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Water Drinking water, wells, ponds, saving, purifying, etc.

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  #1  
Old 07-03-2015, 10:43 PM
Doninalaska Doninalaska is offline
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Default A well problem

My electric bill has gone sky high. We didn't notice any problems inside the house, as we have all those "water-saver" fixtures, but when we tried to water the garden or the lawn...very little water. My brother--who is handy with plumbing--came for a visit and he started troubleshooting. We checked voltages-ok, then he checked fill time to fill the pressure tank after heavy use-very slow recovery. He then noted that the tank was NEVER coming up to pressure and the pump never shut off. He made a little pressure gauge to check the pressure on the pump side of the tank. The pump was only generating 34 pounds of pressure--not enough to pressurize the tank and shut off the pump. He didn't have time to deal with the rest of the problem, but we called the pump guy, who hasn't yet responded since it isn't an "emergency" (we still have water-kinda). My brother cranked the shutoff pressure down to 34 # so the pump wouldn't run 24/7. He said perhaps part of the pump is burned out and only one phase is running. Has anyone else ever had this problem?
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Old 07-03-2015, 11:55 PM
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When you say pressure tank do you mean ones with a bladder inside line this one
http://www.essentialhardware.com/wat...aPphoCROrw_wcB


These are most common.
If so use a tire guage to check pressure in the air bladder . It should be at least 45 psi. If it is just use a compressor to pump back but if busted you will have to replace. That sounds like it may be you problem
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Old 07-04-2015, 12:52 AM
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I will bet on a leak on the riser pipe, possibly where it connects to the pump.
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Old 07-04-2015, 05:41 PM
Doninalaska Doninalaska is offline
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Originally Posted by randallhilton View Post
I will bet on a leak on the riser pipe, possibly where it connects to the pump.
Would you be able to hear that from the top of the well? A plumber told us to listen at the top of the well for water rushing. We could hear nothing but the pump running.
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Old 07-04-2015, 11:28 PM
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If the pump shuts off now that the pressure switch is set to 34 psi and stays off for a while then you don't have a leak.
Sounds like your pump isn't working like it should.
I would check to see how much current it is pulling.
Should be somewhere around 9 amps.
To check you would need a clamp on amp meter and most people don't have one so you will probably have to wait on the pump guy or your BIL if he has an amp meter.
I guess you could also have a bad breaker and one leg of your 220v is missing.
Good luck with it.
My pump went out and it cost me $1200 to have it replaced.
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Old 07-04-2015, 11:30 PM
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The most likely spot to spring a leak would be where the pipe connects to the pump. That joint is probably under a few feet of water so it won't make noise.
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Old 07-06-2015, 03:00 PM
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Tim Horton Male Tim Horton is offline
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If the pump DOES cycle off with the new lower pressure settings... That tells me the system is working as it should, obviously not up to normal pressure...

Like mentioned, I have to think it is a pump issue... Bad pick up screen, bad impeller, motor issue not running at full power to do what it should...

With my water the way it is.... A battle ship in each glass, sand, and all the other issues that go with a glacier created rock pile like mine..... I got to think you are in for a pump pull and replacement... Bite the bullet, get it done...

It took a little while for my system to settle down after the new pump was installed... To get rid of the chlorine taste from what was dumped in the well... A couple extra filter changes the first month after work done... Now filters are lasting longer and cleaner when changed.. Just dealing with "normal" summer taste...

Be sure to post how it all turns out...
Good luck...
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Old 07-07-2015, 08:01 PM
MtnManJim Male MtnManJim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doninalaska View Post
My electric bill has gone sky high. We didn't notice any problems inside the house, as we have all those "water-saver" fixtures, but when we tried to water the garden or the lawn...very little water. My brother--who is handy with plumbing--came for a visit and he started troubleshooting. We checked voltages-ok, then he checked fill time to fill the pressure tank after heavy use-very slow recovery. He then noted that the tank was NEVER coming up to pressure and the pump never shut off. He made a little pressure gauge to check the pressure on the pump side of the tank. The pump was only generating 34 pounds of pressure--not enough to pressurize the tank and shut off the pump. He didn't have time to deal with the rest of the problem, but we called the pump guy, who hasn't yet responded since it isn't an "emergency" (we still have water-kinda). My brother cranked the shutoff pressure down to 34 # so the pump wouldn't run 24/7. He said perhaps part of the pump is burned out and only one phase is running. Has anyone else ever had this problem?
Yeppers, we had a problem similar to that. We had a pin hole leak in the riser pipe about 10 feet above the pump. However, the leak wasn't so bad
that the pump never would pump the pressure tank up to pressure and shut off. Our pump would shut off eventually, but it would start right back up after less than 30 seconds because the water in the pressure tank would drain right back into the well.

