Well water pressure issue, pump cycles up in three segments

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by Lou N, Sep 25, 2019.

  1. Lou N

    Lou N New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2019
    Location:
    TN
    All,

    Recently we have noticed that our water pressure is dropping to zero at the faucet after running a hose for fifteen minutes or so. After the hose is shut off the pressure comes back fairly quickly.

    Today I checked the well pressure tank and it's reading correctly (28 psi on a 30 psi switch).

    I noticed that when I turned the submersible well pump power back on back on (the pressure gauge was at zero) the pump ran until the pressure reached 38 psi, the it stopped, but the contacts on the switch stayed closed.

    A minute or two later the pump started again and ran the pressure up to 48 psi (contacts still closed). Then a minute or two later the pump ran again and stopped at 68 psi.

    At that point the contacts on the pressure switch finally opened.

    Do you think it's an issue with the pressure switch or could the 1/4" line from the well tank tee to the pressure switch be clogged? Or something else, perhaps with the pump itself?

    I can change the pressure switch and the 1/4" line myself, but the well pump would be another matter.

    Thanks,
    Lou
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    IL
    If you are not getting air in the water, it is probably the thermal cutoff on pump is tripping, and pumping resumes when the pump cools. It sounds repeatable, and a flaky pressure switch could do that once, but not repeatedly.

    If you are getting air in your water, it sounds like the well is running out of water.
     
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  4. Lou N

    Lou N New Member

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    Ok thanks. We are getting air in the water, but only when the water softener regenerates once every four days, a separate problem I think.
     
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    That can happen for more than one reason. The most probable is that the air check valve leaks and should be replaced. Another would be a small leak in the brine line path, big enough to admit air, but small enough that no liquid leak is apparent. Running short of water is also a possibility.
     
  6. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

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    Occupation:
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    Lubbock, Texas
    Running just one hose will cause the pump to cycle on and off repeatedly. Cycling repeatedly will quickly destroy the pump, motor, tank, switch, check valve, wire, and just about anything else in the pump system. When the motor has had all the cycling it can tolerate it starts tripping the overload occasionally and you need to get ready to replace the pump. It is now working on borrowed time.

     
  7. Lou N

    Lou N New Member

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    Update - Today I replaced the pressure switch, nipple and the gauge just to be sure that they were not causing any of the issues. Unfortunately that did not solve the problem. The well pump is still running up to 40 lbs, stopping for a minute, and then running again up to the cutoff pressure (the contacts stay closed during this time until cutoff pressure is reached).

    I spoke to a well installer on Friday and he doesn't think it's a thermal cutoff issue with the pump because it would have gone bad by now. Instead, as several here have said, he thinks it could be the well running low on water and having to catch up.

    The weird thing is the pressure build-up always stops halfway between cut-in (30 psi) and cutoff (50 psi), then starts again after a minute or so. Could it be that the well is that consistent when refilling?

    He also mentioned the possibility of installing a storage tank, which I'm thinking about doing, but how would that help if the well is running out of water, refilling, and then pumping again? Wouldn't it be the same issue when the well pump is trying to refill the storage tank?

    We aren't experiencing a loss of water in the house or noticeable pressure drop which seems to be the main benefit of using a storage tank.

    We have not had any significant rain for several months (coinciding with this issue) so I'm wondering/hoping this will stop when the aquifer gets recharged after this drought is over? The local streams and creeks are all running low or not at all.
     
  8. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    Put a meter on the feed and measure the amps drawn. If the amps drop to zero then there is thermal cutout. If the amps drop but don't go to zero, the motor is still running and it could be a lack of water.
     
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  9. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    You would pump fewer gpm. This could be by throttling the current pump, perhaps with a Dole valve or a partially closed ball valve.
    Yes. Simple enough. Clamp-around ammeters are pretty cheap and available now.
     
  10. Lou N

    Lou N New Member

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    Ok, I'll pick up a clamp on meter; been wanting one for a while. Thx
     
  11. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

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    Even if your well only makes 1 GPM, there are 1440 minutes in a day. You can store 1440 gallons per day to use at any flow rate you want, and not have a lack of flow or low pressure. Actually 1440 gallons per day would run about 5 houses, you just need some storage and a booster pump.

    LOW YIELD WELL_ CENTRIFUGAL_PK1A.jpg
     
  12. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    You might ask if any nearby neighbors are having a similar issue with a low water table.
     
  13. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    [QUOTE="Lou N, post: 602035, member: 90098"....The weird thing is the pressure build-up always stops halfway between cut-in (30 psi) and cutoff (50 psi), then starts again after a minute or so. Could it be that the well is that consistent when refilling?[/QUOTE]

    When the pressure hits around 40psi, the pump cannot push against the pressure if there is no water behind it until the well replenishes itself.
     
  14. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    Semi-Retired
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    NW Ontario, Canada
    It is unlikely to be be that consistent unless the water use is the same such as when running sprinklers. You don't say what size tank you have. A tank is seen as an additional load to the system meaning the pump and well needs to supply more water than what is being drawn at the time to also fill the tank. On a small tank the additional load is insignificant but on a large tank, the load could be enough to draw down a slow recovery well.
     
  15. Lou N

    Lou N New Member

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    Jun 28, 2019
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    TN
    When the pressure hits around 40psi, the pump cannot push against the pressure if there is no water behind it until the well replenishes itself.[/QUOTE]
    Makes sense. I have an ammeter on order, and the well guy is going to stop by to discuss a storage solution. Thx
     
  16. Lou N

    Lou N New Member

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    Jun 28, 2019
    Location:
    TN
    All,

    Ok checked the feeds going to the pump tonight and when the pump stops, but the contacts stay closed the amp reading goes from average of 12A to zero. So...I'm thinking this may be a pump going bad?

    I'll get the well guy out to verify, but if that's the case I'm actually relieved that the well might not be running low on water. I'm still seriously considering a storage tank system. I have a ton of questions on that, but I'll start a new thread, unless someone has a link to an existing one. Valveman, I'll contact you off line, thanks for the diagram.

    Lou
     
  17. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Try searching this forum for "float switch". You will probably find some threads that apply.
     
  18. Lou N

    Lou N New Member

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    Jun 28, 2019
    Location:
    TN
    Ok, the well guys were out this morning and replaced the pump. They installed a Schaefer Series V 10GPM 1/2HP pump and so far all is back to normal. It appears that the well is actually 133' deep, not the 150' on the well report we have. The water level was at 29', hopefully that will rise after this drought ends.

    Next I will be installing a pump protection unit I'm considering the LittleFuse Pump Saver because of it's calibration feature, but I don't like that the diagnostic unit (Informer) is a substantial extra cost. The other option I'm considering is the Cycle Sensor Unit. Any feedback on either of those units would be welcome. Thx...
     
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