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Thread: Another pump-runs-continuously-but-tank-not-filling thread

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member mystreba's Avatar
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    Default Another pump-runs-continuously-but-tank-not-filling thread

    Type of pump: Submersible_not sure what kind. I took pictures of it when a plumber pulled the pump to rewire it last year (it was shorting out). On one part is says Goulds Submersible Pump model 7GS05412. On another part is says Franklin Electric Submersible Motor model 2145059004.

    Two or Three wire?__Unsure. The Franklin pump says 3-wire, but there are only two wires leaving the house to the well.
    Wire Size: 12 awg .
    Wire Length: ~65’ in the water well itself.
    Size of Pump: 1/2 HP, 5.0 Amp
    Pump Model # Goulds 7GS05412 / Franklin 2145059004
    Date Pump Installed: unknown – I’ve owned the house for 7 yrs
    Depth of well: unknown – pump is 65’ down
    Depth to water: 15’ below ground
    Pump Setting: don’t know what this means.
    Drop Pipe: 1” Poly
    House pipe: 1" PVC
    Well Recovery Rate___unkown____gpm
    Well Casing Diameter__unknown_____”
    Rock Well__unknown________ Sand Well__________ Other______________
    Date Well Drilled: unknown – likely 50+ years
    Well Casing Material - unknown

    Pressure Tank: Flotec 85-gallon with bladder
    Air charge in top of tank: 40 PSI
    Pressure Switch Setting: On 40, off 60
    Pump Control Method? Not sure what this means – it’s a 7-stage pump
    Pump Protection: Not sure what this means. There is a Franklin Electric relay model #2801054915 between the pressure switch and the well pump.
    Filters or Softeners: none
    Water Used For: House
    Number of baths: 2
    Number of People: 7
    High Flow Showers_______gpm? Unknown – I use water-saver shower heads.

    Do you have, and know how to use an Ampmeter and Voltmeter? Yes

    Describe Problem:

    I recently upgraded my pressure tank when the old tank developed leaks. I went from very small Welltrol 20-gallon tank on 20/40 to a large Flotec 85-gal tank on 40/60. I relocated the tank at the same time – old tank 5’ from well, new tank 20’ from well. I built a new tee with check valve before the tank.
    After installation I loaded the tank with no problem – it went from empty to fully pressurized at 60+ in about one minute. System worked well for about a week until I noticed I was hearing the pump run continuously. I checked the tank and saw the pressure slowly dropping as people used water, even though the pump was running.

    The first thing I wanted to do was check if the well pump was working. Fortunately the pipe coming into the house from the well has a diverter that I installed in order to run faster tests on the new tank prior to cutting over. The diverter allows the well pump to feed in two directions (old tank, new tank), each of which has a cutoff valve. With the old tank gone I can now use the diverter to switch the well pump from the new tank over to the open pipe from the old tank – meaning I can draw water directly from the well (say, into a bucket). It appears fine – lots of water.
    I figure the problem is in one of two places:

    1 – At the pump, either:
    -The pump is not generating sufficient water flow to load the new tank, even though it appears to be drawing plenty of water at the diverter.
    (failing pump or leaking well pipe)
    -The pump is incorrectly sized for the new system (although it did work at first).

    2 – At the pipe between the diverter and the tank, either:
    - There is a clog in the pipe.
    - There is a problem with the check valve.

    One strange thing I noticed is that the pump-side supply pipe on the tank appears to be draining between fills. I'm pretty sure this is the case because when the pump kicks on I can hear the water coming, swishing around in there with sound building until it goes silent once the pipe fills. I expected that pipe to remain full of water after the pump kicks off. This leads me to think there may be a leak in the pump or well pipe that allows the supply pipe to drain back into the well.

    So, a few questions, in order of magnitude:

    Is my pump correctly sized for the tank installation?

    If the pump is correctly sized, and I can eliminate blockage, that would seem to indicate I need to pull the pump for inspection. One thought I had for eliminating blockage was to shut the well off, drain the tank, turn the pump back on and see what comes out of the drain valve – if it looks similar to what comes out at the diverter, that would seem to eliminate blockage. I recognize it isn’t a one-for-one comparison since some of the water entering the tee will go into the tank, but that should eventually stabilize so what I see coming out of the drain valve is what’s coming from the well.

    Can/should I install a pressure gauge at the diverter to see what the pump is producing directly? How would I interpret the result? If I pull the pump for inspection, how would I determine if the problem is the pump or a leaking poly pipe?

    Just looking for ideas. Thanks

  2. #2
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    With a properly working well, the check valve in or directly above the pump maintains the pressure in the line between the pump and the tank. There is no reason for a check valve at the tank, and it could be masking the problem. If there is a leak in the well, the pressure in the house will bleed off, but only if there is not an above ground check valve.