I guessed our problem was the check valve on top of the pump, but I was wrong. As soon as the well repair guy got out here and pulled the pump, we spotted the leak in the riser pipe. It wasn't too bad. It seems like it cost us about eighty bucks. Then again, I supplied a piece of pipe I had laying around, so all we paid the well repair guy for was his labor in pulling the pump and putting it back.
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Old 07-07-2015, 08:54 PM
Doninalaska Doninalaska is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MtnManJim View Post
Yeppers, we had a problem similar to that. We had a pin hole leak in the riser pipe about 10 feet above the pump. However, the leak wasn't so bad
that the pump never would pump the pressure tank up to pressure and shut off. Our pump would shut off eventually, but it would start right back up after less than 30 seconds because the water in the pressure tank would drain right back into the well.

I guessed our problem was the check valve on top of the pump, but I was wrong. As soon as the well repair guy got out here and pulled the pump, we spotted the leak in the riser pipe. It wasn't too bad. It seems like it cost us about eighty bucks. Then again, I supplied a piece of pipe I had laying around, so all we paid the well repair guy for was his labor in pulling the pump and putting it back.

I did talk to the pump guy at church on Sunday, and he thinks it a hole in the pipe, too, but he hasn't come out yet since we do have some water to the house and he is backed up with emergencies, no doubt some due to the recent fires in the area and wells having to be repaired, etc. in the recent fires in the area. He said he would get to us sometime this week.
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Old 07-07-2015, 09:57 PM
MtnManJim Male MtnManJim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doninalaska View Post
I did talk to the pump guy at church on Sunday, and he thinks it a hole in the pipe, too, but he hasn't come out yet since we do have some water to the house and he is backed up with emergencies, no doubt some due to the recent fires in the area and wells having to be repaired, etc. in the recent fires in the area. He said he would get to us sometime this week.
I hope it works out well (no pun intended) for you. Well problems are a real pain in the you know what. City folks say things like; "You're lucky - you don't have to pay for water because you have your own well." What city folks don't know baffles me sometimes.

Anyway, good luck with it.
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Old 07-08-2015, 04:26 PM
Doninalaska Doninalaska is offline
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Default The answer

My well problem is finally solved. It was a multitude of problems:

1) Bearing went out in the pump, so the pump was working harder and accomplishing less
2) As a consequence of the bearing failure, the pump was drawing 22 amps when it was supposed to be drawing 6 amps--the cause of my high electric bills.
3) The "bleed-back hole" that was placed when the well was drilled in 1977 at 1/8 inch has grown to almost 3/8 inch causing more pressure build problems.
4) The high current draw caused the wires leading to the pump to heat and melt insulation leading to some grounding/leakage.
5) Iron buildup on the pump screen also causing the pump to work harder.

All these problems were fixed yesterday--new pump, some new wire (I have to run a new cable to the pressure switch as soon as I can), new pipe up the well from the pump, and the well was flushed. The pump guy recommended that we clean our well with vinegar and bleach (stand back, it generates noxious gas) every 5 years to clear residue. He says to pour the bleach in, and run the water back into the well with a hose from a tap that does not run through the house or the water softener, then add the vinegar and continue running for a while. Let the system sit for two hours with all this stuff in it, and flush the system very well before using the water.
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:36 PM
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WOW that's a lot to go wrong.
Glad you got it all sorted out.
22A instead of 6A no wonder your power bill was so high.
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doninalaska View Post
My well problem is finally solved.
That's good news . . . for a moment there, I was concerned that you were going to find major problems.

Electrical note: If wires were overheating enough to melt insulation then you have the wrong size, or defective circuit breakers on that circuit. Period.

The circuit breaker is specifically designed to open when the current exceeds it's rating. The circuit breaker amp rating must be calculated for the size and length of the wire, regardless of the amp rating of the motor at the end of the wire.

In other words, overloading the circuit due to a faulty bearing should have resulted in the circuit breaker "tripping" rather than the wires melting. Correct that problem so you don't end up re-wiring after a melt down.
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Old 07-10-2015, 07:40 PM
Doninalaska Doninalaska is offline
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Apparently, the old wires were 12 gauge. The well guy recommended 10. I am in the process of correcting that. I am running a new cable from the well to the pressure switch. When the house was built, Alaska was building and staffing the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. There was a rush of people moving up to cash in. The house itself was built by the first residents, and, for the most part, was overbuilt. They did not drill their own well, however, and wells were being drilled helter-skelter all over the place, so corners were cut to get everything done. The smaller-gauge wire has lasted since 1977, so it wasn't terrible, but the well originally had only a 1/3 HP pump in it. That pump went out in 2003, and was replaced with 1/2 HP, so maybe that was the problem. Different guy did the pump this time.
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:24 PM
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Tim Horton Male Tim Horton is offline
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Glad you got it solved...

Good luck...
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  #16  
Old 07-22-2015, 11:02 PM
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There is a gadget called a pumptec which keeps a pump from working excessively and burning up, or kicking out in the event of the pressure switch not tripping.
it can be set for however long an interval you like from 3 minutes on up. The one we have comes in real handy especially when watering. Too bad it isn't a hole in the pipe. Our well is just not producing.
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