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Thread: Best location for pressure switch?

  1. #16
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    The following is what I would do if I couldn't solve the problem with insulation. It isn't intended to be the optimum installation; it is intended to be an engineered solution to your problem.

    If I had the problem on my system, I would start by putting a pressure gauge at the well head where you will want to put the pressure switch. Then run the pump in the normal way. You will see that the pressure will rise to some level and then drop off when the pump shuts off.

    If that difference is only about 5 psi (certainly not more than 10 psi), then you should be able to move the switch.

    Install the switch and the gauge at the well head, and increase the on/off difference to 20 psi + the dropoff between switch shutoff and settled pressure. The maximum for the switch will probably be about 25 to 30 psi. You will crank down the little side screw on most switches to increase the differential.

    If you have a problem with oscillations at shutoff, you can install a very small bladder tank at the well, even an expansion tank such as used with a water heater (NOT the furnace type), precharged to about 40 psi.

    Put the heater cord around the switch and gauge as well as the pipe, and wrap it all with insulation. Use a thermostat so you are not overheating things and follow the instructions with the heater cable.

  2. #17
    Rancher
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    Actually what we do here is build a pump/well house, fairly cheap simple, the county doesn't require a building permit... you can store all your lawn/garden equipment in it, and if you need to pull the pump, just add a sky light.

    Rancher

  3. #18
    Previous member sammyhydro11's Avatar
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    God,
    how i wish there were other well guys reading this forum because that is the most rediculous thing i have heard to solve this guys problem w/his pipe freezing. Build a shed over your well?? I mean i have come across pump houses before but the guy isn't looking for a place to store his garden tools and lawn mowers,he's trying to keep his pipe from freezing. Does anyone else see the simplicity of just installing that pipe underground,installing a water tight well cap,and at the same time running that wire up through a conduit and into the cap? Bob you're from New Hampshire,i realize the difference in weather temperatures from san jose to new england,but you come across the same set ups that i do and i know there is no difference because i have a cottage in Bristol NH. So wouldn't you agree that putting this pipe underground is the best bet? How is it that having a pressure switch and a tank outside is a good route??Why would you want a tank,a pressure switch,and a main line exposed in someones yard when the line can be underground,and the tank and switch out of harms way. That material outside spells hazard to me.I mean if the guy had no other spot for the tank and switch then i would say build a little shed but he does room. It just blows my mind,some of the stuff that i hear about certain things in these forums.

    SAM

    SAM

  4. #19
    Rancher
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    Default Freezing pipes

    1. Andrew needs to fix his friends well pipes so they don't freeze, she lives in San Jose, CA.

    2. Some well man moved the pressure switch from the well head to the tank, which is standard installation practice, however that eliminated the power to the well where there was heat tape installed to keep the pipes from freezing.

    3. Some guy in the North East thinks pitless well adaptors are both cheap and normal well practice in the SouthWest.

    4. Normal pipe insulation practice before the electric heat tape was to apply lots of insullation to the piping, and yes before the feed sack change to paper and now plastic, they were burlap and were commonly used by my father to insulate the water pipes around our place.

    No one has asked, so I will... Andrew, are the pipes currently insulated at all? Are they galvanized steel, or pvc, or poly?

    This is a forum for people that want to do the fairly easy repairs/construction on their own, without calling in the "Contractor" so, the responses we normally give are the easy to do, solve it yourself answers.

    Most handymen can build a well house, or a plywood box to insulate the pipe head, if you wanted to call the well contractor to install a pitless adapter, which most well men in California have probably never seen, then why would you be in this forum.

    My end to this thread!

    Rancher

  5. #20
    Previous member sammyhydro11's Avatar
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    Rancher(sam's student) if you were paying attention the customer stated that it was galvanized pipe. Now as far as my position and what i do for a living as a professional i only recommend a permanant,hassle free route, exspecialy when it comes to the elderly.It might not be the least expensive but it is professional and its done right.What you are recommending is that this guy installs that pressure switch 120' away from his holding tank,which is a rookie mistake,and then make a contraption made of plywood and foam.I don't care how much foam and insulation you use,without heat tape it will eventualy freeze.I realize its not general practice to install pitless adapters in that part of the country but in his situation it is a wise move. Also if someone is asking me for professional advice about a water well i'm not going to turn into "Home Depot Man" and give him unprofessional advice.Parts and labor i could do that job under 300.00 and i would guarantee no problems.People want that guarantee and professionalism when it comes to their water.I never read on this home page not to give professional advice or make sure your advise people to go the most cheapest route. Most of your advice that i have seen is no more different than suggestions from home depot customer assistance.every once in a while i will read something where you made sense. When people need me they look in the well section of the phone book. What section of the phone book are you in??

    SAM

  6. #21

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    Wow... sounds like one guy wants a lug wrench and a jack to swap out a spare for a flat tire and the other wants a lift and pneumtic torque wrench preset to exactly 120 ft.lbs. for the lug nuts...with a safety engineer, mechanical engineer, and civil engineer to be sure it's done right. Personally, I give a fat ******* less how it's done as long as it works, looks pretty, and everyone who pays the bills are happy.
    Last edited by Cass; 12-31-2006 at 05:38 AM.

  7. #22
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    If the pipe is close to the ground, then it is probably possible to insulate the pipe on top and leave it exposed to the ground. In San Jose there is enough heat in the ground to keep the pipe from freezing.

    A pile of straw or fiberglass insulation with some plastic or a tarp over it, with no insulation between pipe and ground, would probably do it.

  8. #23
    Previous member sammyhydro11's Avatar
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    Randy,
    i would suspect that from someone that doesn't give a ******** about his quality of work. And thats a classic example why plumbers need to stay out of the well business and let professional well contrators do there work.

