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Thread: again with the well pump confusion

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Tracine French's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013

    Unhappy again with the well pump confusion

    I am real tired of trying to be a plumber's partner/well pump sidekick, lol We have a 120ft. well with a submersible pump, pulling the pump was getting to be easy, compared to having no water. We have had to replace pretty much everything, except the well casing itself, (omg, Knock on wood, prob. will have to, now that I have said the words aloud) We have replaced the control box, the wiring, pressure control switch, drop pipe, the wire, and have tried to secure the damned wire against the drop pipe, so as not to have it, yet again, torque the wire against the casing, so as to short itself out., oh, and I forgot to mention, yeah, replaced the pump also. We had discovered that our pump had been short cycling, and of course had worn itself out, because it had been wired wrong, it was a horrible mess, so, we replaced everything, and thought that we had it whipped, my heart sank when I got my power bills, the power bills had been rising, rising, rising, I had written a letter to the power co., asking if they could help us find the reason that we had this huge jump in consumption, and that is when we found that our pump had been short cycling for a cpl of months, it had tripled our power usage. So after we had replaced everything, thought that we were "back on track", the following month, aaahhhhh, still a huge bill, and we not knowing then, that you could wire a pump to run backwaards, and not shut off, dammit! we would listen for the pump to cut in, it would, we had water, but low, low pressure, so, when I got my bill, and was done crying, I discovered, that yes, in fact, we had it wired backwards. Switched two wires around, and wow, a damned miracle. SO, NOW, I am stressing, the pump will cut in, draw up the water, cut out, and immediately start to drop in pressure on the gauge, until, yes, the cut in. I have shut off all water being used in the house, and still the drop. We do not have a way to cut the water to the house, leaving only the tank, and pump on the one side, in order to "narrow it down". to the well and tank, or the pipes to the house, I have looked and looked, and do not see an obvious leak, (as quickly as the pressure drops, seems like I would be able to see some signs) I turned on the power waited for the pump to cut out, and cut the power, and did not hear anything down the well, but still, the drop. I do not know what to do now. I HAVE TO HAVE MY WATER!!!!! HELP!!!!

  2. #2
    In the Trades Texas Wellman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    SE Texas-Coastal


    Please do yourself a favor and get a real water well person out there ASAP. I simply do not understand why people get plumbers out to do a job that they are underqualified for. You would not call a plumber out if a light switch wouldn't work or an electrician out if your toilet was leaking, so why would you call a plumber out when you have a well/pump problem? You could have probably already saved enough money and heart-ache to pay for the cost of the true pump guy.

    To answer your question, I'm not aware of a submersible pump being able to run backwards unless it's 3-phase, and even then it will still pump, albeit much less water. I seriously doubt you have a 3-phase, but you may have a 3-wire pump, which is not the same.

    It sounds like the pump was not installed correctly and the check-valve is leaking back into the well, which causes your pump to cycle rapidly because you are losing the pressure back into the well. It should be an easy fix. I'm not sure if you've had a lot of trouble with wire rubbing the casing and shorting out, but it sounds like it. I know a lot of people who use black-poly pipe have this problem, which is why I always use sch 80 PVC pipe or steel galv. pipe and I never have this problem.

    Good luck on fixing your problem.

  3. #3
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Lubbock, Texas


    I think you have a bad check valve down the well as TW says. But without having a ball valve so you can close off water going to the house, we are just guessing. If you replace the check valve and still have the same problem, you may find that you have a leak somewhere after the pressure tank.

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012


    I'm with Texas on plumbers.......most of them don't know squat about a pump system nor do most of them have the proper equipment, there is a HUGE difference between changing a pump and proper diagnostics. A good pump tech would have this problem solved long ago.

    I also agree on using sch 80 or steel drop pipe, poly is NOT the best stuff to hang pumps on.

    Sounds as though Texas and Valveman are spot on about a bad check valve in the well.

    Good luck and let us know what your pump tech finds

  5. #5


    waaaahhhh, I thought that there was a check valve that is in a submersible pump? We are very rural, we live 50 miles away from anyone that could help us out with this, and of course they wanna charge us mileage, labor, parts, and way too damn much money. If I would have done that initially, yes, I could have saved some money, because of the power bill that just about did us in. So now, I am the pump tech, with many hours of research, and forums, (by the way, thank you so much for responding) and bitching. The bitching part is because I am a female, lol, it just seems to work for me, my husband is the brawn of the team, and I am the brains, heh heh, but, so far, so good, thanks to all of your help. I understand about the "electrician to fix the plumbing thing", and i would have to agree, but, the fact of the matter is, we struggle, we work together, to do what it takes, to survive, and if takes rolling around with drop pipe, and dealing without water for a day, while I search the web for kind people like you, to take time out of their day, to respond to my questions, then, that's what I got. But, at the end of the day, when I am able to walk in to my kitchen, turn on my damn faucet, to do the damn dishes, that have been piling on my counters, while I do all this other fun stuff. Then, and only then, I AM HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Last edited by oldhagonthewestcoast; 01-11-2013 at 10:34 AM.

  6. #6
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    NW Ontario, Canada


    Most likely the pump does have a built-in checkvalve. It could be leaking or you could have a leak elsewhere between the pump and the tank.

    As for DIY, many of us have little choice, either because of economics or geography or simply a void of any good pumpmen. I grew up on a farm where one learns early on how to DIY. The school of hard knocks has a very mean teacher cuz she gives the exam before the lesson. In this modern day, the internet can be a treasure trove if you can separate the wheat from the chaff.

    Now, it seems in this hick town that finding good people to hire is a crap shoot so if you want it done right, you might best have to learn to DIY or hire the incompetent to do it over and over if you can even get them to do a return visit. I don't mean to insult any of the pumpmen here as they a talented bunch of guys even if some of them are a little arrogant or lack bedside manners.

    On the topic of poly pipe WRT to wire chaffing, they make standoffs to prevent that. As for wiring your pump wrong, all I can think is maybe you got the start and run wires mixed up.

    As for living on well water, you had best learn sooner than later how to keep a watchful eye on it or it will cost you. Being blissfully unaware of a pump short cycling results in a pain in the wallet.

    I had a neighbor and co-worker who's electric bill was increasing month by month. This went on for a very long time and I only learned of it after the fact. He had a leak in the pipe between the pump and the house which he only discovered after the pump pressure degraded significantly.

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