Old 4" submersible died, new 4" not working as expected

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jdufault

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Hello everyone,

I just want to say first and foremost thanks to everyone here, this community has a lot of great information and resources available that helped me through the process of everything I've done so far in regard to my well and pump.

We had an old 4" submersible well pump fail this past summer; it was a Franklin Electric manufactured and installed in 1996. 1/2 HP 110V 12A. What a great pump, worked like a horse its entire life. In fact, after doing some quick tests after I pulled it from the well, the motor still kicks on, the failure must be at the impeller section of the pump.

Our well drill depth is 500', with a static water level of 25', and a refill rate of 1.5GPM. The pump sits at the end of about 350' of polyethylene black hose.

So I did some research around the internet and tried to find a new pump that closely resembled the old pump and would be as close to an easy swap out as possible. I came across the Red Lion RL12G05 2W1V on amazon and decided to give it a shot.


I got the new pump and followed all the instructions. I use the stakon connectors that came with the pump to crimp the line load and ground wires to their counterparts on the well lines and used the sleeves to protect the connections. I wrapped up the whole thing in vinyl electric tape nice and tight. I used an extended barbed insert to attach the poly hose to the discharge head of the pump, as well as 3 clamps (all were recommended here, thank you!) and everything went together very nice and easy.

Before I put the new pump into the well, I took a 35 gallon plastic barrel and filled it with water, gathered up all the electrical line and submerged the entire thing to verify everything was working. I was very careful to just pump for about 30 seconds to test and never let the pump suck air at all. It pumped water quite well right through the 350' of poly I had circling the backyard. I checked the continuity and ohms on the line and with everything connected I am looking at 1.8-2.1 ohms reading. Voltage was reading 119 coming off the pressure switch and then 110 with everything hooked up.

So I lowered the pump into the well and things didn't go quite as expected, the pump seems to go into some sort of overload mode where I get little spurts of water every few minutes. Ohmes and voltage still read the same, and it is not tripping the breaker, but I have no water. So next I raised the pump out of the well again put it in the water barrel and sure enough, it pumps water just fine above ground.

I am hoping I didn't make a grave mistake of ordering a pump not powerful enough to do this job. I was under the impression that the pump is only really working above water level, and with 212 feet of max head, we should be getting plenty of water above our 25' static water level. I was very careful to verify that the water was indeed at 25' and had not fallen after doing a couple tests.

If anyone has any insight that might help me I would be greatly appreciative, I really don't have a clue why this isn't working as intended. The only difference I can see is that this new pump has a built-in check valve and the old pump had a nice solid metal one after the discharge head. Let me know if I missed anything and I can do my best to add information here, thank you.

EDIT: I should mention this well and pump were hooked into a Well-X-Trol 20 Gallon tank and everything is on a 20AMP breaker, and used just for watering the lawn, about 10 sprinklers one at a time for 30 minutes each overnight. I have not even hooked the new pump into the poly hose line going to the tank, I wanted to get a clear view of any water at all coming off the cap.
 

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Valveman

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Should be working the same in the well as in the bucket. However, the old pump is longer, so it is probably a 5 GPM series that will work as the water level drops to as deep as 300'. The new 12 GPM series will not be able to reach 50 PSI and shut off if the water level gets any deeper than about 70' deep. But that won't cause the overload to trip unless it runs without building to 50 to shut off for quite a while.
 

jdufault

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Thanks for the reply Valveman, That old pump was a tank! I've included a picture of the plate that has more information.

When you talk about building pressure, I have the brass 90 of the well cap unplugged from the well tank like in the picture, it will obviously not build any pressure because it will just flow freely out the end, this shouldn't stop the pump from pushing water up to ground level right? I just wanted to see some water out the end to make sure things are working before I connect right into the tank.

I have been only running the pump for short periods of at most 5 minutes and I have been keeping a very close eye on the water level with a flashlight from the top of the well. I didn't want to run the pump for long periods of time in case the water level got too low or something was wrong, especially if it was going into overload that doesn't sound like something good. However, I just read elsewhere here that could be what it is doing judging from the small amount of water every few minutes.

I also want to add that I can get nice clear water from the well if I only lower the pump down about 50' but with about a 25% decrease in flow from the bucket, then at 100' I start to get the symptoms I'm describing. I added nice markers on the poly tubing so I know how far I am down in order to troubleshoot.

I had a thought that maybe there is too much silt in the water, sometimes I get some brown discoloration, and when I lifted the pump out of the well there were some brown and orange rust like pebbles in a few spots where things could collect. Could this be impacting the system? or the built in check valve? Would you recommend adding a check valve above the one built into the new pump? It's very wierd to me because the old pump worked like a charm for so long without a hitch.

Thanks again, your posts here are valued
 

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Reach4

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1. There should be another label-- on the pump part. Can you read that?

2. "I also want to add that I can get nice clear water from the well if I only lower the pump down about 50' but with about a 25% decrease in flow from the bucket, then at 100' I start to get the symptoms I'm describing." That is weird when I ignore the part about the bucket, but I do not understand what you are saying about flow from a bucket. If the pump is down the well, how do you get flow from a bucket? I presumed that the bucket was containing the pump during testing.
 
