Question about Plumbing
I have a small home with a 13 y/o 40-gallon holding pressure bladder-less tank. Recently, the pressure of the tank has caused my well pump to click on and off, on and off, and at some point the well pump will burn out. The pressure switch was replaced today $100 to no avail. So... I am thinking of replacing the 40-gallon bladderless tank with a 30-gallon bladder tank. I do not have a dishwasher or clotheswasher. I am advised that bladder tanks last longer and that a 30-gallon tank will be easier on my well pump. Is this a good idea? If so....is there a recommendation as to which brand?
Yes, a bladder type tank is a lot more dependable. You can install a diaphragm into your bladderless tank but it will still need to be charged with air periodically.
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
50 years old isn't bad..... but technology has changed a bit. I do have a few ideas. I'll list out several problems/solutions, and you'll have to pick and choose, depending on your particular circumstances. It will be a long read, but I would suggest that you read to the end before picking a course of action. Hopefully, others will offer advice as well.
Make sure that you have a working pressure gauge. I only say this as all of your (and my) assumptions have and will be made off of the gauge. It's critical. OK, with a working pressure gauge....Are we seeing the same pressure? If the pressure is actually higher, say, in the range that you are regulating for, or higher, the pressure switch is suspect and should be investigated/replaced.
When you shut off the pump, does the water pressure fall off? If it does, this might indicate a leak either internally (well/pump) or externally (faucet, etc.). Locate the regulator on the side of the pump. With the pump running (and a good pressure gauge), turn the regulator adjustment several flats, rembering your original position. This is best done with the pump at max pressure. Operate it in both directions, say four flats one direction, back the same to the original position, then 4 in the opposite direction, and back to the original position. Note the pressure on the gauge each time you make an adjustment. If any improvements are noted, work with it.
The most common problem with pumps not putting out enough water usually isn't the pump, but the well itself. Most wells have a foot valve and jet valve assembly. The foot valve has sealing rings on them known as leathers (although these can be made out of other materials). If the well is shallow, say 20 feet or less, the pump will normally pick up water without too much difficulty, even if it won't maintain pressure at the tank. Not knowing the depth of your well and the age of your equipment makes it a little harder to diagnose. Slippage within the pump, allowing some of the water to spill back, is a possibility, but you would expect the pump case to heat up over time, and this doesn't sound like the case. My guess is that you have some leak-by in either the jet assembly or the leathers, allowing some of the water to leak back to the well. The foot valve would keep the water pressure from dropping to zero. I'd trip the breaker to the pump motor and break the well head away from the pump (leaving the cast iron piece on the inner pipe). You should have a triangular piece around the outer well casing. Loosen the three bolts, then remove the two bolts that hold the pump to the well head. Gently separate the two, and set your pump off to the side. The aim with "gently" is to avoid tearing the gasket. (If it does tear, you can purchase gasket material and hammer one out, if replacement gaskets aren't readily available). Once the pump is removed, you can remove the inner casing to which your jet and foot valves are attached. Careful when removing it,though. You do not want the inner casing to unscrew from the well head and fall down the well. If there is a lot of sediment in the well, it will be more difficult to remove the inner casing, as the leathers press against the outer casing making the seal. I have always put several gallons of bleach down the well, although recently, a neighbor had muratic acid put down his well. This is dangerous, however, and only trained and skilled personnel should attempt. I let the bleach sit for several hours, allowing time for the bleach to soften the leathers. Once done, extract the inner casing, pulling the well head, inner casing, jet valve and foot valve as a unit. You'll have to pull it in a big arc and lay it out slowly as you go. More hands are better for this task. You may need to get creative in supporting the line it it's PVC. Once extracted, visually inspect the lower components. I recently saw one with a hole eaten in the top of the jet valve, producing similar results to your issue, but worse. Anyway, if this is where you are at, I would, at the very least, replace the leathers. And, I'd double them. Truth is, when I go to that much effort, I replace everything at the bottom of the well, foot valve, jet valve, leathers....
We havent hit on the tank yet. Older systems had an air injection system where a shot of air was injected every time the pump cycled. If no air went into the tank, the tank would become "waterlogged" over time, and would cycle constantly. This system was prone to failure. The remedy for this was to drain the tank, and start over, and to replace the air injection system. This usually called for the pump to have to be reprimed as well, at least at my house... Newer tanks have bladders in them with a pressure set on them to provide the same air cushion that the older systems provided. The air pressure on mine is set to 28# via a schraeder (bicycle tube) valve at the top of the tank. Check yours if so equipped.
Well, that's about it for now. Make your checks and please let me know what you turn up. I'll check back.
Best regards and good luck,
Posted on Jul 19, 2009
There are tow screw adjustments on the switch. One is the high shut off and the other is 'differential'. This is the one you need to adjust. It gives the 'window' that the system needs 'between' on and off.
Posted on Sep 01, 2009
Sounds like the injector nozzle is plugged. This nozzle is directly inside the influent line on single line jets and down in the well on two-line jets. I'm assuming you have it primed correctly. If this happened suddenly the it'd definitely the injector nozzle. It it was a gradual process over time then I would say it's either a badly worn nozzle or worn impeller.
Posted on Sep 08, 2009
My first thought was that of a water logged tank which causes short cycling, from your notes the tank is good (the tank may be partially water logged though) If the tank is ok and your getting short cycling (and the switch is good) I would guess your check valve down the well has failed. As the pump creates pressure then shuts off the water may be going right back down the well causing the pump to cycle again. This could also account for the poor water pressure as the check valve may be stuck slightly open allowing the system to loose pressure but only allowing a small amount of flow by when running. There could be a leak within the pumps drop-pipe and your loosing pressure through this leak. I expect you'll have to have the pump pulled.
I hope this may have helped,
Posted on Oct 12, 2009
If I understand you correctly this is what you have:
- A pump that draws water from a lake 300 feet from lake to your cabin (I assume the pump is at the cabin)
- The pump kicks on to maintain pressure in a tank that distributes water to faucets in the cabin. The pump only turns on to pressurize the tank when water is being used (I am assuming).
- When you turn on tap, pressure in the pressure tank drops to 30 psi, then you hear water sucking from the tank to tap and flow stops at tap. Then the pump finally kicks back on and pressures tank to 23 psi.
- The pump is not used regularly.
If water flow stops when the pressure tank is reading 25 psi, then likely the real pressure is 0 psi and pressure gauge is reading wrong. If this gauge is tied into a switch that starts and stops the pump, then this is probably your problem. You may have partial blockage in your pressure gauge/switch that is causing gauge to move too slowly to keep up with the actual pressure changes when water is being used. Ore the pressure gauge/switch may be broken. Pressure gauges are notorious for reading pressure when there is none. If you can unplug the pump and disconnect the pressure gauge/switch and check for blockage in the ports you should start there. You mentioned that this worked good for the last two summers, if if sits unused for long periods, it could promote bio-growth, rust and/or sediment in the connection to the pressure gauge. If you find blockage, remove it and flush it out. Reinstall the pressure gauge/switch and try it again.
One other possibility is clogged strainer(s) / filter(s) in the water lines. It would not hurt to pull and check/clean any strainers / filters in the system including before the pump. I would even check at the lake for a strainer where the water enters the suction line to the cabin.
I would not assume that the pump is the problem yet.
Hope this helps.
Posted on May 01, 2010
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