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Thread: Irrigation Well Pump Stop Working After Breaker Jumped - Please Help.

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Tpham2001's Avatar
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    Default Irrigation Well Pump Stop Working After Breaker Jumped - Please Help.

    Hi All,
    My sister bought this house that came complete with well irrigation system; everything works fine until last week. I don't know much about well irrigation system, so please forgive me if I sound un-educated in this field. As the title stated, the irrigation system stop working after the breaker jumped. It rained for couple of days straight and the ground was really wet. The breaker for the switch valve jumped; I turned it back on but it jumped again so I just turn it off and let everything dry out before attempting the investigation.
    I looked over the system today and this is what I have...
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    My question is, does the switch ever go bad? I did some search on the site and found sticky showing a switch valve with a switch on the side indicates "auto, on and off" and as you can see mine, does not have a manual level switch.

    I know the pressure gauge should be replaced because I can't read it at all; if I am to replace the pressure gauge, what range of psi read out should I get? I think the pressure is reading "0" at the moment.

    By the looks of thing, I don't think there's any pressure in the tank either. How do I pressurize the tank again? I have a compressor, can I use it to pressurize the tank again? If so, what pressure should I inject in to the tank?

    As mentioned earlier, I have no knowledge in this field so any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    Twin

  2. #2
    DIY Member bcpumpguy's Avatar
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    a breaker does not jump, it trips. You have an overload situation, most likely the submersible pump is bad and needs to come out of the well and be replaced. You can presurize the tank but since the breaker trips a soon as you turn it on its not going to help.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Tpham2001's Avatar
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    Thanks bcpumpguy... Breakers trips, now I know...
    Now that everything is drying out, I turned the breaker back on; it does not trips. Also, when I plugged in the switch valve nothing seems to be happening (clicking sound). This leads me to guess the switch might be bad and need replacement. There are sand and dirt inside the switch valve, I'll use the compressor to clean it first and see if this help. Pump removal is my biggest fear!!! Any idea how much one of this cost (rough estimate)? I have to look on how to remove the pump, the metal cover plate on top of the well is rusted pretty bad. The plate comes in two hafts and I think there used to be some bolts (4) on top, but it rusted out as well.
    Thanks again for the feed back...

    Twin

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
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    WHOA!!!!!!! Some of those well seals are have 4 pieces of steel with a rubber disc that expands when those bolts/nuts are tightened. Taking those bolts/nuts off can allow 2 of those pieces to fall into the well and trap the pump.

    It sounds as though you have a short someplace. Shut the breakers off & check for shorts and continuity on the lines from the breakers to the top of the well and then from the top of the well down to the pump to determine where your problem is. Checking the resistance through the windings and a check of the start & running amps with an amprobe would help in determining the condition of the pump and motor as well.

    I have never liked seeing a pressure switch out in the weather, see if you can relocate it inside to keep it from getting wet. Also bugs are known to get into them and prevent them from working properly.

  5. #5
    In the Trades Texas Wellman's Avatar
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    Common practice here in the south to have everything outside from control boxes to pressure switches and even entire jet pumps. Bugs will get in them whether they are inside or not.

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
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    Without some type of enclosure?

  7. #7
    In the Trades Texas Wellman's Avatar
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    No enclosure. The C-Boxes do get a little rusty, and the lids to the pressure switch fade.

    I really hate well houses BTW. And IMO believe they are completely un-necessary for the well to function properly. They are more for asthetics than anything else.

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member Tpham2001's Avatar
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    craigpump, thank-you for the response.
    If I were to remove the pump, I only way I can do this is to cut the 4" PVC casing; the 4 bolts holding the cover plate as you explained are gone. The head on those bolts completely rusted out.

    More info on the electrical wiring...

    1. From the breaker box, the breaker is labeled "water softener", but there is no water softener in this location. The water softener outlet is rated for 230v and the line is fine, no short there.

    2. The pressure switch is 40/60 square D

    3. This is the tricky part (for me); when power is supplied to the pressure switch; I checked wire connections at the pump and this is what I found:
    A. Black wire is hot
    B. Grey wire is also hot
    C. Ground is fine.

    The above finding does not sit well with me; again, this may confirm I need a new pump. I have a multimeter, yet I don't know how to use it. I got a GreenLee multimeter kit and thus far I've only used the wand and the outlet tester. YouTube....

    I'm with you concerning switches out in the weather, I'll be looking for fake rock to cover it up.
    I left the break in the off position since we having more rain this week and looks like it will be the same for next week.

    Again, thank-you for the response...
    Twin
    Last edited by Tpham2001; 10-03-2012 at 03:51 PM.

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member Tpham2001's Avatar
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    What pump brand do you recommend?

    Thanks,
    Twin

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
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    I hate to see anyone spend money on a pump without knowing for sure that is the problem. I think it would be worth the money to have a qualified pump installer (not a plumber) come over and trouble shoot the system for you. You may find that a splice in the wire downhole has failed or there is a chaffed spot in the wire.

    As for brands of pumps, I have been installing Frankin pumps & motors almost exclusively for several years with no complaints. I would NEVER install something from a big box store or from a farm supply place. Stay with a pump that uses stainless steel motor mounts and discharge heads and comes with at least a one yr warranty. Better yet, talk to the pump installer who you get to troubleshoot your problem, most of us offer 5 year warranties on pumps we install. Sure it may cost more, but there is peace of mind knowing that the pump will be covered in the event that it fails.

  11. #11
    Well Drilling/Service justwater's Avatar
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    i agree, most likely short in an underground wire. being as it seems to be worse in wet weather, check the wire from plug to switch (assuming wire from breaker to plug is good) and from the switch to the well head before you start tinkering with the well.

    if you do need to get to the pump. cut the line at the well head, twist it a little and you'll know how tight the seal is. carefully see if u can pull it up a little through the well seal. looks to be hung on glued pvc, so maybe its not set all that deep and you'll be able to pull it by hand. many times those bolts on the seal arent super tight anyway. i have dealt with some pretty bad seals. if you can get someone/something to pull up on the pump line, you can likely pry it up with a good strong flat head screwdriver or similar. if you can find a big pipewrench and twist the well seal some, that will help. might not be a huge job, but u know how that goes. wouldnt be crazy to call for help.

    just noticed i have a motorcycle as my avatar.. not sure where that came from
    Last edited by justwater; 10-16-2012 at 05:49 PM.

  12. #12
    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
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    Every time I deal with an old seal I wonder why the manufacturer or installer didn't spend a few bucks on stainless steel nuts and bolts for the damn thing

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member Tpham2001's Avatar
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    I checked the continuity from the plug head to the PS, all wires are fine. I then checked the continuity for the wires going from the PS to the pump and all the wires are fine. While I was at the PS, I poked around and saw these... There seems to be some sort of built up on the faces of the contacts; is this normal? Can I clean it out or replace the PS? I know this may not solve my problem, but I have to take one step at a time.
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    Thank-you for all your help and patient.

  14. #14
    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
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    Yeah they get like that after a while, if they get too bad they won't make contact and direct current to the pump. I would replace it. Be sure to wire it up the exact same way it comes apart.

  15. #15
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigpump View Post
    Yeah they get like that after a while...
    Probably has something to do with having them outside in the elements. A can't see dust and damp being good for them. Mine is in the house and it is the wet end that fails from mineral encrustation.

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