Pump goes on and off too often


Old 05-31-01, 09:08 AM
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The pump at the country cottage goes on and off approx 40 times a minute.
-I have just changed the filter - thus opening the line
-I have also added a shutoff valve between the pump and filter.
The pump pressure is set to start at 20psi and shut off at 40psi. The setting has not been tampered with. Prior to changing the filter, the pump would start only once and continue until the proper psi is achieved.
When someone turns on the water and the pressure drops, the pump commences and then shuts off immediately then right back on. This goes on for 2 minutes until 40 psi is achieved in the pressure tank, then shuts off and stays off until someone turns the water back on.
The footvale has been checked and is functioning well.
Since the pump does not go off on its own, that tells me there is no air leak in the system

Any ideas or what I can do to resolve my problem.

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Old 05-31-01, 03:05 PM
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northeastern NC On The Albemarle Sound
Posts: 10,952

tyler_dawg (is that your name or are you from Tyler, TX?)
20-40 psi cut-on/cut-off? Why is it set so low?
Most residential water well pumps, pressure tanks, and pressure switches are factory set to operate at 30-50 psi.
In any case, back to your problem of the cycling pump.
This could be caused by several things, but the first thing to check is the pressure tank.
If you have an air bladder tank, check the air pressure with a tire pressure gauge with the pump running (or pressure down to cut-on) to see if it is either at, or two psi below, your cut-on pressure.
If it isn't, air it back up with a bicycle pump or portable air tank or compressor. If it won't hold the minimum pressure, the bladder is leaking, and you have to replace the pressure tank.
If you have a galvanized pressure tank with an air volume control, it may be water-logged. Drain the tank until it is no more than 1/3 full, and see if that solves the problem. If it doesn't, replace the air volume control (looks like a little flying saucer with a plastic tube running from it).
The next thing to check is the pressure switch. Remove the cover (unplug the pump, or turn off the breaker, if you aren't comfortable around open electrical connections), and check for burnt or corroded contacts. If they are, replace the pressure switch.
If you want to adjust your water pressure upward to 30-50 psi with the pressure switch, the larger spring-loaded nut is the cut-on, and the smaller is for the cut-off. Turn them down to increase the pressure.
You also have to air up the bladder tank to 28 or 30 psi cut-on pressure.
See if one of these doesn't solve the problem. If it doesn't, or if you have any questions, just come back and ask.
Good Luck!

Old 06-14-01, 06:05 AM
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Hello Old Guy,
Thanx for the tips.
1- Tyler is just the name of my dog.

2- I have managed to regulate the pressure in the air tank.
The problem of pump cycling remains. When I said I changed the filter, I forgot to mention that I did not reinstall the orginal manufacturer's filter. (I was told by the plumbing person at the store, where I bought the filter assy, that all filters work with all the units they sold).
Well, I removed the filter and the cycling problem stopped completely. When I reinstalled the filter ( the black type), it cycled again. I have also tried the wound string type of filter. The cycling with this filter isn't as intermittent and the black one.

Question-1- Can a different filter cause the resistance as seen on my system to cause my cycling problem?

3- I have noticed something about the cycling. Now, the cycling stops immediately when the water is shut off, whereas, before, it seems that the pump would continue cycling until the pressure in the tank was reached.


Thank you in advance
Old 06-14-01, 06:15 AM
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northeastern NC On The Albemarle Sound
Posts: 10,952

The problem seems to be the filter. The person at the store is wrong.
There are many different types of filters with different size (micron) holes, etc.
Get the exact type of filter that you had before, and that should solve the cycling problem. The one that you substituted is creating too much restriction.
If the pump works properly without the filter, then there probably isn't anything worng with your pressure tank.
Good Luck!

Old 06-22-01, 01:05 PM
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Hey Old Guy,

I will be going up this weekend to replace my filter.

If I cannot find the original filter, I've decided to replace it with that carbon type cartridge that was giving me troubles.

Since this carbon filter is less porous and restricts the water flow, is there a way I can increase the pressure so water will pass through the filter and reach the new pressure and not have the pump cycle 30 times a minute?

Old 06-22-01, 05:33 PM
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northeastern NC On The Albemarle Sound
Posts: 10,952

No, that carbon filter will severely restrict your water flow.
Well/pump water pressure is determined by everything from the bottom of the well to the supply.
Leave your pressure at 20-40. Only put the type of filter that is required, or put no filter at all.
Make sure that your pressure tank is at 18 psi (tire pressure gauge).
That should keep your pump from cycling (no filter, except the right kind).
Good Luck!

Old 06-26-01, 08:43 AM
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Thumbs up

Problem is now rectified..Twas only the filter.

Thanx alot, Mike et al

Erwin..back to happy cottaging.

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