No water in house, new homeowner....please help! (Well water)


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Old 11-28-12, 09:16 AM
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Question No water in house, new homeowner....please help! (Well water)

Hello All,

Please excuse my ignorance in advance, my knowledge of well systems and septic tanks is extremely limited, at best. My husband and I are new homeowners and new to wells and septic systems. Most of the time he would deal with these kinds of issues, but he is away on a work trip and I will not be able to contact him for a few days. I will give the information required as stated in the "Help us help you" sticky to the best of my knowledge.

1.Not sure if I have a submersible or jet pump, but from doing some research I believe it is a submersible as I can only see the storage tank in the basement, no pump next to it.
2.No idea how old the well is, house is about 30 years old
3.No idea as to the depth
4.No knowledge of diameter of well
5.Do not know the voltage
6.Honestly, I don't even know where the pump is
The storage tank in the basement is next to the water heater and those are the only things I can see (read on a website that a jet pump would be next to the storage tank, and I do not see one)
The storage tank is a Goulds A.O. Smith Aqua Air Model V140.

So on to my problem. I woke up this morning to no water in most of the house. The reason I say most is because the basement faucet will work from time to time, but with very low pressure and only for a few minutes. All the other faucets are dead. Everything was working fine the night before, normal water pressure everywhere.

I checked the water pump pressure and it is at a steady 49 -50 psi.
Checked the breakers, and all seem to be fine, and anyway the water heater right next to the storage tank is getting power and I believe they are on the same breaker.
I also opened the spout (red handle on bottom of tank) to see if water would come out and it did.
I opened the top of the Well Pressure Switch (located on bottom of tank next to pressure gauge). Looks pretty old, not too much rust though. Although did notice a lot of what looked like some sort of seed inside the pressure switch , perhaps grass seed? There was a good amount in there, enough to make me unable to see many of the parts. As I do not know which breaker switches the tank off, I did not want to poke around in there too much.

That is all I can think of right now, hope that I provided enough info. Money is tight, and I am hoping this is not a big deal. I've been reading horror stories and am quite concerned and nervous about this being a serious problem, and not being knowledgeable about this kind of stuff is frustrating to say the least.
A DIY is all I can afford right now.....

I would be most grateful for any input, ideas, or suggestions.



Thanks in advance,

Shivi
 
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Old 11-28-12, 09:35 AM
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Welcome to the forums Shivi!

The water heater should be on it's own dedicated breaker! Have you checked all the breakers? sometimes they don't look tripped but if you flip it off and back on you'll see that it was tripped. You might want to turn the water heater off until you get the water pressure back. If the top element in the heater isn't submerged in water it can burn up - won't cause a fire but you won't have much hot water either.

It's been over 20 yrs since I lived with well water but we do have some well pros that will chime in later when they get time.
 
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Old 11-28-12, 09:53 AM
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Hi,

Pics would help. You will need a meter to test some voltages. Not sure your skill set there.

Electric is dangerous and you will be working on high voltage that can kill you.

With that said there should be an electrical box on the wall for the well pump. It may be as simple as a blown capacitor or the well pump itself.

Let us know and take those pics.

Not that knowlegable in deep wells, so others may chime in.
 

Last edited by lawrosa; 11-28-12 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 11-28-12, 10:19 AM
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Just throwing this out for consideration....if the pump pressure is 49-50....why no flow. I'm thinking maybe that is a gauge on the tank? Possibly the air bladder pressure?
 
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Old 11-28-12, 10:29 AM
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Thank you for the welcome marksr. Once again let me reiterate that I am ignorant on this subject on many levels, so far so that I do not know which breaker would be the breaker for both the storage tank or the water heater. Most of the breakers are marked, i.e bedroom heater, stove etc., but the ones I need are not marked.

@lawrosa, what kind of pictures would be helpful? Of the tank? The pressure switch?
As for the meter to test voltages, well, I can't even find the right breaker, so my skill set is non existent. (I am quite embarrassed about my lack of knowledge in this area, I can fix a dog or cat, but cannot find the correct breaker if my life depended on it )
I do not see an electrical box anywhere near the tank, the only thing I see that is close is a timer that I have for my water heater which turns the heater off at night.
I will look again though, might have missed something.
 
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Old 11-28-12, 11:45 AM
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When in doubt and assuming pump and water heater are 240 volts turn all 240 volt breakers off then on*.

Why do you think the pump and water heater are on the same breaker.

*Tripped breakers often don't look tripped and to reset you must turn all the way off then on as others have stated.
 
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Old 11-28-12, 12:17 PM
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Panel on wall should look like this.... Under various names. Should have wires that go to pressure switch and where the water line comes through the wall..


