Trouble shooting submersible pump issue-20 year old pump

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JohnFN00fq

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Hello: I'm trying to troubleshoot well pump issue. Here is some history on the system.

The Well: It is 250' deep. The submersible is a 3/4 HP 2 wire, with ground. I do not recall the make of the pump but I am 95% sure it's neither a Wayne or a Myers pump. The pump was installed in 1996 and sets at 230'+/-. The power is supplied with #10 Cu wire. I estimate the top of the water column to be at about 90' BGL. In fall of last year, the top of the water column was at 30'BGL using a water level indicator. Breaker is double pole 20'. The supply line from the pump into the house is 1.25"; underground portion of supply line running through Schedule 80 to prevent accidental breakage (cheap insurance from my stand point). Casing is 6" for 20' and 4" perforated to the bottom of the well.

Note:
From the well head down to the pump, all items are from 1996. In 2012, my home burned to the ground.

Storage system:
Well Mate 1.75 year old Well Mate WM-6. Just last week, I had to drain the system because bladder somehow lost it's charge. I purged all water between the well side shut off and the house supply side shut off. I closed off the valve used to drain system and saw "0" PSI. I inflated the bladder to 4# under start pressure, about 26 according to the gauge. I filled the tank and turned water back into the house. After some tinkering, I have pump on at 26 and off at 56 since the compressor gauge, the water gauge at tank and the tiregage did not agree. I do have a one-way valve on the interior of the house.

Here's info for all my potable water use (sinks kitchen/bath, shower, tub). All these fixtures release less than 2 gals per minute. My only device that draw 2+ are the washing machine and the garden house. If I am using anything other then the garden hose or the washing machine, I have no start/stop issues. With the water house, I turn the supply valve about 1/2 to 5/8 ON. I have to do something similar with the clothes washer.

My problem:
I had my wife do laundry and I manned the tank while she stayed at the washer. After I assured the tank was at full pressure (56#) I had her start the washer. The pressure dropped to 36# and the contact switch closed the circuit but there was about a 3-4 second pause before I could hear water coursing through the supply pipe entering the house and hear the noise as the tank fills. While the washer was still running, the pump was just able to slowly rise until it reached 50# at which time the water stopped coming from the well.

The washer is still taking water from the tank even you the pump is not running. I manually disengaged the contacts and just at about 40# I allowed the circuit to close. No water arrived. I let it go down to 30 # and had my wife turn off washer while I killed the power. I opened the circuit then again supplied power. I had to manually hold the little lever on the side of the pressure gauge. After 3-4 seconds, water came at 36# I could release the little lever and the pressure was sufficient to keep the circuit closed and the water running until it reached it's 56# shut off pressure.

MY NEXT TEST:
I had my wife take my place at the tank and assured that I had 56#. I advised her to turn on the water when I radioed to her to turn it on. I went up, pushed the washing machine ON and ran to the well head. I radioed to wife to turn ON the valve and advise me when the pressure switch clicked on to start pump. She let me know the pump was on. I used a strong light to view down the well. there did not appear to be any water leakage on the visible portion of the plastic pipe or the pitless adaptor. While wife was at tank, she said the pump shut off at 50# but the switch did not disengage.

Temporary solution:
If I shut off the laundry supply line in that wall mounted box to 1/2 open, I seem to not experience that problem.

Possible problems:
Since there is a 34-second pause fro the time the pressure switches closes the circuit to the time water begins to enter, may my problem be a faulty foot valve in the pump itself? Would a faulty foot valve cause my issue. Since I don’t believe I am experiencing a lack of water, might the pump just be going bad, it was 20 years in service July.

Advice on pumps:
Should I just upgrade? What brand? Two or three wire? Anything else I'm missing.
Thank you.
John Salsgiver/ Ford City, Pa.
 

MI Well Drilling

Oh well !
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Hello: I'm trying to troubleshoot well pump issue. Here is some history on the system.

