well pump pressure switch kicks off

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  #1  
Old 06-05-08, 09:50 AM
S
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well pump pressure switch kicks off

We recently had installed a new Flexcon FL30 pressure tank as our old 40 gal galvanized one sprung a few leaks. AT the same time, the pressure switch was replaced with a pumptrol pressure switch, which appears to be a 30-50psi one. The old switch never had to be reset. With the old system, occasionally if we ran the well dry because I got too enthusiastic about laundry, the pump would just kick off. I would turn the breaker off, and turn it back on in an hour, and the pump would kick back on. Now, the pump switch kicks off every day or so, and we can't figure out why. When I lift the reset lever carefully so I don't go past the contact point, we get pressure back immediately, so the well doesn't seem to be dry. Also, our water usage has been normal, and even less than it used to be.

Our well is about 60' deep, my husband thinks, with 6" metal casing. The pump is at least 10 years old, and I don't know what kind it is. The pump is elevated off the bottom by about 10' I believe (estimate from having to replace well piping that had come off a few years ago).

I watched when the installation took place. I didn't see the contractor check the charge on the tank, which I understand is supposed to be 2 psi less than the pump cut in psi. Also, we had wanted our pressure in the 40-60psi range, and he made that adjustment on the switch, but the switch says 30-50.

Before we replaced the tank, I measured 2.5 gals, and about 30 secs between pump kick on and off. With the new tank, the return is about 17 gals, and the pump runs 2+ minutes, which we thought would be an improvement. My husband thinks if we turn up the cut in pressure to 45psi, maybe it would reduce the return from the well, because he wonders if the well isn't recharging fast enough to keep up with the longer pumpingcycle. It's really irritating to have the water stop suddenly in the shower.

The contractor has suggested a new, very expensive switch that has a delay in it, but that seems to me that that would just keep the pump possibly running dry.

Is it OK that the contractor just adjusted the 30-50 switch to 40-60?
Does it make a big difference if the initial charge of the tank is more than 2 psi below pump cut in pressure?
I don't know what the water level is in the well, but we do have a stream running through the property about 200' away, and the soil is fairly sandy here.
Any suggestions for further analyzing this problem? Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 06-05-08, 07:17 PM
J
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ok i'm gonna attempt to help yall on this one. and yes it is ok to adjust a 30-50 switch to 40-60 so long as the pump has no trouble hitting 60 psi and you have your tank charged according. and yes it is better for your pump to run longer between cut in and cut off rather than shorter on account of your pump will last longer. pumps are made to run. in my experience, the more on/off they do, the faster they seem to go out. i dont think i would set my cut-in at 45 then you would need it to cut off at 65 making your pump work alot harder than it is used to.

what i'd want to do first, before any rash decisions, is make sure that your tank is working together with your pump properly. i'm pretty sure i'm familiar with this tank. a tire gauge is your best friend right now. take the cap off of the top of your tank and unscrew the valve stem cap. this is the best pressure gauge you can use. run some water until your pump kicks on. the second it kicks on check the pressure on the top of the tank at the valve stem with the tire gauge. this is your true cut on pressure. now turn the water off and wait for the pump to kick off.. the second it does check the pressure. this is your true cut out pressure.

now to check the tank, turn the power to the pump off. run water until the water stops. now check the pressure on the tank with the tire gauge. people will tell you that it should read 2 psi lower than the cut-in but i always have it 3-5 psi lower just for the sake of it not being just right and getting a call-back. either put air in or let air out of the tank according to the cut-in and turn the power back on.

so, knowing how to check the true cut in and cut out of the pump, and how to check the charge of the tank. do all of this, see how it runs a while, and post your results. this is a good place to start.
 
  #3  
Old 06-05-08, 11:30 PM
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its a bleeder valve!!!

the galvanized tank utilizes a bleeder valve in the well. somewhere between the tank and bleeder valve that is in the well is a check valve that has a schrader valve (tire air valve) in it. when the pump shuts off, the shcrader valves allows the bleeder valve to pull a vaccum in the first 10 - 20 feet of the drop pipe in the well. when the pump comes back on, it forces all that air into the galvanized tank where the air volume control allows the excess air to escape.

having said that, a bladder type tank CANNOT have a bleeder system. you also have a low water pressure switch. when the pressure gets to 20 psi, the switch will "trip out" so that if everything was right, the pump would not run dry. what will happen with this bleeder valve in the system is the pump will pump air into the tank while the pressure is dropping from water being used. the pump cannot deliver water fast enough after the air to keep from getting below 20 psi tripping the switch. if you had a regular switch, you would be complaining of air in the lines. you do not notice the air now because you are losing all your pressure anyways.

call the contractor back and have him pick the pump up at least one joint of drop pipe. i am confident that he will find this bleeder valve. take it out and put a plug in its place, then set the pump back down. i am certain this will cure the problem.
 
