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Thread: Jet pump not working

  1. #1

    Default Jet pump not working

    I have a Meyer's HR series 1/2 hp Jet pump. It's about a 1 1/2 year old. And a 29' shallow well. not
    sure if that means the pump needs to draw 29' or that the well pipe is down 29'. The out let the pump is plugged into has power and the breaker has not tripped, although about twice in a year it has and I had to reset it. The bladder tank has 29psi with no water. The pump is making so sound as when it is not running, not even a hum.

    The area is about 3" behind in rain fall for the year but this is nothing new and I think we've picked up those 3" over the last two weeks. And other wells (deep and Sholloe within an acre or two distance have no well problems.

    Is there a way to get the pump pumping or at least see if there is a problem with the pump itself?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.

    Charlie

  2. #2
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    You have a marginal condition if you are trying to lift water 29 ft. You should have the following equipment to help diagnose pump problems:

    Multimeter
    Pressure gauge
    Vacuum gauge (30" Hg to 60 psi) on the suction of the pump

    The multimeter will let you determine if you have power at the pump. If power at the pump and no sound indicating turning of the motor, then the motor is shot or it has tripped its internal overload. If it's overload, it should come back on in minutes, unless it has a push-button overload reset.

    Your pressure swtich may be set pretty high for a 1/2 HP pump and deep suction. If you can get the pump to start, you might try to run it with a discharge valve open until you establish flow. You also may want to reduce the START pressure on the switch to 20 or 25 psi, and set the tank air pressure at 2 psi less than the START pressure.

    The vacuum gauge will tell you if the water level in the well is too low. One inch of Hg is 1.13 ft of water. If the vacuum is more than 22" Hg (25 ft of water) then you are at the limit of the pump. Zero vacuum on the gauge tells you that the pump isn't lifting anything.

  3. #3

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    Thanks Bob for responding.

    All I really know about the well depth is that the drillers reciept from 6 years ago says "shallow well 29' deep". In the morn I'll get some light string suitable for weighting and lowering in to the well to measure the water level, and mabe even depth. The jet pump is mounted atop a 42Gal bladder tank so I figure I should be able to remount the pump on the ground and reduce the depth of draw a foot or so if necessary. Should the pump be achored or would it be alright to leave it setting on the concrete? The well pipe is 1" PVC dropped inside a 2" PVC. The only way I can figure to cut the outer pipe w/o damaging the well pipe is with a hack saw. Would it be a problem if some of the cuttings should fall into the well?

    Not sure how to use Multimeter, that is if I can get hold of one. Probably can't buy one. If the pump has a "push-button overload reset" do you have any idea where it might be located?

    I have a 0-100 psi (BIT brand) guage that came with the pump, but never attached it. I assume it attaches to a plugged hole at the front of the pump.

    I really have no idea how to properly adjust the Start pressure on the switch. I do know that it is a D-switch with only one spring factory set at 30/50. Could you advise me how to go about adjusting it. The tank air pressure I know how to adjust and have a compressure handy if necessary.

    Vacuum guage and "Hg" measurement I have no understanding of. I guess you could say that w/o help I know about enough to get into trouble.

    Any more help you could impart would surely be apreciated.

    Thanks Bob. Have a great day.

    Charlie

  4. #4
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    You should install the pressure switch. You can't see pressure. You can't set your pressure switch without it. You can connect it to a tee at the pressure switch, or a convenient plug somewhere on the discharge side of the pump if you DON'T have a check valve between the pump and the pressure switch.

    You are trying to find out if there is power at the motor or pressure switch. A multimeter is a combination voltmeter and ohm meter. You can buy one at Radio Shack or Sears for $20 (less if on sale), or a more expensive one at H Depot. Get an inexpensive digital meter; fancy you don't need.

    Every homeowner shoud own a multimeter and know how to use it. You can't see electrons or Volts. You will use it to check switches and outlets and bulbs and appliances that aren't working.

    It comes with two wires, called "leads". You set the meter for AC Volts at a number higher than 240 volts; touch the leads to the contacts of the pressure switch, and read the volts. If there is voltage at the wire from the pressure switch to the pump, and the pump doesn't run, there is a problem with the motor or connection at the pump.

    The reset, if there is one, will be a button at the end of the motor away from the pump end. There is USUALLY no reset button on a pump. They usually contain a self-resetting overload switch.

    Now if the pump isn't running, you will use the ohm-meter function of your multi-meter. Ohms are units of "resistance" of a wire or other conductor. Small, long wires have high resistance, and short fat wires have low resistance. Very high resistance (infinity, or off the scale) is usually called and "open circuit". Very low resistance is called a "short circuit" or just a "short".

