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Thread: Pump Going On and Off

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Kahless's Avatar
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    Default Pump Going On and Off

    I'm new to having a well and I just bought a house with one. Problem is our pressure switch keeps coming on and off really fast when we run some water. I knew the previous owner messed with the adjustments on it without knowing what they were doing. So I replaced the pressure switch and it still does the same thing. I checked the pressure tank and it didn't have any pressure. I put air in it up to about 30 lbs and waited a while and it didn't hold the air. So I bought a new pressure tank. Still having the problem. The moment I run water the switch just goes crazy on and off. Though according to my pressure gauge the pump shouldn't even be on. And the odd thing is when I put the new pressure gauge on it worked even worse then the one that had been adjusted. So I had to put the old one back on.

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    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Here is a procedure to check things:

    1. Turn off the circuit breaker.
    2. Slowly run all of the water out of the tank while watching the water pressure gauge. At some point, the pressure will suddenly drop to zero. The pressure where it suddenly drops is the air pressure in the tank.
    3. If you have a tire gauge, check the air pressure in the tank.
    4. If the air pressure is low, add air to the tank until the pressure is about 3 psi LESS than where you want your pressure switch to start. With a water valve open, that should force all of the water out of the tank. If the pressure is too high, bleed the air down to 3 psi less than you want your pump to start.
    5. Try to "rock" the tank to make sure it is empty of water. If it has a lot of water after step 4 then the bladder has probably failed and you need a new tank.
    6. Close all water valves and run the pump for just a few seconds. The pressure should increase immediately to the air pressure, and then more slowly. Shut the pump off with the breaker and watch the gauge. It should hold steady. If it drops you have a leak, or an open valve, or a check valve failure.
    7. Runs some water slowly until the pressure has dropped to about 3 psi above the air pressure in the tank (from step 4). Use a flat screwdriver to lift the pressure plate near the base of the switch to turn the switch to the OFF position if it in not already off, and then release the pressure plate.
    8. If the switch stays OFF after step 7, then adjust the main screw/nut on the pressure switch to increase the pressure setting until its switch goes to ON. If the switch goes to ON when you release the pressure plate, then adjust the pressure switch to decrease the switch point until the it just operates when you release the plate.
    9. Run the pump and observe the pressure where it goes off. Use the secondary screw/nut to adjust the OFF point of the pressure switch without changing the ON point. There will be a minimum ON/OFF differential that you can achieve of 15 to 20 psi.

    I had a tank where the failure was not the bladder but the tank on the air side of the bladder. If your tank loses air pressure, then you must repalce the tank.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Kahless's Avatar
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    I've done all that. Here's a little bit more info.

    My pressure tank is at 28-30 psi somewhere around there. My pressure switch is a 30-50 switch. My pressure gauge sets at 40 psi when no water is running. When I run water it bounces from 40 to 70 psi over and over again as the switch kicks on and off very fast.

    My water tends to be fairly rusty so someone put a hot water tank right off the pressure tank as a holding tank. It doesn't function as a hot water tank doesn't have any power to it. Then from that tank it goes to the rest of the house.

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    If your switch is a 30/50, why is it coming on at 40 and going to 70???

    The water heater was a very poor idea as storage goes.

    You had better check the air pressure in that tank again. You did something wrong when testing it.

    Remember the pump has to be off and the system pressure has to be at zero.

    bob...

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    DIY Junior Member Kahless's Avatar
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    The hot water tank acted as a settling tank for the iron. A water filtration person from culligan installed it as a settling tank. No idea why it was before I owned the place. Don't know why its coming on at 40 when the switch is a 30/50 switch i've had two experts on wells and plumbing out to look at the system and they all end up leaving completely baffled. I've tried 3 other 30/50 pressure switches thinkin it just might be a bad switch and they are all the same.

  6. #6
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    "The hot water tank acted as a settling tank for the iron. A water filtration person from culligan installed it as a settling tank. No idea why it was before I owned the place. Don't know why its coming on at 40 when the switch is a 30/50 switch i've had two experts on wells and plumbing out to look at the system and they all end up leaving completely baffled. I've tried 3 other 30/50 pressure switches thinkin it just might be a bad switch and they are all the same."

    First the "settling tank". The iron in your water is colloidal, not like sand. It is virtually impossible to "settle" it. Did they know enough to install the tank horizontally. Effectiveness of a settling tank is proportional to "plan view" area. A vertical water heater is a lousy settling tank but you wouldn't really expect "A water filtration person from culligan" to know anything about settling particles in water.

    Your "experts" must be from the same school as the cullligan filtration person. An expert worthy of the title should be able to quickly diagnose a pump/tank/switch problem.

    Did anyone ever try to adjust the pressure switches. The 30/50 settings are common factory adjustments, but they are meant to be adjusted to the application.

    Sometimes there is a "snubber" in a pressure switch that can become plugged. Make sure there is no snubber in the switch or the gauge.

    How big is your pressure tank? Are you trying to make this work with a 10 gallon tank?

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