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Thread: Pumps Are Running Up My Bill...

  1. #1

    Default Pumps Are Running Up My Bill...

    Hello,
    We Have One Of Those Big 2500 3500 Galllon Holding Tanks, And A Pressure Tank, And A Couple Of Pumps That Seem To Run Constantly And My Electric Bills Are Huge. Im Only On 2 Acres And Have A 1500 Sq Foot House And My Level Pay For Electric Is 591.00 A Month.
    I Quit Watering Around Here And Noticed My Electric Bill Is Back At 100 Amonth Now.
    My Question To You Is Could My System Be Hooked Up Wrong?? Should The Pumps Be Running Constantly? I Thought That The Water Comes From The Big Holding Tank And When It Gets Low The Pressure Pump Comes On And Fills It Back Up?


  2. #2
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    You need to know how much water you are using, how much the pumps are running (in hours per month), what make/model the pumps are and what horsepower. Then we can give you some idea whether you have the right pumps.

    Also, what kind of controls do you have on the pumps?

    If you have deep well pumps designed for high pressure that are pumping water into tanks that are at atmospheric pressure, or if you are throttling pumps in any way to operate at high pressure when they don't need to be, then you are wasting energy.

    I will come back with an analysis later tonight.

  3. #3

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    400$ a month difference means you have a serious issue and can well afford to call the local pump expert to the site. I wouldnt wait another day.

  4. #4
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Here is an analysis.

    2 acres x 43,560 sq ft per acre = 87,120 sq ft.

    1 inch per week * 30/7 * 62.4/12 in per ft = 22.3 lbs of water per square ft in a month.

    So you would pump 87120 * 22.3 = 1,943,000 pounds of water per month.

    1 HP-hour = 33,000 * 60 = 1,980,000 ft-pounds

    At a wire-to-water efficiency of about 74.6%, one kWhr will deliver 1,980,000 pounds of water at a head of 1 ft.

    So to keep this simple, you will require 1 kWhr of electricity to deliver 1 inch of water on 2 acres at a head of 1 ft.

    So that if your total head from well to the storage tank, and then from the storage tank to the irrigation system is 300 ft (130 psi) then you would require about 300 kWhr per month to deliver 1 inch of water per week to your 2 acres. If electricity is $0.12 per kWhr, it should cost you about $36.

    So you have a problem that is probably increasing your power by a factor of ten.

    That could be one or more of the following:
    A massive leak in the well
    A constriction or throttling control in your delivery system
    A piping arrangement that is making the water bypass back to your storage tanks

    You need to start by finding out where the water is going, what is the flow rate in your system, and how much water you are really putting on the field.

    If you come back with that information, it should be pretty easy to tell you what the problem is. You will probably discover it yourself.

  5. #5

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    Good numbers Bob, but I think in this case licking your thumb and sticking it in the air is enough. $400 a month alone says the guy has a huge defect in his plumbing. I don't think he has a golf course at home.

    Call a pro tomorrow and don't waste time on us. Besides, you will soon get a pitch to buy a valve that you might not need after your major defect is uncovered.

  6. #6
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    You are using 4000 to 5000 kWhr per month. There are only 720 hours in a month, so you are running 5 to 7 kilowatts, or probably 5 to 7 horsepower around the clock. To put 1" of water per week on your 2 acres, you need only about 6 GPM around the clock and you have a system that must be pumping 60 to 100 GPM or more.

    Who built the system? There must be something missing from this scenario that we don't understand. It could be hooked up wrong, but it is hard to believe that such a system would be hooked up so wrong by anyone who would be able to hook it up at all.

    Has it ever operated correctly? Is this your first experience with it?

    I assume that your large storage tanks are approximately at the level of the area that you are irrigating. Another possibility is that you have an elevated tank (a water tower). Tell us which it is.

    If your tanks are at the level of your lot, then you are probably pumping to those tanks from a well, but you haven't told us that. Do you have a well? What is the source of water?

    How is the water distributed to the irrigation system? Is it by gravity through ditches or soaker hoses, or using a sprinkler system under pressure?

    Where are the pumps located? What kind of pumps are they? Is there a water meter anywhere?

    Can you describe the system by tracing the water from the source to the large tanks to the pumps to the irrigation system?

  7. #7

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    At a 4 or 500$ loss a month, this guy can afford to get the local water engineer to come visit personally for a few hours.

    Sounds like he is pumping the electricity into the ground with a short somewhere.

    Or the neighbor tapped into his electric line one night and runs his sauna and spa and water heater from it...

  8. #8
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    I will bet on a big leak some where.

    The pumps can't possibly be running all the time with out a leak. With out a leak to keep water flowing through them I would think they would have heated up and burnt out by now.

    I would call some one out, pronto, to go over the whole system and find the problem. The $$$ will be well spent.

  9. #9
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    My in-laws' water bill began and kept going up several months ago, and when my father-in-law finally mentioned to my wife about what he thought was an ever-rising water rate, she said something to me and a plumber soon repaired around some big leak in/under the slab. Except for the water bill, however, there had been no visible evidence anywhere.

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