    TURN OFF THE CIRCUIT BREAKER. Set the meter to Ohms, or sometimes kOhms, at the lowest value. Touch the leads together and you should read 0.0 or something like that. Now touch both leads to the pressure switch contacts corresponding to the wires that go to the pump. You should read a low value, on the order of probably 10 or 20 ohms. If the meter is set at kOhms, you will read 0.01 or 0.02 or some such. If it reads a high number, or is flashing like it is with the leads not touching, then the motor has an "open circuit"; (no connection). There are several reasons but with your experience we will leave that 'til later.

    The vacuum gauge is a special pressure gauge that measures vacuum on the suction side of the pump. It measure in "Inches of mercury"; (In Hg, which is the symbol for mercury. Mercury is 13.6 times as dense as water, so 1" Hg = 13.6" of water which is 1.13 ft of water. You may find one that reads in psi vacuum, but that would be unusual. The 60 psi part of the scale is not useful to you but is there so you don't wreck the gauge when the pump shuts off and you get tank pressure against the foot valve. If you don't have a foot valve, but have a check valve on the discharge side of the pump, then you can use a gauge that measure only 0 to 30" Hg.

    The vacuum gauge will tell you if the water is too low in the well but only when the pump is pumping. A shallow well jet pump applies a vacuum to the line to lift the water and to make up for friction losses in the suction pipe. Shallow well jet pumps are usually rated for no more than 25 ft of lift, so if the gauge reads more than 22" Hg you are at the limit of the pump. It might do a bit more but will be very unreliable. You might have to find a vacuum gauge at a plumging supply or at some place like Grainger.

    To set the pressure switch, there is usually a large nut or screw on a spring column, and a smaller one below and beside it. To lower the pressure, turn that large on counterclockwise (back off). That will reduce both the start and shutoff pressure. Turning the other one counterclockwise reduces the shutoff pressure only.

    You need a place to prime the pump and let water go to waste at low pressure so you can get it running. That should be a valve or plug on a tee at the discharge of the pump.

    Start with the multimeter, and installing the pressure gauge that you have.

  5. #5

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    Thanks Bob.

    Took your advice and opened a valve until flow was established. It was open about 7 hours. As I reached to close it before going to bed it began flowing. Kind of a relief but still sounds like I have some things to work out. I've noticed the pump is turning on after only about a quart of water has flowed, and it does this every time. I'm not sure if this was happening before. And as I mentioned the tank air is at 29psi with the bladder completely drained.

    I'll get that pressure guage on. There is a check valve in front of the pumps inlet. I put one there when I had the previous pump. The driller said he installed a check valve in the well and I thought it may have gone bad a couple years back as the previous pump kept loosing prime. But turned out the pump was bad and sucking air. I hope two check valves isn't a bad thing (well, other than the extra expense and labor). It sounds like the multimeter will be a handy addition to the tool box. I should be able to get a pressure guage too as theres both a plumbing supply and Graingers near by.

    Theres a plug in the top of a PVC "T" fitting connected to the discharge of the pump for priming.

    I'm still confused about setting the pressure switch. Theres only the large nut on a spring column. I found a vauge instruction inside the presure switch cover. It's in micro print and seems to say 1.) Turm #1 CW to raise cut on pressures. 2.) Cut off determined by inherent differential of switch. On/1 Off/0; psi 20 / kPa 138. I guess thats some how in reference to the factory set 30/50 spec. I'm still confused about how to adjust it.

  6. #6

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    The water dies again now after running about probably 8-10 gallons this morning. Sure hope I get what ever the problem is fix before I really loose it.

  7. #7

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    Bob,

    I dropped a waited line in the well. The bottom of the well appears to be at 33' below ground surface with the water level at 11' below ground surface. Including 3' the water must travel from ground surface to the jet pump head I figure the pump must draw the water bout 14'.

    Attached the pressure gauge to a T just above the pump outlet.

    Got into town to get the multimeter. Couldn't yet find one with digital readout. Was going to get the vacuum gauge then too but guess I lost interest when couldn't find the multimeter. Hope it isn't a problem meanwhile. BTW, is the vacuum gauge the same piece of gear as a pressure gauge or should I specify "vacuum" gauge when I buy?

    Checked the air pressure again today after draining the tank bladder of water then closing the faucet and as always it's right about 28 psi.

    With farthest faucet open (about 100' away from the pump/tank)I waited 10 min. til water started to flow, closed this faucet then went outside to check the pressure guage.

    it switched off at 33 psi

    Opened the faucet and the pump switched on at 10 psi, began pumping at nearly 0-1 psi.

    It then switched off at 33 psi.

    I began turning the only adjustment nut 1/4 turn clockwise at a time, using a faucet attached near the bottom of the tank to check the new cut-on/off psi. I wound up tightening the adjustment nut 5 full turns to achieve 30 psi cut-on. The achieved cut-off pressure is 45 psi. If I understand the instructions in the switch cover correctly the variance between cut-in and cut-off is supposed to be a constant 20 psi, hence only the one adjustment nut. But since the constant variance on the switch is only 15 psi I guess the switch is defective or damaged. But the system seems to be working great now . In any case I guess I'm just stuck with it. Do you think the switch should be replaced? Any particular recommendations as to brand/specs?

