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Old 03-11-2013, 02:16 PM   #1
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Well Pump and Water Pressure Tank: Cut-in/Cut-off pressure, pump run time...


Hi Everyone,

I need some help with my water pump/tank situation. So here is my situation:

Years ago (5?) we called well people/plumbers to replace the well pump motor (it had a burning smell and was making very loud noises when running). They also replaced the pressure switch and the pressure gauge. They put in a 40/60 pressure switch (that's what it says under the plastic cap). Everything else was left untouched, as you can tell in the photo below:



I recently saw that the pressure gauge drops to low 30s (33 psi) before the pump starts running. It stops running when the pressure gauge reads about 64 psi.

Assuming they didn't adjust the nuts in the pressure switch, is this normal ? Also, I haven't calculated my draw down gallon rate, but I can flush the toilet twice before the pump kicks in. When taking a shower, the pump works almost constantly....

Is there a way to check the well water tank, maybe it needs replacing and that's what's causing this ? Here is a photo of it. It is a Well-X-Trol 202 (20 gallon):



It's a rather old house (30-40 years old), with septic tank and well water. We have two bathrooms (with toilet and showers in both), with a total of 10 fixtures inside/outside the house.

I appreciate any suggestions, info, help.....

Thanks!


Last edited by Trioxide1; 03-11-2013 at 02:17 PM. Reason: added number of fixtures and bathrooms
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Old 03-11-2013, 02:32 PM   #2
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Well Pump and Water Pressure Tank: Cut-in/Cut-off pressure, pump run time...


Make sure there is no corrosion/sediment/dirt in the pressure line between the pump and the switch that might be slowing the progress of the pressure between them. Mine was clogged almost shut and caused the switch to lag. Also check the switch to be sure it isn't gunked up with anything that may slow it down. The motor installer should have put a clamp in the motor housing where the power supply enters the case too.

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Old 03-11-2013, 03:26 PM   #3
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Well Pump and Water Pressure Tank: Cut-in/Cut-off pressure, pump run time...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Maintenance 6 View Post
Make sure there is no corrosion/sediment/dirt in the pressure line between the pump and the switch that might be slowing the progress of the pressure between them. Mine was clogged almost shut and caused the switch to lag. Also check the switch to be sure it isn't gunked up with anything that may slow it down. The motor installer should have put a clamp in the motor housing where the power supply enters the case too.

When checking for plugged pressure line, you mean the little blue nipple/elbow that the pressure switch screws into?



I am not sure what the blue portion of the pump is....

The pressure gauge is also screwed into some very old/rusty piece of pipe/reducer....



I checked the pressure switch connections...they are very clean and shiny...I didn't see any obstructions, gummed up grease, etc :



I am a little worried about taking those blue pipes/pump parts apart... they are rusted and I am not sure if I will be able to put them back together. I am a regular DIY-er with skills, but I am by no means a plumber.

How would I know if my water tank bladder broke ? The pump is not turning on and off quickly....it just runs for a long time. After it stops, it runs again when the toilet/shower is used.... maybe I just have a bad water tank? I hope my well is not drying out....
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:13 PM   #4
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Well Pump and Water Pressure Tank: Cut-in/Cut-off pressure, pump run time...


http://411plumb.com/how-to-check-the...pressure-tank/

If you did break a fitting nothings list.
All that old steel piping at some point is going to leak and close up on the insides anyway.
That one running into the floor in direct contat will the concreat is 100 sure to fail at some point.
Most likly those old gate valves will not work or at best will not shut the water compleatly off.
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:34 PM   #5
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Well Pump and Water Pressure Tank: Cut-in/Cut-off pressure, pump run time...


If the pump runs for a reasonably long time while the pressure rises from cut in pressure to cut off pressure, and you can draw a reasonable amount of water. say 1/4 the capacity of the pressure tank, before the pump turns on again, then the system does not need urgent attention.