 
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Old 11-28-12, 04:23 PM
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I for the life of me cannot find a box anywhere that looks like that, inside or out.
The electric wire that runs out from the Pressure Switch runs to a timer that shuts the water heater off at night to save electricity.
I attached pics to illustrate what the set up looks like.
I did want to also mention that the basement bathroom sink has been slightly trickling both hot and cold water. Also the basement kitchen sink trickles water from time to time. The rest of the faucets, which are upstairs do are dry as bone as well as the basement tub faucet. (My house is split level, just ground floor and finished basement)
 
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Old 11-28-12, 04:31 PM
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That wire from the pressure switch to that box just is routed behind it. Look closely... As far as I remember there is no knock out on that box at the top. I know that box very well.

Continue to follow that line.

But if it does go in there it may just be used as a junction box.

So if thats the case the two lines bottom left??? One is line voltage I would think. Where does the other go? Or trace them both and let us know.
 
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Old 11-28-12, 04:45 PM
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I'm going to go check on that now...in the meantime would you mind telling me what kind of voltage meter I would need? I see two kinds, a two pronged one or a clamp one (They have two different ones at the home depot depot close to me) or would either work?
 
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Old 11-28-12, 05:16 PM
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The clamp units also have a place for leads. The clamp type are a good choice.
 
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Old 11-28-12, 05:33 PM
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You were right Mr. lawrosa, there was another line behind the one that goes to the timer. It just goes into the wall and disappears. Definitely no other panel but the timer one anywhere in the basement, I even checked outside. Kinda strange as all my research led me to believe that most pumps have a panel with an overload restart.
There are only two lines going into the timer, it's just the one from the well the loops around the back making it look like there are more.

Tomorrow morning I will run out and get a voltage meter and call a Non-Profit Well Care hotline I found.

Thanks again for all your help BTW
If I follow this to the end and figure out the problem , I will be more knowledgeable next time something like this happens.
 
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Old 11-28-12, 05:57 PM
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You mentioned how the pressure switch was loaded with some sort of mystery seed.

It almost sounds as if a mouse had filled it up for food storage.

For a goof......tap on the side of the switch a few times with a piece of wood.

Tap the outside metal housing or the pipe it's attached to.....don't use anything metal.

Not hard enough to break it but hard enough to maybe dislodge any foreign matter.

Something could be in there that's preventing the contacts from closing.



.
 
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Old 11-28-12, 06:41 PM
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Now that I think about it, there is no way somebody dropped all that seed in there as I originally thought. It would actually impossible as the Pressure Switch is completely covered.I mean, it was stuffed with seed.
I must have blew out a good half a hand full at first, and when I went to do what you, halton, suggested, a bunch more fell out and I noticed there were kernels tucked into all these little nook and crannies. Must have been some sort of rodent. I do have a bag of grass seed in the garage that had holes in it. Who's to say the little guy (and he must have been little to fit into that regulator) didn't chew through something.

Alas, still no water even though I cleaned out most of the seed.
 
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Old 11-28-12, 06:57 PM
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Did you tap it a few times as I instructed?

Realize the contacts are trying to close.....there may be some seed stuck in between.

Blowing out the loose seed will not likely dislodge what is caught in the contacts.

Use caution poking around there as those contacts and screws are likely live.

Try and take a close-up in focus well lit picture looking down at the switch from the top.

If you do end up having someone come out to do any repair.....point them right to that switch.



.
 
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Old 11-28-12, 08:46 PM
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These are the 4 contacts......this area must be free of any debris.

If any one of the 4 contacts is not closed tight......the pump will not run.






If there is anything in between.....you can move the whole mechanism in this direction (see below)

Once again......do not use anything metal.....wood or plastic only.






For clarity.....this is what it looks like in the "open" or "off" position.






It's also possible there's foreign matter underneath at the bottom of the mechanism.

This could prevent the contacts from closing tightly together as well.

If all looks well with the contacts.....then you need to test for power with a meter.

Follow the cable that feeds down from the wall into the switch.....that's the power.

The black and white wires that come out of that cable should have either 120 or 240 volts.

Place the meter probes on the screw heads to check.



.
 
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Old 11-30-12, 12:25 PM
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Hi folks Ė

Wanted to get my 2 cents in. Donít you think Shivi obviously also needs a new pressure gauge? Looks like itís just stuck at about 50 psi.

(Donít worry Shivi, if the guys agree here, they arenít very expensive 15-20 bucks and are really easy to install.)

My vote would be to follow Haltonís advice with those excellent pictures and see if your pressure switch is the problem. Thatís not difficult to check and as was pointed out, if the contacts donít close your pump definitely will not run and you will in fact lose water pressure.
 
 

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