    Have you actually watched and listened down the well bore while the pump is running? If there is a leak it can often be heard or seen in the well.

    Pump sizing is not proportional to the size of the pressure tank. One can have a 500 gallon tank or a 20 gallon tank, the only difference is how long the pump runs between cycles. The purpose of a larger tank is to increase run-time and decrease cycling. As long as the well has enough water, the pump is designed to pump non-stop.

    I am also wondering if you moved the switch when you moved the tank? The switch will not perform well unless is it at the tank.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member mystreba's Avatar
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    All the bits are on the tee at the tank - pressure gauge, switch, check valve, 75 psi bleeder, drain valve, home shut-off valve.

    Thanks - I didn't realize the pump has a check valve. The old tank had an above-ground check valve, so I just duplicated it when I built the new tee.

    I think I'll try removing the well head (~300 pound concrete cover - yikes) to take a listen. Assuming no blockage in the well-to-tank line, do these symptoms sound like a failing pump, or more like a leaking drop pipe?

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member mystreba's Avatar
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    I realized it is not likely that I will be able to hear any leaks in the well since my water is only 15' below grade and the pump is 65' below grade. So unless the leak is in the top 15' of drop-pipe, the leak would be silent.

    After sleeping on this, it seems pretty clear there is a leak in the well pipe or at the pump. Unless I'm wrong, the well pipe should remain full between calls for water, yes? Since it is draining back into the well between calls, it must follow that there is a leak in the well pipe. There are no leaks in the part of the well pipe that supplies the house, so the drop-pipe or pump itself must be leaking. Further, the reason I detected this problem in the first place was a stuck/running toilet. With that amount of water running, the tank would not fill - even with the pump running continuously. This tells me that I'm losing at least the same amount of water in the drop-pipe leak as I was using at the toilet. Does this make sense?

    Does anyone have any advice for a DIY replacement of the pump and drop-pipe? I'm guessing the pump is a simple swap-out, but the 65' of poly pipe seems like it might be tricky. I imagine it comes on a coil, and it will want to retain that coiled shape, which would make it difficult to get down into the well unless the weight of the pump and gravity overcome.

    thanks

  5. #5
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Pulling the pump would be easy and no, you would not be fighting the coil. I've had my pump hung on 50 feet of poly in and out a dozen or so times. One person to pull, another person to walk back with the pitless/ pulling Tee. Lay out a bunch of skids or pallets to keep the pipe from touching the ground and wash it down with bleach as you are putting it back down.

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member mystreba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    Pulling the pump would be easy and no, you would not be fighting the coil. I've had my pump hung on 50 feet of poly in and out a dozen or so times. One person to pull, another person to walk back with the pitless/ pulling Tee. Lay out a bunch of skids or pallets to keep the pipe from touching the ground and wash it down with bleach as you are putting it back down.
    Thanks. I just bought a 3/4 hp pump and 100' of Cresline HD125 1" tubing. Various barbed couplings. I'll limp through the weekend and pull it on Monday when the pros are back at work in case I run into trouble.

  7. #7
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Assuming it's one length of tubing down the hole, chances are pretty good that a leak would be at the fitting screwed into the top of the pump or at the pitless adapter. The old tubing might be fine.
    If you are using new tubing, make sure that it is specifically rated for potable water, as not all of it is.

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member mystreba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cacher_chick View Post
    Assuming it's one length of tubing down the hole, chances are pretty good that a leak would be at the fitting screwed into the top of the pump or at the pitless adapter. The old tubing might be fine.
    If you are using new tubing, make sure that it is specifically rated for potable water, as not all of it is.
    Thanks. Yes, one length of tubing IIRC. I figure that if I'm pulling the pump it's only $50 to replace the tubing.

    Due to my well-head setup (its in the garage floor) I'd know if it were leaking at the adapter. Most likely at the pump then. The tubing is for potable water.

    Are regular stainless tubing clamps used in the well? Just want to make sure I have everything I need.

  9. #9
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mystreba View Post
    Are regular stainless tubing clamps used in the well? Just want to make sure I have everything I need.
    Not sure what you mean by regular. You want the better quality ones that also have SS worm screws. If you have long barbs, then use three clamps alternated otherwise two clamps also alternated. Use hot water or a heat gun to soften the poly, not a torch, and soften it only enough to still be an effort to push in the barb.

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member mystreba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    Not sure what you mean by regular. You want the better quality ones that also have SS worm screws. If you have long barbs, then use three clamps alternated otherwise two clamps also alternated. Use hot water or a heat gun to soften the poly, not a torch, and soften it only enough to still be an effort to push in the barb.
    Great - thanks

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