(206) 949-5683, Top Rated Plumber, Seattle
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 35

Thread: Best location for pressure switch?

  1. #1
    Electrical Engineer Andrew P.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Near San Jose, California
    Posts
    18

    Question Best location for pressure switch?

    I'm doing some handyman work for an acquaintance outside city limits. She has a private well, located about 120 feet from the captive air pressure tank next to her house, and the property is on level ground. She recently asked me to freeze-proof the exposed plumbing, as temperatures in the country often fall several degrees below temperatures in town, and she's had frozen pipes that didn't thaw until mid-afternoon. With an elderly parent living in her house, this situation is intolerable.

    Some years ago a short 120V heater cable was attached to the 1-1/2" galvanized pipe at the wellhead, where it is aboveground for about 3 ft. The plug for the cable is dangling free, and there's no place to plug it in. When my dad installed it for the lady about 15 years ago, he remembers that 120V AC continuous power was available at the wellhead then. I'm told that since then there had been a broken pipe, with the pump running nonstop and flooding a neighbor's driveway and garage. In the process of installing an emergency cutoff switch at the wellhead, a local pump service company moved the Square D Pumptrol pressure switch from the wellhead to the pressure tank location, so now only switched power is available at the well. I contacted the company that performed the work to learn why the Pumptrol switch had been moved, but have not been able to get an answer. (Perhaps it's so long ago that no one there remembers doing this job.)

    My question: Would there be any adverse effect to moving the pressure switch back to the wellhead, compared to having it next to the pressure tank? I'd expect a slight drop in pressure at the pressure tank due to flow losses in the pipe from the pump to the tank. It now operates between 42 psi (turn on) and 62 psi (turn off), according to the pressure gauge at the tank. If it wouldn't cause erratic operation of the switch and pump motor, that would the preferred solution, instead of having to dig a 120-foot-long trench to lay an additional cable for the heater. The present underground wire conduit is too small and too long to be able to pull additional wires through it.
    Last edited by Andrew P.; 12-29-2006 at 07:17 PM.

  2. #2
    Previous member sammyhydro11's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    709

    Default

    You want to keep that switch as close to that tank as possible so it isn't subject to any eratic pressure variations. I would suggest keeping it at the tank. It sounds to me like you have a 6" well. That water line should exit the casing atleast 4' below grade so it doesn't freeze. If its on a well seal, I would suggest you have a well company come out and re route that line below grade and have a pitless adapter installed. That way the pipe will not be exposed to the open elements. Do you know how deep that water line goes into the ground and is that the only spot where it freezes? If it is the only spot then i would have a well company install that pitless adapter to hower deep the line is.The pitless adapter is a sealed fitting that connects the submersible drop pipe or jet pump drop pipe to the waterline.When there is a problem with the pump,footvalve,or jet assembly,it disconnects on the inside of the casing for service. GET THAT SECTION OF WATER LINE IN THE GROUND.

    SAM

  3. #3
    Electrical Engineer Andrew P.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Near San Jose, California
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Thanks for the input, sammyhydro11. The 3-foot section of exposed pipe at the well is just part of the problem. There's a assortment of 1/2-inch copper pipe and some of the galvanized main supply pipe exposed at the pressure tank, but that will be easy to handle, since it's right next to the house wall and there's an electrical outlet for the water softener where one can plug in a heater cable.

    Winter nighttime temperatures in this area (near San Jose, California) rarely get down to 20F. Most frosty nights are in the high 20s to low 30s, and temperatures usually get above freezing by mid-day. It isn't a question of trying to bury a pipe below the frost line, because the ground doesn't freeze here. That said, however, 20F is enough to burst uninsulated, exposed pipes, or at least keep them frozen for many hours the next day if they're in the shade.

  4. #4
    Rancher
    Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sammyhydro11
    That water line should exit the casing atleast 4' below grade so it doesn't freeze. If its on a well seal, I would suggest you have a well company come out and re route that line below grade and have a pitless adapter installed. That way the pipe will not be exposed to the open elements. Do you know how deep that water line goes into the ground and is that the only spot where it freezes? If it is the only spot then i would have a well company install that pitless adapter to hower deep the line is.The pitless adapter is a sealed fitting that connects the submersible drop pipe or jet pump drop pipe to the waterline.When there is a problem with the pump,footvalve,or jet assembly,it disconnects on the inside of the casing for service.
    Although Sammy thinks he's an expert, it's apparent he's done all his well work in the North, sorry we don't use very many pitless adapters in Calif, or Ariz, and probably much of the South. The pipes are either insulated real good, or if exposed heat tape is used. Freeze levels below a inch are non-existant except in the mountain regions... Since there is no power, or only switched power to the pump, I would foam wrap the exposed pipes, which are probably Galvanized steel? And then build a plywood box, insulated on the inside with styrofoam, set it over the well head, that will protect the pipes down to single digits for an overnight cold spell, and basically that's all we have to deal with out here.
    Rancher

  5. #5
    Previous member sammyhydro11's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    709

    Default

    Andrew,
    i'm familiar with the area. I have a friend that lives on cottle rd. in san jose. I'm from the north east but go to california often and love the san jose area. Getting that line below ground will get it out of harms way and will also prevent freezing. Those wires exposed could also be a hazard. If you call your local well guy he can do the pitless and also install a well cap with the proper conduit for the wire. Everything can be sealed up and hassle free. Its not a big deal at all, its one less thing you have to worry about,and you have piece of mind.That line shouldn't be all that deep so that job can probably get done under 2 hrs by a licensed water well professional. Foam and plywood boxes sound good and all but plywood rots and its a spot for rodents and bees to nest,2 things that you want to avoid.