It is not abnormal for the pump to run much longer while you are continuously using water such as taking a shower. But it is possible to draw water faster than the well or pump can supply it in which case the pressure will at some point drop significantly and/or become erratic (water comes out in spurts).

After the pump stops and no one is using water, check the gauge a few times over a period of a few hours. A slow drop in pressure means you either have a leak somewhere or a pump that is wearing out to the point it can't hold the pressure.
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:57 PM   #6
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Well Pump and Water Pressure Tank: Cut-in/Cut-off pressure, pump run time...


Thank you for the replies!!!

Alright, so I took a better picture of the whole set-up...I don't have any pipes going into the concrete, except the two pipes going down the well:



I will follow the directions of that web-site tomorrow and take a look at the air pressure when the tank is empty.

Just a couple of things to clarify:

  • I do not have any pressure problems: when the pump turns on, is running, and turns off, the water pressure is nice and stable throughout this process. I DO NOT have any loss in pressure at any time....
  • The pressure gauge shows a turn-on pressure of ~30-33 psi and turn-off pressure of ~64 psi.
  • However, the pressure switch is a 40/60 pressure switch
  • The pump DOES NOT turn on for a few seconds and then turn off (short cycling)
  • Once the pump turns off and nobody is using water, the pressure gauge stays put...pressure doesn't slowly "bleed" off over hours.
  • My concern is that whether we are taking a shower or using the toilet twice in a row, the water pump turns on for like a minute and then turns off. If water is still being used, then the pump turns on again shortly...and so forth...
So I am confused about how much water the tank is storing if the pump keeps turning on so quickly....


A few years ago the pump would not turn on so frequently....


Also, I though those were galvanized pipes...are they steel? How can one tell the difference? You guys think I should replace all those old pipes with new ones and install 1/4 turn ball valves ?



Thanks again everyone, I really appreciate all the help!!



I will check the tank tomorrow as per the directions in the site posted by joecaption

Last edited by Trioxide1; 03-11-2013 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:17 PM   #7
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Well Pump and Water Pressure Tank: Cut-in/Cut-off pressure, pump run time...


On the top of your pressure tank you will find a capped snifter like whats on a bicycle tire.

Hit the snifter and see if you have any water If you do get a new pressure tank the larger the better.

If you don't use a bicycle pump and pump the snifter up until you read 40PSI


That tank has a bladder in it that holds air when it fails you will get water out of the snifter valve. The bladder will need to have a 40 LB charge of air to work properly.
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:32 PM   #8
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Well Pump and Water Pressure Tank: Cut-in/Cut-off pressure, pump run time...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostmaker View Post
On the top of your pressure tank you will find a capped snifter like whats on a bicycle tire.

Hit the snifter and see if you have any water If you do get a new pressure tank the larger the better.

If you don't use a bicycle pump and pump the snifter up until you read 40PSI


That tank has a bladder in it that holds air when it fails you will get water out of the snifter valve. The bladder will need to have a 40 LB charge of air to work properly.
I thought that the proper way to get air in the tank is to:
  • empty all the water from the tank
  • set the air pressure according to:
  • [turn-on pressure - 2 psi] = tank pressure
  • so in my case the tank should have approx. 30 psi
Sorry, but I am not following the 40 psi ?
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:05 PM   #9
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Well Pump and Water Pressure Tank: Cut-in/Cut-off pressure, pump run time...


