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browning 09-11-2010 11:24 AM

Well Water System Problem
Not sure if this message belongs in Electrical or Plumbing - but will start here.
I have read through various threads on similar issues but nothing exactly the same.

My well water system was running fine until three days ago. At that time the pressure dropped to about 1/2 normal at all faucets. Initial inspection led me to believe that the well pump was running all the time. Pressure at two gauges at 18 to 22 lbs.

System: 15 years old with exceptions noted.
Well is 165' deep and has a 1/2 HP Gould 230V pump at unknown depth. The well was originally tested at 3.9 gallons per minute.
Control box is a Franklin CSIR box matched to the 1/2 HP pump.
Coming in from the basement wall is a check valve, pressure switch valve with pressure switch and pressure guage, union fitting, the pressure tank T with a pressure releif valve, pressure guage and drain valve. The pressure tank is a Well-X-Trol unit which stands about 4" high - unknown model. The system is set up for 20/40 lb. start up/shut off. The check valve and pressure switch have been replaced in the past 48 hours - no change. The pressure guages were both replaced approx. 5 years ago when one failed.

Symptoms: Well pump is running all the time. Contacts at the pressure switch are always closed. Not enough pressure at the pressure switch (18-22 lbs) to shut off the pump. Well-X-Trol tank has virtually no water in it. Pressure in tank is 18 pounds with the system shut off and drained. After reading through DIY threads I offer the following:

Well wire resistance at control box:
Black to yellow - 5.9 Ohms
Red to yellow - 19.8 Ohms
Black to red - 25.1 Ohms
Any wire to ground - Infinity

Voltages at control box
L1 122.4
L2 122.9
Red 245.2 with box closed an pump running (via jumper)
Yellow 121.8 with box closed and pump running
Blue 121.9 with box closed and pump running

Control Box - Franklin
Unit has a starter capacitor and a three wire blue box. No overload module as overload protection is supposedly down at the motor/pump.
It appears as if some black gooey substance has come out of the top rim of the capacitor yet the unit still charges (snaps when shorted). The resistance with one wire off the cap is infinity.

Amperage draw: At the main house panel the well is always drawing 5 to 6 amps on both 120V legs. I do not know the amperage on each of the well wires as they are not readily accessible - entire wiring system in the basement utility room is encased in LiquidTight going right out to the wellhead which is beneath ground level in a tile. I can see why one would need an old control box to scavenge as a jumper/test box. If the well wire amperages are needed I will pull apart the LiquidTight, wire in some extensions which I can get an amprobe around and post results.

Many thanks!

hayewe farm 09-11-2010 06:02 PM

I believe the first thing I would do is replace the capacitor that leaked because it is one of the easiest and cheapest item to replace. You may just be running on the start windings . If the pump is running but you are getting no water, the well water may be below the pump or the pump is bad.

browning 09-11-2010 08:41 PM

Thank you for the response Heyewe Farm! You are right - given the cost of the start capacitor a replacement unit is worth a try. I'm still worried about the entire Franklin control. Any idea if 240 volts on the red (start) wire all the time is normal? Also, I am getting a steady flow of water whenever it is called for at a faucet, toilet, etc. - just at about one half normal volume and 1/2 normal pressure.

frenchelectrican 09-12-2010 02:49 AM

there are couple thing you can try I know you can replace the capaitor for the control panel but if the capaitor is shot it will NOT start the motour at all.

The red wire for starting circuit is only be on for short time otherwise you will burn up the windings or draw heckva alot of current one of the two.

If you manged to get it start some case I will say some case it may ran backward.

Other thing you can do is go to the well casing and take the cover off and listen to the water spraying if you can heard water is spraying big time you will have to yank the pump up and replace the pipe otherwise you may sprung a leak underground.

If you can get a hold of someone to get a clamp on ampmeter you can able tell how much current it draw if pretty low then two thing it will come up is either water level little low or backward running { if run backward it can make funny noise as well } even wornout impeller will show same result as above.

If the ampmeter reading right to the motor rating then you may have a leak somewhere in the system.

In last resort if you feel you have leak in the system somecase I will pump the air in and see how fast the pressure drop unless you find a wet spot in the ground.


bobelectric 09-12-2010 06:23 AM

Pull the pump and see if it seperated from the motor.

browning 09-12-2010 12:09 PM

frenchelectrician and bobelectric - thank you for your responses. I have found a friend with a new Franklin control for a 1/2 HP well pump left over from an uncompleted project. I may wire that in just to make sure the problem isn't in the cap/control. This afternoon I plan to dig down and clean off the cover to the tile in which the well cap resides in preparation to pull the well cover off and determine whats going on - pull the pump if necessary. I'll post the diagnosis and resolution when I get through this thing next week.

frenchelectrican 09-12-2010 06:14 PM

Okie just keep us posted once you find out the cuprit and if any thing else just holler one of us will help ya.


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