    Thanks. Have a great day.

    Charlie

  8. #8
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    There is usually a second screw (smaller, off to the side) that increases the cut-off pressure without affecting the turn-on pressure. Clockwise usually increases the differential.

  9. #9

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    Everyone needs a volt-ohm meter - Harbor freight is giving a little digital yellow one away with some orders - or for 2 bucks. You can hardly replace the battery in it for 3 dollars. Tested them against my "real" meters and they work fine - no reason not to have one in every tool box now. Warning! most anything that says electric with harbor freight connected to it is on a one way trip to the trash heap, very quickly. They do sell some myers pumps at good prices and reasonable quality however.

    Be glad you didnt find the vacuum gauge - you dont need it. Anyone that might can find them at surplus center for a few bucks also.

  10. #10

    Default Appearantly the switch is bad.

    Well folks, appesrantly the switch is bad. Looking at the switch from the end where the pressure switch tube connects the pair of contacts on the left seem to make contact just fine, but the contacts on the left don't even try to make contact. When I push the right hand contacts together with an insulated screw driver the pump runs until I remove the screw driver from behind the contact.

    I let the water pressure built to about 50 psi and open a spigot beside the bladder tank and when the pressure drops to 30 psi the switch clicks and the left hand contacts close but the right hand contacts remain open. I adjust the air and the nut on the D-switch and the problem persists.
    I tried upping the air and nut adjustment and the left hand contacts close completely but the problem still persists and I have to push about 4 time as hard with the screw driver to close the left hand contacts.

    I have the air back to 28psi and as best I can guess the switch is set back to about 30/45.

    I took the D switch off an old Flotec jet pump to get a better look at how it works and basicly it seem pretty simple. On both switches behind the contact bracket, behind each contact is a small spring. The springs on the old switch have only a few turnes and I can see inside them to see if they are clean. But the springs on the Meyers switch have so many turnes that I cannot see inside them. I have blown the switch out with a pressureized gas duster I got from Office Max for cleaning my computer, but it didn't help.

    I thought about replacing the present switch with the old one. But the fitting that the pressure tube attaches to had some black water in it. I removed the fitting and cleaned both parts but black kept comming out (from the rubber seal mabe). So I guess it's not really worth using.

    Meanwhile I'm luky to get enough water to fill the toilet tank a few times w/o having to go back out to the pump.

    So, do I need a new switch? A Home Depot a few towns away has them for 25 or $30. I guess their for Flotec Pumps they sell and are probably set to 40/60. Will the 1/2hp Meyers HR pump, pump to 60 psi? I [guess] their good switches as the one off my old Flotec pump appears to be heavier/stronger built than the one on the newer Meyers pump. The Flowtec switch has three adjustment springs/nuts (2,1,and3 repectively). The instructions say #2CW to raise cutoff pressure only. #1CW to raise cuton/cutoff pressure only. I [assume] #3 CW to lower cuton pressure only.

    I hope I've provided enough info (mabe more than necessary). I sure hope some will give me some guidance on what to do to fix this problem.

    Thank you. Have a great day.

    Charlie

  11. #11
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Any plumbing or pump supply house or hardware store will have a pressure switch. Ask for a 30/50 psi switch and replace your old one. If your pump won't build to 50 psi, adjust the switch, even if you get the 40/60 switch. And adjust the air pressure in the tank to 1-2 psi less air than the cut-in on the switch. You do that with no water in the tank.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  12. #12

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    Thanks Gary,

    If I get one that set at 40/60, will it be advisable to leave it at 40/60 and increase the air to 38 to get stronger water pressure. Or would the Meyer's 1/2 hp pump handle 60 psi? I know most of the PVC is rated 80 psi, some 200 psi.

    Would 40/60 [even] increase water pressure. Or am I off base (quite possible)?

    Thanks.

    Charlie

  13. #13
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    More pressure is more pressure, but it usually doesn't stay at max for long if a valve is opened. Somebody familiar with that pump will know, but some of those won't make that much pressure.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  14. #14

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    Thanks Jim,

    Have a great day.

    Charlie.

  15. #15
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    A 1/2 hp usually will have trouble getting to 60 psi. Plus, the higher the pessure, the more water you use and the more frequently the pump runs and the higher the electric and maintenance bills. So 30/50 is best all around.

    Sch 40 PVC (white) has a 420 psi rating at 73 f. PE (black or blue) comes in 75, 100, 125, 160 and 200 psi ratings and in rolls to 500' at ost pump and plumbing supply houses. I strongly suggest 160 or 200 psi PE if you are burying it; and no rocks below or above it.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

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