Troubleshooting the soda ash pump not shutting off

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AndrewKR

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The soda ash pump was continuously running after the water was shut off. I found the flow switch control that activated the soda ash pump and learned to push the plunger down to manually turn the pump off when no water was flowing. The pump would correctly start when water flowed but would not shut off when water was shut off. I played with the set screw in the flow switch control but could not get it to work correctly. It would get stuck in the on position. I convinced myself the flow switch was malfunctioning and replaced the flow switch with a new one of the same model. Unfortunately, I'm getting the same symptoms with the new flow switch in place. Something else is happening here, but I am at a loss.

I'll add that this all started two weeks ago when we had a leak in our water well pump. Water was pouring out from the wire harness conduit from the well pump into our crawl space. The well service excavated 6 feet to where the harness meets the well pump and replaced the seal. He also replaced our well water tank (it was rusting and 20 years old) and said we should see slightly better water pressure, which we did. After that issue was resolved, we started having the soda ash pump issue described above.

Attached are a few pictures
- Soda ash Pump
- Flow Meter
- Softner Controls (just so you see the gear we have if it's relevant)

What next steps should I take to troubleshoot this?

Thanks for your help!!
 

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Reach4

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No pictures.
I don't know of a softener that has something called a brine pump. Brine does get pumped via a venturi pump called an ejector or educator.

This does not mean that a softener with an electric brine pump does not exist, but it will surprise me. What make and model is your softener?

To attach pictures, make sure they are each 900x900 pixels max and 200 kbytes or less.

The other thing I was wondering is if you have a chemical injection pump that is not part of the softener.
 

AndrewKR

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I don't know of a softener that has something called a brine pump. Brine does get pumped via a venturi pump called an ejector or educator.

This does not mean that a softener with an electric brine pump does not exist, but it will surprise me. What make and model is your softener?

To attach pictures, make sure they are each 900x900 pixels max and 200 kbytes or less.

The other thing I was wondering is if you have a chemical injection pump that is not part of the softener.

Thank you for taking a look at my post and the photo tip. I reduced the photo size and attached them.

I realized I screwed up and confused brine and soda ash. We mix soda ash and water and fill that white container every few weeks. You will see a blue line coming out of the pump on top of the white container. That blue line goes into the water softener. You can see the blue line in the pic of the water softener control.

When working properly the flow switch turns on the soda ash pump when water is running to inject into the softener process.

Thanks for calling me out on that as I can see what that wasn't making any sense.
 
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Reach4

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I suspect you have two wires between the flow switch and the pump. At the switch, is one wire connected to terminal 1 and the other connected to terminal 2? If so, I would disconnect the wire connected to terminal 2, and see if the pump stops pumping.

You probably want to turn off the power while handling the wire.

Another question: is the flow thru the flow switch between the well and the pressure tank? Or is that switch downstream of the pressure tank. I would expect it to be upstream of the pressure tank.
 
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AndrewKR

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I suspect you have two wires between the flow switch and the pump. At the switch, is one wire connected to terminal 1 and the other connected to terminal 2? If so, I would disconnect the wire connected to terminal 2, and see if the pump stops pumping.

You probably want to turn off the power while handling the wire.

Another question: is the flow thru the flow switch between the well and the pressure tank? Or is that switch downstream of the pressure tank. I would expect it to be upstream of the pressure tank.
Thanks for the manual Filter30! That was included in the new switch that I bought to replace the old one.

Reach4, the attached pic has the old wiring set-up on the terminals. I matched the wires to those terminals with the new switch. I think I improved the connection by getting all of the wire strands twisted and under the terminal screw. The old switch, pictured, has some frays of wires not under the screw, but didn't seem to cause a problem for the past number of years.

To your suggestion, I'm sure if I remove one or both wires it will stop operating, but what will that tell us?

I'll also mention I can work the switch manually. There is a brass flat piece of metal that I can move up to start the injector or down to stop it.
 

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Reach4

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.

To your suggestion, I'm sure if I remove one or both wires it will stop operating, but what will that tell us?

I'll also mention I can work the switch manually. There is a brass flat piece of metal that I can move up to start the injector or down to stop it.
The purpose was to identify if the problem was the switch or the pump.

Originally you said that the pump was continuously running. You now have amended that, and you can operate the switch manually, so removing the wire would not tell you anything.

You also had not previously said that you had bought a new switch. I was going to propose a cheaper alternative to a flow switch, depending on the answers to my questions.
 

