Installed a Deep Well Pump Booster System

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  #1  
Old 01-30-05, 03:51 PM
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Installed a Deep Well Pump Booster System

Or should I say, I installed a rube goldberg booster pump. Here's my story, and please comment. Especially the pros out there.

We have a well (100 ft deep) with a submersible pump (Franklin 3/4 hp) that's 15 years old. In December, I called a well guy in because one day I caught the pump running continuously at 45 psi. It wasn't reaching the 50 psi cut-off. He came in, serviced the bladder tank and switch, and said I should expect to replace the pump soon. Could be 3 weeks, could be a year. He said the impeller is more than likely wearing down so the pump can no longer reach 50 psi. Being an engineer and having worked in chemical plants all my life, that makes sense. He also said I could have a leak in the line underground, but after talking about symptoms (gurgling, air rushing through line when pump turns on) and finding none, we ruled that out. He also said pumps these days only last 10 or 12 years, and mine has passed its useful lifespan. He said I was looking at a big job, because these days you need an exposed well head to meet code. Ours is the old-style well-head-is-buried-under-5-feet-of-dirt scenario. Add to that, there's a foot of snow outside and it gets down to 10 degrees at night.

So I had a choice. I could roll the dice and hope she lasted until warmer weather (and keep lowering the cut-in/cut-out). I could spring for a large well job mid-winter. Or I could rig something up to help the well pump and buy some time. Call me crazy, but I chose option 3. I had to invest in $350 worth of materials, but that beat a $3000 well pump replacement.

Picture my existing well line coming in through the foundation, a short length of poly hose, a check valve, and then the tank. The switch was on the tank. I removed the poly hose and the check valve, and installed the follwing components (in order) between the line coming through the foundation and the existing tank inlet:

1" ball valve
Short length of hose
1" check valve
1" Tee, with a new pressure gauge and new pressure switch off of the bull
1" Tee, with the run going to a new 42 gallon bladder tank, and the bull going to another short length of hose
1" check valve
1/2 hp Flotec booster pump with integral pump switch
Short length of hose
1" ball valve

I had to convert the pump to run on 115 volts, run some wiring for the new pump (I had a spare 15 amp breaker), and abandon the switch on the tank. I have the two pressure switches set up as follows:

Old pump: 2 psi cut-in, 22 psi cut-out
New pump: 30 psi cut-in, 50 psi cut-out

So now my new pump cuts in when the house pressure falls below 30 psi. When this pump turns on, it draws the pressure in the new bladder tank below 2 psi rapidly and almost instantly the old pump comes on (new pump can draw 25 ft of water). So now the old pump spends most of its "on time" pumping to a much lower head pressure (instead of 100 ft of head plus 40 psi of tank pressure with the booster off, it sees only 75 feet of head with the booster on). Once pressure gets up to 50 in the house tank, the new pump cuts out. The old pump then stays on for another 5 seconds to bring the new bladder tank up to 22 psi. I had some cavitation in the new pump at first, but I shut the ball valve on the outlet of the new pump ever so slightly and it went away.

I know it was a kookie idea, but it worked. It hopefully bought me some time. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
 
  #2  
Old 01-31-05, 01:40 AM
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Hi INBCPE,
- so sure, -it is a 'rube goldberg' system, but I hear his methods always worked. - You can't fault that.
Possibly you do have a leak down the tube, ( I would have simply pressurised the tube, then I'd know. ) If you do, that's easy to fix when convenient.
The only thing puzzling me is $3000 replacement ? A pump may cost $1000, and normal repacement about 4-6 hours. -So they're charging 400 -500 an hour in labour in your area ? ?

Do it Right - Do it once.
 
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Old 01-31-05, 05:08 AM
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He described it to me as a job involving a back hoe, a new well head, and any associated piping. One of the reasons I'm buying myself time is to let the snow melt and get warmer outside so my neighbor (has a back hoe) and I can do the job ourselves. I priced out a replacement pump at $400. I figure the well head, pipe and fittings should run $300.
 
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Old 01-31-05, 05:10 AM
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How much pressure should you put on the tube to do a test? I have no idea what my immersion depth is.
 
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Old 07-10-05, 09:57 AM
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Update

Six months in service, zero problems and zero adjustments.
 
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Old 04-25-07, 07:47 AM
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Ahhh, I got 2 years out of it

Two years. I extended the life of the well pump by two years. That helped, but now the pump is REALLY dead. New one is going in tomorrow morning. $2300, but I have the coin now to spring for a contractor. I'm also selling my house in hopes of finding one with more bedrooms, so a new well pump will help in the negotiations.
 
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Old 04-29-07, 03:43 PM
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Just one question.

During those TWO years, didn't you ever worry that the pump would REALLY die when there were two feet of snow on the ground?


Still, I'm impressed.
 
 

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