The Well: It is 250' deep. The submersible is a 3/4 HP 2 wire, with ground. I do not recall the make of the pump but I am 95% sure it's neither a Wayne or a Myers pump. The pump was installed in 1996 and sets at 230'+/-. The power is supplied with #10 Cu wire. I estimate the top of the water column to be at about 90' BGL. In fall of last year, the top of the water column was at 30'BGL using a water level indicator. Breaker is double pole 20'. The supply line from the pump into the house is 1.25"; underground portion of supply line running through Schedule 80 to prevent accidental breakage (cheap insurance from my stand point). Casing is 6" for 20' and 4" perforated to the bottom of the well.

Note:
From the well head down to the pump, all items are from 1996. In 2012, my home burned to the ground.

Storage system:
Well Mate 1.75 year old Well Mate WM-6. Just last week, I had to drain the system because bladder somehow lost it's charge. I purged all water between the well side shut off and the house supply side shut off. I closed off the valve used to drain system and saw "0" PSI. I inflated the bladder to 4# under start pressure, about 26 according to the gauge. I filled the tank and turned water back into the house. After some tinkering, I have pump on at 26 and off at 56 since the compressor gauge, the water gauge at tank and the tiregage did not agree. I do have a one-way valve on the interior of the house.

Here's info for all my potable water use (sinks kitchen/bath, shower, tub). All these fixtures release less than 2 gals per minute. My only device that draw 2+ are the washing machine and the garden house. If I am using anything other then the garden hose or the washing machine, I have no start/stop issues. With the water house, I turn the supply valve about 1/2 to 5/8 ON. I have to do something similar with the clothes washer.

My problem:
I had my wife do laundry and I manned the tank while she stayed at the washer. After I assured the tank was at full pressure (56#) I had her start the washer. The pressure dropped to 36# and the contact switch closed the circuit but there was about a 3-4 second pause before I could hear water coursing through the supply pipe entering the house and hear the noise as the tank fills. While the washer was still running, the pump was just able to slowly rise until it reached 50# at which time the water stopped coming from the well.

The washer is still taking water from the tank even you the pump is not running. I manually disengaged the contacts and just at about 40# I allowed the circuit to close. No water arrived. I let it go down to 30 # and had my wife turn off washer while I killed the power. I opened the circuit then again supplied power. I had to manually hold the little lever on the side of the pressure gauge. After 3-4 seconds, water came at 36# I could release the little lever and the pressure was sufficient to keep the circuit closed and the water running until it reached it's 56# shut off pressure.

MY NEXT TEST:
I had my wife take my place at the tank and assured that I had 56#. I advised her to turn on the water when I radioed to her to turn it on. I went up, pushed the washing machine ON and ran to the well head. I radioed to wife to turn ON the valve and advise me when the pressure switch clicked on to start pump. She let me know the pump was on. I used a strong light to view down the well. there did not appear to be any water leakage on the visible portion of the plastic pipe or the pitless adaptor. While wife was at tank, she said the pump shut off at 50# but the switch did not disengage.

Temporary solution:
If I shut off the laundry supply line in that wall mounted box to 1/2 open, I seem to not experience that problem.

Possible problems:
Since there is a 34-second pause fro the time the pressure switches closes the circuit to the time water begins to enter, may my problem be a faulty foot valve in the pump itself? Would a faulty foot valve cause my issue. Since I don’t believe I am experiencing a lack of water, might the pump just be going bad, it was 20 years in service July.

Advice on pumps:
Should I just upgrade? What brand? Two or three wire? Anything else I'm missing.
Thank you.
John Salsgiver/ Ford City, Pa.
 

Reach4

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After some tinkering, I have pump on at 26 and off at 56 since the compressor gauge, the water gauge at tank and the tiregage did not agree. I do have a one-way valve on the interior of the house.
You should get your gauge disagreement resolved. To help with that, when the pump is off and the pressure is inside the normal range, the air precharge pressure will be close to the water pressure. If you don't want to get more gauges, make up your own calibration table. Usually you want a 20 PSI differential to not over-extend the diaphragm or bladder. For a submersible, the the norm is to have the air precharge (always set with water pressure = zero) 2 PSI below cut-on. With your delay problem, 4 PSI is a good workaround.

