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I have a plumbing question

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by bkr43050, Feb 29, 2008.

  1. I have a submersible 3/4 HP 240 volt pump that feeds our home. The pressure switch, pressure tank and everything else is in the basement. I have had the pressure switch set to about 38-58 range for years now. Last night I heard the pump running (actually the hum of the line vibration from directly above) which is normal. However, this time it continued to run for quite some time. I think it normally would run around 2-3 minutes to fill. So since it kept running I went down to check it out. What I found was that it was sitting on about 55# of pressure and continuing to run. I watch it for quite a while and it was not moving. It seemed as if the pump did not have the oomph to get it to the shutoff pressure. So for now I dropped my pressure switch down to 30-50 and it seems to be running at that. I have not timed the fill-up period but it seems to me that it is taking longer than it used to. Had I been smart I would have written down how long it took before to have something to compare to.:rolleyes:

    So my question is this. What do you see as possible problems? My thought is that the pump is going bad. I am thinking perhaps the impellers are worn. I believe the pump is 8-9 years old. (Meyer, I believe) Is there a screen on the intake that could perhaps be plugging? The main question I have is whether there could be anything inside the house that would be worth checking prior to pulling the pump? I will add that the pressure holds well once the pump shuts off and we never have the pump kicking in without usage. (that I know of) I had thought of perhaps a problem with a check valve in the house but as I said that does not seem to be an issue. If it is dropping pressure at all sitting idle then it is taking hours to do so or else I would have noticed it. So I am thinking that a pull of the pump is in order. And my gut is telling me that the pump will need replaced. Is there a way of replacing the impellers on the pump or if I find that to be the problem am I simply in for a new pump?
     
  2. sounds like the pump to me but im not a plumber by trade..impellers are the likely culprit but id call in the pro or buy a pump...i would think they would last 15+years...my .02
     

  3. If you do pull the pump, change it. Dont replace parts or you might be pulling it again in a year. Its not worth the chance of pulling it twice. Could you have been right at the level of running the well dry? I would guess it is in the switch or gauge since the pump still pumps to a good pressure and is for sure running. Im not a pro though.
     
  4. You might find some answers here.

    http://www.femyers.com/

    We use much larger F.E. meyer pumps for sewage and fresh water pumping and I would think it should last much longer than 8-9 years. Also im sure it is not cheap to replace so you might want to have a pro look at it.
     
  5. I:D change the pressure switch ,about twenty bucks , theres a diaphgram in those ,with a orthis , I don;t think your pump is bad , you can change this yourself . just mark down on paper where the wires go . p/s turn the power OFF> been there.
     
  6. Check your pressure tank ............ the ballast went bad in mine & it did the same thing. Quickly open the schrader valve (looks like a tire valve stem) & see if any water comes out. I needed a new tank, but it's not too bad.
    Let us know what you find
     
  7. Brian,

    Sounds like a pressure switch to me, as well. I don't think it's a bad tank bladder-usually with a waterlogged bladder you to reach max pressure but the pump will cycle a lot. Let me know if you need a hand...I'm baching it this weekend.

    Tim
     
  8. I guess I was not figuring it could be in the pressure switch or tank because if the pump continued to run it should keep building pressure. I don't know what the maximum pressure is that the pump can pump water to but if the switch is still calling for water it would still continue to build pressure, right. Perhaps if the calibration was fouled up on the pressure switch itself it may let it build too high. But then again that would imply that the gage itself is wrong as well. It just doesn't seem that they would both be wrong.

    We have replaced our pump a couple of times over the years there so I know that they are not cheap. I am thinking somewhere in the $250-300 range. So believe me I want to make sure it is broke before I replace it. We seem to get a fairly high amount of black sand at times in the water and I think that wears on the pumps. The one dropped a phase of power (bad wire) and burnt up because of running at half voltage.

    After I dropped the switch to where the gage was reading 50# on top end it seems to be working for now. When I get some time I am going to run the tank empty and check the pressure in it and then time it more closely on filling. I think it should be between 2-3 minutes for fill-up of the pressure tank. Our pump is down 85 feet so I don't know what the specs say it should do at that depth. If it is more than that then I will probably plan a weekend project to pull the pump and have a look at it. It is a bit of a hassle but I prefer doing it myself than paying a plumber at their rate.
     
  9. I do have another spare pressure switch laying around that I may swap out sometime.

    I won't even be around the house this weekend but my in-laws will be there with the boys. Knowing Murphy's Law that is probably when it will act up.:rolleyes:

    I will be sure to report back if I make any progress. But for now we are just running at a bit less pressure.(fingers crossed)
     
  10. Lewis

    Lewis ORIGINAL TEAM OGF

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    I will chime in here and say you have a bad pump.
    If you have the pressure switch set to reach 58lbs and it is not reaching that while the pump is running it is obviously not the switch.
    Again...if the pump was not coming on at all it means the switch contacts are not closing,consequently if the pressure went way over the switch setting the contacts in the switch are sticking.
    Neither is the case in your situation.

    If your pressure tank bladder is waterlogged you will get frequent cycling.
    Thats not your case either.
    It sounds to me like you have a failing pump.
    Its possible that the intake screen is clogged,but not very likely.
    Could also be a hole in the plastic pipe...not likely,but possible.
    This will divert water back into the well...listen down in the well casing for this.


    You are gonna have to pull the pump and take a look.
    Personally I would just replace the pump.
    Sure,you can have the impellers replaced,but you also have 9 years of wear on the brushes,bearings and armature.
    If you shop around you should be able to find a decent pump for around $300
    Not forget to get a "shrink tube kit" and plenty of electrical tape to tape your wires to the pipe.
     
