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Thread: Submersible pump going bad?

  1. #1

    Default Submersible pump going bad?

    Please help me troubleshoot my well.

    The water pressure has dropped to almost nil. I dont live in this house, so I dont know if this was sudden or gradual.

    The pump runs, so i know it is getting power. The pressure will get to about 15 psi and thats it. If I kill power to the pump, the water drains out of the house and the pressure tank, so I pretty sure the check valve is bad. With it only getting to 15 psi, the pressure switch obviously never trips, so the pump just runs and runs, I'm sure that not good for it. At 15 psi it is pretty difficult to take a shower upstairs. The well and pump was put in in 1985, so it has run pretty much flawlessly for 24 years.

    I have watched them pull the pump before when I have had breaks in the wire from "pump slap" when starting and the wire rubs against the casing. The pump is hanging at about 40' or so. I believe it is a 1/3 HP and has a control box inside. I have two 20 year old sons for muscle to help me pull this thing out, I believe all I need is a 1" threaded pipe to get the pitless fitting on the top. It just pulls up, right? Is that difficult to get on/off? What do I need for watertight electrical connections?

    I am comfortable working on just about anything, I built the addition on the house, not only doing the carpentry, but also the sheetrock, electrical, plumbing and roof. So I have DIY experience!

    Does my analysis of a bad pump sound about right? Where should I look for a new pump? I have seen them at Home Depot, and I hear Sears sells them too, but maybe this is not the place to shave a few bucks.

    Thanks all in advance for anything you might provide. I love teh interwebs!
    Philip

  2. #2
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psyclemania View Post
    Does my analysis of a bad pump sound about right?
    You might have a power quality problem. I'd measure current draw.

    I guess you could check a pump by hooking it to a partially closed valve and pressure gauge and feeding it with good elec. power.

    Adjust the pressure by turning the valve and measure the GPM by filling a bucket while timing it.

    If the pressure and GPM match what the pump's curve says, at both end points and one place in the middle of the curve, I don't see how it can't be a good pump/motor.

    With all the trouble of getting to the pump and the cost of these things, I'd even check new ones before installing them.
    Last edited by Thatguy; 08-06-2009 at 06:56 AM.

  3. #3
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    You could be running on half power (115V instead of 240V) as Thatguy suggest. Or your pump could be worn out, or a break in the pipe somewhere. Since the water drains out when the power is off, I am guessing a break in the pipe somewhere. If it is broken underground there should be a lake forming somewhere by now. So I think the break is in the well, probably at the bottom where the pipe connects to the pump.

  4. #4
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    The check valve probably is not the problem, more likely you have a serious leak. Probably in the drop pipe in the well.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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  5. #5

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    Glad I asked!
    I had not considered that there would be a leak or the half-voltage thing. That would definitely make sense. The well-house is only about 15 feet, there is no lake, nor is there water running into the root cellar where the pipe comes inside, so inside the well is definitely a possibility.

  6. #6
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psyclemania View Post
    Glad I asked!
    I had not considered that there would be a leak or the half-voltage thing. That would definitely make sense. The well-house is only about 15 feet, there is no lake, nor is there water running into the root cellar where the pipe comes inside, so inside the well is definitely a possibility.
    In that case, assuming adequate power, using the pump curve you can guesstimate how many GPM the leak is. Look at the 15 PSI point on the curve.

  7. #7

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    Problem resolved! Basically was a leak. Once the pump was pulled, on top of the pump is a brass fitting that connects the motor to the pipe. This actually had holes worn in it, I assume from 25 years of abrasives swirling around in there. Since the whole thing was exposed to those same abrasives and down there for 25 years, I elected to replace the entire pump. Put in a new 1/2 hp Gould, and the pressure is rockin' now!
    Thanks for everything!

  8. #8
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valveman View Post
    So I think the break is in the well, probably at the bottom where the pipe connects to the pump.
    This happens all the time. It is usually electrolysis from two dis-similar metals. If you rap those fittings with electric tape, it won't happen again.

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