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Thread: Wells and Irrigation, rather long post

  1. #16
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valveman View Post
    It is hard to fit a float switch down in the well.

    Then a float switch in the storage tank, which you should have plenty of room for, will also shut off the well pump when the storage tank is full.

    Another float switch in the storage tank will keep the booster pump from running if the storage tank is empty.
    It's not hard to put a float switch in a 20" well. You attach it to the hanger pipe just above the pump. You can wire it in when you install the pump. It should be connected to "Open on low" to prevent the pump from running dry.

    You can also put the "tank fill" switch, connected to "Open on high", in the circuit that operates the well pump.

    Another switch connected as "open on low" in the circuit to the cistern pump will protect the cistern pump.

    You can connect the well pump to a disconnect and forget about it. It will keep your tank full.

    A float switch is a whole lot simpler than a "cycle sensor".

    The well would keep your tank full a lot better and more reliably than rain. At 1000 gallons per day for a month that is 30,000 gallons, which is 4000 cubic feet per month. If you have 2000 square feet of collection area it would take 24" of rain to deliver the same amount of water. Compare that to the 3" you might get in a summer month when you need water the most, and you will see that pumping from the well is much more significant than runoff. If you add yield by putting the well on automatic operation you can eliminate the dirt problem in the cistern from the well.

  2. #17

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    ok,

    Im beginning to get the picture here with the float switches and using a smaller pump in the well. When the tank goes down, it turns the well pump on and refills it until the tank float goes up and disconnects the well pump. Both pumps have switches to stop the pump incase either water source goes too low.

    Now, the next hurdle is finding float switches that will handle the startup load of a pump without burning the contacts up, unless I want to build a relay bank and isolate the reed switch contacts from the pump voltage. Maybe this is where the cycle stop valve comes in and would be better than switches, contacts and relays? I am starting to like what I am drawing up now thanks to you guys.

    I have covered the gutters that collect rain water and still intend to collect it when it rains. No more or at least very little trash will make it in the tank now.

    Where can I get level switches that can handle the start load of a 1/2 or 3/4 horse pump? Probably 200/250 watts, 20 amps???

    Bob, (speedbump) I'll be calling you in the next couple days to order some gear up.

    scott

  3. #18
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    I'll be here Scott.

    What BobNH didn't mention is the fact that the well is a low yield, so the float won't protect the pump if it runs out of water before the tank is full. That's where the Cycle Sensor comes in. It could save you a lot of money.

    bob...

  4. #19
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    I forgot about the 20" casing. That is an unusual size but, yes a float switch should fit in that well easily. Just be sure to not let it get tangled up with the wire or pipe down hole. I think Speedbump can help you with those float switches as well.

    A float switch is simpler than a Cycle Sensor but, the Cycle Sensor has no moving parts to hang up on anything. The Cycle Sensor also has a relay that is large enough to handle the load of a 2 HP pump. The Cycle Sensor will also let you set a time between pumping the well down and restarting the pump.

    You may still need a timer connected to the float switch or switches. When the water in the well is pulled down to the float switch, the pump shuts off. The well only has to recover an inch or two before the float switch restarts the pump. This could cause the pump to cycle on and off rapidly as the float switch bobs up and down. A timer connected to the float switch to keep the pump off for 30 minutes or so after the float switch drops, may be needed to keep the float switch from bouncing the pump on and off. Water flowing into the well could also cause the switch to bounce up and down.

    You also need to put the float switches in the storage tank in a stilling well. This would be a 12" or 20" piece of perforated pipe that protrudes above the surface of the water in the storage tank. Installing the float switches in this stilling well will keep the wave action of the water entering the tank from bobbing these switches up and down, which causes the pump to cycle rapidly.

    Double float switches can also solve this problem. One float switch up high in the tank shuts off the pump, while another float switch installed lower restarts the pump. The float switches in the well need to work in the opposite positions. This would eliminate the need for the timer but, might need a relay or two to tie all the float switches to the pumps.

    A couple of Cycle Sensors, which have a timer built in, could replace the safety float switches in the well and the storage tank. However, you will still need a float switch to shut the pump off when the storage tank is full.

  5. #20
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valveman View Post
    You may still need a timer connected to the float switch or switches. When the water in the well is pulled down to the float switch, the pump shuts off. The well only has to recover an inch or two before the float switch restarts the pump. This could cause the pump to cycle on and off rapidly as the float switch bobs up and down. A timer connected to the float switch to keep the pump off for 30 minutes or so after the float switch drops, may be needed to keep the float switch from bouncing the pump on and off. Water flowing into the well could also cause the switch to bounce up and down.

