tube and fitting (for a reasonable cost!), and things seem to be working well now. There are still a few lingering issues however:

    Initially (before these problems cropped up), the pressure switch was set around 45/70. This worked pretty well for us because the kitchen of our house is still about 30 ft above the pump. A day or two after the second repair, I discovered it running continuously at around 62 psi. The pump was extremely hot, and you could feel heat radiating about a foot away. I shut it off, and adjusted the big nut down a few turns so that it was closer to 35/60. This appeared to resolve the problem, but I have a few lingering concerns...

    1. Is the pump wearing out? It's only 6 years old, but was running continuously for a few days by the time that we first detected the leak in the pressure switch tubing. Could this have damaged it? Will it ever be able to get up to 70 psi again? It currently takes about 10 minutes to come up to pressure, which also seems a little long given the specs that I have read. There is also some discordance between the pressure gauge on the pump and the gauge on the supply line to the house (they're about the same at pressures < 45 psi, widening to ~5 psi at 60 psi with the pump alway higher than the line to the house).

    2. Could the issues above be related to the pressure tanks? Two of the four tanks (used for our indoor fire sprinkler system as well as the regular domestic water) are dull to percussion, leading me to suspect that they are waterlogged. We recently moved in to the house, so I have no idea how long this has been the case.

    3. What should the next steps be? I would like to get the tanks fixed as soon as possible, but don't know whether the bladders are just shot or the whole tank needs to be replaced. Is there any way that I can tell the difference? How long can a tank be waterlogged before it rusts out? Any other ideas about what might be going on here?

    Thanks as always for your thoughts!
     
  19. Rancher

    Rancher Guest

    Yes it sounds like it was damaged by the long run time, if it won't make the pressure it did before, either the impeller is damaged or the jet is partially clogged.

    Can you isolate the tanks and drain them to test the bladder pressure?

    If your tanks are waterlogged they aren't providing any water that could be used for the fire sprinkler system, you need to test them and replace if necessary.

    Rancher
     
  20. speedbump

    speedbump Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2005
    Occupation:
    Water well and pump tech.
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    The easiest way to check a bladder tank to see if it's waterlogged it to rock it to the side. If the pipe or tank tee is sticking out the front, push on either side to move it, not far enough to break a pipe, but far enougn to feel it's weight. If it's light it's ok, if it's real heavy, it's waterlogged.

    I have rarely seen an impeller that is partially nuked. They either go all the way or not at all. Lots of times when they get hot enough they become part of the diffuser and when shut off will not start again because the two are melted together. It could simply be your water level has dropped.

    bob...
     
  21. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Wherever I park the motorhome.
    What's with the cable ties on the ball valve handles!

    And those large powered valves, are they pressure regulators? Why a regulator on the city main when there's little flow and a pressure relief valve on the outlet of the pump?

    Why a Pressure Regular on the pump outlet up the wall before the pressure tanks? No drains on the tanks or entire system plumbing!!

    Why are the tanks strapped to the wall etc.?

    The pressure switch line on the pump shouldn't have cost more than $150 with the service call charge; it's like $.15 per foot at any pump or plumbing supply house. And rancher, you don't use inserts in it.

    The pump may have got hot and caused the pin hole leak and then the line to break due to too much stress on it after the 'fix' due to him pulling it too tight to make the connection with less tubing than originally.

    I don't know that the stored water is for fire fighting, there's barely enough stored for a family of four for an evening's water use! It seems more a rube goldberg system due to low water flow up the hill than fire fighting.

    Atmospheric storage instead of pressurized would be a much better system for both needs. If there is a fire, and no power because it is an electrical caused fire, how is this water used for fire fighting?

    You should call a pump guy or well driller, they work with your type system everyday, the majority of plumbers and fire sprinkler guys don't.
     
Similar Threads: pressure switch
Forum Title Date
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life. Pressure Switch Chattering only at startup Mar 16, 2021
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life. Pressure Switch Question Mar 12, 2021
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life. Different pump pressure switch Jan 18, 2021
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life. Square D pressure switch problems. Jan 15, 2021
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life. Well Pressure switch Dec 1, 2020

Share This Page