Well pump electrical short?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by steve2278, Jul 28, 2014.

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Well pump electrical short

Poll closed Aug 4, 2014.
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  2. TBD

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  1. steve2278

    steve2278 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Hi guys. I have a quick question and I'll try to make it brief.

    I've been having a problem with my Meyer jet pump for about 8 months now. I had many people look at it and many parts have been replaced but no one has been able to fix it.

    I've finally isolated the problem to a short of some sort within the pump itself. Now the question is do I consider having the pump rebuilt or do I just purchase a new pump?

    I have a 119 gallon pressure tank which holds about 42 gallons of water, so the pump doesn't need to run that often.

    The problem has gotten worse and every morning now for the past 2 weeks I wake up and there's no water. I go outside to the well pump, take-off the cover and jiggle the wire going from the outlet to the pressure switch and the pump immediately kicks-on. I tightened all the electrical connections several weeks ago and all the wires are clean. The pressure switch is a 30/50 and the tank pressure is set at 28psi. Once the pump kicks on and starts running it runs fine and shuts-off when it should. However, I now find myself outside jiggling the wire to start it several times a day if I'm using a lot of water.

    I've had an electrician, a plumber and a well-pump contractor look at the problem and no one seems to know what to do to fix it, and I'm not sure who to consult next?

    Any opinions would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Steve
  2. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,549
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    A short would blow a fuse or trip a breaker. Giggling the pressure switch means you have a loose connection or maybe even the tube to the pressure switch is clogged. I would replace the pressure switch and clean out the connecting tube before I changed out the pump.

    If it is the pump/motor, just replace it. Not many things are repairable anymore and even then it is hard to find someone who really knows how to repair anything.
  3. steve2278

    steve2278 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Thanks for your advice. However, the pressure switch is brand new. It's the 4th pressure switch inside of 8 months. My plumber always thought the pressure switch was the problem each and every time so he just kept replacing the pressure switch.

    I will try checking the tube.

    Thanks again.
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,132
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    It is possible that the breaker is oversized and so not tripping on high current draw or the high draw is only on the start windings. If the pump motor is drawing too much current due to a short in the windings, it could shorten the life of the switches. Wiggling the wire could help the switch contact "make".
  5. justwater

    justwater Well Drilling/Service

    Messages:
    327
    Location:
    FL/GA
    next time it happens.. before you wiggle the wire, pull out a volt meter. check the power wires going into switch then check wires going to motor so you will know if the problem is to switch or from switch to motor.
  6. Doug the pump man

    Doug the pump man New Member

    Messages:
    2
    If the pump motor is drawing to much current the thermal overload in the motor would be opening.
  7. steve2278

    steve2278 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Thanks for all your responses guys. My well pump contractor just fixed the problem. Turns out the pressure switch was slightly defective and the contacts were actually bent and were not making full contact. He had to bend them slightly with a pair of pliers. The cover to the pressure switch was also slightly defective and didn't fit over the pressure switch correctly. That was causing the pressure plate to scrape against the inside of the cover, which was creating unwanted resistance as it was leaving scratches on the inside of the cover.

    It's amazing how something that seems so insignificant and unlikely could cause a problem!!

    Thank you again for all your help!!
    Steve
  8. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,624
    Location:
    IL
    I suggest that you measure the voltage across each contact, while the motor is running, for future reference. Ideally that would be zero volts. Then if you later see much higher, such as 1 volt or more, then replace the pressure switch. Your multimeter can be a cheap one for the occasional user.

    You have had the pressure switch replaced several times. "However, the pressure switch is brand new. It's the 4th pressure switch inside of 8 months." Imagine the implications of that. Bent contact? How does that happen? Who has access to that switch? At least put a drop of paint (such as finger nail polish) on the cover nut so that you know if it gets tampered with.

    You might look through this thread:
    http://terrylove.com/forums/index.php?threads/burned-out-pressure-switch.57972/


    You did not say if your pump was running on 120 VAC or 240, but 120 is harder on the contacts due to carrying twice the current. If you are using 120, maybe a heavy duty pressure switch would help, as would wiring the contacts in parallel. Wiring the pump for 240 would be the better solution.
  9. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,132
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    A thermal overload requires time to react. There is a lot more thermal mass in a motor than there is in the tiny contacts in the switch.

    If the high current is on the start windings, the start/run centrifugal switch on the motor could switch out before the thermal overload has time to react.
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