Pump Up the Volume (or Pressure...)

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by AKAAB, Nov 13, 2010.

  1. AKAAB

    AKAAB New Member

    Nov 13, 2010
    Palm Beach Gardens, FL
    Well pump pressure questions to follow:

    I've found a lot of great advice on this forum and have saved myself a lot of money (but not time :p) over the past two years.

    Two years ago we bought a foreclosure in the country north of West Palm Beach with 1.25 acres. City water has been made available to the neighborhood, but the cost to connect to city water and install the required backflow preventer would easily top $7500. Annual certification of the backflow preventer is about $100 to meet the city's requirements. So, we've chosen to keep the well water and water softener setup for now. When we bought the house we had the local well/water expert come out and look over the system. He said everything was good, filled the salt tank and turned it all on.

    The house has two wells - one for irrigation and one for the house about 150 feet apart - with the house well pumping into an aeration tank about 75 feet from the house. A Gould J15S jetpump pulls the water from the aeration tank to the house. We rarely use the irrigation well and have never had a problem with output from either well.

    Water Softener History - Ecowater (I know, I know) - I rebuilt it last month with new rotors and seals to fix a high water level in salt reservoir problem, water constantly coming out of the discharge hose when in service mode, and suspected bypassing of hard water around the seals into the water going to the house. Not much to discuss there except to say the new seals and rotors fixed the problem. The screens in the resin tank were pretty rough, but we were able to clean them up with a little effort before we put it all back together. Before you ask, there are no resin particulates getting through to the house. (Save that thought.)

    The water hardness tests at >25ppm out of the well and 0 out of the softener. Sounds good, right? However, we still have tons of water spotting issues and have never gotten that "soft-water-feel" from the water. I mention this just to give you a sense of our entire system and how it all relates. Once I get the real problem resolved, I'll go back to the working on the water quality.

    Pump - last week my wife complained that the pump was running constantly and the pressure seemed a little low. I suspected the pressure switch at first, but started reading up on air pressure tank issues on this forum. Before I could do any trouble shooting, though, the pvc tee above the pump blew up and blew out. We were fortunate that this happened in the morning and the resulting geyser was aimed right at my daughter's window. I was able to shut it all down minutes after it failed.

    Obviously, the pump was sucking air and overheating because the pressure never got high enough to trigger the cutout. I rebuilt the stack, put on a new (i.e. working pressure gauge), and drained the air pressure tank completely. Pump pressure would build to about 20-30psi, but would hang. There was a lot of air in the system and I discovered the pressure would build rapidly when I put the hose on the gap between the pump housing and the motor. Okay, sucking air confirmed. When the pump cooled down, it worked normally for a bit, then would again start getting hot. Eventually, it melted the pvc again.

    I took the pump to Jupiter Pump and Motor for a new seal and to have the impeller checked yesterday. They said the seal was bad, but the impeller and pressure switch were still good, and I reinstalled it last night - along with a new WellMate WM9 Air Pressure Tank. (I had confirmed the bladder had, indeed, failed causing the original problem.) Once I got the system primed and let it run to get the air out of the lines, it seemed like everything was back to normal. That is, except for lower house water pressure.

    The pressure tank pre-load pressure was checked at 26psi to correspond with the 30/50psi pressure switch. Actually, with the new pressure gauge installed, it looks like it is actually running 30/54psi. Not enough to matter, I guess. It doesn't appear to be sucking air anymore as the pump is much quieter and there is no other indication of air in the lines.

    So, here we are with the big question. Can I simply increase the pressure range to 40/60psi (and readjust the pressure tank) to get more house pressure? The house lines are copper, about 21 years old. Am I risking anything by increasing the pressure? Can I use the 30/50 switch or do I need to replace it with a 40/60? (I know how to adjust the cut-in/cut-out setting and how to tweak the cut-out setting, so no worries there.)

    Finally, just for the record, I hate Homer Depot runs at night because I didn't realize the 1 1/2 pipe needed to be reduced to 1 1/4 for the pump inlet. I just needed to say that...

    Thanks in advance for your advice.

    Last edited: Nov 13, 2010
  2. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Dec 28, 2009
    "retired" and still building and troubleshooting
    northfork, california
    turn it up without worry...
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  4. AKAAB

    AKAAB New Member

    Nov 13, 2010
    Palm Beach Gardens, FL
    Update - upped the pressure as advised, but the output in the house didn't change.

    I think I need to check the volume output of the pump next.
  5. justwater

    justwater Well Drilling/Service

    May 13, 2010
    Bypass your softener and see if you get more volume/pressure in the house. 30-50 should be plenty, as that's what most people around here run.

    J15 is a beast and probably does 30gpm or better pumping from the aerator. That means ur wm9 is undersized pretty bad. After you address your other problems, the aerator pump&tank would be a good candidate for a 40-50psi constant pressure valve.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011
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