If your pressure gage is correct, your pressure switch needs to be adjusted so it cuts in at 40 psi. The gage may be bad, replacing it is only a few dollars, might be worth it. The pressure tank is supposed to be about 2 psi below cut in pressure, hence 38 psi. My guess is the tank is waterlogged, your tank is identical to my old one, which died after about ten years.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:37 PM   #10
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Well Pump and Water Pressure Tank: Cut-in/Cut-off pressure, pump run time...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Trioxide1 View Post
I thought that the proper way to get air in the tank is to:
  • empty all the water from the tank
  • set the air pressure according to:
  • [turn-on pressure - 2 psi] = tank pressure
  • so in my case the tank should have approx. 30 psi
Sorry, but I am not following the 40 psi ?
You got all that right except the last point. Having a 40/60 switch you want a cut on pressure of 38psi. So 38lbs of air in your air tank. If water is coming out of the air valve on top of the tank it's bad on one end cause it's a bad tank, but good on the other end cause you get to upgrade to a bigger tank.
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:22 PM   #11
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Well Pump and Water Pressure Tank: Cut-in/Cut-off pressure, pump run time...


Alright, so it seems I need to make sure that my pressure gauge and pressure switch are seeing the same pressure.... I looked under the pressure switch cap and this is what it says:



As far as I know, the plumbers did not mess with the adjustment nuts inside the pressure switch. If that's true then either I have some blockages in the little 1/4 in nipple and elbow just as user 'Maintenance 6' said above, or the pressure gauge is reading wrong. However, I am not exhibiting pressure symptoms (drop in water pressure while showering, etc....) I tapped the gauge slightly with the rubber hammer and the needle isn't stuck. During water consumption and pump running the pressure gauge needle moves smoothly. The pressure gauge and switch were replaced recently (~5 yrs) so I don't think they would fail so quickly...would they ? That entire oval blue assembly on the side of the pump is very rusted. If I start taking that apart to clean out the holes, I am worried I might break the nipple inside the threaded hole or cause some other issues... I am not even sure what is all that blue components on the side of the pump....

Last edited by Trioxide1; 03-11-2013 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:23 AM   #12
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Well Pump and Water Pressure Tank: Cut-in/Cut-off pressure, pump run time...


If the answer is to take things apart and clean them, and they are in that bad of shape. Take your pictures to a local hardware store and buy what you need to replace all the old rusted pieces. Reassemble and see if that fixes your problem.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:41 AM   #13
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Well Pump and Water Pressure Tank: Cut-in/Cut-off pressure, pump run time...


If the pump runs for a reasonable length of time each time it starts then the pressure tank is not waterlogged.

If the pressure tank pressure when empty is somewhat greater than the pump cut in pressure then there may be a momentary significant drop in water pressure when the pressure tank empties out and then the pump starts. Also the pump run cycles will be a little shorter and a little more frequent compared with setting the pressure tank to slightly less than pump cut in pressure.

To properly set the pressure tank, first turn off the pump and open a cold water faucet. Hook up the air pump to the pressure tank valve and make sure there is some pressure (at least 5 PSI) until the water stops. Then close the faucet and set the tank pressure.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:08 AM   #14
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Well Pump and Water Pressure Tank: Cut-in/Cut-off pressure, pump run time...


I was going to go ahead and do the troubleshooting steps that people replied back, but then I read that 2-pipe jet well pumps need 'priming' to operate properly: it needs to send down water to push up water. So if I were to empty the tank or even change out the gauge and switch (thus still emptying the water out of the system), there won't be any water left for the pump to send down the well....will my well pump require 're-priming' ? Or am I really confusing myself ? Based on my search, I think I have a 2-pipe jet well pump, which requires water/priming to operate properly ....
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Old 03-15-2013, 09:40 AM   #15
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Well Pump and Water Pressure Tank: Cut-in/Cut-off pressure, pump run time...


Hello
I too have a question. I just had the well people out because I had no water. They replaced the pump, pipe and some wire. $1900 later I have water but the pressure is low in the kitchen faucet and the faucet of the bathtub. I asked that they come back out and they did but I still have the same problem. I have taken the screen off the kitchen faucet, it is not clogged. I am well illiterate and don't know what the problem could be. I don't feel I should have to pay more money to have the pressure I had before the problem. Please help. Thanks


Last edited by Clp63084; 03-15-2013 at 09:55 AM.
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