  11. That was exactly my thought and the reason that I was thinking either a bad pump, clogged intake, or as you mentioned a hole in the line. I am able to manually toggle the switch off and on by taking the lid off and springing it. Also it seems to work fine off and on with the setting just a few pounds lower and it would not seem to me that the switch would change properties that much with a few pounds drop in pressure.

    How much would an impeller replacement cost as opposed to a new pump? I know what you are saying about the rest already being 9+ years old but if others are getting 15 years or so out of one then it may last a good bit longer. I am just thinking if the impellers are not very expensive it may be worth a shot. The most I am out is the cost of the impeller and the work of pulling the pump.
     
  12. Lewis

    Lewis ORIGINAL TEAM OGF

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    You can call a pump repair shop and ask.
    I am not sure.
    What you have is a series of impellers stacked on top of each other and driven by a shaft.
    You know the stainless steel portion of the pump?
    This is what holds the impellers.
    The stainless portion is just a tube that threads onto the pump body.
    These can be a bear to remove.
    Good luck Brian!
    Need any more info give me a shout.
     
  13. Lewis

    Lewis ORIGINAL TEAM OGF

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  14. Thanks for the info Lewis! I just got off the phone with a buddy of mine who is in the plumbing sales business. I was picking his brain on this as well. He suggested swapping out the pressure switch to see if that does any good since I have one around. He didn't hold a lot of faith in that being it. He said his guess is the pump is going bad or perhaps I lost on lead of power. I meant to trip the breaker and reset it in case on leg kicked out. I will then try hooking a meter to it to make sure it is pulling both legs. He said that it is possible that the intake is blocked but more than likely it was either deteriorated impellers or really built up with iron deposits perhaps. He suggested maybe soaking it in a tub of hot water with some Iron X product that should help break up the buildup. I may end up getting a pump from him and having it on hand when I pull it so that if I decide to change it out I will not have to pull it again. If it the pump I am out $240. In talking to him he convinced me that it was most likely a 1/2 HP pump and not a 3/4 HP. I couldn't remember because it has been so long and I don't deal with them as much as he does.

    Thanks guys for the help.
     
  15. If you can get an Amp Meter check the amp draw when the pump is running. If its working you amperage should be high end of the pumps range, If its low the pump is not doing any work (ie impellers failing,clogged etc.)
     
  16. The One

    The One Ret. 1SG U.S. Army

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    I had a similar issue a few years ago and it was the wires to the pump shorting out. The vibration of the motor actually wore the wire coating off and it was shorting against the well casing. I just replaced everything.
     
  17. I think you have a hole in the water line in the casing-pure and simple. This is preventing your pump from getting to the "high" pressure setting. I had this same thing happen several years ago and when the pump guy took the cap off the well casing, you could hear it splashing. Changed the hose and good to go. I have a guy who has told me to call him "anytime" I have a problem. (Find a guy like that, and keep his phone numbers handy.) Also, he told me that anything over 40 lbs. pressure in a house system is way TOO much. He says that it wears the pump out quicker and simply is not needed. He recommends settings like start at 25- quit at 35 PSI>(This guy is the "top guy" in my area and he installed my system when the house was New-40 years ago! No, this isn't the original pump/tank/pressure switch!) He's still going strong. He would tell you to continue to use the existing pump at the reduced pressure "til it quits"(another reason to have someone's number to call, if and when!) No use spending money now that you might not need for a few more years!! If it's working ok(and sounds like it is), don't fix it!
     
  18. I was away over the weekend so I didn't get a chance to take a closer look at the problem. I plan to pull the cover off the well here in the next day or so to listen for what may be a leak. I hope it is something as simple as a leaky line or a shorted wire but I never seem to be that lucky. I have a good friend who is in the plumbing sales business so I had him order a pump and have it on hand for when I pull the existing one just in case I need to make the change.

    So far it has been holding up at the lowered pressure. I don't like running our house on that low of pressure because the showers practically trickle out when the pressure is on the low end of the range.
     
  19. It has been a while since I posted on this but I wanted to post a follow-up on it. I had been dealing with this pump problem since before the snowstorm and that weekend prolonged me fixing it. As of the middle of last week I had progressed to the point that I could only reach 40# of pressure in the tank and to get there it was taking the pump about 3.5 minutes to cycle. Last Thursday evening I pulled the main line off inside the house at the point just before it enters a check valve and then the pressure tank. I ran water from that point into a bucket to see what it would do. I was only able to get about 3-4 gallons per minute and I know that the pump should have been able to do more like 10 GPM. So I decided that the only thing to do was to pull the pump and replace it. I did just that on Friday afternoon/evening and I am happy to report that it is running like a champ! :) I was able to get my tank and switch settings back to a 40-60# setting and it takes under a minute to refill in each cycle. There was no visible evidence on the outside of the pump as to the problem but I am planning on dismantling the pump to inspect the impellers just for my own information.

    Overall, the project didn't go too badly for me...aside from a couple of line mishaps. On Thursday evening at after 8:00 I managed to spring a leak in a flex copper supply line coming from the pressure tank. That resulted in a late night trip to Lowe's.:rolleyes: Not to mention that the price of copper is enough to break a man. It cost me $26 for a 10' roll of 1/2 copper.:eek: On Friday as we pulled the pump out of the casing we managed to snap the schedule 80 PVC right above the pump so I had to search frantically to find someone who had a replacement pipe at 6:00 on a Friday night.:eek: But once we got that pipe on and put everything back together we were in business. My wife said she didn't know why I didn't have someone else do it and save myself the hassle and time but I hate giving someone that money when I know how to do it myself. I am sure that I saved a couple hundred bucks or so doing it myself. Now I can spend that on something useful like fishing gear.:D:D
     
  20. Lewis

    Lewis ORIGINAL TEAM OGF

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    Glad to hear all is well!...pun intended:) :) :)