    SAM

  6. #6
    Rancher
    Guest

    Default Cost?

    Andrew,

    When you get a quote from your well/pump contractor, please let us know how much it would cost to put in a pitless adapter. And please time how long it takes him to stop laughing.

    Rancher

  7. #7
    Previous member sammyhydro11's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    709

    Default

    Now Now Rancher,
    i know you just got in from recess but its time to settle down and open your book to chapter 1: Water Well Plumbing Basics- Well Caps/Well Seals.

    Andrew,
    Rancher is having a hard time understanding certain basics that water well experts learn their first year as an apprentice. He has decided to start his apprenticeship through plumbing forums and i have decided to take him under my wing. But at times he lashes out like a wounded ally cat. So please forgive him.

    Rancher,
    quite down! Open your Ground Water and Wells book to chapter:13 Water Well Design/ Rancher: "You mean the big green book again?" Yes!/ Rancher: " But its too heavy". Do what i say so next week we can move on to Chapter
    15: Development Of water Wells. Rancher: "Moooo..Mooooo!!" Ok rancher,anymore cow noises out of you and i will send you to the principal!!

  8. #8
    Rancher
    Guest

    Default

    Sammy,

    The advice you have given Andrew is to call his local well/pump guy and ask for an installation that is not normal for this area, why don't you just tell him to call and ask for a price and be sure to bend over before he gets it...

    Rancher

  9. #9
    Previous member sammyhydro11's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    709

    Default

    Raaaaannnnchhhherrrr,
    you know we don't make little boxes in this class now. Put your foam can away and open that big green heavy book again,chapter 13: water well design/material selection. After that we will go out in the school yard and you can pull some levers on the drill rigs,ok? Do you need to use the bathroom? Rancher:Yes. Ok,heres a hall pass,come right back.

    Ranchers Teacher,

    SAM

  10. #10
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Posts
    25,655

    Default switch

    The pressure switch should be at the point of least pressure change, and that is at the tank. Anywhere else it will be affected by the pump's discharge pressure increase when the pump is running, or the system's pressure decrease when water is being used.

  11. #11
    Previous member sammyhydro11's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    709

    Default

    I agree with HJ,
    its a bad idea to have a pressure switch out in the open like that anyway. Its too easy for a child to take a pressure switch cover off and get electricuted.

    SAM

  12. #12

    Default

    Gett'n a little stuffy in here... thank God I'm plumb dumb about wells... all I know is that I've seen switches and gauges mostly on tanks but sometimes on pumps and the whole shebang sits inside a little outhouse... before we got big time and got city plumbing Dad kept a light bulb on close to the exposed pipes in the well house when it got below freezing...and we never had a problem. I do know that much of the pipe above the well was covered with several inches of sand.

  13. #13

    Default Rats!

    1] Forget any pitless adapters in San Jose- switch stays at tank

    2] Get a pig or a bunch of chickens

    3] Every time you empty a feed bag lay it over the pipes at the well head

    4] Hood from junked car in the yard over the whole mess [washing machine with guts knocked out works too]

    5] Leftover grain in feed bags attracts big family of rats and they provide about 6 watts of heat each [bob nh can provide more detailed wattages dependant on rat diameter] this is only an estimate.

    6] If rats dont show try cat food. San Jose is big on feral cats [techno-nerds guard their right-to- life] and they provide higher BTU's

    This is a well proven system in the mountains of northern California and certain parts of Kentucky, Slovakia and Poland.

    A cyle reduction type valve might help too, by extending pump run time ad-infinitum and building up huge back pressures down the well which should heat the outlet water.

    Give it a shot and write back! With savings on heat tape and pitless adapters you can take a quick Hawiian trip.

  14. #14
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Posts
    25,655

    Default rats

    How many btus are the three foot rats in Florida?

  15. #15
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    5,984

    Default

    If they can find a few of these they will get more BTUs and need fewer to achieve the same result.


    The truck driver's wife works in Boston on the docks where this little white dog comes around at noon and everyone feeds it a little something from their lunch. The wife went home and asked her husband if he would mind if she got a dog. She told him about the stray that everyone has been feeding. He said that he didn't think she wanted a dog. She said it would be nice company since he was away from home a lot, so he agreed.
    The next time she went to work, she saw the little stray as usual. Everyone gave him something to eat and she coaxed the dog into her car and brought him home. She washed, cleaned and bathed him, and the dog slept with her in their bed that night and the next.
    The next day she came home from work and found the dog had eaten her beloved cat! Horrified, she was confronted with the gruesome sight of a large spot of blood on the floor and all that remained was her cats skull sitting nearby.
    The panicked woman called the veterinarian who told her to bring the dog right in. He could not do anything for the cat, but the bones from the cat could do injury to the dog.
    She brought the dog in to see the vet and was in the waiting room when one of the vet techs nervously asked her to step into one of the rooms immediately! When she got in the room the vet asked her where she got the dog and she told her it was a stray she found where she works near the docks in Boston.
    The vet told her the animal needed to be put down immediately. The stray she had taken in was not a dog, but a 40-pound Cambodian rat that came in from one of the ships in the harbor. The rat was so big that it looked liked a small dog with a little snub tail.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •