Voltage concerns and questions

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Old 02-01-13, 08:29 AM
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Voltage concerns and questions

I have been having a 220 deep well situation for several weeks where my overload was tripping. It would trip sometimes every day. I went through all of the things Franklin told me to do as far as checking the pump via amperage readings and seeing if there was a ground. I had no problems. The Franklin people said to have my voltage checked at the pole and going to my well, so I called the Electric company and they set up 2 readers to see what they could find.

The day before they came my tenant said that they could not get a 220 heater to turn off in the basement apartment. I tried several things but it was really hot when I turned it to low. It is a base board unit about 2 years old from Home Depot. After looking at it I noticed that the curtain string which had small plastic pulls at the end had been melted and I then saw some plastic on top of the heater where they hung. I turned off the breaker.

Ever since I turned off the heater my well pump has not tripped the overload.

Is it possible that the 220 heater was drawing so much current or voltage that my well pump did not have enough and it tripped the overload?

I will bring in the heater to home depot but is this possible?
 
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Old 02-01-13, 08:37 AM
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Welcome to the forum.
It almost sounds like the well pump and that heater are on the same circuit.
 
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Old 02-01-13, 08:42 AM
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You might want to do an amp reading on the heater before returning it but unless the breaker it is on failed in the closed position it should not have drawn enough amps to drop the voltage. Please note residential voltage is 240v not 220 volts. The heater is probably okay. It sounds like the thermostat failed.

The pump and heater aren't on the same breaker, are they?

OOps Mike beat me to the last comment.
 
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Old 02-01-13, 08:44 AM
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checking the pump via amperage readings
Was the amperage reading within motor specs ?
What was the voltage that was measured at well pump controller ?

If that heater was the cause of your well pump tripping then they might be on the same breaker.
What size was the breaker that tripped ?
Is that breaker in the main panel or a sub panel ?

If it turns out that your heater and pump are on different breakers then it sounds like your house voltage is sagging...... which is why I asked for the voltage at the pump.
 
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Old 02-01-13, 08:55 AM
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First the well pump is on its own breaker on the pole along with a safety switch with large fuses next to the Franklin control box. It is a 20 amp breaker on the pole.

The heater is on a separate 20 amp breaker in a sub-panel that is in the basement.

I will get an amp reading on the heater before I return it. The breaker was open and I needed to close it to stop it from working so I think it is okay.

The amperage readings were perfect on all specs on the well pump.
The voltage I read at the controller was 239 when the pump was on and off.

The overload that was tripping is the small button underneath the Franklin Control box. It is a part of the control box. It was not a breaker but this small button.
 
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Old 02-01-13, 09:55 AM
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First the well pump is on its own breaker on the pole along with a safety switch with large fuses next to the Franklin control box. It is a 20 amp breaker on the pole.

The heater is on a separate 20 amp breaker in a sub-panel that is in the basement.

I will get an amp reading on the heater before I return it. The breaker was open and I needed to close it to stop it from working so I think it is okay.

The amperage readings were perfect on all specs on the well pump.
The voltage I read at the controller was 239 when the pump was on and off.

The overload that was tripping is the small button underneath the Franklin Control box. It is a part of the control box. It was not a breaker but this small button.
239V is an acceptable voltage.
If it wasn't for the heater involved, I would say it's the control box.

Total left field thought... What service do you have to your house (60A/100A/200A)?
It almost sounds like with the heater on, the draw from the initial start up of your pump is enough to cause a brown out and that is what is tripping the control box.
Again, just a totally out there thought.
 
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Old 02-01-13, 10:22 AM
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I have a 200 amp service that was put in last summer. I had been having some trouble so the electric company put in a updated transformer and new line from it to my pole along with the new 200 amp service.

When the well tripped it was normally tripping in the mornings sometime. It was hard to say when exactly because after I got up and everyone in the house used things I would either see low pressure by 8:00 or 8:30. So my storage tank was giving us the buffer after everyone used the water. You would have to be in the well pit to hear it trip to say exactly when that happened.

My tenant said that for several weeks she was trying to get the heater to stop putting out the heat it was. She was going on a trip and wanted to let me know before she left so I just flipped the breaker on the heater.
 
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Old 02-01-13, 10:56 AM
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The breaker was open and I needed to close it to stop it from working so I think it is okay.
Tech note: A circuit breaker supplies power when it is closed, or ON; it interrupts power when it is open, or OFF.

The overload that was tripping is the small button underneath the Franklin Control box. It is a part of the control box. It was not a breaker but this small button.
I'm wondering if that could be a GFCI reset button. Can you post a picture of it, or a link to an image of the controller you have?
 
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Old 02-01-13, 11:18 AM
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First sorry about getting the breaker backwards.

Here is a link to the Franklin control box on a website. It is a model 2823008110 about 15 years old.

Franklin Electric 2823008110 Standard Submersible Motor Control Box 1.5 HP 230V 1PH For 3-Wire Motors
 
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Old 02-01-13, 11:20 AM
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I highly doubt it is GFCI. Well pump controls usually just house the start/run capacitors and sometimes a relay or contactor. If the start capacitor is failing it could be causing the overload.
 
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Old 02-01-13, 11:23 AM
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I changed the start capacitor but that did not help. It does have a reset button in the housing on my control box.

It is strange thought that it has not popped since I turned off the heater circuit breaker in the sub-panel in the basement.
 
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Old 02-01-13, 02:39 PM
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Two other related thing have just come to my attention regarding the well pump. My tenant upstairs said that the guest bathroom toilet stopped filling the bowl about 1 to 1-1/2 weeks ago, about the same time my pump was tripping. I pulled the water line and had good pressure but the toilet plastic valve inside the upper tank would not let out any water. The inside of the bowl was full of reddish/brown sand or rust but probably sand.

The my tenant downstairs said before she went on her trip about 9 days ago the washing machine stopped filling the washer. Upon examination the screen on the cold water side inlet to the pump of the washing machine was full of the same materials. I cleaned it out and it is running fine.

Is it possible then that my pump just sucked up a clump of sand and it got sent through the system and that made my pump trip?

Is there supposed to be a filter on the pump so sand will not get in it?
 
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Old 02-01-13, 03:08 PM
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Thats entirely possible. If the pump sucked up a clump of sand or mud, there could be a restriction in the pump or the pickup that is causing it to draw more power than usual. As far as a filter, it depends. If it's in an actual aquifer (underground water reservoir), usually not because the pump doesn't normally sit in the bottom of the aquifer, and the aquifer isn't normally under agitation, so there's very little potential for sediment to be stirred up - unless someone near you just drilled a new well near yours.

If it's a shallow/water table well, then the well casing is slotted to allow water in and keep the sand/mud out, but fine silt can still get in - so they normally keep the pump at least 20 feet off the bottom of the casing so it doesn't suck up the silt. If your casing has rusted out, then the bottom of the well could be filling with sand and mud. You might want to have a well specialist come check it out.

Do you know what kind of well it is?
 
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Old 02-01-13, 03:48 PM
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It is in a aquifer about 252 feet deep. My storage tank did go down to 7 lbs and I had to fill it up about 2 weeks ago so I could have got the sand at that time. I forgot that I did that.
 
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Old 02-01-13, 03:51 PM
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Well just now the pump tripped the overload when we filled the horse troughs. The heater was not on so not sure what it can be unless after the electric company looks at there data logger they find I have low voltage at peak electric hours or my transformer is going.
 
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Old 02-01-13, 05:23 PM
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Could you have a water logged tank ?

These pumps don't like to short cycle.
 
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Old 02-01-13, 05:34 PM
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I could how do I test it for this?
 
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Old 02-01-13, 05:43 PM
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Good question.

Basically you want the pump to start and run for as long a period as possible. One way would be to watch the pressure gauge. The pump should charge the tank and shut off. You would open a water tap and water pressure should drop slowly. If the gauge drops rapidly and pump starts right back up....you've got a tank issue.

Do you know what size water tank you have ?
If you have heavy water demands it may be a good time to invest in in a larger storage tank. The idea is to have the pump run longer but stop and start fewer times.
 
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Old 02-01-13, 05:53 PM
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I think it is a xtroll 60 gallon. It is in the well pit do I can only get one that will fit the hole. I will check tomorrow on the pressure gauge and do the test you suggested.
 
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Old 02-01-13, 06:02 PM
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Well-X-Trol should be a bladder type tank. I'm thinking you could also turn off the pump and drain the tank. Set the air charge and see it holds. If there is a leak in the bladder.....it won't hold air.

Wait for the well guys to chime in and comment on this idea.
 
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Old 02-05-13, 08:19 AM
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I have been checking a few things and the storage tank is holding its pressure. I had checked this a couple of times.
I turned on a outside water hydrant and watched the pressure gauge and had the pressure switch cover off to see when it came on and it took a while before it turned on the pump and the pressure dropped real slow. I did notice that there was a small space on one of the contacts on the white side of the pressure switch.
Also this morning it tripped the overload in the control box and when I went into the well pit the pressure switch was closed or engaged. I pressed the reset button and it tripped right away. I tried that 3 times and it kept tripping. Then I flipped the 20 amp box in the pit that has a disconnect with fusses in it and when it was off hit the resit on the control box and then flipped the 20 amp box on and the pump ran right away. I waited for it to shut off and then turned on the hydrant and it took a while and turned on again and shut off.

Do I need a new control box or reset overload switch?

Should I see a small gap in my contacts when they are closed? I heard of filing them, with the power off. But is it better to get a new pressure switch? How do you test if it is the pressure switch?
 
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Old 02-05-13, 08:47 AM
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Another update...

I had the electric company put on 2 readers to see voltage and amperage. One on the main line and one on the pump. The pump tripped last week only one time and according to there chart it was about 30 minutes prior to when I noticed the water being out. Because of the 60 gallon storage tank.

They said that the amperage jumped to a little over 200 amps just prior to the pump tripping. He said that the voltage was fine and that it was in the pump area that I am having the problems. He thought it could be the overload switch, pressure switch or pump or bad or corroded wiring. He thought that the pump would be last or it would be doing it all the time.

Any thoughts?
 
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