    SAM
    Last edited by Cass; 12-31-2006 at 05:39 AM.

  9. #24

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    Hmmm.... I don't recall anyone saying they didn't care about their quality of work... only that it works and that it is done in a cost effective and efficient manner. One of these days I will be put on a pedistal so I can be glorified as being the only one with the true and godly answers. Woe is me who is not perfect.

  10. #25
    Previous member sammyhydro11's Avatar
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    Randy,
    i uinderstand. I just stick to my code of quailty and craftsmanship. Its not aimed at putting me in the spotlight its more aimed at what kind of quality i give to my customer. But if someone wants something done a certain way i guess they will chose that person that will offer it. But i stick with what i do because i know what has worked.

    SAM

  11. #26

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    Great Sam... and you have read and know how much everyone here appreciates the very excellent and valuable advice given from the professionals as well as the guys/gals who simply "do it".

    p.s. ... and I think every one would do it just a fuzz differently than the other one.

  12. #27
    vaplumber
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    Quote Originally Posted by sammyhydro11
    Randy,
    i would suspect that from someone that doesn't give a ******** about his quality of work. And thats a classic example why plumbers need to stay out of the well business and let professional well contrators do there work.

    SAM
    In some small areas of the country, the plumbers are also the heating and cooling contractors, the electricians, and the well pump men. My sign and my ads in the yellow pages advertise me as "Plumbing, heating/air, electrical, and water supply system design and installation. Locally owned with over 50 years owner experience. Licensed, bonded and insured, with all work satisfation guaranteed!!",... and yes, Ive spent many sleepless night almost in tears because some one wasnt satisfied, and I had to refund some very substantial pay checks!! I also spent the latter part of the 50's and up until the mid 80's as a "honey dipper", and if you are too young to know what that term means, I designed, installed, cleaned, serviced and repaired septic systems, so even with my best customers, all family and most friends included, I some times left there homes and businesses only after taking "A huge load of crap" off of the people I care about the most!! I have went to school, trained and got degrees in every thing that I could educate in, and many times my common knowledge and life learning experiences could not be taught or licensed. I have had cases where the so called book was right on, and cases where Ive thrown the book away, but the years and the problems Ive solved have taught me more than any damned book or degree could ever teach. Many of the things Ive learned have worked well for me, yet wouldnt work for you for nothing, and many of the things you know work for you, but wouldnt meant shit to me(sorry for the language Terry). Forget that book for once, and become experienced!! Thats my opinion of "Why plumbers should leave wells to the well contractors, and any future thought of why the well men should leave plumbing to the plumbers!";! I know nothing about drilling wells...wouldnt try it for any amount of money, yet many of the drillers around here make the hole, develop it, case it, grout it, provide me with specs and drive away leaving the rest to me. I agree that a pitless would solve the problem for good, but this forum is for people who are trying to do the work themselves and save time and money, and if this guy called and asked for a pitless with in the climate zone where he lives, he'd be laughed out of town. To the original poster;...I would use a foam type insulation, with a plastic or foil backing, and I would wrap that in water proof tape. For the pressure switch being on an exposed tank, if it's worked fine for 15 years leave it be, but come time to replace, I would either find a weather proof switch housing, or I would protect that switch in some way. If you want to keep some child from opening the switch and geting electrocuted, open it your self and put a drop of loctite on the screw threads, and re assemble. Let me see a child (or any one else) open that!
    Last edited by vaplumber; 01-01-2007 at 01:50 AM.

  13. #28
    vaplumber
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    Another thought. Why not put an outlet at the pressure switch, go to Wal Mart and buy one 100 foot and one 50 foot outdoor heavy orange extension cord, (or a single longer cord if you dont mind a coil of extra length) and go ahead and put heat tape and insulation on that pipe. Come spring, show the owner how to unhook it all, and come winter, show her how to roll it back out, and what to plug in for the winter. Dont worry about over loading an extension cord. From what you describe, the most heavy heat cable you could by that would help wouldnt draw no more than a couple hundred watts! From your post, it seems this has worked in the past, and the only change is that the outlet will no longer be at the well head. Might not look pro, but total cost should be less that $30, and you know it will work. As for quality of work, remember the home owners want some thing safe that will work for them, not some thing they can sell to their next high bidder for a contracted job. Thats why I like this board!! Sammy, we want you here and we need you here. Just take it all with a grain of salt. I insulted some one here before by becoming very defensive...Rugged, hope your reading...and after a few short posts I learned. Question any thing you dont understand, challenge it even, but dont make it personal. You might teach us some thing, or you might learn some thing your self!
    Last edited by vaplumber; 01-01-2007 at 02:38 PM.

  14. #29
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    "Well" said vaplumber!!!!!

  15. #30
    Previous member sammyhydro11's Avatar
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    vaplumber,
    hey man i respect what you have to say and maybe that comment about plumbers was uncalled for and i apologize.But when someone(RANCHER) flat out comments about something he knows nothing about i have no choice but to back myself up.That rancher does this alot and it throws people off.He knows bits an pieces of what we do.It seems like he nibbles around the edges. I know my trade and know how things are put together right and it sounds the same for you.This guy asked about a pipe freezing issue at an elderly ladies home.You know as well as i do that apressure switch 120' away from the tank is bad news. So i pretty came up with a zero maintanance solution that doesn't require extention cords, heat tape ,and foam. I'm not saying that those things wouldn't work but what i am saying is the pitless solution is something that is in the best interest for an old lady that cant do much work on her own.I try to take all things into consideration when coming up w/a solution and her being an elderly women living alone was one of them. But hey man,i do respect you for what you do and it sounds to me like i could learn alot from a person like yourself.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR

    SAM

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