One way valve in the house can have some effects including hiding problems in the well. Some like that check valve. I think the downside is significant, unless installed to work around a problem down the well. I am not a pro.


I would resolve the pressure difference problems and consider a new pressure switch and/or look for a blockage in the nipple that goes to the pressure switch. I would also consider a new pressure gauge.


The washer is still taking water from the tank even you the pump is not running. I manually disengaged the contacts and just at about 40# I allowed the circuit to close. No water arrived. I let it go down to 30 # and had my wife turn off washer while I killed the power. I opened the circuit then again supplied power. I had to manually hold the little lever on the side of the pressure gauge. After 3-4 seconds, water came at 36# I could release the little lever and the pressure was sufficient to keep the circuit closed and the water running until it reached it's 56# shut off pressure.
I did not follow the bit about the washer, but that's OK.


Since there is a 34-second pause fro the time the pressure switches closes the circuit to the time water begins to enter, may my problem be a faulty foot valve in the pump itself? Would a faulty foot valve cause my issue. Since I don’t believe I am experiencing a lack of water, might the pump just be going bad, it was 20 years in service July.
A check valve at or in the pump is normal. It is not called a foot valve. A delay in water being delivered could be due to that check valve leaking or having a hole in the pipe. If the inside check valve was not there, the pressure tank would keep that line pressurized, but it might cause excess cycling when no water is being used-- depending on how bad the leakage is.

So to summarize, you get a 3 to 4 second delay in water delivery after the pressure drops to where the pump should turn on. Is the problem that the pressure switch clicks late, is it that the contacts don't conduct the power right away after the click, or is that the pump takes a while to fill up the pipe that should not have been empty.

There is a good chance that your pump is a nominal 7 GPM pump.

You think the pressure switch clicks instantly when the pressure drops below the turn on pressure. You see water appear to the pressure gauge about 3.5 seconds after you hear the pressure switch click. You see a similar 3.5 second delay if you operate the contacts manually or operate the lever on the pressure switch when the pressure switch has cut power due to its low pressure cutoff..

You have not been noticing burps of air coming out of your faucets.

If you are not afraid of the water level being below the pump, I would go to a pressure switch without a lever.

There is a lot of info in your post, and I probably zoned out during part of the reading.

Presuming you want to see if you can get some more time, here is what I would do. Reduce the pressure switch differential. I would turn the nut on the smaller spring CCW until that spring is pretty much not under compression. I would increase the pressures on the big nut CW just enough so that there is water coming before the pressure tank stops providing water. See if that helps things.

If my summary is not close, maybe you could make a summary.

On the other hand, you might best identify a good well person and call. Let them use the pump they have on the truck. Every 20 years maybe. Amortize. It is cheap that way.
 

MI Well Drilling

Oh well !
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[QUOtime delay is="MI Well Drilling, post: 496518, member: 75232"][/QUOTE]
The time delay is strange but it does lead me to think pump. Two things that you definitely want to replace are the well mate tank because those are famous for being junk and the pressure switch with the lever on it. In 20 years I've replaced hundreds of both of those items. Get a hubble or square D switch and definitely a bigger tank. A Wm6 is way too small for a 3/4 hp pump. Your well doesn't have a foot valve but it does have a one way line check valve and if that fails the water will be rushing back into the well each time the pump turns off. If the switch doesn't fix it the pump is most likely shot from having a water logged tank for so long making the pump kick off and on too often. I'm not for your area but thought I'd try to give a bit of advice from my experience with wells. Good luck
 

JohnFN00fq

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Thanks for your replies. I reviewed them but may need to address both to assure I get things right. Might take me a couple days. Thanks again.
 
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