  #4  
Old 06-06-08, 08:22 PM
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well pump pressure switch kicks off

Thank you both for your replies. We will check the pressures on the tank tomorrow. Several years ago when we had to pull the pump to replace the PVC pipe that went down to it, I don't recall there being anything else in the line. It was a pretty old (30 yr) system, although I think the pump was changed once. Would that bleeder valve be at the top of the well? I don't think we had any kind of air volume control valve on the old tank. It got waterlogged all the time, and every month or so I'd pump it up. I will check with the well guy about the bleeder valve. If it did have a valve, it probably would have been about solid rust as we have lots of iron in the system. Thanks again.
 
  #5  
Old 06-06-08, 10:56 PM
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definitely check on that bleeder valve. i'll be honest with you, i dont know anything about those bleeder valves because i've not worked on alot of those old galvanized tanks that are hooked to submersible pumps. waterwellguy very well could be right about that, as he probably knows alot more about it than i do. i would have to ask my dad about all that, as i'm of the younger generation of pump work (not that youre old waterwellguy.. haha) check with your well man about it like you said. if he's confident that there isnt one then still do the checks that i listed.
 
  #6  
Old 06-09-08, 04:32 PM
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maybe the bladder pressure

Well, we finally got the pressures checked when the switch kicked off again being a good opportunity. With the tank empty, pump off, nothing coming out of the faucets, and drained water off the bottom of the tank, we had 43 psi, which seems like it was high. I thought the tank was supposed to come with 38 or 28 psi. Also, it was installed this winter when the cellar was about 45. In the last several days, we've finally achieved 70 down there, but I don't know how much the incoming water temperature changes, or if that would make much difference.

We repressurized the tank, and it cut out at 57.5 psi, and ran the water, and it cut in at 42.5 psi. So that could explain our problem, huh? I haven't reached the well guy about the bleeder valve, but my husband didn't think there was one either, and we didn't have an air volume control valve. We had to pump in air on a regular basis to the old tank or it got waterlogged.

We just got the pressures checked, and bled off some air - a little too much so we are down to 35psi. We will run with it and see what happens. It's also good to know that the switch should kick off at 20psi if it is working properly, so we don't run the well dry. I'm a little concerned that we'll be pulling too much volume from the well all at once. Also, is it bad to have as much as a 7.5psi difference between bladder and cut in psi? We have a crummy hand pump. Will it cause any problems to just leave it there?

Is this differential something that has to be checked seasonally as the temperatures change in the cellar?

Thank you both for your help.
 
  #7  
Old 06-09-08, 04:59 PM
J
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i've heard talk that changes in temp. could affect but i'm not sure either way. i've seen precharged tanks from factory that high. the tank being 7 psi lower than the cut-in probably wont hurt anything much, as most people never really check them and probably have alot lower and they never notice. i personally would just set the cut-in to 37 and cut out at 57 and you would be right where you need to be. i wouldnt be too concerned about the pump pushing too much volume. a good well man shouldnt install a pump that the well cant keep up with.
 
  #8  
Old 06-15-08, 06:28 PM
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no pump kickoffs this week

Hurrah! I think things are working right, now. Still need to tweek the cut in pressure a little, but having the bladder pressure lower than the cut in pressure seems to have done the trick. The pump hasn't kicked off all week. Our well guy did say that there was no AVC Valve on our old tank, and no bleeder valve in the well. guess we were lucky our old system worked as long as it did.

If I adjust the cut in pressure on the switch down several psi, will that change the cut out pressure, or are the adjustments completely independent? Haven't ever adjusted one of those switches before.

It sure is nice not to have the water quitting on us.

Thanks!
 
  #9  
Old 06-15-08, 08:01 PM
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yes if you adjust the cut-in pressure down on the pressure switch it should effect the cut-out. it should drop the cut-in and cut-out the same amount. you will most likely have to readjust the cut-out after you adjust the cut-in.
 
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