Well water stops.......... then starts.

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by prospectWellWater, Jul 23, 2016.

  1. prospectWellWater

    prospectWellWater New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2016
    Location:
    Virginia
    Hello.

    An elderly woman who I help has been having issues with her well water for at least the past three years (I've witnessed it). The problem has never been severe enough to fix until just recently.

    Initially the well water would completely stop during heavy usage (adding water to pool for several hours while every so often running a faucet or two indoors). It would take a while for the water to stop for the first time but once it did stop it would keep happening until you gave it a few hours break. The water would stop and slow down to a trickle. About ten minutes later the water would start back up from a trickle and in less than a minute go back to full pressure. The way the the water stopped and started coming back out of the faucet (full pressure to trickle, trickle to full pressure) has always been consistent.

    Recently it has been happening much more often and sometimes even without heavy usage. The other morning she lost pressure in her shower which is odd because nothing else was pulling water from the well and her showers are usually less than 15 minutes. Her shower is also the first thing she does when she wakes up so the water had not been used for about 7 or so hours. I replaced the pressure switch yesterday and the problem is still occurring. When it happens the pressure gauge which is located just after the water tank drops from 70 psi all the way 0 psi. When the water comes back the pressure switch clicks as it should and the gauge makes it's way back to about 70 or 80 psi.

    There is also a Campbell 1PS-B sediment filter installed just after the water tank and pressure gauge. The filter has not been changed in 5-7 years (manual calls for filter change every 3 months). I have ordered two new filters and once it arrives I will put it in. I don't think this will fix the problem though. The water filter is after the pressure gauge and it therefore should not affect it.

    Any ideas? I've got a terrible feeling her well pump is overheating but I'm hoping it could be something to do with the water tank. I will say the well is at least 30 years old and the wiring that goes to the pressure switch is also very old. I will also say I am able to replicate the situation and symptoms by flipping the breaker (it's actually a light switch which is handy) to the pressure switch and waiting for the water to go down to a trickle.

    Thanks in advanced for your help and thanks for reading the post. As you can tell I've put some thought into this one and I would hate for her to wake up one morning with no water at all.

    -Jordan
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Submersible pump (down the well)?

    Could be running low on water. Is she in a desert or place where there is a lot of irrigation going on?

    Measuring the current draw, with a clamp-around ammeter, when there is water vs not getting water would be informative.
     
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  4. prospectWellWater

    prospectWellWater New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2016
    Location:
    Virginia
    Both of these suggestions are helpful thank you! I will definitely look into the clamp-around ammeter and keep the submersible pump in mind.

    We are in Virginia and get a fair amount of rainfall. When she was active enough to use her leaky in-ground pool she would add water to it on a normal basis for about two hours every other day. Now that the pool is closed I'm pretty confident she can't be running out of water because she is consuming much less than she ever did before (when the pool was open).
     
  5. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Not if she has a leak somewhere. Shut the power off to the pump, do not use any water for a while and see if the pressure drops. A small leak 24 hours a day can easily deplete a well.
     
  6. prospectWellWater

    prospectWellWater New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2016
    Location:
    Virginia
    I'm not sure I understand how this will be helpful. Are you implying if the pressure does indeed drop there is a leak and if the pressure stays close to constant then there is no leak?
     
  7. prospectWellWater

    prospectWellWater New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2016
    Location:
    Virginia
    I would like to add it happened after 7 - 8 hours of no use at least two different mornings this past week.
     
  8. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Yep. If after an hour the pressure is lower than when you turned off the pump, water is getting out somewhere.
     
  9. prospectWellWater

    prospectWellWater New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2016
    Location:
    Virginia
    I will definitely give this a shot the next time I'm physically there to work on it. I believe the pressure did stay constant for the hour it took for me to replace the pressure switch. I turned off the entire breaker box so the well pump was definitely off during that time.
     
  10. prospectWellWater

    prospectWellWater New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2016
    Location:
    Virginia
    Also, when I replaced the pressure switch I didn't replace the base that actually screws onto the pipe. It didn't seem to have any damage but if anyone knows more about them than I do and thinks I should also replace the base of the switch please let me know.
     
  11. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I don't think you can change a pressure switch while there is non-zero pressure.
     
  12. craigpump

    craigpump In the Trades

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2012
    Occupation:
    Self employed water system tech
    Location:
    Connecticut

    You can if there is a valve on the nipple under the pressure switch.
     
  13. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    :eek:
     
  14. prospectWellWater

    prospectWellWater New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2016
    Location:
    Virginia

    There was no valve... I just didn't remove the base of the old switch from the pipe. I had pressure the entire time the gauge was reading somewhere around 60-70 psi.
     
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