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Thread: Low Water Level Protection

  1. #16
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Valveman,
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the amp draw on the pump should drop to a detectable level when it starts sucking air and cavitating. I understand your concerns are germane to the general topic of "Low Water Level Protection" particularly in an application where a well may frequently be pumped dry or the level dropped enough to deadhead the pump. The reaction time of the Pumptec (or your Cycle Sensor) should still be better than say, a low pressure cut-off in most situations.

    While repeated cavitation could/would shorten the life of the pump, repeated cavitation does not sound likely in this application. I think the OP is knowledgeable enough to detect aberrant pump behavior to notice and rectify the adjustment if not set sensitive enough.

  2. #17
    DIY Senior Member tvl's Avatar
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    Thanks again valveman & LLigetfa!

    If I'm reading you two correctly, I would be better served if I implemented the "field Calibrate" function. Afterwards, I will be required to move the sensitivity pointer to a value between -20% to +20%. I spoke with a technical support individual at Franklin and he stated I should be fine at 0%. Any other setting could possibly trigger nuisance trips, or worse yet, miss an event altogether. I would value your input as well!

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    Last edited by tvl; 05-21-2012 at 09:51 AM.

  3. #18
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Given that this is only for your sprinklers, I would err on the side of caution and opt for nuisance trips. My guess is there may be a concern of having something go wrong while you are away. A nuisance trip could have you returning to a brown lawn if a neighbor were not knowledgeable enough to reset same. Better to return to a brown lawn than a burned out pump.

    I have only a low pressure cut-off, originally as a Square D with the little lever that had to be held "just so" until the pressure returned above the trip level. When I got nuisance trips, Murphy conspired that I would be away from home and have to talk the wife through how to reset it. Now I have the EPS15/99 so nuisance trips are no longer an issue but the reaction time is long. If there was potential for my well to run dry, I would deploy something like the Pumptec or Cycle Sensor. The only time I was ever able to pump the well dry was in the beginning while I was developing it by over-pumping it.

  4. #19
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    You only get one chance. If it misses the event, your pump is toast. Better do exactly like Franklin says, so if you have a motor failure, you can say you followed the directions exactly. Since you can’t see any numbers (amps) or know what number it took a “snap shot” of, I would still want to lift the pump out of the water to test it. Better it should miss the event while I am watching than when I am not.

  5. #20
    DIY Senior Member tvl's Avatar
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    OK, I've think I'll do the following:

    1- Run the field calibrate feature
    2- When finished, set the sensitivity to +10%. Based on the documentation, this will increase the default trip sensitivity from 75% to 85% OR the Pumptec will now trip when the motor load drops to 85% of the "snapshot" taken during the field calibration.
    3- set the timeout feature for 60 minutes ........ it even resets itself.

    From here on out, only time will tell if all is OK!

    Thanks to all!

  6. #21
    DIY Senior Member tvl's Avatar
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    I’ve got a weird one …………… at least I think I do.

    As you know, I have been monitoring water level for several weeks now and hoping the darn thing doesn’t go dry. Yes, the water level has been dropping when running, but I haven’t dropped to a level where the pump goes dry.

    I received a call this morning from one of my neighbors a couple of streets over. He wanted to know if my sprinkler system was running when I left for work this morning. It was and his wasn’t. As a matter of fact, he stated he didn’t see anyone’s system running on his way out for work. Coincidence?? He also stated this was a first not to see anyone’s sprinkler system running.

    Now for the weird part. He stated that 2 days ago he went to use the garden hose and nozzle and there was no water. He went to the breaker box and found the breaker had tripped. He reset the breaker and all was well. Yesterday when he got home he noticed the sprinklers had not run. Once again the breaker was tripped. He reset the breaker and went out to the well site. He could hear a slight hum from down in the well, but there was no water or pressure at the tank. He is assuming the pump was running, but he didn’t have the proper test equipment to verify this was truly the case. In any case, he stated that his well seal has two holes ………….. one for the wiring and the other is unused and not plugged. Air was blowing up through this hole. He stated he’s never felt air come through the hole before. What’s going on here? Weird!

    I can’t wait to check my system later today. Hopefully, all is well, but the gauge and ” poly pipe I installed a few weeks back will have a pressure reading indicating the lowest water level over the past 24 hours.

  7. #22
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    With the ” tubing for a level indicator, you are the only one who will know what is going on. Everyone else is just guessing. Most wells will blow air when the water level is rising, and suck air when the water level drops. But some wells will blow air and some suck air all the time, or even because of different moon phases. Nothing matters except the actual pumping level in your well.

  8. #23
    DIY Senior Member tvl's Avatar
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    Thanks Valveman!

    So, the air blowing from the well seal opening is not a bad sign or really doesn't indicate anything. I think we were both thinking this may indicate something is awry. In any case, my friend does have well issues and it doesn't look good.

  9. #24
    DIY Senior Member tvl's Avatar
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    Curiosity got the best of me, so I went home for lunch so that I could take a look at how things went today. Our sprinkler system did complete its entire cycle as the entire lawn looked fresh .................. especially the last two zones, as the grass was still wet. However, the pressure reading on the 1/4" poly tubing had dropped to a new level. Based on the pressure reading, the water level dropped 7 feet sometime during the daily cycle OR I had only 7 feet of water above the pump. Adding air back to the 1/4" poly tubing, returned the pressure reading to a normal state for no activity. So, the well has recovered, but it does appear the well is beginning to have problems producing for our sprinkler system needs. If other neighbors, such as the one mentioned in an earlier post are having issues, then it appears too much water is going out somewhere. Shucks!!!

    Has anyone every heard of studies being done to determine where underground water streams originate. I live in central South Carolina and I would assume our underground streams originate from somewhere up in the mountains. Is this a good assumption? I hope this isn't a foolish question!
    Last edited by tvl; 05-24-2012 at 09:49 AM.

  10. #25
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    I have seen some studies for certain areas. They put a dye or tracer in somewhere and look for where it comes out. Still a lot of guesswork. Recording levels in your well is probably more info than you can find from any study. As Ben Franklin said..."You won't know the worth of water until the well is dry".

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