Reach4

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Looking at your pics one shows a ball valve.on entering side.
Good point.
That make these previous questions more critical: "Another question: is the flow thru the flow switch between the well and the pressure tank? Or is that switch downstream of the pressure tank. I would expect it to be upstream of the pressure tank."

You should not have a valve between the pump and the pressure switch. Pressure switch should be at the pressure tank.
 

AndrewKR

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A ring or fork terminal would clean up the wiring.on your switch.
The purpose was to identify if the problem was the switch or the pump.

Originally you said that the pump was continuously running. You now have amended that, and you can operate the switch manually, so removing the wire would not tell you anything.

You also had not previously said that you had bought a new switch. I was going to propose a cheaper alternative to a flow switch, depending on the answers to my questions.
I see. Sorry for that confusion. I did purchase and install a new flow control switch. It behaved exactly as the old one. The flow switch stays in an on position and the soda ash pump/injector pumps away. I can manually move the flow switch lever down with a screwdriver to shut it off but the next time water was called for in the house it would sense flow, turn on, but not turn off until I manually turned it off by using the screwdriver again to manually shut off the flow control switch.

Since both the old and new flow switch performed the same I figured something else was going on.

To answer your question on location. the flow switch in question (that activates the soda ash injector) is along a stretch of copper pipe that is at the end of the system. After the flow switch the copper goes into the house (cold) and splits into the hot water heater.

My original post mentioned that this continuously running soda ash pump issue started after a well service guy fixed a leak down near the well pump. When he left he said one fitting was oozing a bit of water and he will come back to replace it as he didn’t have the part. Would a small leak push enough water through the system to possibly keep the soda ash flow switch on?

I turned the breaker off the well and made sure no water was being called for in the house. After about 90 minutes the pressure tank went from about 68 to 66 psi. So does that confirm a leak or will the pressure tank lose a bit of pressure normally. I can see the small oozing leak by the pressure tank. See photo attached you can see a wet spot on the ground. Regardless if this is the issue I’ll call the well guy back and ask him to fix the leak that remained after his work.
 

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AndrewKR

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Looking at your pics one shows a ball valve.on entering side. Close it to simulate a check valve entering side.
Right, so shutting the ball joint just before the flow switch would ensure no water is going through the flow switch. If that makes the flow switch/pump stop then we know the issue is some sort of leak where water is still flowing even when the house water is off. Do I have that right?
 

Fitter30

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Page 3 of install manual
Flow switch should be installedi in the pump suction piping when spring loaded check and / or other close coupled accessories are installed in the pump discharge piping.
Have u closed the ball valve when the pump wasn't running? And see if the ash pump shut off. Page 7 has switch adjustment could try turning screw 1/8 turn clockwise.
 

AndrewKR

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I am going to try that ( ball joint off to see if switch/pump turn off).

As for the adjustment screw. I played endless with it making very small adjustments. I could not find a setting that would have it work properly. It would either not turn off reliably or not turn on reliably. Since I have the old switch out I could really look closely at the setting screw and how the adjustments impact it. I'm betting on some sort of leak that is keeping water flowing through the switch not letting it turn off. The ball joint off test should help prove that. Thanks!
 

Reach4

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1. You have a non-proportional injection pump. The injector should be upstream of the pressure tank, because while the pump is running, the flow there is pretty consistent. The flow switch should be in that path too IMO. I think Fitter30 was saying that.

2. With a submersible pump, it is best to not have an above ground check valve. Your photos seem to show one.

3. The other way to switch the pump would be to have the pressure switch drive a relay. The relay switches the injection pump. As long as the well pump does not fail, that would give the same result as a flow switch in line with the pump output.
 

AndrewKR

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So I did the test using the ball joint in front of the flow switch to control water flow. The switch and soda ash injector pump worked correctly. So im thinking the small oozing leak over by the pressure tank ( loss of 1 psi per hour when the power is off) is messing up the flow switch. The well guy that did service two weeks ago said he will stop by early this week to fix the small leak that he left me at the end of his visit. I’m hopeful that will address the issue. I’ll report back then

Thank you for the observations on how the setup may be wrong. The setup has been here for twenty years.. about 5 for me. I’ll see if we can get back to where it was working without a major reworking of the system. More to come!
 
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AndrewKR

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Thank you for all the help. Once the well service guy fixed the small leak near the pressure tank my issue with the soda ash injector was solved. That small leak must have been keeping enough water moving to mess up the flow valve keeping the soda ash injector running. I’m all good now. Thanks again!!
 
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