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jdufault

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1. There should be another label-- on the pump part. Can you read that?

2. "I also want to add that I can get nice clear water from the well if I only lower the pump down about 50' but with about a 25% decrease in flow from the bucket, then at 100' I start to get the symptoms I'm describing." That is weird when I ignore the part about the bucket, but I do not understand what you are saying about flow from a bucket. If the pump is down the well, how do you get flow from a bucket? I presumed that the bucket was containing the pump during testing.

That picture is from the old pump and the top part label is completely degraded sorry. I would love to have more information on that.

Let me clarify, sorry for the confusion!

When I had the pump above ground in the bucket, the flow from the end of the poly hose was nice and strong. When I lowered the pump 50' down the well there was significant loss of flow from the end of the poly hose, about 20-25% less than when I had previously had the pump in the bucket. I'd like to mention the water level was still only 25' down during the 50' test, so for that much flow loss for only 25' plus the remaining hose I thought it might be worth mentioning.
 

Reach4

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Any chance they sent you a 230 volt pump instead of 115?

I looked at https://redlionproducts.com/media/75556/996508_red_lion_product_catalog-2-.pdf page "13" (actual 15 in the PDF). That says that pump should be OK with the water as deep as 60 ft. You knew that.

Yet it is not doing well with the water 25 ft down. If they sent the right pump, sounds like a defective pump to me. Alternatively there is a blockage or bad leak. Can you measure the current thru the hot wire, using a clamp-around ammeter?



Certainly 350 ft of poly for that pump does not do any better than 100 ft of pipe would.
 

jdufault

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Excellent PDF Thanks, these numbers are also on the side of the box. Even at 100' pump depth and a static water level of 25' I am not even getting a trickle of water out the cap, never mind pressure of any sort. I even put my hand over the brass 90 I have attached to the well cap and can't feel any air trying to escape, leads me to believe this pump may be defective.

I do not have an ampere meter, I have been using a multimeter for ohms and voltage but it has a maximum of 10A. I will try to get ahold of an ampere meter that can go over 10A and report back here, thanks for your help so far Reach4
 

Reach4

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Try this search:
clamp multimeter

But if you pull that pump again, photograph the label on the motor.
 

jdufault

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just to verify that what I received is indeed the pump that I ordered I did take a picture of the label beforehand, here you go.
 

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Valveman

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Yes that is a 12 GPM, 1/2HP pump. As you can see from the curve that pump cannot lift more than 240'. You need 140' of that to make 60 PSI for the pressure switch to shut off. That leaves only 100' of lift for the pump. If your water level is less than 100' that pump will work. But without an amp reading we don't know if the pump is even spinning.

12 GPM red lion curve.jpg
 

Reach4

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just to verify that what I received is indeed the pump that I ordered I did take a picture of the label beforehand, here you go.
The "1V" confirms that it is 115V. Too bad. Having a "2V" (230V) could have explained the pressure generation being so much less than expected. Still, it was smart to keep the photo of the label.

Classically there were separate labels for the pump part and the motor part.
 

Valveman

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The "1V" confirms that it is 115V. Too bad. Having a "2V" (230V) could have explained the pressure generation being so much less than expected. Still, it was smart to keep the photo of the label.

Classically there were separate labels for the pump part and the motor part.
Could still have 1/2 voltage to the 115V pump. Check the voltage coming out of the pressure switch.
 

jdufault

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Yes that is a 12 GPM, 1/2HP pump. As you can see from the curve that pump cannot lift more than 240'. You need 140' of that to make 60 PSI for the pressure switch to shut off. That leaves only 100' of lift for the pump. If your water level is less than 100' that pump will work. But without an amp reading we don't know if the pump is even spinning.

View attachment 93824
Could still have 1/2 voltage to the 115V pump. Check the voltage coming out of the pressure switch.

I can confirm water level is only 25 feet below well cap, and I am getting 119V out of the pressure switch. The fact that this pump will not produce water out of the top of the cap when submerged below the 50' mark without trouble is reason enough for me to suspect something is very wrong. I can actually feel the vibration of the motor turning on by just feeling the poly pipe in my hands, but no water is being sent up top.

What I cannot explain is why it will produce water if only submerged about 25' down just below the ground water level...it is as if the pump is just very weak and any further load on the pump will just produce a complete failure.

I really appreciate both your guys input Reach4 and Valveman! I am going to be calling the company and asking them a few questions because I suspect this is a problem with the hardware. I will answer any more questions you guys have if your curious, but please don't spend more of your personal time on this, I'm afraid it's already eaten too much of mine! Thank you again
 

Reach4

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If you wanted to do more characterizing, you could put a pressure gauge and then a valve on the output side of the pipe.

If your pump was in a test container, you could throttle the flow, and read the pressure. However I think your current test tells you enough.

If you do topside testing on a pump in the future, a clean garbage can is a good container. Playing the water back into the container would let your run for long periods of time.

If the water is 25 ft down, it should not matter if the pump is 5 ft below that, or 150 ft or 300 ft below that.
 
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