    You also need to put the float switches in the storage tank in a stilling well. This would be a 12" or 20" piece of perforated pipe that protrudes above the surface of the water in the storage tank. Installing the float switches in this stilling well will keep the wave action of the water entering the tank from bobbing these switches up and down, which causes the pump to cycle rapidly.
    The concerns about float switches are not a problem if the switch is selected and installed properly. Water flowing into the well at 1000 GPD (less than 1 GPM), and probably beneath the surface, is not going to bounce the switch.

    A switch on a cable, such as is used in a sump pump, can be set to have a wide range of operation. In a 20" well I would set it to about a 12" range. That would give you 3 to 4 minutes on-time and a 20 minute cycle of pumpdown and recharge time. You can use it with a timer to provide longer recharge interval.

    You don't need a stilling well. The same installation prevents the switch from bobbing up and down in the tank. There is a dead-zone on a cable-supported switch that will control over a zone that is large enough to prevent wave action from operating the switch. A 1/2 HP pump, 5 to 10 GPM, is not going to cause a lot of distrubance in a 3000 gallon cistern. You can put the inlet below the "full" level and you probably would not even see the motion.

    If Speedbump doesn't have direct-acting switches for a 1/2 HP pump they are available from USA BlueBook and I can suggest a part.

  6. #21
    DIY Senior Member mikept's Avatar
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    Are float switches more reliable than the pumps they protect?

  7. #22
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    They both carry a years warranty. So I'll leave it up to you to decide.

    For the most part, Submersible Pumps last on average 7 years. Some much longer and some much shorter. It depends on how you use and abuse them. The floats are the same way.

    bob...

  8. #23
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by speedbump View Post
    What BobNH didn't mention is the fact that the well is a low yield, so the float won't protect the pump if it runs out of water before the tank is full. That's where the Cycle Sensor comes in. It could save you a lot of money. bob...
    See my post on 3-22 at 11:40 AM where I said to put a float switch in the well.

    The float switch in the well matches the pumping cycle to the recharge rate and protects the pump because it turns off the pump while the water is still above the pump. A Cycle Sensor isn't required if the pump can't get any power when the water is low. The float switch in the well is exactly the same kind of switch that is used with a sump pump.

  9. #24

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    Hi everyone, thanks for all the input. After reading all the latest comments, I am feeling the smoke and mirrors coming back in my mind. Seems like switches everywhere. I think the way to approach this is to set up a basic, manual system with pump protection and see how it goes. Then as things settle in and I learn how the system will pan out, incorporate in the automatics. I checked the well today and it has 3 feet more water in it than last August, another variable that I just discovered. If I can stay away from relay banks and keep it reasonably simple using automatic devices, so much the better.

    I need to re read all the latest posts before they will really sink in. I'm also going to try to draw another system up and see if I can get it on this site for your review. If anyone else cares to draw up their thoughts in a picture/diagram of the "fully automatic" version and post it, let it rip. I will do the best I can but imagine you guys are much better at it than I.

    I'm still going to order the basic gear this week, when I get some of the parts in my hands, maybe a better picture of the whole rig will come to mind.

    Thanks for the help and like I said, any help diagraming this thing would be most welcome and would help with the time frame I'm starting to fall into.

    scott

  10. #25
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    See my post on 3-22 at 11:40 AM where I said to put a float switch in the well.
    I saw it, but in a 20" well with the pump tending to hang in the middle that leaves around 9 inches for the float to move. I would be afraid it would get hung up and that would be the end of the pump. Besides if the float goes bad, it might get hung up coming out or it may hinder pulling of the pump. It's just not a good idea to put anything in a well that doesn't absolutely have to be there.

    bob...

  11. #26
    DIY Senior Member mikept's Avatar
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    How often is the well going to run out of water before the cistern fills up?

  12. #27
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    It depends on the well. Some may pump the well dry 100 times before filling the cistern. Others may never pump the well dry.

  13. #28
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikept View Post
    How often is the well going to run out of water before the cistern fills up?
    The well is never going to "run out of water" because the pump will be shut off by the float switch when the water level is still above the pump. That is the reason for the float switch.

    The range of the high-low levels will determine the number of cycles necessary to fill the cistern. Because the recharge rate varies with drawdown there will be greater recovery rate with shorter intervals because the average drawdown will be greater.

  14. #29
    DIY Senior Member mikept's Avatar
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    I didnt mean "run out of water" entirely i was asking how often will this well pump shut off due to low water in the well, not because the cistern is full? Just a clarification.

    I suppose that calc would depend on the hp of the pump and the season.
    Last edited by mikept; 03-26-2008 at 08:24 AM.

  15. #30
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    I new what you meant Mikept. I consider pumping the well down as reaching the lower control limit, no matter if the lower limit is controlled by a "switch" or by "amperage".

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