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Old 03-20-2010, 05:56 PM   #1
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Well / Water pressure problem


I have a house on well and septic and have just started having some strange problems. When the water is turned on, there is either no pressure or very little. Then, the water starts to spurts, as if the system is trying to purge air from the system, then it is a bit discolored, then it runs fine.

As first I suspected the bladder tank, but it seems to have about 40 PSI and does not appear to be more than about 25%-30% full of water. Similarly, the pressure gauge coming out of the tank is reading fine so that is not the problem.

Obviously, there is a leak or problem somewhere. The mechanical room seems fine (no leaks from the water heater, bladder tank, softener, etc.) and I can see nothing obvious at the well head.

Where do I look next for leaks, and why am I getting discoloration. Do I have a broken pipe between the well head and the house? I think that is unlikely but perhaps I do. This is a newish house so it is unlike to have something corroded.

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Old 03-20-2010, 09:04 PM   #2
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Well / Water pressure problem


How old is the well??

What size and type??

If it is an older metal well, my guess is a hole in the casing.

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Old 03-21-2010, 12:29 AM   #3
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Well / Water pressure problem


What is the pressure on the bladder tank when it is drained and what is your pressure switch on/off settings?
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Old 03-21-2010, 11:47 AM   #4
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Well / Water pressure problem


The bladder tanks seems to be around 38 PSI, and I have found a reference on the Internet that some models from this manufacturer have a factory setting of 38, so that should be OK. I would check the model number, but there are no easily accessible markings and the only other label I can see I cannot reach without dismantling the system.

More troubling is that the pump does not run at all now. There is a short length of pipe connecting the bladder tank / pressure relay / water softener / bleed spigot and there is a gauge sticking up from there. The gauge reads 45 PSI, but when I open the bleeder there is absolutely nothing coming out. So, either the relay is hosed, the gauge is broken or, most likely, a bit of both. The water in this area is pretty hard so it might just be a lot of mineral gunk build up in there.

Where do I look for pressure on/off settings? And is the pump relay normally open or normally closed? This is a Square D relay with no obvious markings as to model number.
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Old 03-21-2010, 11:55 AM   #5
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Well / Water pressure problem


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hodag View Post
The bladder tanks seems to be around 38 PSI, and I have found a reference on the Internet that some models from this manufacturer have a factory setting of 38, so that should be OK. I would check the model number, but there are no easily accessible markings and the only other label I can see I cannot reach without dismantling the system.

More troubling is that the pump does not run at all now. There is a short length of pipe connecting the bladder tank / pressure relay / water softener / bleed spigot and there is a gauge sticking up from there. The gauge reads 45 PSI, but when I open the bleeder there is absolutely nothing coming out. So, either the relay is hosed, the gauge is broken or, most likely, a bit of both. The water in this area is pretty hard so it might just be a lot of mineral gunk build up in there.

Where do I look for pressure on/off settings? And is the pump relay normally open or normally closed? This is a Square D relay with no obvious markings as to model number.
No one can help you without more information. Is the pump in the well???
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:11 PM   #6
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Well / Water pressure problem


Made a bit more progress (but not really). I dismantled the pressure switch and it seems to be fine. The relay is closed and is passing juice to the well head. I took apart the wire nuts at the well head, cleaned off the corrosion with a wire brush, and reassembled it. Nada.

To reply to the earlier posters, yes it is a submersible pump inside the well. It is not a metal pipe, but rather a 5" PVC sleeve. I assume the only thing left to do is to retrieve the pump from inside the well head and repair or replace that as needed, correct?

Is this easy to do or a real ordeal? There is a metal plate across the top of the well head with a white pipe going down the center, about 1 1/2" in diameter, and a green screw, presumably for an electrical ground. I assume this metal plate is what the original installer used to lower the pump into the well, but there is no pull rope. I tried to budge it manually, but no luck. Do tool rental places have the little tripods with a winch? I have the original installation report from the time the house was built, and it says that it is a 250 ft well, water at 35 feet, and they ran a test at 42 feet so I assume the pump is down at that level more or less.

It may just be that the pump has died; the house is about 12 years old and as far as I know the previous owner had not replaced it. A sticker on the bladder tank say that it is a Red Jacket 3/4HP, 220V, single phase, max draw 3.5A. That sound about right? This house as a 16,000 gallon indoor pool so it has to pump water to fill it up on a regular basis, it really doesn't owe us anything. I would rather avoid the service call if I can.

Last edited by Hodag; 03-21-2010 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:50 PM   #7
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Well / Water pressure problem


You should get a multi meter and run some electrical tests on the pump to see what it is drawing for starting and running amps and resistance through the windings. Any chance the well is being pulled dry?
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:58 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by NHMaster View Post
You should get a multi meter and run some electrical tests on the pump to see what it is drawing for starting and running amps and resistance through the windings. Any chance the well is being pulled dry?
I wondered if it pumped dry and killed the pump. If it is a new well.
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Old 03-22-2010, 10:33 AM   #9
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Well / Water pressure problem


And the answer is . . . blown starter capacitor in the submersible pump.

Thanks for the help gentlemen.

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