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 Well, pump, tank, water quality, plmbg & electric
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 Water Pressure Intermittent - Comes & Goes! :(
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VAskiGUY
New Member

Annapolis
MD
2 Posts

Posted - Dec 09 2007 :  11:02:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit VAskiGUY's Homepage Send VAskiGUY a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi --
My well pressure is typically fine (lived here for 3+ years), but over last month have had about 4 or 5 times where ZERO pressure at pressure gauge. I turn off the power to well pump at the breaker and then after 5 or 6 hours (or overnight) when I turn it on again the water is working. But, seems that it's not just a one time occurrence but happening every few days or so now.

Some particulars.
Well is 80 feet deep. About 18 years old. Well pump is submersible. 2 wires, 1/2 horsepower. 220/240 power type thing. Seems no problems there either. Power at Square D switch is exact same as out at the well (its only about 25 feet away from house). 4 inch well pipe.
Have tank with bladder and bladder is intact/not ruptured type thing (tested through schraeder valve). Pressure is set to be 40 on and 60 off. Have checked with 3 different air gauges (in case gauge sucked) and the tank with no water in it is set for 38lbs. So, all seems to be perfect there.

Replaced Square D switch and nipple and pressure gauge with new one. It worked (had power turned off for about 6 hours for trip to hardware store and then install and stuff). Thought I was a hero -- but, guess not.

When the water does come back, it seems just fine. No extra sediment or anything. No issue with pump short cycling real quick. No issues with the pressure switch or anything not functioning as it should. Seems that just sometimes the pressure goes up to 60 (as it should to fill) and then just goes down as people use water and drops completely down to zero and stays there (I've never seen it - just that must be whats happening when it "goes away").
If I leave the pump power on at circuit breaker and don't turn off there...then, water doesn't come back on it's own -- even after like 18 hours. Only when I kill power for more than 4 or 5 hours. Have tried shorter time periods - but didn't work.

SO -- HELP! What might be causing water pressure to come and go like this?
Anything else to check except to have well pump pulled and check it (assume it's same age as well 18 years).
I have no idea what else to do except to call a well person and have them check -- but, they'll probably want to pull pump and probably want to replace.
What, if anything can we check before doing that as it's gonna cost big bucks. Also, what would be a ballpark estimate for a well pump (again 1/2 horsepower 2 wire type thing -- Installed). I know things vary from area to area...just trying to get ballpark that you think it might cost. I live in Maryland.

Thanks in advance.
PC

speedbump
Admin



Riverview
Florida
11718 Posts

Posted - Dec 10 2007 :  08:28:55 AM  Show Profile  Visit speedbump's Homepage Send speedbump a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I thought at first your screen may be plugged and the water level in the well had dropped below the pump. But you said you let it run once for 18 hours and had no water. The water has to be going somewhere during these times or the pump would have nuked itself pumping deadhead. The water would heated up to boiling temperature and melted the impellers as well as taking out the motor. So I'm kind of lost on your description of what's happening.

Question? When the pump shuts off while your not using water. Does the pressure remain constant once the pump shuts off?
Do you have a check valve in the house near the tank?

bob...

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JeffGr
Senior Member



SC
355 Posts

Posted - Dec 10 2007 :  09:35:27 AM  Show Profile Send JeffGr a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I had a similar problem and found that in my pump was a thermo overheat switch. If the pump overheated then it would shut the pump off. You would have to shut off the power, let it sit for a while and then restart.
The underlying problem was the well was out of water. I would use water until the pump could not pump any more and the thermo switch shut the pump off, no water, no water pressure. Had to do exactly what you do.
The pump was a real old pump with a half cast iron body! I removed the pump and had a well guy come out and blow the well. They would inject compressed air into the well and blow out the sediment that accumulated. In my case this particular well goes through a layer of pluff mud and as water is taken from the well the mud collapses into the well. If a chunk of this thick sticky goo falls in it can block the entire well. I have to have my well done about every 5 years depending on water use and it still pumps some mud.
You may have either a failing pump or a failing well. Either way I would have a well guy check it out. You should know enough about wells now to not get taken for a ride.
One thing you can try is disconnect the pump output from the rest of the system, turn the pump on and see if you run out of water, or the pump stops running. You can feel the pump running through the piping.
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VAskiGUY
New Member

Annapolis
MD
2 Posts

Posted - Dec 11 2007 :  11:12:06 PM  Show Profile  Visit VAskiGUY's Homepage Send VAskiGUY a Private Message  Reply with Quote
First - Bob & Jeff - Thanks for replies.

In answer to your questions:
Question? When the pump shuts off while your not using water. Does the pressure remain constant once the pump shuts off?
YES - if everything is working as it should (in other words, it's not I'm not completely out of water) then the tank fills and pressure gauge stays exactly at same level. Indicates no leaks anywhere (or it seems that's what it indicates). I even checked for after an hour that the pressure was exactly same on the gauge.
Do you have a check valve in the house near the tank? No. No on/off switch, no nothing. Just the Square D box.
I bought the house 3 years ago. So, can't say why that's not there or if it was required back in the day. Just don't have one.

As for Jeff's comments on my well. Hopefully, well isn't going completely bad...but, guess it could be possible to have mud or something like he's saying...I really don't know.
I believe I tried what Jeff was saying...not positive...I turned off valve for waterline into the water softener and house and just ran a house direcly from the output at the tank. It ran for over an hour at basically 10GPM without any issue (little rust/mud/something brown color, I dunno) every once-in-awhile... Didn't run out of water during my test. Then went to bed.
Next morning everything fine for showers. That afternoon -- Dead. Ugh.
I'm sorry if it's confusing/doesn't make sense. Everything I have read sounds like this doesn't make sense...but, I'm gonna have to call well guy out and see what they say.
If you have any further thoughts, please let me know. Appreciate the help.
PC
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speedbump
Admin



Riverview
Florida
11718 Posts

Posted - Dec 12 2007 :  08:22:26 AM  Show Profile  Visit speedbump's Homepage Send speedbump a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When you ran it for an hour with no problem at 10 gpm, that burst all of my ideas. I'm really at a lost for a solution now.

The only thing I can think of, is a waterlogged tank. If it had the pump cycling on and off rapidly, the overload in the motor would eventually trip killing your water supply. Once cool, it would again run the motor. While running full blast with the hose like you did, the motor probably ran constantly because of the amount of water being used and the overload wouldn't trip.

Turn on a faucet, then go see if the pressure switch is clicking off and on often.

bob...

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JeffGr
Senior Member



SC
355 Posts

Posted - Dec 12 2007 :  10:35:07 AM  Show Profile Send JeffGr a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One thought, do you have a low pressure, pressure switch? Is there a small handle on the side of the switch? If so I have seen them not work correctly. When there is a very small leak or small usage of water, the pressure will drop and instead of turning on the pressure switch stays off until all of the water is exhausted in the tank. Switching back to a normal pressure switch should cure that, although you should still find the leak if there is one.
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